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WCC: Karpov-Kamsky FIDE Championship 1996
Compiled by WCC Editing Project

Original: Karpov - Kamsky FIDE World Championship Match (1996)

DRAFT <Chessical>

This was an ill-starred match: unattractive to potential sponsors, held at the last minute in a remote central Asian capital and overshadowed by interest in the forthcoming much better publicised and financed PCA world championship Garry Kasparov Viswanathan Anand (Chess, November 1995, vol.60, no.8 p.19). By June 1995 Kamsky was the world’s third rated player (2730) (Chess, June 1995, vol.60, no.3 p.4). He was advancing very rapidly in elite events. In 1994, Kamsky won the Las Palmas tournament (ahead of Anatoly Karpov ), shared first prize with Karpov and Michael Adams at Dos Hermanas1995 , and finished second (behind Karpov) in Groningen 1995 . He also was successful in the concurrent FIDE and PCA Candidates cycles. He defeated Paul van der Sterren (FIDE), Vladimir Kramnik (PCA), Viswanathan Anand (FIDE), Nigel Short (PCA) and Valery Salov (Semi Final Fide), but lost to Anand at Las Palmas (PCA) in June 1995. Yet, he felt marginalised. His father, Rustam Kamsky, made matters worse. He had accused the FIDE Semi Finals’ sponsor, the millionaire cement magnate Ravi Sanghi , of treating the Kamskys as an “under class” and of avoiding paying their travelling expenses. Although Rustam apologised the next day, Sanghi stated he would not be involved with events with “that man” again. (Chess, April 1995, vol.60, no.1 p.15). With that, the FIDE Championship lost its probable sponsor. By July 1st no sponsors of the FIDE world championship match. (Chess, August 1995, vol.60, no.5 p.4). Karpov was holding out for the FIDE minimum prize fund of 1,000,000 Swiss francs , but if there was no match before 1996 he will play the PCA champion by default. (Chess, November 1995, vol.60, no.8 p.19). FIDE president Campomanes had announced at the Moscow Olympiad that the match would be in Montreal (Chess, February 1996, vol.60, no.11 p.14-15). Then at the FIDE Congress at Noisy-le-Grand in November 1995, he had announced it would be played in Montreal. Both fell through, and led to Campomanes’ resignation of the presidency in favour of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Meanwhile the relations between Karpov and Kamsky had soured. Karpov: He thinks there are lots of people out there happy to give him a million dollars. Well, that is not exactly the case. I go searching for sponsors for our match and he profits, but he forgets that it is not my duty to organise the match it is FIDE’s…he relaxes…with lots of time to study my games…he thinks that the whole world is conspiring against him…that sort of attitude is beginning to irritate me…” (Chess, March 1996, vol.60, no.12 p.12-13). Kamsky : (Karpov) never gives exact answers…By now we understand why people in the past started to hate him…it is in his interest to keep postponing the match and that is exactly what he has been doing…I am not getting my rightful chance to play him…at least four big cities are willing to organise…a match…but Karpov is time and time again frustrating these initiatives. (Chess, March 1996, vol.60, no.12 p.12-13). Ilyumzhinov then approached his friend the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to sponsor the match in Baghdad. (Chess, April 1996, vol.61, no.1 p.46-47) for $2,000,000. The US State Department, however, told Kamsky that if he played there he would be fined at least S1,000,000 for breaking US economic sanctions against Iraq. The USCF President Denis Barry requested a change of venue. ( On 21 April, FIDE notified Gata Kamsky that Iljumzhinov had put up $1,100,000 for the match to take place in Elista, Kalmykia. ( Kamsky, who had left the USSR in 1989, did not want to play in a Russian republic as he feared being enlisted into the military, and as it was a Russian venue for Karpov. Ilyumzhinov insisted, and if stated if Kamsky did not play he would be replaced with Valery Salov the defeated Candidates finalist. (Chess, June 1996, vol.61, no.3 p.4). Match terms and conditions :
The match was played from June 6th to July 10th, 1996. It was the best of 20 games in which no time outs were allowed. There were no draw odds in favour of the Champion, If tied, the match would continue with a two game mini-match. The prize fund was S1,100,000 USD, split 5/8 for the winner and loser 3/8 for the loser. Kamsky’s seconds were Predrag Nikolic and Loek van Wely and John Fedorowicz who stayed until Game 10 (Chess, October 1996, vol.61, no.7 p.16). Karpov’s seconds were Vladimir Viktorovich Epishin and Mikhail Podgaets. The arbeirter was Geurt Gijssen (Wikipedia article: Geurt Gijssen and The progress of the match:
Karpov never was behind in this match. By half-way, he had a three point lead, having played very polished positional chess. Kamsky tried hard but could not catch his 23 year’s older opponent up although in the second half he won two games to one. During the match Rustam was once again at the centre of a controversy when he found GM Evgeni Vasiukov and IM Vladimir Gagarin using a computer in what he described as “a hidden back stage computer room” to analyze the games for the daily bulletin. Rustam Kamsky, fearing that the analysis was being transmitted to Karpov, accused them publically of cheating. ( The games were long one of positional manoeuvring. Kamsky was very nervous and “rusty” as he had not played for eight months (Chess, October 1996, vol.61, no.7 p.16). Kamsky lost 7˝–10˝ (+3=9−6) “what he definitely lacked was Karpov’s flexibility and depth of positional evaluation, which ultimately decide the match”. Kasparov “On My Great Predecessors”, Part 5, p.460). He then gave up chess until 1999, when he returned to play in the FIDE Knockout World Championship event in Las Vegas. “Unable to fight against Russian political machine, computers, coaches and seconds working for Karpov, Gata Kamsky decided to stop playing chess as his protest against dirty chess methods and numerous violations of sports and ethical rules during the 1996 Kamsky-Karpov match. Gata was morally and psychiatrically devastated…” ( - Gata Kamsky International Chess & Sports Foundation)

Karpov vs Kamsky, 1996 
(D97) Grunfeld, Russian, 57 moves, 1-0

Kamsky vs Karpov, 1996 
(E54) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, 65 moves, 1-0

Karpov vs Kamsky, 1996 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

3 games

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