Saturday 24 October 2020

The Brussels Encounter OHRA 1986


The Brussels Encounter: OHRA, by William Hartston, Willi Iclicki amd Roger Lancaster, Chequers Chess Publications, London 1987. Lusis 2117

The OHRA tournament, played in Brussels in December 1986, was the first tournament in which Kasparov had competed for three years and his first as world champion. The book claims that the average Elo rating of the six participants (Kasparov, Korchnoi, Hubner, Short, Portisch, and Nunn) made this the strongest tournament in the history of the game. All of this inspired the BBC to choose this event for its new Chess Classic series.


In the Chess Classic series of programs the players narrated a commentary to their games revealing their thoughts during play, in a similar manner to The Master Game broadcast in the 1970s. 

All 30 games from the tournament are included in the book (13 games were covered by the BBC) with annotations by Garry Kasparov, Lajos Portisch, John Nunn, Raymond Keene and Andrew Martin. For each game the bare moves and result are firstly given, this is followed by diagrams showing the position after every pair of moves, followed by a full analysis of the game. the 13 games from the BBC series are then repeated again with the players thoughts at key moments.



These insights into the top players' deliberations are extremely interesting but you have to wonder how candid the players were for this publication, some comments seem very superficial. Not so in the following game between Kasparov and Portisch.


Each round has a brief summary and occasional Off the Board snippets are also included. 

As expected Kasparov was the clear winner scoring 7½ out of 10, losing only to 21 year old Nigel Short. The book states "reputedly the world champion's first ever loss against a younger opponent" - but surely not correct. 


For a six player tournament a huge amount has been packed into this 286 page work.

Chequers Chess Publications published two other books: The Game of the Round: Dubai Olympiad 1986 and The Book of the World Championship: Kasparov vs Karpov: London/Leningrad 1986:


                                         © Michael Clapham 2020


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