Nigel falls Short as a chess hero

ACCORDING to the odds offered by the bookmakers William Hill, the chances of Nigel Short beating Gary Kasparov in their match at the Savoy Theatre, London, are the same as those of a monster being found in Loch Ness by this time next year.

Short's problems deepened last night when Kasparov won the 15th game with a display of his best attacking chess, to lead 10 1/2 -4 1/2 . Short's chances of winning even a single game seem to be receding still further.

Kasparov may now have his sights set on the objective of winning the match without conceding a defeat.

So where will this leave the British challenger when it is all over? Despite his consistently belligerent playing style and assertions of confidence, the effects of such a long string of games with no win and numerous missed opportunities will take a long time to heal.

On current results, Short would be ranked ninth in the world. Ominously, however, five of the men placed higher are younger. For all Short's confidently expressed hopes of a successful challenge in 1995, the smart money on Kasparov's eventual successor as the world's top player is going on Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Vassily Ivanchuk, Boris Gelfand or Alexei Shirov.

In the past, Short has shown an outstanding ability to learn from his defeats and to return after setbacks that would have destroyed the careers of weaker characters, but the looming prospect of an entire match without a win may be too much even for him.

Kasparov knows this well. Nine years ago, he hung on for month after month, 5-0 down against Anatoly Karpov, one defeat away from humiliation. Now he isreliving the memory from the other side.

Before last night's game, Kasparov had scored five wins and nine draws. The last five games, however, had all been drawn, including the most recent of all, in which Kasparov offered a draw in a position which even he agreed offered him considerably better prospects.

The loser's cheque of about pounds 600,000 will be a palliative to Short's distress, but his chess career may never again reach such heights. When he enlisted on Kasparov's side in his war against the world governing body Fide, it did not appear to be the action of a man who thought he had a chance of winning the match.

However valid his motives - and he had much to be dissatisfied about - his actions cost him the respect of many grandmasters. Rebuilding those bridges will be an important stage in establishing himself again as a credible world title challenger.

----------------------------------------------------------------- THE MOVES ----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Kasparov Black: Short ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bg5 Be7 6 e3 0-0 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 Nge2 Re8 9 0-0 Nf8 10 b4 a6 11 a3 c6 12 Qc2 g6 13 f3 Ne6 14 Bh4 Nh5 15 Bxe7 Rxe7 16 Qd2 b6 17 Rad1 Bb7 18 BB1 Nhg7 19 e4 Rc8 20 Ba2 Rd7 21 Nf4 Nxf4 22 Qxf4 Ne6 23 Qe5 Re7 24 Qg3 Qc7 25 Qh4 Ng7 26 Rc1 Qd8 27 Rfd1 Rcc7 28 Na4 dxe4 29 fxe4 Qe8 30 Nc3 Rcd7 31 Qf2 Ne6 32 e5 c5 33 bxc5 bxc5 34 d5 Nd4 35 Ne4 Qd8 36 Nf6+ Kg7 37 Nxd7 Rxd7 38 Rxc5 Ne6 39 Rcc1 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------

(Photograph omitted)

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