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Saturday, April 30, 2016

FirebrandX on Modern Correspondence Chess

     Chessdotcom has an interesting article by FirebrandX, a player who in real life is Wolff Morrow, an ICCF IM and the 19th US Correspondence Champion. Morrow is a graphic artist and computer technician. You are probably familiar with some of his work because he has designed roughly 100 chess book covers for Gambit Publications. 
     Morrow became interested in chess when he was 23 years old in 1997. Prior to that he was an avid video game player, having won a couple tournaments and set a few world records. He eventually began playing in OTB chess tournaments in his thirties, but found the costs, time, and travel difficult to deal with and when, at the age of 35, he defeated a master, he decided he had done as much as he could in OTB chess. In 2007 he happened to see a "rest of the world" match versus Gert Jan Timmerman which piqued his interest in correspondence chess and in 2008 he joined ICCF. 
     In the article Morrow explains modern CC as played on the ICCF and attempts to refute GM Nigel Short's comment, "Correspondence chess has become just pushing buttons on a machine." Morrow comments, “Some will even react very negatively to the accomplishments of earned ICCF title holders...citing a lack of over-the-board mastery of many ICCF players and believing that the level of human interaction in engine-assisted correspondence chess must be minimal as a result. The reality is nothing could be further from the truth in strongly-rated ICCF games.” In the article Morrow explains how a low-rated OTB player can actually succeed in playing at a decent level in CC. What skills are required? Morrow explains them. 
     One interesting observation was that once your opponent becomes skilled enough in opening theory to reach a playable middlegame, your chances of finding a win become extremely remote and the ICCF World Champion Leonardo Ljubicic's winning 4 games in the event was actually an incredibly impressive accomplishment.  I hate to admit it, but, yes.  Yes, winning four games in a modern correspondence tournament is an incredible accomplishment.  It's kind of sad, really.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin

