Chess

Like children caught squabbling over a toy, the Professional Chess Association (PCA) and International Chess Federation (Fide) have made friends and agreed to share it. But not until next year, and only because their parents threatened to stop their spending money.

The toy in question is the World Championship and the PCA and Fide have issued a statement promising that 1996 will see a unifying match between the rival champions. With Fide missing the best player in the world, and the PCA lacking official sanction, each side was finding it difficult to attract sponsors. But will the promise of unity be kept?

Three of the four Fide semi-finalists issued a joint statement expressing their annoyance at the proposed arrangements: "We are very surprised and upset about the invitation by Florencio Campomanes to be mere observers in the Fide-PCA Commission that will decide about the future of Fide and our careers in chess."

Rather than letting Kasparov and Campomanes make up the rules, Karpov, Kamsky and Salov have decided to take their own decision on any proposal for a unification match.

The key player now is Kamsky - the only man still involved in both cycles. He has already won the right to challenge Karpov for the Fide title and next month will play Anand for the right to challenge Kasparov.

If Kamsky loses to Anand, everything is solved. He plays Karpov, Anand plays Kasparov, and the winners will surely meet in 1996. But if Kamsky beats Anand, which of Karpov and Kasparov will he play first?

The PCA final is already scheduled to take place in Cologne in September. What if Fide delay their own title match until after that event? If Kamsky beats Kasparov, then the Fide match becomes a de facto unifier, making a 1996 match unnecessary.

But what if Kasparov beats Kamsky, then Kamsky beats Karpov. Will another Kasparov-Kamsky match become necessary, or will the PCA champion be in a strong enough position to refuse to play on the grounds that he has beaten him already? Unity will be achieved by 1996 because it is vital to both organisations, but there will be casualties in the process. In chess as in politics, unification seems inevitably to create schisms.

And finally, Gata Kamsky has been fined 150 Swiss francs (£78) for "uncalled for utterances" made by his father, Rustam. Apparently, Kamsky senior suggested that Fide were withholding some prize money and expenses. He apologised in writing, but Fide still imposed a token fine which will be deducted from the £97,000 prize.

New Fide regulation: The sins of the father shall be deducted from the prize money of the son.

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