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Nigel Short finished off his great performance in the Budapest "Talent and Courage" tournament by coasting in the final round with a nine-move draw against Almasi. Short had black, but Almasi was in last place and just wanted to get out of there instead of trying to get a little redemption with a win over the leader. It guaranteed Short clear first place.

Certainly not an unusual situation, but there was an irony here if you read Short's 13-4 column in the Sunday Telegraph. (Free registration required.) Some excerpts:

"A few weeks ago I noticed an article by Maurice Ashley, the first black grandmaster, entitled The End of the Draw Offer? . . . Nevertheless, I have to admit that Maurice has a very good point. It is not that draws per se are bad (after all the most popular sport, football, seems to live fairly comfortably with the concept), but the perfunctory early agreed draw, which is done normally out of fear – “mutual respect” being the technical term. . . .

I succumbed to temptation, however, in the final empty game when the match [with Maghami] had already been decided. I still felt terrible pangs of guilt. Yes, we swindled the public that day. They deserved something better.

The recent Dos Hermanas event in Spain was likewise blighted by a spate of non-fights. Even dynamic tacticians like Shirov contracted the disease to a degree. It was a pity because there were still several exciting encounters. When games are allowed to reach their natural conclusion, it is amazing what can be achieved. . ."

Okay, the draw against Almasi yesterday guaranteed him first place, so it's not the same as an exhibition match, and criticism should be leveled at the Hungarian, not Short. But the coincidence of this game and the above paragraphs was too much to resist. Here it is, don't blink: 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 d6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.Ne2 Re8 9.Ng3 d5 ½-½

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    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 21, 2003 9:27 AM.

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