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"When I began to play, there were no computers—not so much information," he said. "It was more imagination. I never liked too much analytical work. I like more to play with fantasies."
Tal fulfilled his greatest fantasy in 1960 by beating Mikhail Botvinnik, Kasparov's mentor, for the world crown. Tal's swift, seemingly idiotic gambits undermined Botvinnik's scientific precision. But Tal developed kidney disease, lost the rematch and never quite regained prominence. Tal remains one of the game's most feared tacticians and was seeded third in Saint John, but he wasn't given much of a chance to win because grand masters are supposed to pass their prime at around 35.
Tournament organizers had hoped that Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov—the countryman he dethroned in 1985 and defeated in their latest showdown last fall in Seville, Spain—would meet in the final. Their struggle for chess supremacy has spanned 120 games and four title matches over 600 eerily concentrated, unyielding hours.
But the showdown was not to be. Karpov didn't get past the second round, and Kasparov barely did. Karpov is a cautious technician who likes to slowly entrap opponents in a fine mesh of hazards. Instead, he got trapped himself, losing 2� to 1� to 15th-seeded Alexander Chernin of the Soviet Union. "Normally you get five, 10 minutes to relax between moves," Karpov said. "Here you must concentrate all the time. The strain is much greater."
Was time a factor?
"Not time—conditions," Karpov said, referring to the jet lag he still suffered following his trip from the U.S.S.R.
On an adjacent board, Kasparov looked just as listless against Maxim Dlugy, a 22-year-old Soviet �migr� who lives in Leonia, N.J. Kasparov lost the first game, won the next two and then lost the fourth game to send the match into overtime. Although Kasparov wound up beating Dlugy in the second game of sudden death, he showed that he was vulnerable.
He unspooled completely in a 2�-to-1� quarterfinal loss to Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria. Pounding his time clock, covering his face with his fists, shaking his feet under his chair, Kasparov seemed to be having an anxiety attack through much of the match. In a remarkable lapse in Game 2, he squandered his time studying Georgiev's moves and then he miscalculated badly, blundering into a stalemate.
"It was the most hideous mistake I've ever seen by a world champion," said David Goodman, a British international master. "In a slower game such an error would have been inconceivable."
When a TV reporter asked Kasparov why he lost, he said, "I played badly!" Then he stalked off to his hotel room.