The 1990 WCC match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov was held from October 8 to December 30. The match locale was split, with the first 12 games played in New York, USA, and the final 12 in Lyons, France. The prize fund was three million dollars, with 5/8 going to the winner. In case of a tie, the prize fund would be shared equally with Kasparov retaining the title.
Unlike the 1987 WCC cycle in which Karpov was seeded directly into the final candidate match, this time he was only reserved a spot in the quarter finals, and thus had to win three mini-matches in order to face Kasparov. This he accomplished by defeating Johan Hjartason 3½ to 1½, Artur Yusupov 4½ to 3½ and Jan Timman 6½ to 2½.
Perhaps as a psychological ploy, Karpov suggested a last minute change to the rules in the pre-match press conference. Karpov argued that since the results of their last two matches had been so close, that they should continue play, should they become locked in a 12-12 tie. Kasparov received this suggestion with a look of incredulity. “Mr. Karpov is the challenger,” he said, “and he must win the match.”
Leaving New York, the score was tied 6-6 (with one win apiece), but Kasparov turned up the heat in France. The New York Times reported:
Chess experts said Mr. Kasparov had lost confidence and grown nervous in New York after he had squandered the early lead in some games when he moved too fast to put his opponent away. Mr. Kasparov picked up steam, however, in Lyons. The match was tied at 8½ points each after 17 games, but Mr. Kasparov left his opponent almost hopelessly behind by winning the 18th and 20th games.
With a final score of 12½ to 11½, Garry Kasparov retained the title of World Chess Champion.
Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990
New York and Lyons