The unpublished games of Nigel Short

by Shahid Ahmed
5/5/2020 – Before the era of digital boards and computers, the only way to keep a game safe was to save the physical score sheet. While most of the games are available on Mega Database, there are a few games of strong players which are not published anywhere. Some of the games of Nigel Short were discovered by the man himself. We decided to compile all games of the former World Championship finalist and current FIDE Vice-President which are unpublished in Mega Database along with a few photos of his score sheets. | Pictured: Short playing Tigran Petrosian in a simul. | Photo: Ottawa Chess Club

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The missing games of the British legend

Short is the first British player to become a World Championship challenger and the only grandmaster to have won a tournament in six continents. He has done everything there is to do, from being a columnist for various leading newspapers and journals to a commentator. His last role as a commentator was in the Women's World Championship held in January this year.

This article is not about all the accomplishments of the legend but about the missing games, the unpublished games of his career.

Short has played and beaten a number of World Champions: Tigran Petrosian (simul), Boris Spassky (rapid), Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, Veselin Topalov, Vladimir Kramnik, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Magnus Carlsen (blitz).

Nigel Short

Ten-year-old Nigel Short giving a simul on 17th May 1976 | Photo: Hans Peters / Anefo / Wikimedia Commons

Assorted games

Born in 1965, Short played some nice attacking games as early as 1975. Against B. Kimber, he won in only 17 moves.


14-year old Short showed his intent towards a king walk for the very first time against Ian Duncan Wells in 1980 in another rematch. It is quite evident that Ian Wells was one of Short's rivals in his childhood. We present the game together with the famous king walk against Jan Timman in 1991.


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

It is quite surprising that a game against Samuel Reshevsky went under the radar for all these years. Reshevsky has played against Akiba Rubinstein, Bobby Fischer, Emmanuel Lasker, Jose Raul Capablanca, Miguel Najdorf, Mikhail Botvinnik, Tigran Petrosian and Vlastimil Hort among the legendary players. Reshevsky faced Short in Lugano in 1985.


Nigel Short, Samuel Reshevsky

The score sheet of Short vs Reshevsky - 10th Lugano Open, 1985 | Photo: Nigel Short

In 1986, Short had a pretty finish against G. Pieterse, also in Lugano.


Secret training matches with Ruslan Ponomariov

Ukraine's Ruslan Ponomariov at the age of 14 years was the youngest grandmaster at that time. He was supposed to defend his World Championship title against Kasparov in September 2003 at Yalta in a fourteen-game match. Few weeks before that, Short played a few secret training games against him. Only one of them (game number eight) had been published so far. Here are the remaining seven, including two annotated by Short himself.


Ruslan Ponomariov

Ponomariov in 2017 | Photo: Pascal Simon

All unpublished games



Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.


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John Upham John Upham 5/6/2020 04:18
The top photograph has nothing to do with Ottawa Chess Club. It was taken at the London Central YMCA chess club in Endell Street, London , WC2H 9DN in around 1975-6.

Next to Nigel is IM Andrew Martin and then GM Glenn Flear. Standing behind we have Leonard Barde, Dominque Conterno, CKD Holland, Howard Tebbs and others.

Dr. John Upham, member 1978 - 1983.
Hypekiller5000 Hypekiller5000 5/6/2020 09:08
interesting to see Reshevsky played Short (°1965) and Lasker (°1868) almost "as good" as Kortchnoi, who played players born 100+ (?) years apart (from memory: DuzKhotimirsky and Carlsen). And maybe Short himself will be a contender for this list (Resevsky: ° 1911), so he just has to wait for the next big talent born in 2011 or later :)
Somewhat Experienced Somewhat Experienced 5/5/2020 03:29
Cross, still cross after all those years???
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 5/5/2020 12:47
Miss his writing in NIC!
cross cross 5/5/2020 10:42
Interesting that my simul game against Kramnik/Short is there. It was amazing to get to play against them, but there was a distressing moment for me. There came a time, just before you see the first 'blunder' mark, where Short paused for a long time to think about his move. There were a lot of options on the board, so I didn't really get to analyze what my own response could be. Kramnik came up and started looking at the board as well, while we both waited for Short to move. Finally Short moved and Kramnik stepped right up. I asked him if I could have a few moments to think, but he said no, I had to move immediately! I literally had to just make a random move with no idea what was happening. I like Kramnik a lot, but I felt that was unfair. They may not take simuls seriously, but for someone like me it was a once in a lifetime experience. I'll certainly never forget getting to play them.