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1993 world championship challenger Nigel Short, formerly chess columnist at the Sunday Telegraph, has started a new column at The Guardian newspaper, also the home of Leonard Barden and Jonathan Speelman, a formidable chess section, mentioned here before.

At least at the start, the column is focusing on Short helping a Guardian journalist go from patzer to, well, something better. Together with Short, journo Stephen Moss will document his own progress as described in this intro. The first installment is here. If this seems an odd role for an internationalist like Short, currently ranked #30 in the world, it is, though it's sure to be an entertaining ride. I might be able to offer some background. A few months ago an editor at The Guardian contacted me about becoming a chess columnist for them. Although we never got to the point of specifics, it seems they were looking for something instructional, perhaps already having this dual column in mind. Definitely looking forward to it.


Excellent news! Now we can continue to read Nigel's entertaining insights into the world of chess after he was dropped by The Telegraph newspaper a couple months ago to make way for another fashionable poker column.

It seems this patzer at the Guardian (like the former editor of the Sunday Telegraph Dominic Lawson) believes Short to be the geatest English player of all time. I wonder what Mickey Adams would have to say on the matter . . . ?

>>It seems this patzer at the Guardian (like the former editor of the Sunday Telegraph Dominic Lawson) believes Short to be the geatest English player of all time.

Actually, Stephen Moss calls Short the greatest English player of the 20th century, which might give some wiggle room vis a vis Adams (that is, Adams ascendancy occurs in the new millenium?).

At any rate, Moss is a good, entertaining writer and seems well informed about chess--one does not cringe at his pronouncements, which is so often the case when other journalists try to understand and report on our beloved game.

Not to make a real issue out of this, but has Adams ever been rated number 3 or played a solid match for the World Championship?

Didn't Short and Adams play a candidates matchagainst each other in the 90's, after the PCA-FIDE split? What was the score?

Any new news concerning Max Dlugy? Or is this forgotten? Jude Acers alive and well!


I go to playchess.com mainly hoping to catch Nigel play. Seeing him take risks, play the kings gambit and storm off when he (seldom) looses - is so cool. I can see how competitive he is and how seriously he takes the games. Reading his comments - he is funny, smart and simply one of a kind, no doubt. I'm a true fan of his! I was so disappointed when his column was stopped - now it's on again elsewhere that's great! Thanks for this post Mig!


Thanks for the update on Nigel. I always loved the dry wit and excellent writing, it's great to see he's got another outlet after those Telegraph idiots dropped him.

The telegraph idiots dropped him because of they've got some sheila running the show over there now. And, of course, in the place of Short's column was apparently a poker column. Disgraceful!


Here is a little collection of puzzles from Nigel's early games: http://www.wtharvey.com/shor.html

I believe Nigel Short is the greatest English player of the 20th (or even any) Century. You can't just go by rating peak. The current 100 meter record holder (whomever he is) ran faster then Carl Lewis ever did but Lewis is still the greater and more accomplished runner.

Short became a challenger for the world championship when it actually meant something and his rating back in that time was a high 2600. Adjusted for inflation, wouldn't that be better than or close to Michael Adams' rating peak? I don't have the stats in front of me but I believe Short's tournament record is more impressive then Adams' as well.

I hope this changes. I'd love to see Mickey win in Argentina and then beat Kramnik in a match. As world champion, Adams would have to be considered the greatest British chess player ever.

"1. What's this guy's current OBJECTIVE strength? Is he a 1200 player or 1800 (both are realtively weak, but still VERY different)"

I don't think it matters. The obvious point of the series is to create a series of well written articles of an instructional nature. He could be rated anything, or nothing, as long as the articles are informative.

By the way, I don't know the guy's rating, but 1800 is not "relatively weak." Indeed, an 1800 would easily defeat the vast majority of human chessplayers. Not a GM or IM, obviously, but those are fairly scarce.

"2. How far does Nigel Short think he can take him? This one is crucial, because without that prediction, this is just another patzer taking lessons from a GM."

The difference is that most patzers taking lessons from GMs don't have a regular column in The Guardian from which to write about it. It doesn't really matter whether he improves. What matters is whether the series produces useful articles for The Guardian's readers.

For that matter, if he improved by 800 rating pionts, but the articles were useless, the series would be a failure. At best, it would demonstrate that Nigel is a good teacher, the he wasn't hired to demonstrate his teaching skills, except to the extent that they can be communicated through Moss to Guardian readers.

The whole idea of this "experiment" is to try to make the weak player into a strong one. At least, that's what the article claims, but Mr. Shepherd has his own ideas.

As a patzer myself I'm just glad to watch someone improve (if they do) and to note their progress. I may be marking myself out as a very stupid person here but is their a mistake in the Guardian's write up of their first match? I was trying to replay it but something seemed to go terribly wrong in moves 13 and 14.

I'm such patzer (even though I'm a former U800 National Champion), that I tried following the moves, covering up black's response. By the 10th move I was down 2 full rooks.

My wife tells me I can't play, but I think she's just jealous because she has never been able to reach the 1600 level required to enter the US Championship (she has been stuck at 1599 for 3 years now).

The Guardian is renowned for its mistakes - it was dubbed as the Grauniad by Private Eye in the 1960s and it's stuck ever since.

Nigel Short is Awesome! Iwoukd buy that newspaper just to read his articles of i knew where to get it.

Somebody also mentioned a book of his articles... I would definitely buy that.

With Snyder/Walker in mind, Short has been "entertaining" a number of young chessplayers at his home in recent times. Karjakin who he nearly killed in an RTA (what WAS he concentrating on . . .?) and David Howell for example. Let`s hope he didn`t take his shirt off - or anything else- in front of them! - not a pretty sight . 8-)

I don't know why Will Cruttenden had trouble following the game. Here are the moves, minus the periods, which screwed up my copy-paste into PGN...

1 e4 e5 2 f4 d6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Nc3 Be7 5 d3 Nc6 6 Nf3 0-0 7 f5 h6 8 g4 Nxg4 9 Rg1 Bh4 10 Kf1 Nf2 11 Qe1 Nh3 12 Nxh4 Nxg1 13 Qg3 g5 14 fxg6 Qf6 15 Kxg1 Kh8 16 Bxh6 Rg8 17 Rf1 Rxg6 18 Rxf6 Rxg3 19 hxg3

Short is obviously not a pedophile go read his column and kajarkins mother was with him.

I HAVE read Short`s column (in London`s Sunday Telegragh) and would endevour not to miss it as it was absolutely hilarious.

His use of obscure words, many of which when challenged he could not define, was clearly him trying to impress his readers and colleagues in an effort to convince them that he wasn`t just a thick bastard that left school with few if any qualifications (actually "four indifferent

While no-one could argue with his ability as a chessplayer, I submit that if and when you meet him you will see what a sad bastard he really is.

And don`t you think he looks a bit gay?

You know, some people learn difficult words without much education...and Nigel's always seemed witty and intelligent enough to be the sort who would.
As for sad bastard, i'm sure, coming from such a thoughtful person as 'superchess', it means a hell of a lot as a character judgment.
And gay? No, i never thought he did.

Living near San Francisco, I can assure you that "gay" is not a single look, in fashion or facial features. Consider, for example, Harvey Milk vs Dave Pallone. And of course "homosexual" is not the same as "pedophile."

There has in fact been at least one study which measured actual physical response and found that adult male homosexuals were no more likely to respond to a male child than adult heterosexual males were likely to respond to a female child.


(It should be noted that one researcher, Cameron, has sometimes published papers arguing the contrary position, but he does so by defining any male-male abuse as being committed "by a homosexual," even if there is no evidence that the abuser ever had adult gay relationships. It is one thing to argue that those who are fixated on an abusive relationship with a male child are most likely to be male, and an entirely different (and unsubstantiated) step to therefore argue that those adult males who are in gay relationships with another adult male are likely to become child abusers. )

Abuse is often about power and dominance rather than sex itself.

Superchess may "endevour"(sic) as much as s/he likes, but I would be interested to read about the details of when and where Nigel was challenged to define words and could not oblige.

I imagine that "in superchess' dreams" would be the correct answer.

Let`s face it, anyone rated 110 BCF/1500ish ELO
can`t play chess - s/he just moves the pretty little pieces about in a random fashion.

This patzer is simply on a bit of a Greek jolly at the papers expense! Good luck to him!

But anyone rated below 2000ELO should give up the game and admit it`s simply too difficult for them.

And stop buying all those crap books! - it`s not going to help!!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 14, 2005 2:41 AM.

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