Blood on the Board

The chess world erupts in its strangest move yet: dueling championships

Amid the noise of jostling photographers and clacking shutters, the two combatants finally squared off last Tuesday on the stage of the Savoy Theater in London. In one corner, the challenger and clear crowd favorite, a pink- cheeked, brush-cut 28-year-old and the first native-born Briton ever to contend for the world title. In the other, the defending champ, an Armenian- born egoist, 30, with killer instincts and a reputation as the best warrior of all time. At stake: competitive pride and a purse of $2.6 million.

And then, as the din gradually subsided, Nigel Short and Gary Kasparov began to push...

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