The furor surrounding the canceled world chess title match increased today as a document surfaced that linked the action of Florencio Campomanes, president of the International Chess Federation, to a senior official of the Soviet Chess Federation.
Informed sources said Campomanes terminated the match between champion Anatoly Karpov and challenger Gary Kasparov after receiving a letter from Vitali Sevastianov, president of the Soviet federation, requesting a three-month delay.
Sevastianov's letter, dated Feb. 14, says both the champion and his challenger sought a delay because of health considerations.
Kasparov, 21, has vigorously denied that he ever asked for a delay and he accused the president and organizers of the match of using delaying tactics that favored Karpov, 33.
Campomanes had made no mention of Sevastianov's letter. At a press conference Friday, the International Chess Federation president insisted he alone was involved in the decision, which he described as being in the "interest of chess." He also asserted that he did not make up his mind what to do "until reaching this podium." Campomanes' decision, however, had been announced 12 minutes earlier by the news agency Tass.
After the press conference, one of the most respected figures in chess, a former world champion, privately expressed his suspicion that Karpov was engaged in a complex maneuver to get the rest he badly needed. He said he expected Karpov to protest Campomanes' decision eventually and seek its annulment after he recovers.
Today Karpov visited the Moscow bureau of the Reuter news agency to hand deliver a letter he had written to Campomanes complaining about the cancellation of the match.
"I want to start again as fast as possible so nobody can say time helped me regain strength," Karpov was quoted as saying. Reuter described him as looking "relatively fit."
Kasparov was playing soccer tonight and was not immediately available for comment.
There was widespread speculation here last week that Campomanes' action was designed to save Karpov from defeat. The two men are friends, according to Campomanes' public declaration.
Although leading 5-0 at one point, Karpov had failed since last Nov. 27 to win the sixth game that would have given him the championship. He appeared to be getting weaker. Kasparov, however, won two consecutive victories just before the match was canceled and appeared to be on the verge of a spectacular comeback.
During last Friday's press conference, Kasparov had demanded that the five-month match be continued without delay. Karpov had also declared that he wanted to play.
But when Campomanes conferred with the two players privately, Kasparov alone continued to insist that the match go on. Campomanes' final statement reflected Kasparov's defiance, saying the "champion accepts the decision of the president and the challenger abides by the decision of the president."