     I don't think I have posted on Chigorin, the man about whom Smyslov wrote, “Chigorin is the founder of the Russian chess school. Enthusiasts learn to play chess starting with Chigorin's games. No one has done so much for the development and popularization of chess in Russia as Chigorin. We Soviet chess players follow his creative behests, revere his memory and are profoundly grateful to him for his selfless service to the game.” 
     What made Chigorin so popular in Russia was his approach that became typical of the “Soviet School.”  Chigorin taught that one should not rely on “natural” moves which seem obvious and safe. He wrote that the desire to take advantage of an opponent's move which seems at first sight erroneous may entice one to launch an attack along false lines. He added that it was only by gradual development of one's own forces and extremely discrete play, do you slowly acquire certain advantages and then you can deliver a decisive blow to you opponent.
     Chigorin believed in being diverse and creative and didn't accept any dogmas. His adoration by Soviet players didn't come until later though.   In his day his innovative approach was considered eccentric and it was only after his death that his work began to be appreciated. 
     Chigorin has several opening variations named after him, the two most important being the Chigorin Variation of the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7) and the Chigorin Defence to the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6). I did a post on the latter a couple of years ago. I have used the Chigorin Defence to the Queen's Gambit for many years and found it to be a lively defense that often involves a lot of piece play and tactics without weakening black's position...it's worth a try. Another opening invented by Chigorin is 1.e4 e6 2.Qe2 in the French Defense which goften transposes into a King's Indian Attack type of setup, but Chigorin also played it with other ideas such as b2-b3. 
    Chigorin’s contributions to opening theory remain significant.  He was the finest gambit player of his generation, but it was his pioneering work in the Ruy Lopez, the Queen’s Gambit as well as various King’s Indian formations have been the most significant. 
     Chigorin, the last great player of the Romantic style, was born on November 12, 1850 in St. Petersburg where he lived most of his life; he died on January 25, 1908. 
     His childhood was a hard one. His parents died young and he he was placed in the Gatchinsk Orphans' Institute at the age of 9 or 10. A schoolteacher taught him the moves at the age of 16, but he only became serious about chess around 1874 after he has finished his studies and before beginning a career as a government official. 
     One can only guess the conditions in orphanages in those days. In the U.S. conditions tended not to be good. Many orphanages were highly regimented; children marched to meals, which they ate in silence. They wore uniforms and sometimes had their heads shaved. Corporal punishment was common with inmates, as they were called, routinely beaten across the hands with leather straps. The diet tended to be poor and most children recalled that they were hungry all the time. And, often orphanages were dangerous. The mortality rate was not much better than that of children on the streets. Older, bigger, tougher kids preyed on younger, smaller ones. Living in an orphanage meant either being a predator or a victim. There were many accounts of older boys sodomizing younger ones. Things were probably not much better in the orphanage at Gatchina.
     At some point he quit his job and became a professional chess player. In 1876, he started a chess magazine, Chess Sheet, which lasted until 1881. It's demise was probably due to the fact that it had only 250 subscribers in all of Russia. He played a series of matches with Emanuel Schiffers and Semyon Alapin in which he piled up large plus scores which gave him the reputation as the strongest player in Russia. 
    His first international tournament was Berlin 1881 where he finished third and in the great London tournament of 1883 which had most of the best players in the world, he finished fourth. At the very strong tournament of New York 1889 he tied for first and following this success he challenged Steinitz for a match with the World Championship. They ended up playing two world championship matches both of which Steinitz won.  The matches were interesting because there were two main groups: the new classicists lead by Steinitz, but largely based on Siegbert Tarrasch's theories, and the dying breed of romantics. 
    By the end of the century Chigorin had joined the ranks of the world's top four or five players and in 1893 he drew a match with Tarrasch in St. Petersburg (+9-9=4). His best performance though was at Hastings 1895 where he placed second behind Pillsbury, but ahead of world champion Emanuel Lasker, Tarrasch and former world champion Steinitz.
     Chigorin liked gambits and he won the King's Gambit-themed Vienna Tournament of 1903 and defeated Lasker (+2-1=3) in a Rice Gambit tournament in Brighton. As it turned out, the Rice Gambit was not sound, so for a world class player like Chigorin to be successful playing against, it gave him a distinct advantage. 
   Chigorin distinguished himself by rejecting many of the inflexible doctrines taught by Tarrasch and Steinitz though he did agree with the latter's teachings about the soundness of the defensive center as evidenced by his contributions to the Ruy Lopez and the Slav Defense. 
     Besides his play, he gave lectures, wrote magazine articles and columns and supported a number of periodicals to keep them afloat despite low readership levels. He also founded a club in St. Petersburg and tried unsuccessfully for many years to establish a chess association. 
     By 1907 it was clear that his health was failing and he was diagnosed by doctors in Carlsbad with an advanced and in those days an untreatable case of diabetes. This prompted a prediction that he had only months to live. See an interesting article on the history of diabetes HERE.  After receiving this bad news he returned to his estranged wife and daughter in Lublin and died the following January. I posted a link to Chess in Translation, a Russian site with news in English, which published an article by Chigorin’s daughter that is interesting reading. Read article...
    Chigorin and Steinitz played a two-game telegraph match from October 23, 1890 to April 28, 1891. Steinitz made his moves in New York City and Chigorin from St. Petersburg. The games were played to settle assertions made by Steinitz in his recent book, Modern Chess Instructor, with which Chigorin disagreed. The match was widely billed as matching the Romantic style represented by Chigorin against the Modern positional school of Steinitz. Steinitz told a reporter:  “I am guided by the position judgment in the main, and generally do not proceed with the examination of details until after my opponent has actually made his move. You see, I am an old master of the young school and Chigorin is a young master of the old school. If I don’t commit an error, I fancy I shall win both games because I have a pawn to the good in either and according to the principles I laid down, I must win.” He didn't; he resigned both games (the other game was an Evans Gambit) on April 28, 1891. 
     What makes the following game interesting is Steinitz' controversial move 9.Nh3 in the Two Knights Defense (Steinitz liked the move, Chigorin didn't). The move was revived by none other than Bobby Fischer who used it in several games. One thing I did notice after comparing the notes to it that were given in the book The Soviet School of Chess by Kotov and Yudovich is that the game was NOT the one sided shellacking that the authors lead their readers to believe. Steinitz' play was not as feeble as they indicated, but that's often the case. Does anybody really think Chigorin was a better player than Steinitz? Their match results indicate that he was not. Also, if a player of the status of Bobby Fischer thought Steinitz' 9th move was worthy of a second look, then I reckon it was. 
    BTW, I recommend the book The Soviet School of Chess, even if it is full of shameless Soviet propaganda, but NOT the crappy abridged versions. You should get the original edition published by Dover in 1963 if you can find it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Amazing Benko Gambit by Lev Alburt

