Game 22, a 19-move Queen's Gambit, was the shortest so far in the world chess championship match in Seville, Spain. Defending champion Gary Kasparov offered the draw after only 2 1/4 hours of play yesterday, and challenger Anatoly Karpov, looking pleased at having neutralized Kasparov's attack so quickly, accepted immediately.
With two games left, the draw leaves the match score at 11-11; the winner will be the first player to scores 12 1/2 points. If the score reaches 12-12, Kasparov will keep the title.
The 23rd game, Karpov's last with white and his penultimate chance to score a win, is scheduled for Monday.
In yesterday's game, Karpov got very good piece play for his isolated pawn on d5, which Kasparov allowed him to exchange with 10. ... d4. This led to further exchanges and the complete equalization of the game. Since neither side had any weaknesses, one can understand the peaceful result after only 19 moves.
Another explanation of the quick draw is circulating in Seville. On Thursday, Kasparov visited Karpov at his villa -- an extraordinary "move" at such a dramatic point in the match situation. Reportedly, they discussed only financial problems, particularly the problem of Spanish taxes. The original condition of the match was that the prize fund (more than $1 million) would be given tax-free or after taxes. Now the organizers are trying to have taxes collected from the prize fund, not added to it.
According to one insiders' theory, Karpov and Kasparov may have discussed the final result of the match -- and the short draw in Game 22 seems to support this theory. If the match ends at 12-12, there are certain advantages for both players: Kasparov keeps his championship and Karpov keeps his honor -- the challenger would consider that he has won a moral victory by not being defeated in a championship match.
A gentlemen's agreement not to fight too hard and to accept short draws would also assure both players of collecting their prize money (before or after taxes) with a minimum of effort in the last week of the match.
Grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek contributed to this report.