After five rounds of play, the score of the world championship match between Gary Kasparov, the champion, and his challenger and former world champion, Anatoly Karpov is 3-2.
Games 4 and 5 ended in draws. Game 6 played Wednesday is adjourned.Of all the games played, Game 4 has brought forth the most comment.
Robert Byrne, chess editor of the New York Times, reported, "Gary Kasparov threw himself with the wild abandon of a berserker at Anatoly in Game 4 of the World Chess championship in Manhattan and was lucky to survive a picket fence defense by the challenger."
The game was adjourned in a position where the champion could force a draw by perpetual check. Kasparov went through the formality of writing down his move and putting it into the referee's envelope for overnight safekeeping. But there was virtually no chance that the game would be continued.
"Those guys are trying to kill each other," said France's 17-year-old grandmaster, Joel Lautier, referring to the sharp opening play by both players.
Mike Valvo, an international master from Perth Amboy, N.J., said, "Kasparov must be losing his mind."
Jonathan Tisdall, an American international master who lives in Norway, said, "Kasparov must be bluffing. I am sure he did not intend it to go this way."
Miguel Najdorf, Argentina's famous grandmaster, commented, "White is better, black is better, nobody is better."
Boris Spassky, a former world champion, dropped in, drew himself up to a table in the analysis room and immediately began calculating Kasparov's chances to attack. He has lost a number of games to Karpov and is certainly not eager for him to take the contest.
Many of the regulars on the tournament circuit unabashedly confessed they did not know what was going on in Kasparov's mind.
Almost everyone believed Karpov would switch to the careful Caro-Kann defense for the fourth game, but he courageously faced the same music with the Flohr-Zaitsev defense in the Ruy Lopez opening as he had in Game 2.
Kasparov's whirlwind attacks, full of fire and invention, have left observers breathless and confused.
And only one person seems able to follow the full implications of the titleholder's daring play - rival Karpov, a defensive genius who occupied the game's throne himself for 10 years before being unseated by Kasparov.
The fourth game was declared a draw without resumption of play. Karpov had offered a draw shortly after midnight, but Kasparov spent the night trying to determine a way to win. He decided Thursday he had no chance for victory and agreed to a draw.
So far, the fifth championship encounter between the two men has been a match unparalleled in the sheer ambition of the players - each seems willing to risk defeat in every game.
The two Soviet grandmasters create games of such complexity that even the grandmasters of chess are shaking their heads in bafflement.
"They seem to have reached a new level - they are playing chess of incredible depth," grandmaster Luis Busquets told Reuters.
Apart from the purely creative show the players are staging, observers revel in discussing the competitive and psychological aspects of the famous Kasparov-Karpov feud.
Chess players view the game as a form of mental boxing, and their terminology is surprisingly vivid.
Kasparov himself has dubbed chess "the most violent of sports," and Spanish master and chess writer Leonto Garcia says, "Chess is the only sport where it is possible to fight for five hours without hitting or speaking to the opponent.
"In football, for example, you can kick the ball, release aggression - in chess it is all held in - tension builds but is never released." Garcia said, adding, "All chess players talk about fighting, killing, when describing games. If you play chess, you learn very quickly that it is violent."
At the board, it is the challenger Karpov who has been under assault, fending off attacks conjured up out of thin air. Game 3 was the best example. Kasparov played with the black pieces, traditionally the defending side.
After only 14 moves the champion offered his strongest piece in a startling bid to wrest the initiative away from Karpov.
"The most spectacular idea ever played at this level," said Dutch grandmaster Gert Ligterink. Karpov escaped his second defeat due to his famous defensive skills, though he still needed some unforced errors by Kasparov who was in time trouble.