Playing With His Fingertips

It is tempting to think of Nigel Short as an English Bobby Fischer. Transform Short's Lancastrian accent into Brooklynese, remove the wire-rimmed glasses, and Nigel becomes Bobby. After all, Short and Fischer are the only non- Russians to play in the finals of the World Chess Championship since 1948, and both were child prodigies who grew up to challenge the established order of the chess world.

The similarities end there. Fischer is a reclusive eccentric who has spent most of his life alone in hotel rooms with the curtains drawn. Short is happily married to a Greek psychologist, Rae Karageorgiou, and...

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