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Nigel Short vs Garry Kasparov
Kasparov - Short PCA World Championship Match (1993), London ENG, rd 16, Oct-12
Sicilian Defense: Fischer-Sozin Attack. Flank Variation (B87)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-31-09  Eyal: <Arriving for the 16th game, with Kasparov six point clear and needing only three draws to retain his title, I ran into one of the rumpus room's senior figures, Professor Nathan Divinsky. Benign and epigrammatic, he is President of the Canadian Chess Federation (and, among other achievements, was once married to Canada's prime minister, Kim Campbell). I observed that the match might be over that week.

"It's been over for six weeks," he responded.

What about the idea that after the match was settled they might play a few exhibition games for fun?

"It's been an exhibition game since the beginning." As a transatlantic observer sitting day after day at the grandmasters' table, Divinsky confessed himself disappointed with the narrowly partisan attitude of the local analysts, with their 'Nigel-this, Nigel-that' approach to the match. Here, after all, was a rare and privileged opportunity to watch in action the strongest player in the history of the game: "When Nijinsky danced, they didn't care who the ballerina was."


However, Game 16, to everyone's great surprise, turned out to be the moment of cheer for the Nigel-this, Nigel-that brigade. For once the ballerina jumped higher than Nijinsky. Even more surprising were the circumstances of the leap. Short had white, and played one of his least attacking games against Kasparov habitual Sicilian. (It later emerged that the challenger had a cold and didn't feel up to more than a 'piano' approach.) After eighteen or twenty moves, the Analysis Room was calling it as dull as it was equal: Speelman wandered past the board I was sitting at with Colin Crouch, whacked a few pieces about and declared the position moribund. For a change of scenery in the most tedious game so far, I went off to the Savoy. As I settled in, Short was offering an exchange of queens, and the headphones were groaning: "Oh, Nigel, that's *such* an unambitious move."

In the commentators' box a bored, end-of-term facetiousness reigned. Cathy Forbes began speculating on Short's awkward body position, wondering if it was because no one had told him to pee before the game. We were all waiting for queens to come off and glutinous drawdom to arrive. Short later gave two slightly different explanations of why this didn't happen. At his press conference, he said "I was a little bit too ashamed to offer a draw and I think he was too ashamed too." Later, he suggested, "I was too lazy to offer a draw and so was he." Given that the match had virtually been decided, and the two players were now business partners popularizing a sport, shame was the likelier motive. And there was also perhaps a familiar unspoken sub-text as the rival queens stared at each other in a proposed suicide pact. Go on, *you* offer the draw. No, *you* offer it. After you, Claude. No, after you, Cecil. *I'm* not taking the blame. Well, you're six points down, it's up to you to do something. Kasparov appeared to be playing simply to stay equal, at one point rather futilely retreating his bishop to a8 rather than proffer a whisper of an attack. The commentary room interpreted Ba8 like this: "'I'm not going to offer a draw, English swine' – that's what that move says.">

Dec-31-09  Eyal: <The tournament director at Linares seeks to discourage quick, crowd-displeasing draws by making contestants play at least as far as the forty-move time control. One effect of this is that seemingly drawn positions may come to life again, like some bonfire you think you have terminally damped down by piling on a mound of sodden leaves. All of a sudden there is a thin spiral of smoke, and then, before you know it, a warning crackle. This is what happened in Game 16. Short called off the queen swap and fiddled around with a queenside knight, while Kasparov put his queen imperiously in the centre of the board. Things began to stir, not just on the queenside but also on the kingside and in the centre. In just a few moves, a great woof of flame went through Kasparov's position, leaving it gutted. The champion shook hands, declined any on-board post-mortem and stalked off. It was his first defeat in eighteen months. Short acknowledged applause fit for a diva with an unoperatic, soft, semi-clenched fist (oddly, or Englishly, a very similar salute to that of Glenda Jackson on being elected an MP), then disappeared. This being a theatre, the audience worked to exact a second curtain call; but chess has not yet gone that thespian.

