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World Champion Eliminated From Blitz Chess Tournament

February 21, 1988

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick (AP) _ World champion Garri Kasparov lost Saturday in the quarterfinals of the world chess blitz championship, but Soviet colleague Mikhail Tal won the sport’s richest tournament ever.

″I played badly as you saw,″ said Kasparov, 24, of the Soviet Union. He spoke briefly to reporters after his morning loss to Bulgarian Kirel Georgiev, 22.

Tal, 51, who won his first major Soviet competition in 1957 and the world championship in 1960, defeated Soviet Rafael Vaganian 3.5-0.5. Vaganian, 37, had defeated Georgiev in the semifinals.

The blitz match is a fast-paced chess game in which each player has only five minutes’ playing time. The results do not count in competition for the world chess title.

In the six-game final, Tal stormed to a 3-0 lead before agreeing to a draw in the fourth game to seize the title.

Tal, ranked No. 6 in the world, told reporters that he never expected to win and said ″my opponents played too hospitably.″

″It’s the beginning of a second career for Tal,″ said American grandmaster Larry Evans.

In 1960, Tal, then 23, became the youngest world champion in history until Kasparov gained the title in 1985 at age 22.

But Tal lost his title in 1961 to Mikhail Botvinnik, another Soviet.

Kasparov’s debacle began in the first of a four-game series where he had a queen, a bishop and a king verses Goeirgive’s lone king, a position where many beginners would have little difficulty in winning.

But Kasparov, the tournament favorite, stunned the audience by stalemating his opponent, ending the game in a draw.

In the position, Georgiev’s king could not move, but unlike a checkmate, it was not attacked.

As Kasparov made the hideous error, there were gasps from spectators and he held his head in his hands.

In the second game, Kasparov pressed too hard for victory, blundered and lost.

Their third encounter was drawn and Georgiev checkmated the world champion in the fourth as Kasparov overreached, desperately searching for a victory.

The championship offered a total prize fund of 75,000 U.S. dollars. Tal won $37,500 for four hours work, the highest prize ever offered for a single chess tournament.

On Friday, former world champion Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union, ranked No. 2 in the world, was eliminated from the blitz competition.

The blitz championship ended the monthlong World Chess Festival in the port city on Canada’s east coast.

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