Britons lose chess games after partition dispute

Click to follow
The Independent Online
BEFORE the first pawn was pushed, the PCA world chess championship semi-finals in Linares, Spain, became embroiled in positional manoeuvres. Yesterday's opening games went badly for the English players, with Nigel Short beaten by Gata Kamsky and Michael Adams losing to Viswanathan Anand, but hostilities had begun earlier with a dispute over the layout of the playing area. Kamsky demanded that his match with Short be separated by a partition from the other semi-final because he feared the two English grandmasters would speak about the moves during the game.

The local organiser and sponsor of the match, Luis Rentero, is reported to have agreed to a partition, but the Professional Chess Association told the match referee there was no point because 'none of the players has ever been seen to do anything unsporting'.

Faced with an ultimatum - turn up and play without a partition or lose by default - Kamsky arrived promptly for the opening game and made no further protest.

Until recently, he had seemed an unnaturally subdued character away from the board. Coached by his father, Rustam, an ex-boxer, his games exhibited huge talent and a fiercely determined approach. Since they defected from the Soviet Union six years ago, the Kamskys have made a considerable impact.

While his son quietly goes about his business of winning tournaments, Kamsky pere usually does the talking. He has accused the Russians in general, and Kasparov in particular, of trying to stop his son's career and forcing their emigration; on one occasion he even suggested that Gata's food was being poisoned.

But the results of such coaching techniques are hard to deny. Kamsky is the only player left contesting the eliminators for both the PCA and Fide (International Chess Federation) world titles.