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Nigel Short
Nigel Short 2005 without glasses.jpg
Full name Nigel David Short
Country  England
Born 1 June 1965 (1965-06-01) (age 44)
Leigh, England
Title Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2696
(No. 38 on the January 2010 FIDE ratings list)
Peak rating 2712 (April 2004)

Nigel David Short MBE (born 1 June 1965 in Leigh, Lancashire) is often regarded as the strongest British chess player of the 20th century. He became a Grandmaster at age 19. He challenged for the World Chess Championship against Garry Kasparov at London 1993. Still active, Short continues to enjoy international success. He is also a chess columnist, coach and commentator.


Early life

He grew up in Atherton, going to the St Philips primary school on Bolton Old Road. He studied at the independent Bolton School and Leigh College. He was a member both of Atherton Chess Club, which was founded by his father, David, and later of Bolton Chess Club,[1] which had initially rejected him, aged seven, for being too young.

Prodigy to Grandmaster

A chess prodigy, Short first attracted significant media attention, as a 10-year-old, by defeating Viktor Korchnoi in a simultaneous exhibition. In 1977 he became the youngest ever participant in the British Chess Championship by qualifying three days before his twelfth birthday. Two years later, at the British Championship in Chester 1979, the 14-year-old tied for first place with John Nunn and Robert Bellin, earning his first IM norm. He became (at the time) the youngest International Master in chess history, by scoring 8/15 in the Hastings Premier in 1979/80 and thus breaking Bobby Fischer's record of 1958.[2] Participating in four World Junior Championships (1980–1983), Short achieved his best result during his first attempt in which he placed second to Garry Kasparov in 1980 at Dortmund. He was awarded the grandmaster title in 1984, aged nineteen—becoming the youngest grandmaster in the world at that time.

World Championship candidate

Short's assaults on the World Chess Championship title began in earnest in 1985 when he narrowly qualified from the Biel Interzonal to become Britain's first-ever candidate. He needed a playoff to advance past John van der Wiel and Eugenio Torre for the last berth, after the three had tied in regulation play. The Montpellier Candidates Tournament brought Short little success, however, as he scored 7/15 to finish in tenth place. In the next cycle, he again qualified by winning the 1987 Subotica Interzonal with Jon Speelman. The Candidates stage had by this time reverted to its traditional match format: Short defeated Gyula Sax (+2=3) in Saint John, Canada, in 1988, but then unexpectedly lost (−2=3) to his countryman, Jon Speelman, in London.

His next attempt was to prove his most successful. A last round victory over Mikhail Gurevich enabled Short to finish equal third with Vishwanathan Anand, behind Vassily Ivanchuk and Boris Gelfand, at the Manila Interzonal, thus qualifying as a Candidate for the third successive time. Defeating Gelfand (+4=2–2) in the 8/Final, he progressed to meet his former nemesis, Jon Speelman, in the quarters. This oscillating struggle went into extra-time in which the younger man eventually prevailed. In the semi-final the Englishman overcame the legendary Russian Anatoly Karpov (+4=4–2) in a match that was described as "the end of an era." In the final, in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Short defeated Dutchman Jan Timman (+5=5–3) to earn the right to meet defending World Champion, Garry Kasparov.

According to Short and Kasparov, the head of the chess world's governing body FIDE, Florencio Campomanes, decided on the venue of the match (Manchester) and the prize fund without consulting them, in breach of FIDE rules. The British WIM and author Cathy Forbes, in her book Nigel Short: Quest for the Crown (Cadogan 1993), wrote that at no time in the 1993 bidding process was a conforming World Championship match bid actually received by FIDE. In response, Short and Kasparov promptly formed a rival organisation, the Professional Chess Association. The resulting match—sponsored by The Times newspaper—was held under the auspices of the new body in London, from September to October 1993. Kasparov won convincingly (+6−1=13)- the largest margin of victory in a world title contest since Botvinnik defeated Tal in 1961. Short's play came in for heavy criticism from BBC commentators Bill Hartston and Tony Miles.