Afterwards, at his victory press conference, Short was engagingly modest and thoughtful, keeping his result in perspective. What has been his strongest move? "I thought I played the middle game quite well." (This is the diminishing British-English 'quite'.) He admitted to having been "rather shaken" by his loss in the previous game and so "didn't want to do anything drastic." He acknowledged that after a seven-year gap he had almost "forgotten what it was like to beat Kasparov," and gently contrasted his own style with that of Karpov, who tended to play "like a vegetarian against the Sicilian." The visceral response to victory was time-delayed. Dominic Lawson later described Nigel's touching behavior over the dinner table that night: "He jumped up repeatedly from the table, almost between mouthfuls, and clenched his fists together in front of his chest, like a footballer after scoring a goal. 'Wurgh! Wurgh!'">

(From Julian Barnes, "TDF: The World Chess Championship")

Jan-09-10  Garech: <mack: I have copies of all the games except number 16, the one which Short won! I think I have footage of the decisive moment somewhere though. MAN, I get so nostalgic whenever I think about the match.>

Any chance you would post these on youtube my friend? I can barely remember them and it would bring back a lot of memories!

Apr-26-10  SpiritedReposte: Thnx for putting the game in context eyal! Hearing the back-stories and motives makes it that much more interesting.
Aug-15-10  sevenseaman: K had this annoying habit of trying to be imperious even while staring at defeat. Short fuse!
Feb-03-11  timothee3331: 32....bxa4! might be better. Normally the principle in such Sicilians to defend is "rather a than b". Carlsen defended this way against Gashimov
Jan-28-12  wordfunph: from GM Raymond Keene's book Contenders for the Crown..

<When Kasparov resigned the game 16, the audience at the Savoy Theatre erupted in wild cheering and applause. Short's comment was: "Not before time.">

Feb-22-12  piroflip: A lot of sniping at Nigel here.
He emerged from his matches as the top challenger and deserved his chance. He got slaughtered by the second best chess player who ever lived. So have many others.
Feb-22-12  Nemesistic: Surely you mean THE greatest ever?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Here comes all the nonsense.
Feb-22-12  Wyatt Gwyon: Greatest =/= best.
Feb-22-12  Nemesistic: What nonsense?? Do you mean two people disagreeing on who "The best" is, because thats not nonsense, it's just a difference of opinion..

Although if you opened a history book and focused on chess and the man who's achieved most in the game....? Well i'll give you a clue, its not AJ Goldsby!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: It must feel nice for Short to beat Kasparov, even if only once.
Feb-22-12  AlphaMale: That night, he went back to the hotel and beat it again.
Feb-22-12  Nemesistic: Beat what? His Bishop!
Feb-22-12  AlphaMale: Right first time.
Feb-22-12  Nemesistic: Then i won't guess twice!
Apr-06-12  Ulhumbrus: <...The commentary room interpreted Ba8 like this: "'I'm not going to offer a draw, English swine' – that's what that move says...> I was in the hall on that day, as it happened. Andrew Martin who was making the commentary said <I'm not going to offer a draw, Englisch schwein> imitating humorously a foreign accent whereupon I saw least one member of the audience laughing in response.

There was a roar of cheering and applause at the end when Kasparov resigned.

Oct-29-12  Conrad93: 20.e5 works, right?
Nov-20-13  hedgeh0g: <Conrad93: 20.e5 works, right?>

If by "works", you mean "doesn't lose a pawn", then yes.

The same could be said about a lot of 20th moves for White.

Feb-22-14  thegoodanarchist: Nice shot by Short to force instant resignation.

38.Nf5+ and Gary is no happy camper.

May-16-16  posoo: Niglus Shoat: da WEEKEST competator for da honor of world champion EVER.
May-12-18  ChessHigherCat: <Eyal: "The visceral response to victory was time-delayed. Dominic Lawson later described Nigel's touching behavior over the dinner table that night: "He jumped up repeatedly from the table, almost between mouthfuls, and clenched his fists together in front of his chest, like a footballer after scoring a goal. 'Wurgh! Wurgh!'">

<(From Julian Barnes, "TDF: The World Chess Championship")>

Great article, but I'm still trying to figure out what 'Wurgh! Wurgh!' sounds like!

Dec-16-19  YesChess1010: noiiiiice
Jan-05-22  Dionysius1: <ChessHigherCat> <I'm still trying to figure out what 'Wurgh! Wurgh!' sounds like!>. Any from the first few seconds of
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