Knights & Knaves

Will chess go the way of the WWF? This Russian kingpin sure hopes so

Quick, name this sport: rival world champions, a shady multimillionaire commissioner, drug testing, boycotts and shapely young women parading around in skimpy costumes.

If you said professional wrestling, you get partial credit. The correct answer, of course, is chess. The governing body of world chess, led by its eccentric president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has launched an all-out campaign to remake this most elevated of intellectual exercises into a fast-paced, high-stakes spectacle suitable for prime-time television. In the process, Ilyumzhinov is either rescuing chess or dragging it down to the level of Tonya Harding vs. Paula Jones, depending on your point of view....

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