Tournament and match titles

Short at the 2005 Corus chess tournament

Short won the British Chess Championship in 1984, 1987, and 1998, and the English Championship in 1991. He was the Commonwealth Champion in 2004, 2006 (both Mumbai) and 2008 (Nagpur). He won the 2006 EU Individual Open Chess Championship in Liverpool and took a share of second place in the 2008 edition, when it was held there again. He has finished outright first, or tied for first, in dozens of other international tournaments including Geneva 1979, the BBC Master Game (1981), Amsterdam OHRA (1982), Baku 1983, Esbjerg 1984, Wijk aan Zee (1986, 1987), Reykjavík (1987), Amsterdam VSB (1988, 1991, 1992, 1993), Hastings (1987/88, 1988/89), Pärnu (1996), Groningen (1996), Tallinn/Parnu 1998, Dhaka United Insurance 1999, Shymkent 1999, Pamplona (1999/00), Tan Chin Nam Cup, Beijing 2000, Sigeman and Co. Malmö (2002, 2009), Gibraltar (2003, 2004), Budapest Hunguest Hotels 2003, Samba Cup, Skanderborg 2003, Taiyuan (2004), the Politiken Cup 2006, Bazna 2008 and the Staunton Memorial 2009. Arguably Short's finest performance came at the Amsterdam VSB tournament in 1991 when he tied for first place with Valery Salov ahead of both Kasparov and Karpov.

Short has enjoyed considerable success as a matchplayer, crushing the US Champion Lev Alburt in Foxboro 1985 by the score of 7–1 (+6=2). He has also defeated Utut Adianto (+3=3) in Jakarta 1995, Etienne Bacrot in Albert 2000 (+3=2–1), Hannes Stefansson in Reykjavík 2002 (+4=1–1), Ehsan Ghaem Maghami in Tehran 2003 (+2=4) and Zahar Efimenko in Mukachevo 2009 (+2=3–1). Short lost to Joel Benjamin by 2.5–1.5 at London 1983, drew with Eugenio Torre (+1=4–1) in Manila 1988, drew with Timman (3–3) in an exhibition match at Hilversum in 1989, defeated Boris Gulko in extra games in the PCA Candidates' quarter-finals at New York 1994, and lost to Gata Kamsky by (5.5–1.5) in the PCA semi-finals at Linares 1995.

International team record

A perennial fixture on the English national team, Short made his international team debut in the Euroteams at age seventeen at Plovdiv 1983, and has represented England continuously ever since. Short's main highlights are: team silver medals in the chess Olympiads of Thessaloniki 1984, Dubai 1986 (where he also took gold medal for the best individual performance on board three) and Thessaloniki 1988. He took a team bronze in the Novi Sad Olympiad of 1990, and led England to fourth place finishes in both 1994 and 1996. He led the English team to victory in the 1997 Euroteams at Pula, and was a member of the bronze winning team in 1992, and of fourth place teams in 1983 and 2001. He was a member of three English teams in the World Team Championships of 1985 (team bronze), 1989 (team bronze), and 1997 (team fourth). His complete log when representing England in major team events follows.


  • Thessaloniki 1984 2nd reserve, 3/6 (+1 =4 -1);
  • Dubai 1986 board 3, 10/13 (+8 =4 -1), gold medal on board 3;
  • Thessaloniki 1988 board 1, 7/12 (+3 =8 -1);
  • Novi Sad 1990 board 1, 6/12 (+2 =8 -2);
  • Manila 1992, board 1, 6/11 (+3 =6 -2);
  • Moscow 1994, board 1, 8.5/13 (+6 =5 -2);
  • Yerevan 1996, board 1, 7/12 (+3 =8 -1);
  • Elista 1998, board 2, 6.5/11 (+2 =9 -0);
  • Istanbul 2000, board 2, 7/12 (+3 =8 -1);
  • Bled 2002, board 2, 8.5/13 (+5 =7 -1);
  • Calvià 2004, board 2, 1.5/4 (+1 =1 -2);
  • Turin 2006, board 2, 8/11 (+5 =6 -0);
  • Dresden 2008, board 2, 7/10 (+6 =2 -2).


  • Plovdiv 1983 board 7, 4.5/7 (+3 =3 -1);
  • Debrecen 1992 board 1, 5.5/8 (+4 =3 -1), bronze medal on board 1;
  • Pula 1997, board 1, 4/7 (+2 =4 -1);
  • Batumi 1999 board 1, 5/8 (+3 =4 -1);
  • León 2001 board 2, 6/9 (+3 =6 -0).

World Team Championships:

  • Lucerne 1985 board 4, 4/8 (+1 =6 -1);
  • Lucerne 1989, board 1, 4.5/8 (+3 =3 -2), silver medal on board 1;
  • Lucerne 1997, board 1, 4/8 (+0 =8 -0).

Further achievements

Short's highest world ranking (third) was attained during January 1988 – July 1989. He reached his numerical peak Elo rating of 2712 in April 2004. On the September 2009 FIDE rating list, Short is ranked number 29 in the world with an Elo rating of 2706, regaining the position of England's number one from Michael Adams.

