Index   FIDE 1948-1990   Pre-FIDE   Highlights   Best games   News/Feedback   Gifts   Site map

Home page

Search Now:
In Association with

World Chess Championship
1993 Kasparov - Short PCA Title Match

"The Times World Chess Championship" was sponsored by The Times of London. It was played in the heart of London at the Savoy Theater, a short distance from Trafalgar Square and across the street from Simpson's-on-the-Strand, a famous chess center during the mid-1800s.

The match would last 24 games, of which all 24 were to be played. Some pundits compared this to a tennis match which must continue through five sets after one player has won 3-0. In case of a drawn match, Kasparov would keep his 'title'. No one seemed to care that Kasparov had been stripped of the FIDE title in March. He had been FIDE World Champion since 1985 and was the highest rated player in the world before being dropped from FIDE's rating list in May.

The time control was 40 moves in 2 hours, then 20 moves in 1 hour, followed by adjournment. The prize fund was 1.700.000 UKP (at the time about 2.500.000 US$), with 5/8 for the winner.

Kasparov was 30 years old; Short was 28 and had been rated 13th in the world. In 1980, Short had finished second behind Kasparov at the World Junior Championship. Short had not won a single game against Kasparov since 1986, which was his first and only win against the Champion. At the start of the match, London bookmakers gave odds of 4.5-1 against Short.

The two adversaries were not on friendly terms. Kasparov said before the match, 'My opponent is Short and the match will be short', while Short accused Kasparov of having been a Soviet KGB operative.

Kasparov's seconds were GMs Alexander Beliavsky and Zurab Azmaiparashvili. Short's seconds were GMs Robert Huebner and Jon Speelman. Yuri Averbach was the chief arbiter. The press room was directed by Eric Schiller, assisted by Byron Jacobs.

The Savoy Theater could hold 1000 spectators, but was half full for the first game, even though ticket prices had been reduced at the last moment. Spectators could listen to live commentary using infrared headsets. Channel 4, which had television rights, transmitted 60 program hours during the match. It was estimated that as many as 1.000.000 viewers watched the first few games on television.

The games

The match began on 7 September. The first game was introduced by GM Raymond Keene, the Master of Ceremonies, and known to the chess world as the author of more than 70 chess books. He also wrote daily articles on the match for The Times.

For the first game Short answered Kasparov's 1.e4 with ...e5, avoiding the French Defense, where Short is a specialist. He probably feared Kasparov's preparation. The opening followed a closed Ruy Lopez. Kasparov in turn played 8.a4, avoiding the Marshall Gambit.

The game reached a mutual time scramble. With 15 moves before the end of the first time control, Kasparov had 15 minutes on his clock, while Short had 10 minutes. Kasparov proposed a draw after his 38th move, which Short refused. When Averbach stopped the clocks shortly afterwards, many spectators thought that Short had won, but his flag had fallen while he was making his 39th move. Both players agreed that Black had a winning position.

The clocks were standard mechanical chess clocks, without second hands, rather than the digital clocks which give a more precise reading of the time remaining. Kasparov considered that the position was equal until he blundered with 36.Bxg7. After the game the bookmakers increased Shorts odds of winning to 5-1.

Game 1 : Kasparov - Short
after 39...Kf8-e8 1-0 (time)

The second game, a Sicilian Najdorf, was another time scramble. With twelve moves to make, both players had less than ten minutes each; the game ended in a draw.

Game 2 : Short - Kasparov
after 25...Rc4-c3(xN)

In game 3, Kasparov was squeezing Short positionally when Short decided to launch an all out attack. Another time scramble arose, with both players having less than 15 minutes on the clock after 25 moves. Kasparov tried to win the exchange with 27.Bd4, but Short's instant reply showed that the move was a blunder.

Both players continued to exchange blows and blunders until the time control was reached, where Kasparov had an extra knight for two pawns. Short resigned on his 59th move to give Kasparov a 2.5 - 0.5 lead in the match. London bookmakers now gave 9-1 odds in favor of Kasparov.

Game 3 : Kasparov - Short
after 26.g2-g4

In game 4, Kasparov played the Sicilan Poison Pawn variation and snatched a second pawn on his 16th move. On his 20th move, Short declined a draw by repetition and played for the win. Kasparov sacrificed an exchange for a counterattack and Short resigned on his 41st move. The bookies stopped offering any odds on Short's chances.

Game 4 : Short - Kasparov
after 21...Rc7-c4(xN)

Kasparov switched from 1.e4 to 1.d4 for the fifth game, but ran into a prepared opening. The game ended in an 18 move draw which followed Short's preparations to the finish.