     Before arriving in the U.S. in 1979 Lev Alburt (born August 21, 1945 in Orenburg, Russia) was three-time Ukrainian Champion and subsequently won the U.S. Championship three times (1984, 1985 and 1990). Today he writes a popular column for Chess Life in which he annotates instructional games submitted by class players. Alburt is a long time advocate of Alekhine's Defense has a variation named after him and he did much to popularize the Benko (or Volga) Gambit. 
     His opponent in this game, Czech GM Vlastimil Hort, was one of the world's strongest players during the 1960s and 1970s he and qualified for the 1977–78 Candidates Tournament. "You know I am a chess entertainer. I want to entertain people. If they want to learn something I'm happy." 
     Writing about the Benko Gambit, Alburt stated that its lines do not require the intense study, exact and deep knowledge that is usually required of other openings. Understanding its underlying values and strategical considerations is much more important than memorizing specific lines. Albut became intrigued with it shortly after reading an article in Chess Life and Review by Walter Browne. He realized that the ending is better for black and was thus converted to a staunch supporter of the Benko. 
     In the following game, which I have been meaning to look at for a long time, Alburt developed a winning position with a timely Q-sacrifice. What makes the game remarkable is not only the Q-sac, but the position at move 29 where of Hort's own Q was “trapped” by its own pieces. It also demonstrates the importance of squares, diagonals, ranks and files and piece activity.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Selim Franklin

     Never heard of him? Neither did I, but his list of accomplishments is impressive. Selim Franklin, Esquire (1814–1884) was an American pioneer, auctioneer, real estate agent, chess master, and Canadian legislator. He is listed in The Society of California Pioneers as having arrived in San Francisco in October of 1849. The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news brought some 300,000 gold-seekers, the "forty-niners", to California. It's believed Franklin Street in San Francisco is named for him.
     Franklin was born in Liverpool, England, the son of a banker and emigrated to San Francisco during the Gold Rush in October 1849 where he was joined by brother and two cousins. Another brother joined him in 1854. Franklin was one of the smart ones who joined the Gold Rush; he didn't try to strike it rich mining, he and his brother opened a store selling mining equipment and supplies. In 1851 they established Selim and Edward Franklin Real Estate and Auctioneers. Together they built a hotel, the Franklin House, on Sansome Street in 1852 which was one of the more upscale hotels in the city. The hotel housed permanent residents including physicians, attorneys and a judge. Their cousins relocated to San Diego and built the Franklin House there in 1855; it was the first three-story building in Southern California. 
     In 1858 Selim moved to Victoria, British Columbia where, with his brother Lumley, he opened Franklin and Company, Auctioneers and Land Agents. They listed real estate, furniture, cattle, and vehicles for auction. Because they were British-born, they were appointed as the first government auctioneers in Victoria and British Columbia. Selim also served as an adviser to Queen Victoria in the 1859 Oregon boundary dispute over the San Juan Islands. 
    In 1859 he was elected to the Legislature of British Columbia, becoming the first Jew to take a seat in any legislature in British North America. He achieved the title of Esquire and was a founding member of the Freemason lodge in Victoria. He was also Chairman of the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition of 1864. The Franklin River on Vancouver Island is named for him and he and his brother founded the Victoria Philharmonic Society. 
     In 1866 he resigned from the Legislature and returned to San Francisco. In 1879 he served as a Trustee of the Mineral Fork Mining and Silver Company of Utah and in 1881 he served as a Trustee for the Geographical Society of the Pacific. His nephew, Selim M. Franklin, was elected to the Arizona Legislature in 1884 and later became a founder of the University of Arizona.
     Somewhere in all his adventures and accomplishments Franklin managed to become recognized as a chess master. He played in the chess clubs in London, especially the Westminster Chess Club and Simpson's Divan Chess Room and 1857 he was on the Planning and Rules Committee for the first American Chess Congress held in New York. This was the tournament that propelled the 20-year-old Paul Morphy to fame. 
     In California, Franklin was President of the California Chess Congress of 1858 that established San Francisco as a world chess center. Three San Francisco chess clubs joined together to host the Congress: the Mechanic's Institute, the German Chess Club of San Francisco, and the Pioneer Chess Club. The Mechanic's Institute is still very much alive.   Of course, Franklin won the tournament and the first prize of an expensive gold watch.
     Franklin participated in several London chess matches from 1868–1871 and his last “serious” games were apparently against Johannes Zukertort.  First, in a blindfold simultaneous in San Francisco at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room in 1884; Franklin lost. 
     A few days later, on July 21, 1884, Zukertort defeated Franklin in an individual game also played at the Chess Room of the Mechanics’ Institute. Zukertort was on a tour of the country giving exhibitions and he had stopped in such out of the way places as Wyoming (then a territory, not yet a state!). There was only one known chess player in Wyoming, but he was 300 miles away so Zukertort never met him. From there he visited Utah (also a territory) which did have a few chess players. From there he went to San Francisco. 
     Franklin died in San Francisco in 1884. 
     Not many of his games seem to have survived and the few that I found were not of especially high quality, but here is one of his losses to Zukertort; it's the one that was played on July 21. Zukertort wins in crisp fashion. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Nicolai Jasnogrodsky

