World Chess Match Halted Amid Protests

Associated Press

In an unprecedented action, the International Chess Federation stopped the world championship match Friday, and the bitterly disappointed challenger charged that he was cheated out of a chance to win the title at the chessboard.

The five-month-long struggle didn't end at the board, but at a raucous news conference. Champion Anatoly Karpov protested the decision and challenger Gary Kasparov indicated he had been pressured to accept the order.

A news conference by Florencio Campomanes, president of the federation, was interrupted by the shouting players and jeering spectators and was broken off.

Campomanes talked for more than an hour with the two players and announced that Karpov had accepted the ruling and that Kasparov "would abide by it."

Kasparov later denounced the Campomanes news conference as a "well-rehearsed spectacle" and said, "The chess world cannot accept such an end to the match."

It was a angry finish to the first world championship played in the Soviet Union since 1969 and a tumultuous event in the outwardly placid world of Soviet chess.

Record 48 Games

Chess sources said the Soviet and World Chess federations had been pressing Kasparov to agree to halt the match because Karpov was ill and the match had dragged on for a record 48 games.

When Campomanes, president of the federation, announced he was halting the match Kasparov accused the federation of "trying to deprive me of my chances."

Karpov, a favorite of the Soviet chess establishment, has been champion since 1975 and took a commanding lead of 5-0 in the match, which started Sept. 10. But Kasparov, a 21-year-old Soviet star, won his first game on Nov. 24 and then took two more games to mount a remarkable comeback to 5-3.

Both players showed the strain of the marathon match. But it appeared that Kasparov had gained the psychological edge and Karpov was unable to win the sixth game he needed to retain the title.

There were reports that Karpov was ill and normal rules for world chess say a player forfeits if he's too ill to continue unless the other player agrees to waive the rule.

Amid rumors that the Soviet chess establishment was trying to avoid a Karpov loss due to illness, the 49th game was twice postponed and there were reports that Karpov, 33, had suffered a psychological breakdown brought on by exhaustion.

Exhausted Resources

Campomanes, who is from the Philippines, called the news conference to say the match was being halted because it "has exhausted the physical, if not the psychological, resources, not only of the players, but of all those connected with the match."

Campomanes said he made the decision on his own. However, the official Soviet news agency Tass reported the match had been halted several minutes before Campomanes walked on stage for his news conference.

A Tass report on the affair dryly noted that the news conference was "interrupted sensationally."

Campomanes said a new match would be played starting Sept. 1 and a meeting of the chess federation, known as FIDE, would decide on the number of games and other rules for the match.

The two Soviet players were not supposed to be at the news conference, but Karpov burst into the auditorium and shouted, "I want to make my statement."

He took the microphone and said: "We can and want to continue the game. I do not agree with (the decision) to end it and to start from scratch. I think Mr. Kasparov will second this position."

Kasparov, sitting at the back of the hall with his agitated supporters, was invited to the podium. He shouted: "They are trying to deprive me of my chances.

'He Is Unwell'

"The champion feels unwell. He is here, but he is unwell. I want to play with no timeouts and no intervals . . . with every delay Karpov's chances improve."

Members of the audience jeered and booed Campomanes.

After the two Soviet players agreed to end the match, Kasparov told reporters: "The champion of the world retains his title--retains--without further play. I have to abide by this decision."

He told reporters, "Many of you know about the suggestions that were made to us at 5-2 and then at 5-3. I think those who can think logically can understand what has taken place during the match and why it was concluded in such strange conditions."

He added, "I have said more than once that I want to play this game and I am absolutely healthy. They have tried to convince me otherwise and to end this match on all sorts of pretexts."

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