Chess: Cool Kasparov

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HALF-WAY through their match at the Savoy Theatre, London, Garry Kasparov leads Nigel Short by 8 1/2-3 1/2 , though, particularly in the most recent games, his play has been below its best. Saturday's game ended in a draw after Kasparov caught his opponent in a fine piece of opening preparation, though there is still much dispute about how good Black's position really was after the opening.

Black's 11. . . b5] and 12. . . Bxf6] is a piece sacrifice that Kasparov had prepared at least as far as move 17. Indeed he said afterwards that 17. . . g6 was the game's first original move. That makes it hard to understand his decision, on move 20, to exchange queens when 20. . . exf4 would have left White in trouble.

At first it seemed that Black, with four pawns for a piece, had excellent chances to win the endgame, but one of the pawns was immediately lost back, and Kasparov later said that he thought the position only equal after his 22nd move. Short's 27. . . c4] and 28. . . a4] began a quick counter-attack that shifted the emphasis away from Black's passed pawns. Towards the end it was Black who had to play accurately to save the game.

The last four games have not been happy for Kasparov: in game nine he blundered in what should have been a simple endgame to give Short a chance which he in turn overlooked; in game 10 he completely misjudged a queen sacrifice by Short to arrive at a totally lost position; in games 11 and 12 he spoiled excellent position obtained by good preparation.

Despite the score, the match is not dead yet.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Short ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: Kasparov ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 22 Qxf4 exf4 2 Nf3 d6 23 Kf3 Rfd8 3 d4 cxd4 24 Rxd8 Rxd8 4 Nxd4 Nf6 25 Kxf4 Kf8 5 Nc3 a6 26 Ke3 Ke7 6 Bc4 e6 27 c4 h5 7 Bb3 Nc6 28 a4 bxa4 8 f4 Be7 29 Bxa4 h4 9 Be3 0-0 30 c5 Rh8 10 Qf3 Nxd4 31 Rc2 h3 11 Bxd4 b5 32 Bc6 e5 12 Bxf6 Bxf6 33 Kf2 h2 13 e5 Bh4+ 34 Rc1 a5 14 g3 Rb8 35 Bd5 Rd8 15 gxh4 Bb7 36 Bg2 Rd2+ 16 Ne4 dxe5 37 Kg3 Kd7 17 Rg1 g6 38 Ra1 f5 18 Rd1 Bxe4 39 Kxh2 Rxb2 19 Qxe4 Qxh4+ 40 Rxa5 e4 20 Ke2 Qxh2+ Draw agreed. 21 Rg2 Qxf4 -----------------------------------------------------------------