Chess rebels under two-pronged attack

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IT WAS Chess Wars II - The Federation Strikes Back yesterday, when the International Chess Federation, Fide, made two consecutive moves against the breakaway Professional Chess Association, led by Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short.

First came the announcement that the official Fide world championship, between Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman, would have a total prize fund of four million Swiss Francs ( pounds 1.86m), higher than the pounds 1.7m for the Kasparov-Short contest.

This was followed by publication of the July 1993 world rating list, which placed Anatoly Karpov in first place, with Kasparov and Short nowhere to be seen.

Under normal conditions, players without ratings are not invited to international tournaments. Fide's action may therefore be expected to exacerbate the schism created by the decision of Kasparov and Short to break away from the official governing body earlier this year, in protest against what they saw as an inadequate prize fund.

Fide subsequently stripped Kasparov of his title and Short of his designation as official challenger, then invited Karpov and Timman, the next best qualified players, to contest the title.

By raising more money for the Karpov-Timman match than Short and Kasparov have attracted, the Fide President, Florencio Campomanes, has gone a long way towards reasserting the value of the Fide title. Kasparov may now be regretting his earlier statement that the match with the higher prize fund would be recognised as the official championship.