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Gary Kasparov, the 22-year-old challenger, could have coasted to the world chess championship simply by playing for a draw in the final game of his match with Anatoly Karpov, 34, the titleholder for the last 10 years. But it didn't turn out that way last Saturday in Moscow's Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. Impetuously, Kasparov gambled and pulled off a victory to win the championship 13 to 11.
The showdown game began with both Soviet players moving quickly and aggressively. Karpov is normally very deliberate, but in just over 10 minutes he and Kasparov completed the first 16 moves. Then they played nearly five hours until Kasparov sacrificed a pawn. On his 29th move, Kasparov attacked a rook. Then he sacrificed another pawn, enabling his pieces to enter Karpov's position. Karpov had to give up a knight and then his king became endangered. Karpov's cause looked hopeless, but he didn't concede defeat. With a contemptuous flick of his wrist, he made his 42nd and final move.
The crowd of about 1,500 people began to laugh at Karpov. Security guards ringed the stage to keep order in the hall. Karpov finally resigned, and the crowd broke into wild applause, chanting, "Gary, Gary, Gary" as bouquets landed on the stage. The youngest player to win the world championship, Kasparov raised his fists above his head in triumph.
At a news conference the next day Kasparov was in a somber mood. The new champion said, "I want to say that there is a big difference between the champion Gary Kasparov and the challenger Gary Kasparov." He was referring to his denunciation of the International Chess Federation's decision to end his first match against Karpov last February. Karpov, the Kremlin favorite, had a 5 to 3 advantage in that match but appeared to falter after five months of play. Last summer Kasparov told a Yugoslav magazine that his relations with the Soviet federation could not be worse.
But at the news conference, Kasparov said, "I think that all those questions of July and February are in the past. As the challenger, I wanted the match to proceed in an honest, sportsmanlike fashion, and now that I am the champion, I feel a great responsibility." Asked if he would emulate Karpov, who is chairman of the Soviet Peace Fund and engages in many officially sponsored political activities, Kasparov said, "I shall do everything that I can do for my country."
A comment by sports official Marat Gramov best summed up the Soviet reaction to Kasparov's win. Declared Gramov, "The most important thing is that the title stays in the Soviet Union."
THE FINAL BELL RINGS FOR CUS D'AMATO
Cus D'Amato died last week at age 77 of pneumonia. He was a unique force for good in boxing. He was a man of staunch principle, and even though he guided Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres to world championships and riches, he himself wound up bankrupt in 1970, largely because he had used his money to battle the monopolistic International Boxing Club controlled by mobster Frankie Carbo.
No one in boxing could match Cus's knowledge of strategy and tactics. He never managed Muhammad Ali, but every time AH had a tough fight he would call Cus for advice. At the funeral last week in Catskill, N.Y., there was a wreath from Ali with a card that said, "Cus, you were the Greatest."
In recent years Cus lived in Catskill, where he trained fighters for his close friend Jimmy Jacobs, the handball-champion-turned-film-producer. Cus's latest prodigy was 19-year-old heavyweight Mike Tyson, who has a record of 11-0, all knockouts. Cus was more than Tyson's trainer; he was also his legal guardian.