Russia's two only players left in the FIDE world chess championship have drawn their first quarterfinal games. Yevgeny Bareyev, who had the black pieces, drew a game with Ruslan Ponomaryov of Ukraine, while Pyotr Svidler, who in the previous round knocked out Britain's Michael Adams, one of the tournament's favourites, agreed to a draw with Boris Gelfand of Israel, who had white. Joel Lautier of France drew a game with Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, while the game between defending FIDE world champion Vishy Anand of India and Alexei Shirov of Spain is still going on. In the women's FIDE world championship, only one Russian player, Alexandra Kostenyuk, has made it into the semifinals. In the only semifinal game concluded so far Maya Chiburdanidze of Georgia, who had white, agreed to a draw with Zhu Chen of China.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated