Matthew Patten, co-ordinator of the London Chess Group consortium, expressed annoyance at the recent disclosure that the players had signed a supposedly confidential agreement to negotiate exclusively for a two-week period with Times Newspapers, which has bid pounds 1.7m. 'It is ludicrous to give one party preferential treatment and still expect the other to stay in play,' Mr Patten said. 'They cannot treat organisations like that and expect to get away with it.'
In a letter to Short's lawyer, he said that if London Chess had not received a serious invitation to negotiate by 5.30pm tomorrow it 'will no longer wish to be associated with the proposed match and its offer will be automatically withdrawn'.
This ultimatum came after London Chess Group received no reply from either player's lawyer to questions raised in a letter on 1 April. 'We're fed up with being messed around,' Mr Patten said. Bob Rice, Kasparov's New York lawyer, who has been handling negotiations, denied any bidder had received preferential treatment.