     Nicolai Jasnogrodsky was born on August 6, 1859 in Lubny, Ukraine and died on April 23, 1914 in New York. Jasnogrodsky began his chess career sometime around 1885 in Vienna and shortly after that moved to England. 
     In international competition he tied for 4-5th at Amsterdam 1889 in the B tournament and the following year he was awarded the “Master” tilte in Amsterdam. In 1891 he was a regular at Simpson's-in-the-Strand and was making a name for himself because of his skill giving simultaneous displays and as a blindfold player. 
     He took part in several London tournaments in the early 1890s, his best result being a tie 4th-5th in 1891 and in 1893 he drew a match with Henry Bird 7.5-7.5. 
     On August 11, 1893 Jasnogrodsky arrived in the United States to play in the Columbian Chess Congress, but the tournament wasn't held because of insufficient funds and Jasnogrodsky ended up remaining in the U.S. 
     The World's Columbian Exposition was the official shortened name for the World's Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as The Chicago World's Fair. It was held in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World in 1492. The chess tournament was actually to be held in New York City though.
     The committee for the Congress met at the Manhattan Chess Club in mid-August, 1893 to make final arrangements for the tournament which was to begin in September. They had $2,800 in good subscriptions, but needed at least another $700. These amounts may not seem large, but in 1893 they would have had over $71,000 and another $18,000 was needed. 
    After careful consideration the committee decided that due to “the very threatening financial aspect of the country and the prospect of so much distress and want arising” that they would indefinitely postpone the tournament. Actually things were so bleak that they didn't bother to set any future meeting date. What they were referring to was The Panic of 1893, a serious economic depression in the United States that was caused by the overbuilding and shaky financing of railroads which resulted in a series of bank failures. 
     The failure of this tournament lead to what was known as the Impromptu Tournament which was held in New York City during early September to mid-October 1893. The final standing were: 

1) Lasker 13 
2) Albin 8.5 
3-5) Delmar, Lee and Showalter 8 
6) Hanham 7.5 
7) Pillsbury 7 
8) Taubenbhaus 6 
9-11) Pollock, Ryan and Schmidt 5 
12) Jasnogrodsky 4 
13) Olly 3.5 
14) Gossip 2.5 

    Remaining in the U.S., Jasnogrodsky won the New York State Championship in 1896 and tied for 10-11th at New York 1894. In 1895 he played a series of matches, losing to Eugene Delmar (1.5-5.5), but crushing an interesting fellow named Manuel Marquez Sterling by a score of 5-0. He also lost a match to David G. Baird by a score of 1-2. Apparently his play improved because in 1898 he drew a match with Frank J. Marshall (3.5-3.5) in New York City. According to the Chessmetrics site Jasnogrodsky's highest ever rating was 2492 in 1894 which ranked him number 64 in the world.
    He developed the Jasnogrodsky Defense against the Rice Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Nf6 6.Bc4 d5 7.exd5 Bd6 8.O-O Bxe5 9.Re1 Qe7 10.c3 Nh5). 
    Jasnogrodsky died at Montefiore Home, Hospital and Country Sanitarium for Chronic Diseases. He was buried in Union Field Cemetery for members of the New York City's Jewish community.
     The following game is an exercise in tactics that's worth setting up a board and trying to visualize all the possibilities. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frank Anderson

