Negotiations had begun in 2023, when Bobby had patented his 'Chess Calendar'. A new timing device, appropriate to the lifestyle of someone who only wants to play a new match every 20 years or so, the 'Chess Calendar' is a solar-powered clock which clicks forward one digit every time the sun rises. Each player is thus allowed one day for each move.
This will lead to far better chess, said Bobby, and avoid the old problem of games being decided by mistakes. His other idea, primarily responsible for the long negotiations, was that the art of chess was being damaged by having two players competing against each other. Surely co-operation would produce better games.
So it was intrinsic to the new timing device that chess became a game played by three players, but without changing any of the other rules. So the player who made White's first move would return to the board for Black's second, and White's fourth and so on. With each of the three constantly alternating sides, there would be no identification with White and Black, and they could get on with playing perfect chess. Each player could claim victory when the game was over, and no one need ever lose their world titles.
That was the theory, anyway, but from the moment old Florencio hobbled up to the board and started the 'Calendar', it became clear that natural competitiveness could not be subdued. Each man seemed to be trying to make matters as unpleasant as possible for the other two, which gave the moves a slightly surreal flavour. Some commentators suggested that the level of play fell short of world championship standard, but they were promptly denounced by match officials and others close to the contest as unworthy of cleaning the rubber feet of the players' walking frames.
The game continued for 28 days, when Bobby delivered mate with Black's 14th move. Sadly, contractual obligations and copyright restrictions preclude our publication of the full moves of this historic encounter, but the diagram above shows the final position. Perhaps you can work out the moves from that.
Three prizes of 'Garry Kasparov, The Ultimate Grandmaster', a boxed set from Cadogan Books of five volumes devoted to Kasparov's games, will be awarded to the most accurate reconstructions. Entries should be sent to: Chess Competition, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB, to arrive not later than 10 January 1994.
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