Person of day - 1 JUNE 2021
When Nigel Short was only 6, he earned the praise of world champion Anatoly Karpov after playing against him. At the age of 12, Nigel became the youngest competitor in Britain’s national championship ever, where he defeated Jonathan Penrose, the country’s champion. “After Staunton, we had not seen such a talented player. He is our future!” exclaimed one English chess player. And he was right- Short became one of the world’s best chess players in the 1990s.
In 1980, he came second in the world juniorchampionship, behind Garry Kasparov. Three years later, Short performed wonderfully in Baku- Kasparov’s hometown- where he was a half-point away from the norm for a grandmaster. This title was attained one year later: at the age of 19, Short became the youngest grandmaster in the world at that time.
In 1985, Nigel was the first English player to earn the right to play at a candidates’ tournament in Montpellier. He played badly, but he was only 20. Short became more experienced in large international tournaments, and success came soon after: he won tournaments in Wijk aan Zee in 1986 and 1987, in Reykjavik in 1987 and other competitions as well. In a match against the experienced grandmaster Lev Alburt, Short won 7:1, with six victories and two draws. In 1987, Nigel at last met Kasparov at a match in London. At that moment, it was only a thematic match of rapid chess, which saw the world champion win 4:2. But the Englishman was convinced that he would meet Kasparov in a match for the world championship.
This took place in 1993. After winning candidates’ matches against Boris Gelfand (5:3), Anatoly Karpov (6:4) and Jan Timman (7,5:5,5), Short earned the right to play his long-awaited match for the world crown. However, the match did not go well for the Englishman. Kasparov’s superiority was evident- he won 6 games out of 20, drew 13 and lost just one. But in any case, Nigel Short remains in chess history as a candidate for the world championship.
Heplayedin15 (!) Olympiads for England between 1984 and 2012. Short continues to play and remains one of his country’s strongest grandmasters. He is also active in promoting chess: he commentates at super tournaments, he writes articles for The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Spectator and he has his own Short Stories column in the most popular English-speaking chess magazine New in Chess.
He trained Iran’s national team, as well as several young stars: among his mentees were Pentala Harikrishna, Sergey Karjakin, David Howell and Parimarjan Negi.