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Politics, Murderers and the Resulting Fun – Part II

Stanislav Pavlovič | January 20, 2012 – 14:32One Comment | 560 views
Politics, Murderers and the Resulting Fun – Part II

It has been a while since the first part. In fact, the second part got lost somewhere in the dim-lit corners of our minds, as well as the oblivion of our content management system. But fortunately, we have found it and now offer you a second and final part of the article.

As you may remember, the article examined the unfortunate, but amusing consequences the politics had on the 1978 World Chess Championship. The first part discussed childish behaviour of both sides – Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov, both USSR-born. Karpov competed under the Soviet flag, korchnoi as “stateless”.

The Great Handshake crisis

Just before the 8th game, Karpov refused to shake hands with Korchnoi, leaving his hand in an awkward midair position.  ”Never! Never will I shake hands with you!” he exclaimed. This was the beginning of communication vacuum between the two. “It will save Viktor having to go into his dressing room to wash his hands after the start of each game,” remarked Raymond Keene, one of Korchnoi’s assistants.

Conflict of Minds

Apart from the annoying behaviour, both sides tried to get an edge using supernatural powers. The Soviet delegation also included Dr. Zukhar, a psycho-neurologist known for his interest in parapsychology and hypnosis. Soviets insisted he was a psychology expert observing Karpov’s work, sleep, rest and mood, and giving necessary advice.  Korchnoi alleged that his true mission was to parapsychologically hinder his concentration. Zukhar was moved all around the playing room, from row to row, but Korchnoi was never satisfied.

As a countermeasure, Korchnoi invited two members of the Ananda Marga movement. Ánanda Márga followers describe Ánanda Márga as a practical philosophy for personal development, social service and all around transformation of society. Others call it a sect and there have also been allegations of their ties to terrorist acts in Australia.

Nevertheless, two Americans, namely Steven Dwyer and Victoria Shepherd, clad in white garments and saffron robes, attended the 18th game and by the 19th game, four days later, they moved in with Korchnoi in his hotel, giving him advice on transcendental meditation.

As it turned out, the couple was tried by Manilla’s court in February on allegations of stabbing an Indian diplomat to death. This created more tension, with Soviets claiming distress about the level of security. The officials have decided to disallow entrance into the Karpov – Korchnoi games by persons of known criminal record.

Bitter Ending

There surely was something rotten in the state of chess that year. Nevertheless, the championship, after many beautiful battles, was finally ended, with Karpov victorious. He won very narrowly – 6:5.  The games themselves, fortunately, were left almost unstained by the bizarre circumstances.

This post is also available in: Slovak


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Comments (1)

  • Rahma says:

    Just to be clear, I’m not sure what the truth about the Vasiukov-Fischer match is. Part of the roasen I included that section of the interview was that I found contradictory claims about it on the internet, which means that Vasiukov’s own comments are certainly of interest (whether you can trust them or not). All I’d say is that I’m personally satisfied that Vasiukov was a good enough blitz player back then to make his beating the 15-year-old Fischer at least a possibility.

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