     Frank R. Anderson (January 3, 1928, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – September 18, 1980, San Diego, California) was a Canadian IM and a chess writer. 
     Anderson only started playing in his late teens after battling back from a serious illness that left him bedridden. He became very ill with rheumatoid arthritis in Toronto and was bedridden for five years. That's when he learned to play chess. At first played correspondence chess, quickly becoming a strong player. He graduated in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Toronto. 
     He was a computer expert by training and in the late 50s, along with Bob Cody, he wrote a program for the IBM 605 computer to play pawn endings up to a K+2Ps vs K and P. Their program was able to play these endings perfectly. When the program was demonstrated at the Canadian Conference of Scientists it played against more than 50 different opponents, each of whom was allowed to choose his own starting position, given the small number of pawns. In each case the program played perfectly. 
     Unfortunately, the strategy that enabled these endings to be programmed successfully was never documented and the programmers did not keep a written record, nor were they able to remember it. Anderson once confessed that even at the time he could not explain why some of their strategies worked. 
     His first noteworthy result was in the 1946 Canadian Championship in Toronto when he scored 10-3 in the preliminaries and just missed qualifying for the finals. Anderson won the Toronto Championship six times (1947-48-50-51-52-58).  He also played in a handful of tournaments in the United States, always doing well. In 1948, he tied for first place in the U.S. Junior Championship in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with Arthur Bisguier. He won the Ontario Open Championship in 1948, 1949, and 1951. 
     In the Canadian Championship his results were: 
1949 - tied for 3rd-4th behind Maurice Fox and Fedor Bohatirchuk 
1951 - 2nd behind Povilas Vaitonis 
1953 - tied for 1st with Abe Yanofsky 
1955 – finished 1st 
1957 - tied for 3rd-4th with Miervaldis Jursevskis behind Vaitonis and Géza Füster 

     Anderson played for Canada in three Olympiads (1954, 1958, 1964). He won the second-board gold medal at Amsterdam 1954, with a score of (+13 =2 -2). Leonard Barden wrote that for his “prize” he received a used copper or pewter jug about a foot high that had several dents in it. Barden, who described Anderson as one of the most likeable and pleasant players he had ever ever met, mentioned that due to his disability Anderson was on crutches, but he always made light of it. After the Olympiad on his way back to Canada he stopped over in London and visited Barden's home where he explained to Barden that he didn't like the jug and that it would increase his excess luggage charge if he took it home. He left it with Barden who kept in on his fireplace mantel for over 30 years. 
     He repeated the feat at the Munich 1958 Olympiad with a score of (+9 =3 -1). At Tel Aviv 1964, he scored (+4 =3 -5) on second board.  Probably the most notorious incident in Anderson's career happened at the Munich Olympiad in 1958. There he had the best percentage score on board two but became ill due to a reaction to an incorrect prescription and was unable to play his final round.  Anderson claimed that cost him the GM title because even if he had played and lost, he would have made the final norm necessary. According to the Chess Federation of Canada, a close examination based on the rules then in effect did not support his claim. Anderson was awarded the IM title in 1954 and became the first Canadian-born International Master. 
     He lost a transatlantic cable game to Igor Bondarevsky played over four days in February 1954, but won a return game when Bondarevsky visited Toronto a few months later in July 1954. Read the newspaper article HERE.
     Anderson scored 7-3 in the 1956 Canadian Open Championship in Montreal for a shared 8-12th place, drawing his game in the last round with 13-year-old Bobby Fischer. 
    He wrote a weekly chess column for the The Hamilton Spectator from 1955 to 1964 and was co-author of the tournament book of the Fourth Biennial World Junior Championship, Toronto 1957.  
     He moved to San Diego, California after the 1964 Olympiad where he lived with his wife Sylvia and operated a tax consulting business. He was inducted into the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame in 2001. His style was precise and positional, with an emphasis on the endgame, but he could also create clever tactics if the situation called for it. 
     I noticed many of his games were long and boring, but in the following game he struts his tactical stuff when at move 16 black, already with an inferior position, makes a seemingly logical attempt to plant a N on what looks like a good outpost. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Shirov's Best Game?

