Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you today.

First up here’s something I found while I was trawling through some old editions of The Times at the British Library last Saturday:-

The Times
13th July 1977,
page 8


Geneva, July 12. – The fifth game in the world chess semi-final tournament between Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union and Lajos Portisch of Hungary was postponed today at the request of the former world champion.

“He is just not in the mood”, an organizer said. Portisch leads 2-1.

So When we were Kings “I can’t be arsed” was considered to be a more than adequate reason to disrupt the schedule of a contest to decide the contender for a World Championship Candidates’ final and a game of chess not being played was considered to be a newsworthy event. Those were most definitely the days!

Next we have a more recent appearance of chess in the news. The following headline appeared on page 21 of The Guardian last Tuesday (25th May):-

Anatoly Karpov battles Kremlin for control of world chess
Ex-champion stands for president of Fide against Moscow-backed candidate who claims to have encountered aliens

It’s very much like the interview with Viktor Korchnoi that The Independent ran last December; Viktor spoke to the Indy during the London Chess Classic and The Guardian published their article just days after the conclusion of the Anand-Topalov World Championship match and yet they both almost completely ignore the top-level action that was going on around them. Still, never mind the quality feel the width; they're near-as-damn-it full page reports relating to chess and that’s got to be a good thing.

As the headline suggests the Grauniad report covers Karpov's run for the FIDE presidency and observes that one of the reasons that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is under pressure is because of his failure to promote chess on the international stage. “The 2010 world championship, won in Sofia by Viswanathan Anand, made few ripples” they say and while that may well be true it does seem a bit rich coming from the paper that was alone amongst what we used to call the broadsheets in not running daily reports from the frontline.

Anyway the article is well worth a look if you haven’t already seen it if for no other reason than it contains Karpov’s marvellous response to the powers-that-be’s decision to evict the Russian Chess Federation from their Moscow offices after Anatoly and not Kirsan got nominated for the FIDE post –

"Knocking the pieces off the board when you lose does not change the result"

Finally we owe a big thank you to one of our regular commenters. George tracked down the Hodgson-Arkell game that Simon Williams mentioned in the second part of his interview last week. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:-

Cheers for the find George.


ejh said...

I hope to be writing a piece or two in June about the Karpov campaign. I may be slightly more sceptical than most of the press coverage has been, not that that's a hard bar to get over.

Chris Morgan said...

Of course when Fischer and Spassky were playing their World Championship match, there was more of a story there and it was much more in the news, but I seem to remember when Kasparov, Karpov and Korchnoi were playing their World Championship matches, there was usually an item on TV news about it, but these days, nothing.
Perhaps because there doesn't seem to be any definite Championship cycle these days, and sometimes there is a tournament, mainstream news can't be bothered to keep up with these complications.