Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 19 | October 29, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   A Roman Column
   Straight Talk
   Photo Feature
   On Campus
   Time Out
   Slice of Life
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


Time Out

Chess and politics Chess

Apparently , there is no reason why chess should be influenced by politics, or factors having nothing to do with the game itself. But chess players, particularly in closed societies, have had the experience of coming under the shadow of politics .

We do not have to go far to find a grandmaster who left his country because he felt that the chess authorities did not want him to become world champion . Yes, I am talking about Victor Korchnoi who left the former Soviet Union in 1976.

Korchnoi's defection created quite a furore at the time. But he failed to beat Karpov in the two matches for the world championship. That perhaps was not enough to refute the charges that he had brought against the Soviet chess authorities.

Some very unusual things happened during the first title match played in a small town in the Philippines in 1978. The Soviet delegation included a strange man whose duty was to watch Korchnoi from a distance! Even if it was a purely psychological ploy, it was no doubt an extremely unsporting one. The match organisers could not remove the 'Korchnoi watcher' since he was a member of the official Soviet delegation. Interestingly, in those days the Soviet delegations used to be unusually large.

Korchnoi, now 73, is still playing top level chess. It is not easy to understand how he manages to have the concentration needed for success at that level of the game. He drew with GM Ziaur Rahman on the top board in Bangladesh's match with Switzerland in the fifth round of the Chess Olympiad in Spain a few days ago. We lost the match 1-3.

However, much worse things had happened to players in the distant past. Vladimirs Petrovs, a highly talented Latvian chess master, was killed by Stalin's army in the late thirties.

Petrovs proved his class in the very strong Kemeri tournament in 1937. It was the peak of his rather short chess career. Here is how he defeated Swedish Grandmaster Gideon Stahlberg.

White-Vladimirs Petrovs
Black- Gideon Stahlberg [D43]
Kemeri , 1937
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Qb3 dxc4 8.Qxc4 Nd7 9.e4 e5 10.d5 Nb6 11.Qb3 Bc5 12.Be2 0–0 13.0–0 Bg4 14.Rac1 Rfd8 15.Nd1 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qxf3 17.Bxf3 Nd7 18.dxc6 bxc6 19.Bg4 Bb6 20.Rxc6 Nf6 21.Bf3 Rd2 22.a4 Rad8 23.b4 R8d4 24.Rc8+ Kh7 25.a5 Bd8 26.Ne3 Rxb4 27.Nd5 Rxd5 28.exd5 Bxa5 29.Rd1 Rb2 30.Kf1 Bb6 31.Be2 Ne4 32.Rc6 Bd4 33.d6 Nf6 34.Rc7 Rb6 35.Rxd4 exd4 36.Bd3+ g6 37.Rxf7+ 1–0

Position after 27..Nd5


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004