In game 6, Short switched to the Sozin Variation (6.Bc4) against Kasparov's Najdorf. Short once again played aggressively and sacrificed a bishop on his 26th move, which was good enough for a draw, but not for a win.

Kasparov returned to the Anti-Marshall Lopez in game 7 and attained a superior position by move 20. A sequence of sharp minor piece sacrifices forced Short to resign for the fourth time. The score was 5.5 - 1.5.

Game 7 : Kasparov - Short
after 35.Ng4-h6(xP)

Game 8, another Najdorf Sozin, was a stunning tactical battle. After an amazing sequence of blows and counter blows, the game entered a time trouble phase. On his 38th move Short found the right attack, but overlooked Kasparov's perpetual check, and the game ended a few moves later in a draw.

Game 8 : Short - Kasparov
after 20.Rd1-d6

In game 9 Kasparov switched to 1.d4 again, confident that he had found the antidote for Short's novelty in game 5. Kasparov completely outplayed his opponent to reach a won endgame with rook and two pawns against a lone rook. Then with 46.e4 he blundered, allowing Short a theoretical draw. Short failed to appreciate the gift by blundering himself and resigned a few moves later. The score was 7 - 2.

Game 9 : Kasparov - Short
after 20.h2-h4

After having won five games and drawn four in the first nine games, Kasparov lost interest in the match. During the rest of the match, the players each won a single game and the other games were draws.

In game 10, Short sacrificed his queen for a winning position, but stumbled later in the game and let Kasparov escape with a draw. Kasparov pointed out that 14...Nd5, instead of the 14...Nfe4 that he played, would have won. He attributed his oversight to a complete lack of concentration.

Game 10 : Short - Kasparov
after 16.Nc3-e4(xN)

Kasparov switched openings again in game 11 by playing a Scotch Game. He sacrificed a pawn to mangle Short's pawn structure and to gain the advantage of two bishops. Somehow Short managed to survive the pressure, keep his extra material, and achieve a draw

Game 11 : Kasparov - Short
after 16.Rf1-e1
('sloppy...energetic [is] 16.Rd1' - Kasparov)

Game 12 was another tactical battle, with Kasparov sacrificing a bishop on his 12th move in return for four connected passed pawns on the kingside. Short found a way to create counterplay before the pawns started rolling forward and the game ended in a draw.

In response to Kasparov's 1.d4 in game 13, Short played a Slav Defense, which ended in another draw. The 14th game was agreed drawn in an unclear position where both sides had practical chances.

After five consecutive draws, Kasparov scored again by taking advantage of a gaping hole on f6 with a family fork of king, queen, and rook.

Game 15 : Kasparov - Short
after 10.b2-b4

Short won game 16 against a Kasparov playing well below his usual strength. It was Short's only win of the match. The score was 10.5 - 5.5.

Game 16 : Short - Kasparov
after 38.Nd4-f5+ 1-0

Short had the better of it in the 17th game after Kasparov overlooked a tactical shot which won a pawn. Short's four queenside pawns were no better than Kasparov's three, and the game ended in another draw.

Game 17 : Kasparov - Short
after 24...Bb6-f2

In games 18 and 19, Kasparov achieved a superior position, but seemed to be in no mood for a fight. Both games ended in draws, as did the 20th.

1993 Kasparov-Short PCA World Championship exhibition

After Kasparov reached 12.5 points in the 20th game, the players decided to stop the match and fill the schedule with exhibition games. Each day they played one 20 minute semi-rapid game followed by one game where the opening was drawn from a hat and imposed. On the last day, the imposed opening was replaced with a game where Kasparov and Short played as a team against five of the organizers. Short lost all four of the semi-rapid games, but managed one win and two draws in the imposed openings.

Between the semi-rapid games and the imposed opening, the players conducted blitz games with other chess personalities or with youngsters chosen from the spectators. To ensure that there would be some spectators, the organizers allowed free entry to anyone less than 16 years old.

Game 23 : Short - Kasparov
after 4...b7-b5
(imposed opening)

Kasparov had succeeded in creating 'his' PCA and organizing 'his' world championship. He was far from achieving his vision of a professional chess circuit to rival those of tennis and golf.

The match lacked the dramatic tension which had been witnessed during the five Kasparov-Karpov matches. Kasparov considered, however, that Short would be the most likely challenger for the PCA title in 1995.

During the match, the PCA announced that the qualifying tournament for the next PCA cycle would be held at Groningen in December. The first seven players in Groningen, plus Short, would then be seeded into a series of Candidate matches.

World Chess Championship Index.
WCC Index
Results for this event.

Previous event.
Next event.