     He did not think it was, but the Rook maneuver and three successive sacrifices at h5, f5 and d5 make it a fan favorite. After Chernin's mistake on move 23 which was the move that allowed Shirov to unleash his barrage of sacrificial moves, Shirov wrote that the rest of the game gave him "some aesthetic pleasure, which is not often the case in chess." That comment speaks volumes, but I don't know if it's about chess as it's played today or if it's just Shirov's opinion. That's why I prefer games played in the pre-engine days...they offer a LOT of aesthetic pleasure! This game does, too, so I am mystified by Shirov's comment...his attack was brilliant. 
     Also, I seriously doubt that most of today's players would even bother playing if they had to play for the paltry prizes offered in the tournaments of days gone by. Reshevsky once spoke of winning a tournament and his “prize” was “a few cordial words.” Or, how many kids today would play if the prizes were those once available to Fischer? 
     The Marshall Chess Club first refused to admit Bobby Fischer because Frank Marshall’s widow, Carrie, who ran the club, considered him a brat, but she finally gave in. At a tournament in New Jersey, Fischer won 1st prize, a good piece of luggage. He took one look at it and said, “I don’t need that!” and he won the U.S. Junior championship twice and both times, the prize was a typewriter. 
     In 1957 the Junior Championship in San Francisco on the morning before the tournament started Fischer was nowhere to be seen. Even in those days he was a mysterious character who would appear and disappear and no one had seen him since his unexpected win of the 1956 tournament. Even so, nobody thought he would win the 1957 championship because Gilbert Ramirez (a kid with a master's rating...a rare thing in those days!) was the overwhelming favorite.
     As an indication of things to come, when the first round started Fischer still had not shown up and rumors were flying that he wasn't going to defend his title, but 10 minutes after the clocks had started Fischer made his dramatic entrance wearing blue jeans with holes (which, unlike today, were not popular back then), two different colored tennis shoes, his signature flannel shirt and his head was shaved (again, not a popular style in those days).
     When some of the participants greeted him they were ignored as Fischer stormed up to the tournament director, George Koltanowski, and asked him, "What's first prize?" Koltanowski showed Fischer the table with the prizes sitting on it and guess what first prize was? An electric typewriter identical to the one he he had won the year before. A furious Fischer stomped his feet and screamed, "I don't want another typewriter!" 
     Ivan Vegvary, Fischer's first round opponent, snickered and told him not to worry because he wasn't going to win it. Fischer told him, "You don't know me." 
     After the first round Ramirez was outside the tournament hall playing 5-minute games when Fischer walked up, observed for a moment then walked away. After the second round Ramirez offered to play some 5-minute games against Fischer who, again, shook his head and walked away commenting, "Too weak." Finally, after the 4th round Fischer, who was tied with Ramirez for first with four wins, created a lot of excitement by finally agreeing to play Ramirez some blitz games. One of the interested spectators happened to be the legendary Miguel Najdorf. It's estimated that Ramirez and Fischer played 25-30 games and Fischer won all of them while using almost no time. Najdorf commented, "It's like angels are moving his hand!" Fischer went on to win the title and the story, true or not, is that the typewriter he won was the one he used to author My 60 Memorable Games.
     Where was I? The Shirov game...the game was played in a Professional Chess Association qualifier and for those too young to remember, the PCA was in existence between 1993 and 1996. It was created by Gary Kasparov and Nigel Short as a rival to FIDE and to market their world championship. 
     In 1993 Short won the Candidates Tournament and qualified to challenge Kasparov and under FIDE regulations the bids for their match should have been decided by FIDE and the players. According to Kasparov and Short, FIDE president Florencio Campomanes broke these rules when he determined on his own that Manchester, England would be the site. 
     As a result of Campomanes' one-sided decision Kasparov and Short formed the PCA and played their world championship match at the Savoy Theater in London under the sponsorship of The Times. Kasparov won easily with a score of 12.5–7.5 and was the PCA World Champion. 
     The result was that Kasparov was stripped of his FIDE World Champion title and FIDE held a match between Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman, the two players Short had defeated. Karpov won that match and became FIDE World Champion. For the first time in history there were two “World Champions.” 
     Between 1993 to 1995 the PCA held their own tournaments for the world championship as did FIDE. Things were a mess with many of the same challengers playing in both and Karpov and Kasparov were both claiming the title. 
     In 1996 the PCA lost its main sponsor, Intel. Some speculated Intel pulled out because Kasparov boosted IBM's reputation, an Intel competitor, when he played a match against IBM's Deep Blue. Kasparov disputed this, claiming Intel withdrew their support some weeks prior to the initial planning of the Deep Blue match. 
     Without any sponsorship for qualifying events, Kasparov hand picked his challenger, Vladimir Kramnik against whom he ended up losing. That match was sponsored by Braingames. Finally, in 2006, a re-unification match between PCA Champion Kramnik and the FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov, which was won by Kramnik, took place.