|Full name||Nigel David Short|
|Born|| 1 June 1965
|Peak rating||2712 (April 2004)|
Nigel David Short MBE (born 1 June 1965) is an English chess grandmaster, chess columnist, chess coach and chess commentator. Short earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 19, and was ranked third in the world by FIDE from January 1988 to July 1989. In 1993 he became the first English player to play a World Chess Championship match, when he qualified to play Garry Kasparov in the World Chess Championship 1993 in London, but lost.
Short was born 1 June 1965 in Leigh, Lancashire. He grew up in Atherton, going to the St Philip's 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, which had initially rejected him, aged seven, for being too young.
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. 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.
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 Viswanathan 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 struggle went into extra-time in which the younger man eventually prevailed. In the semi-final, in 1992, the Englishman overcame the former World Champion Anatoly Karpov (+4−2=4) 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 (+5−3=5) 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 location 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.
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), Belfort, World Under 16 (1979), the BBC Master Game (1981), Amsterdam OHRA (1982), Baku (1983), Esbjerg (1984), British Rapidplay Chess Championship (1986), Wijk aan Zee (1986, 1987), Reykjavík (1987), Amsterdam VSB (1988, 1991, 1992, 1993), Hastings (1987/88, 1988/89), Pärnu (1996), Groningen (1996), Tallinn/Pärnu (1998), Isle of Man Monarch Assurance 1998, Dhaka United Insurance (1999), Shymkent (1999), Pamplona (1999/2000), Linares Open (2000), Tan Chin Nam Cup, Beijing (2000), Sigeman and Co. Malmö (2002, 2009, 2013 joint first shared with Richárd Rapport and Nils Grandelius), Gibraltar (2003, 2004, 2012), Budapest Hunguest Hotels (2003), Samba Cup, Skanderborg (2003), Taiyuan (2004), the Politiken Cup (2006), Bazna (2008), the Staunton Memorial (2009) Thailand Open (2011, 2012, 2015), Luanda (2011), 7th Edmonton International (2012), Bunratty (2012), RA Club Ottawa (2012), Pühajärve Rapid Chess Tournament (2012), Spicenet Tanzania Open (2013), Pokerstars Isle of Man (2014), Zaw Win Lay Memorial Yangon (2014) and the South African Open (2015).
Arguably Short's finest tournament performance came at the Amsterdam VSB tournament in 1991, where he tied for first place with Valery Salov ahead of both Kasparov and Karpov.
Short has enjoyed considerable success as a matchplayer, beating US Champion Lev Alburt in Foxborough, Massachusetts in 1985 by the score of 7-1 (+6=2). He has also defeated Utut Adianto (+3=3) in Jakarta 1995, Étienne Bacrot in Albert 2000 (+3−1=2), Hannes Stefansson in Reykjavík 2002 (+4−1=1), Ehsan Ghaem Maghami in Tehran 2003 (+2=4) and Zahar Efimenko in Mukachevo 2009 (+2−1=3). Short lost to Joel Benjamin by 2½-1½ at London 1983, drew with Eugenio Torre (+1−1=4) 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 (5½-1½) in the PCA semi-finals at Linares 1995.
In a return to Tehran in March 2013, Short played a second match against the Iranian player Ehsan Ghaem Maghami. Billed as Talking Chess, the contest comprised four games with a classic time control, four games of rapid chess and eight games of blitz. As the classic games progressed, the players gave an intermittent live commentary, aimed at increasing the understanding of the live and television audiences, who could contrast and compare the player's own thoughts and assessments. Short won the classic games (+2=2), the rapid games (+3−1) and the blitz games (+3−2=3).
A perennial fixture on the English national team, Short made his international team debut in the European Team Chess Championship 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 Chess Championships of 1985 (team bronze), 1989 (team bronze), and 1997 (team fourth). His complete log when representing England in major team events follows.
World Team Championships:
Short has written chess columns and book reviews for the British newspapers The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and The Spectator. He wrote for The Sunday Telegraph for a decade and for The Guardian between 2005 and 19 October 2006. He reported on the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 in San Luis, Argentina, for the ChessBase website. He began a new column "Short Stories" for New in Chess magazine in January 2011. During the World Chess Championship 2013 he wrote a series of articles for The Indian Express. In 2014, he began writing a column for the Financial Times, interviewing Sol Campbell in the first article.
He has individually coached young prodigies Pendyala Harikrishna, Sergey Karjakin, David Howell and Parimarjan Negi. He worked as national coach of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 2006 to 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 was made an honorary Fellow of the then Bolton Institute of Higher Education in 1993 and was admitted to the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Bolton in 2010. 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 is the current FIDE delegate to the ECF, a post held since 2009.
During important chess events in recent years, Short is often engaged for commentary as part of live broadcasts on the Internet. Chess historian Edward Winter has named him one of the top five Internet broadcasters.
In 2001, Short told The Sunday Telegraph chess column that he believed he had been secretly playing the reclusive former chess champion Bobby Fischer on the online chess platform Internet Chess Club in speed chess matches. Short later retracted the claim after Fischer denied ownership of the account.
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.
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". This decision was met with derision from the British Chess Magazine.
In 2015 Nigel Short was criticised for saying that women had a different skill set than men, and that men were "hardwired" to be better at chess, although he also stated that women are better in other areas.
Short resides in Athens and is married to drama therapist Rhea Argyro Karageorgiou. The couple have two children. He is an atheist.