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Last week members of the Grandmasters Association (GMA) challenged the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in Palma de Majorca, Spain, and said that it would take charge of the world championship and all major events.

The GMA said after its international World Cup qualifying tournament in Palma de Majorca it would split the next world final between two venues and launch commercial sponsorship.The vote, with an overwhelming majority, followed a campaign by world champion Gary Kasparov of the Soviet Union to wrest effective power from FIDE.

Kasparov formed the GMA in 1986 after FIDE president Florencio Campomanes controversially halted his world championship final before completion.

At the time of the vote the players' decisions had to be approved by FIDE, but the future of FIDE would be unclear if it turned GMA's challenge down.

The GMA said it wanted the next world championship finals, scheduled to begin in October 1990 in the French city of Lyon, to be split, with the 12-game second half switched to a major city in the United States.

Kasparov said his two prospective opponents, ex-world champion Anatoly Karpov, USSR, and Jan Timman, Netherlands, agreed to the proposal. But at the time it still had to be approved by FIDE and the Lyon organizers.

The GMA board said it would become the awarding body for titles.

GMA chairman Bessel Kok of Belgium said major companies would sponsor the commercial launch of chess and a large U.S. company was behind the bid to move half of the finals to the United States.

Later in the week FIDE and GMA agreed to jointly run the 1990 world championship match. It will begin in October in Lyon, as FIDE had announced several months ago.

However, the second half of the match will take place in New York City.

In his feud with FIDE, Kasparov had said he would not defend his title in a FIDE-run match. The new agreement appears a sensible compromise for the rival organizations.

The top eight finishers in the GMA's Palma de Majorca meet last week qualified for a playoff tournament, tentatively scheduled for May in Belgrade, that will determine who plays in the 1991-1992 World Cup.

The GMA guaranteed the $100,000 prize fund and offered to pay expenses for every grandmaster in the world. Of the 182 players in the World Cup qualifying tournament, 139 held the "grandmaster" title.

Boris Gelfand of the Soviet Union took first prize in Palma de Mojorca with 71/2-11/2.

Tony Miles, the British GM who plays for the United States, and 15-year-old Gata Kamsky of New York tied for 7-2.

Twelve players had 61/2-11/2. On tie break, Sergey Makarychev, Mikhail Gurevich and Vladimir Malanyuk, all of the USSR, Jon Arnason of Iceland and Daniel King of England qualified for the event.

For the world-title match, the city of Lyon offered a prize fund of $1.94 million.

The 24-game championship will be spread over 10 weeks, and the second half is likely to last five weeks.

In 1986, the third clash between Kasparov and Karpov was split between London and Leningrad.

U.S. chess players have long hoped a major corporate sponsor would get involved in chess and revitalize commercial support for the game in the United States, which has remained virtually dormant since Bobby Fischer refused to defend his championship crown in 1975 when FIDE refused to accept his terms.

-IMAGINATIVE DEFENDING - There is a long tradition in chess, writes Robert Byrne, former U.S. champion and chess editor of the New York Times, of seeing the attacker as noble and the defender as a grub who is just lucky when he wins.

The assumption is that the attacker calls the shots and the defender responds willy-nilly. Even then, one might admire the extemporaneous resourcefulness of the defender, but often that seems to be overlooked. But that prejudice won't stand up to the player who deliberately baits the attacker with the clear calculated objective of luring him too far and decisively beating him back.

-CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SOLVERS! - Hal Harmon, Hal Knight, Paul R. Lindeman, Justin Blair, Wendell R. Hurst, Gene Wagstaff, Michael Harsh, Joan Nay, David Kirk, Dr. Harold Rosenberg, Brian Griffith, Covert Copier, Ann Neil, Mark Stranger, Ted Pathakis, Jim Turner, Kay Lundstrom, Reed Adams, William B. Rice, Ken Frost, Edwin O. Smith, John N. Neilsen, Al Nicholas, Mel Puller, Dean Thompson, Prof. Ardean Watts, Raeburn Kennard, Aaron Kennard, Robert Tanner, Brian Harrow, William DeVroom and Ray Jackson.