English players lose chance of chess title

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The Independent Online
THE ELIMINATION of Nigel Short and Michael Adams from the PCA/Intel world chess championship on Thursday night has ensured that England will have no representative in the final stages of either that contest or the rival Fide (International Chess Federation) world championship.

Viswanathan Anand and Gata Kamsky will play for the right to challenge Garry Kasparov for the Professional Chess Association's version of the title, while Anatoly Karpov's Fide crown will be decided among himself, Valeri Salov, Boris Gelfand and Kamsky.

Over the past 12 years, English chess has boasted a magnificent string of results: three successive sets of silver medals in the Chess Olympics, Jon Speelman's success in reaching the semi-finals of the world championship in 1988, Nigel Short's winning through to challenge Garry Kasparov last year, and Michael Adams reaching the 'candidates' stage of both the Fide and PCA world title series this year.

Yet the manner in which both Short and Adams were bundled out of the competition in Linares, Spain, this week suggests that any hopes of attaining the highest prize may have to wait for another generation to come of age. Both lost their matches by 5 1/2 -1 1/2 , the highest margins of defeat seen at this stage of a world title contest since Bobby Fischer was destroying all opposition over 20 years ago.

Since his loss to Kasparov last year, Nigel Short has failed to recapture either the confidence or sheer hunger for victory that earned him a match for the world title. By contrast, Gata Kamsky, still only 20, plays with an intensity and appetite for hard mental effort that contrasts remarkably with his frail and wan appearance.