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Indy Lifestyle Online
So farewell then, Gata Kamsky. The 22-year-old ex-Russian American, who unsuccessfully challenged Anatoly Karpov for the Fide world championship last year, has decided to hang up his pawns and study medicine.

The announcement came in a telephone interview given by Kamsky to a Russian news agency yesterday, in which he described his withdrawal from chess as "a matter of principle and a sign of protest against what modern chess has turned into". He was also quoted as saying that: "It has been clear for some time that Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov will do all they can not to allow any of the possible contenders to come near the chess Olympus."

His complaint appears not so much that Karpov played better than he did in their title match - clearly a rather unsporting thing to do - but that Karpov, Kasparov and the new Fide President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, have all conspired to allow the system of world title eliminating matches to lapse.

Kamsky won through the qualifying rounds last time to emerge as Karpov's challenger. Now it has been announced that Karpov and Kasparov will play a match to unify the two world titles, but no system is yet in place to decide who will challenge the winner. So Kamsky feels rather left out in the cold.

If he does indeed disappear from chess, it will remove a most colourful presence from the scene: that of Rustam Kamsky, his ex-boxer father. You remember - the chap who stormed over to Nigel Short in a restaurant and threatened to kill him because he complained about his son's coughing during a world title eliminator; who on an earlier occasion accused the Russians of poisoning his son's food; and who had to be banned from one area of the last world title match because he had accused technicians and commentators of passing information to Karpov.

Many will feel only relief at the news that the enfant and pere terribles of the chess world have decided to pitch their tent elsewhere. Yet one has only to look at the games of the Karpov-Kamsky match to realise what the game will be losing. There were no quick draws and the fighting qualities displayed by Kamsky, despite some early losses, were truly exceptional. For the sake of good chess, let's hope that Gata does return one day. But leave Dad behind next time, will you?

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