As well as his playing activities, Short is a chess writer. He has written columns and book reviews for the British newspapers The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and The Spectator. He wrote the The Sunday Telegraph chess column for a decade. He most recently wrote for The Guardian, with his final column appearing on 19 October 2006. He also reported on the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 in San Luis, Argentina, for the ChessBase website.

He has individually coached young prodigies Pentala Harikrishna, Sergey Karjakin, David Howell and Parimarjan Negi. He worked as national coach of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 2006–2007. His first assignment led to them unexpectedly capturing a team bronze medal at the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. In the nine chess events at the Asian Indoor Games in Macau 2007, Iran took a silver and two bronze medals.

Short is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Bolton. In 1999 he was appointed MBE, in recognition of his chess accomplishments. In August 2005, he was unanimously elected Secretary General of the Commonwealth Chess Association. In June 2006 he became its President, until stepping down in January 2008. He resides in Athens and is married to drama-therapist Rhea Argyro Karageorgiou (Ρέα Αργυρώ Καραγεωργίου). The couple have two children: Kyveli Aliki (Κυβέλη Αλίκη) (born 7 July 1991) and Nicholas Darwin (Νικόλαος Δαρβίνος) (born 18 December 1998).


Following the death of Tony Miles in 2001, Short wrote an obituary in the Sunday Telegraph in which he claimed that during the 27th Chess Olympiad in Dubai he had slept with Miles' then-girlfriend.[3]

Also in 2001, Short was in the news as the story broke that he had been secretly playing the reclusive former chess champion Bobby Fischer online in speed chess matches. Short later retracted the claim after Fischer himself had denied it.

In January 2007, Short gave an interview to the Indian newspaper DNA, in which he called for an inquiry to examine allegations that Veselin Topalov cheated during the World Championship in San Luis.[4]

In the same DNA interview, Short was critical of the role of members of the Appeals Committee at the 2005 and 2006 World Championships, in particular FIDE Vice President Zurab Azmaiparashvili whom he described as "singularly inappropriate for such work having, by his own admission, cheated in winning the 2003 European Championship." Azmaiparashvili filed a formal complaint to the FIDE Ethics Commission, which convened in July 2007. While dismissing the main complaints against Short, the Commission sanctioned him for a minor violation of the FIDE Code of Ethics for his use of the word "dunderhead".[5][6] This decision was met with derision from the British Chess Magazine.


  1. ^ "Bolton Chess Club". Bolton YMCA. Retrieved 2008-12-27.  
  2. ^ Entry 6429
  3. ^ The obituary can be found in the Sunday Telegraph of the 18th of November 2008, the obituary was discussed in Issue 37 of the satirical chess publication Kingpin.
  4. ^ Short take: Veselin Topalov could have been cheating, DNA, January 30 2007
  5. ^ "Case N. 2/07 JUDGEMENT rendered by the FIDE ETHICS COMMISSION" (PDF). FIDE. 2007-07-29. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  
  6. ^ Chessbase article on the FIDE ethics Commission decision

Further reading

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Nigel Short (born June 1, 1965) is a British chess grandmaster and chess writer.


  • They could start by removing some personnel: the head-butting, move-retracting, tournament-rigging, Zurab Azmaiparashvili for instance. He is a disgrace to the organisation. But never let it be said that he is a dunderhead.

He is warned by FIDE

  • It is curious that it is far easier to maintain a high "manners" rating if, like Kasparov, you simply don't speak to anyone. I still have much to learn from the great man...
    • From his current personal profile at ChessBase Internet server, where he uses to play blitz. (08/05/2008)

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Nigel Short
Full name Nigel Short
1 June 1965 (1965-06-01) (age 45)
Leigh, England
Title Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2686
(No. 47 on the March 2010
FIDE ratings list)
Peak rating 2712 (April 2004)

Nigel David Short MBE (born 1 June 1965 in Leigh, Lancashire) is often regarded as the strongest English chess player of the 20th century. He became a Grandmaster at age 19. He challenged for the World Chess Championship against Garry Kasparov at London 1993. Still active, Short continues to enjoy international success. He is also a chess columnist, coach and commentator.

Short's best achievement was in the World Candidates matches of 1992, when he beat world-class players Boris Gelfand, Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman to reach the final. In the World Championship match, London 1993, he was decisively beaten by the reigning World Champion, Gary Kasparov. The match caused controversy because the two players broke away from FIDE, for reasons mostly to do with the prize money.[1]

Short has played 21 times for England in Chess Olympiads, and European and World Team championships. He has been living in Greece with his wife and children for a number of years.


  1. Forbes, Cathy 1993. Nigel Short: quest for the crown. Cadogan, London.


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