Nigel Short quiz: which game and how many countries?

7/16/2012 – At the start of the month British GM Nigel Short won the seventh edition of the Edmonton International Chess Festival. In our report we challenged readers to identify a game Nigel was commenting on during a lecture to Festival participants; and we asked our readers to guess in how many different countries he has won tournaments. The winner got a Fritz 13 program signed by Garry Kasparov.

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The seventh edition of the Edmonton International Chess Festival is one of only two annual competitions in Western Canada that offers international norms opportunities. The competition took in the Edmonton Chess Club and consisted of round robin with ten players, including one celebrity, former world championship finalist Nigel Short.


Besides playing in the tournament GM Short also conducted an open-to-all lecture
at the ECC on the day before the tournament started

In our report we challenged our readers to identify the game Nigel is discussing, and tell us how they found it. We provided some hints: it was a game from 1990, and was between two world champion challengers.

Nigel had just won the 7th Edmonton International, which brought us to our second challenge question: in how many different countries has Nigel Short won a tournament?

Feedback from our readers

In the following we provide a small percentage of the total number of letters we received (since a vast majority were repetitive: the game, number of tournaments). At the end of this section we will show you a simple way of identifying a game from a position on the demo board.

Jerry Zhou, Milwaukee, United States
The game Short was discussing is between Boris Gelfand and Nigel Short. I believe Nigel Short has won in 17 different countries.

Neo Hajib, Milwaukee, USA
The game is Gelfand-Short. Short won in 17 countries: India, Great Britain, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Iceland,Estonia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Spain, China, Sweden, Hungary, Thailand, Angloa. 18 if you count Gibraltar as a country. Also, I did not count the ones in which Short lost 1st on tie-breaks. I'm surprised Short never went to Norway to mess with the Norwegians.

Fabien Cavillon, Le Cheylas, France
Boris Gelfand VS Nigel Short, Tilburg 1990, 0-1. For me Nigel has won tournement in 18 differents countries: Ireland, Canada, India, Hungary, Switzerland, Netherlands, Azerbaidjan, Island, England, Thaïlland, Guibraltar, China, Sweden, Danmark, Estonia, Bengladesh, Kazakhstan, Spain

Loyd Wellen, Kimberley, South Africa
The game was between Gelfand,Boris and Short,Nigel it was a Dutch Defence,the picture you are showing in the chessbase article showed move 14.....Qa5+. How did I find it? Question 2:
23 countries.

James Ines, General Santos, Philippines
It was Gelfand-Short, Tilburg 1990. I found it mainly through your hints, thanks! There are only three players who are world championship challengers who could have played at 1990: Korchnoi, Short and Gelfand. Looked it up at a site, and looked for the games of Gelfand and Short first, since it's likely Short would discuss his own game. Since there was a pawn on f5 on the picture and it's likely that Gelfand is white, I chose the one with the opening of "Dutch". I looked at the pgn, when I noticed moves 12 and 13, I got it.

Karlheins Ewald, Marechal Cândido Rondon, Brazil
The game is Gelfand vs Short at the 10th round of the Tilburg tournament. I found it so: I looked at the position first, and I noted the black f5 and e6 pawns, and it came clear to me that the game opening was a Dutch Defense. Next I searched through a database Dutch Defense games played in the 1990 year with players with rating above 2600. It give me some results, which I followed till find the position. Also second my count Short has won around 65 tournaments.

James Marley, Sheffield, England
Boris Gelfand v Nigel D Short - Tilburg 18.09.1990 (0-1). I found the game in my Fritz 12 database. I guessed that Nigel, being a World Championship Challenger, would be one of the players involved. I also knew the game was agaist a strong opponent in 1990. The position in your photo doesn't actually occur in the game. However, I am hoping that GM Short was analysing a variation after 15. Bd2 Nxd2. Question 2: In an interview I tracked down through the Shropshire Chess website Nigel stated that he had won in 23 diffent countries. Since then, Oct 2011, I think the 7th Edmonton International is the only win to take place in a 'new' country.

Thomas Robertsen, Tromsø, Norway
The game in question was between Gelfand and Short himself (as black) from the Tilburg-tournament in 1990. I reckoned that if Short was demonstrating a game played 22 years ago, he surely had to be one of the contesters. The structure (especially the pawn on e3!) suggested that Short was black and the rest wasn`t to difficult. Playing through the game now makes me realize that the position lacks a white bishop on c1 and a very strong black knight on e4. Probably Short is demonstrating what will happen if white had played Bd2 Nzd2 and is most likely about to put the f3-knight on d2 when the picture was taken.

Mr. Short has won tournaments in very many countries, but I only managed to find the following: Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, England, Estonia, Bangladesh, Spain, France, Angola, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Canada, China, Thailand, Switzerland, Hungary, India and Romania = 19 countries in total. I didn`t take into account rapid-chess tournaments, but know he has won one in Poland. I also didn't include winning the British Championship in Wales. And of course I wouldn't be surprised he has won a tournament or two in Ireland, Scotland and Greece. Actually he shared first with Michael Adams in the Irish Bunratty-tournament last year, but lost the tie-breaks.

