Chess: Karpov takes the Fide chess title

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The Independent Online
ANATOLY Karpov has regained the Fide (International Chess Federation) world championship, writes William Hartston. In Jakarta yesterday, he drew the 21st game of his match with Jan Timman to take an unbeatable 12 1/2-8 1/2 lead. But he is still, in the estimation of most grandmasters, only the second-best player.

As Fide has discovered, the absence of Garry Kasparov from a world title match is a considerable hindrance to raising a large prize fund, and money is at the heart of the dispute between Fide and the newly formed Professional Chess Association. When Nigel Short won through from the Fide eliminators to become Kasparov's official challenger, their title match attracted a bid of pounds 1.2m. Dissatisfied at the level of the prize fund, and Fide's apparently autocratic methods, Short and Kasparov set up the first 'PCA world championship' for a prize of pounds 1.7m.

Fide stripped the two of their right to contest the title and invited Karpov and Timman to play in their place, for a prize fund of pounds 1.8m. The match was to be split between the Netherlands and Oman, but when the Dutch failed to raise their half of the sponsorship, the Omanis grew restless, finally withdrawing their offer as the first half was drawing to a close in Amsterdam. After a fortnight's break, play was hastily switched to Indonesia for a prize of pounds 450,000.

Now there are two world championships, each run by an organisation claiming sole credibility. With the same players, by and large, competing in both and neither Karpov nor Kasparov eager for a unifying match, it will be some time before there is peace in the chess world.

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