Chess title contenders open battle with draw

NIGEL SHORT and Jan Timman drew the first game of the world chess championship final eliminator in San Lorenzo de El Escorial in Spain yesterday.

The winner of the 14-game match will challenge Garry Kasparov for the title later this year. If the title match attracts anything like the dollars 4m ( pounds 2.68m) purse being asked, Kasparov's opponent stands to gain more than pounds 1m even if he loses.

In the play-off, Short, 27, who has come closer to the world title than any Briton, will be relieved not to have suffered his almost customary opening defeat. Timman, 41, from the Netherlands, will be happy with his game- saving counter-attack from a difficult position.

Both men went for their opponent's throats from the start. Timman's 14th move was an attempt to prove Short's opening strategy incorrect; Short's 23rd was a deep pawn sacrifice creating turmoil. A few moves later, both kings' defences were weakened and Timman's position grew precarious in the rush that led to the time-control at move 40. Giving up rook for bishop, he regained the initiative and rekindled his attack just enough to force a draw.

With fewer than 100 spectators in the playing theatre, the banks of empty seats had witnessed a sparkling beginning to an historic encounter: the winner will become the first western European to challenge for the world title for more than 50 years.

The second game will be played today. Here are the full moves of yesterday's play:

White: Timman

Black: Short

----------------------------------------------------------------- Game 1 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 e3 0-0 6 Nf3 h6 7 Bh4 b6 8 Be2 Bb7 9 Bxf6 Bxf6 10 cxd5 exd5 11 b4 c6 12 0-0 Re8 13 Qb3 a5 14 b5 c5 15 dxc5 bxc5 16 Rac1 Bxc3 17 Qxc3 Nd7 18 Rc2 Qb6 19 Rd1 Re7 20 h3 Rae8 21 Qb2 a4 22 Kf1 Qa5 23 Qa3 d4 24 exd4 Be4 25 Qc3 Qa8 26 Rcd2 cxd4 27 Rxd4 Nf6 28 Qa3 Qb7 29 Rd8 Nd5 30 Rxe8+ Rxe8 31 Bc4 Rc8 32 Ne5 Bxg2+ 33 Kg1 Be4 34 Rd4 Nf6 35 Bxf7+ Kh8 36 Kh2 Qxb5 37 Qg3 Qb1 38 Rxe4 Qxe4 39 Bg6 Qd4 40 Nf7+ Kg8 41 Nxh6+ Kf8 42 Nf5 Qc5 43 Nxg7 Kxg7 44 Bf5+ Kf8 45 Bxc8 Qxc8 46 Qa3+ Kg7 Draw Agreed -----------------------------------------------------------------

In the Hastings International Tournament, the leader, Yevgeny Bareyev, who has won the event for the past two years, was surprisingly beaten by John Nunn. With two rounds left to play, the scores are: Bareyev 8, Polgar 7 1/2, Speelman 7 1/2, Nunn 6 1/2, Sadler 6, Gurevich 5, Polugayevsky 4 1/2, Crouch 2 1/2.

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