Swayams Mishra, Bhubaneswar, India
Gelfand Vs Short,Tiburg 1990 where Mr. Short won. It was easy to find because Mr. Short would have played and won the game. And the position looks like a Queen Pawn opening, hence Mr. Short should be black. And Gelfand was his opponent. Answer to the second question is 23 countries.

Peter Vavrak, Toronto, Canada
Gelfand-Short (CessBse position search). Nigel won tournaments in 77 countries...

Paul Jackson, Lancaster Englang
Boris Gelfand v Nigel D Short, Tilburg 1990. Found from your own database. 22 countries.

Pathik Desai, Mumbai, India
The answer to the first question is Gelfand Boris - Nigel Short which was played in Tilburg 18.09.90. First I thought that "two world championship contenders" would mean championship contenders of the same year, i.e 1990, who would challenge Garry Kasparov, but looking at Wikipedia I found that only the candidates final between Karpov and Timman was played in 1990, and looking it up in the database found no answer. Then on second thought one would wonder that obviously since Nigel Short himself is giving a lecture it should be one of his games. Hence started the hunt of Nigel Short vs all the candidates, but in vain. So I visited your page again and I noticed the position in the previous picture (noticed the black pawn on f5 and so should be the same game) and this was easy to play on board as it were only 5 or 6 moves and voila!! The search engine just came up with few results and finally looking at Gelfand vs Nigel brought a smile on my face, "hah, a trick question i thought! definitely not the world championship contenders of the same era! Coming to the second question,seems to me that Nigel Short won tournaments in 19 countries if one doesn't add his match winnings. Along with match winnings it is plus four countries so it would be 23 countries.

Jorge Shinozaki, Tokyo, Japan
1. Gelfand vs Short (Tilburg 1990). Thank you for the helpful hints. Knowing beforehand that it's a game from 1990 between two world champion challengers, I guessed that Nigel was commenting about his own game and it was a piece of cake to find the game with Dutch Defense formation. 2. Nigel Short has won a tournament in 34 different countries.

Pawel Mikolajczyk, Wroclaw, Poland
1. He is analysing game: Boris Gelfand - Nigel Short from Tilburg 1990 round 10. I used a hint that it is game from 1990 and WCh challengers. I have checked my database with games for Nigel Short games in 1990 and then found similar setting of pieces in this game. 2. This is what is not easy to calculate (also because countries were changes - how to calculate USSR before and after 1990? as separate countries?), but even thou it is difficult. I would say 20 countires as answer.

Yannick Roy, Montréal, Canada
The game displayed was played between Nigel Short and Boris Gelfand in Tilburg 1990, Short won with black. I knew the game, having studied it deeply while working the Dutch opening. Just Kidding: I entered the position in my old Fritz 9 database. As for the number of countries in which Nigel Short won a chess tournament, that seems more difficult. I counted 16 on Wikipedia (assuming Nigel Short would count Gibraltar, which is up for debate) and added Canada for a total of 17. Knowing Short is a trivia buff and considering he is ardently thriving for this Guinness record, I thought maybe I should add one or two to take into account his cunningness and will to compete. Maybe some obscure tournament is not mentioned on Wikipedia? Nah, 17 is my final answer.

Here is the game Nigel Short was discussing in Edmonton:

[Event "Tilburg"] [Site "Tilburg"] [Date "1990.09.18"] [Round "10"] [White "Boris Gelfand"] [Black "Nigel Short"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A84"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "1990.??.??"] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 d5 5. Bd3 c6 6. h3 Bd6 7. g4 O-O 8. Qc2 Na6 9. a3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 b5 11. Be2 b4 12. Na4 bxa3 13. bxa3 Ne4 14. Nf3 Qa5+ 15. Kf1 ({Nigel explained to us that in the picture he is in the process of analysing the line} 15. Bd2 Nxd2 16. Nxd2 {He has returned the white knight to f3 and is about to replace the captured black knight and bishop.}) 15... Nc7 16. Nb2 Ba6 17. Nc4 Qd5 18. Rg1 fxg4 19. Rxg4 Ng3+ 20. Rxg3 Bxg3 21. Kg2 Bh4 22. e4 Qh5 23. Nxh4 Qxh4 24. Be3 Rf6 25. Rh1 Raf8 26. Rh2 Rxf2+ 27. Bxf2 Qxf2+ 28. Kh1 Qe1+ 0-1

How many countries?

Counting the number of different countries in which Nigel Short had won tournaments (first, equal first, and including weekends, but not matches) was not so easy to determine: with Nigel's help we counted 29 countries: Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Peru, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela. Gibraltar was not included as a separate country.

The winner of the Fritz 13 signed by Garry Kasparov was Dave Remijsen of Ekeren, Belgium. Garry had initiated the search during a breakfast in Manchester, where we were discussing Edmonton. "Nigel's going for a record," Garry said. "In how many countries has he won tournanaments? Twenty five? Twenty six?" He gladly signed the program above for the winner of our quiz.

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