Chess: Race for world title hots up

THE DRAW has been made for the semi-finals of the Fide World Championship, writes William Hartston. The defending champion, Anatoly Karpov, will meet Boris Gelfand, and Gata Kamsky will play Valery Salov. The winners will play off for the title in 1995.

Neither match is easy to predict. Karpov, as he showed in the Linares tournament earlier this year, is still a magnificent player, but some of his other results have confirmed that he is more accident-prone than he used to be. Gelfand has just the soundness and consistency to take advantage of any lapses. Karpov clearly enjoys having his Fide title back and will not part with it easily. He must be the favourite.

After beating Anand, who has been tipped by all the experts as the next world champion, Kamsky will start as favourite against Salov, but the issue is not so clear. Kamsky did, after all, have to come from two behind against Anand, so he clearly has his vulnerable points. Salov, as he has shown in previous matches, is a calm and resourceful player with the ability to win games against the very best. He has also not allowed himself to be distracted by the rival PCA world title series (other than to write long articles attacking the motives of those who set it up).

Kamsky will certainly have to expend a good deal of energy in his forthcoming match with Nigel Short in the PCA series. If he can beat Salov after that, he may deserve to win a world championship or two.

And what of the PCA? Their latest venture is a super-grandmaster event, currently being played in Novgorod where Kasparov, Shirov, Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Short and Bareyev are playing a double-round all-play-all. Their Intel Grand Prix circuit will then arrive in London for its third rapid-play event.

The Lloyds Bank tournament will act as a qualifier with the top five players joining the seeded grandmasters, together with wild-card entries Short, Adams and a computer called Genius 2.