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French champ praises local chess development
By Yu Yilei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-28 06:06

With the success of China's women chess players in recent years, China is becoming an ideal place for foreign players to improve their game, said a top European player.

"To discover the secret behind China's chess success is one of my reasons for coming here," said Almira Skripchenko, France's European women's champion.

Skripchenko, becoming the first female foreign import to the inaugural Chinese Chess National League, which started early this month, after she signed with Shandong Qilu Evening News Club, visited Beijing on Tuesday and played a unique chess exhibition game with China's four-time world champion Xie Jun in Beijing Aigo Chess Club.

The game, dubbed "aigo chess," is seen as a smart combination of two of the world's most well known chess styles.

After an approximately 40-minute tussle with Xie, China's undisputed No 1 and current world No 3, Skripchenko lost in her first attempt at the new game, but she said it was a style with high intellectual qualities.

"It is not easy to get used to the new piece," said the Frenchwoman.

"I made some mistakes and also played some interesting tricks," she said. "I think I can improve my game after some training."

Skripchenko said she sees a bright future for chess in China.

"China creates very good chess conditions, starting from young kids.

"If it continues in this way, it will have better results in the future."

Skripchenko's Shandong Club now leads the 19-team league after six rounds and is likely to qualify for the league finals in which the top six teams of the regular season participate.

"I believe she (Skripchenko) will be a great help to promote the Shandong team and chess in China," said Xie, the core member of the fourth-placed Beijing Aigo Chess Club.

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