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Old February 15th 15, 08:34 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Chessbase interview with Karpov

We met in Karpov's office in the Duma around New Year. It was snowing outside. Spending his holidays in warmer climes was not to Karpov's taste.

If possible, we've always spent the holidays in family and in Moscow. This time we will spend the holidays modestly. My wife and I are not fans of large parties the 12th World Champion explained.

In documentaries about you, we learn and see you enjoying ice baths. Do you still?

I am not sure if I should still do it. Over the years, ice swimming has become more dangerous. I tried it for the first time on the eve of 2000. In the night before New Year I immersed myself in the icy water to celebrate the transition to the new millennium.

What did you feel?

Stress. One shouldn't indulge in this for too long. There are people stay in the hole for a very far long time. This is not correct from a medical point of view. But if you do it only briefly, you can feel it stimulating your circulation.

You had planned to play a game of chess in the ice hole.

It was limited to a single move. I entered three times and then quickly went to the sauna to warm myself.

We asked Mikhail Boyarsky about his most unusual New Year. He immediately replied: "In a helicopter over Gudermes (Chechnya)." What was your most unusual New Year?

I can remember the New Year that I celebrated the least. I spent the entire night from 1971 to 1972 playing chess. It was the traditional English tournament in Hastings. I was playing the last game. I had to win. Four roudns before the end I was 2.5 points ahead of Kortchnoi, but then I lost a game, followed by two draws and Kortchnoi began to win. To finish first, I had to beat the British player Markland, who was not even a grandmaster. The game was set for 11 PM, which meant well after midnight Moscow time. I went to the hotel and sat down to prepare myself. Two hours later I went there and by five in the morning Moscow time I had won.

I have often spent New Year abroad: in 1966 in Czechoslovakia, in 1968 in Holland. In 1972 I was with Paul Keres in Mexico. The return from this trip was an adventure.

Why?

The flight was suddenly canceled and we did not come with a direct flight to Europe. Today in the Internet age it is all very simple. At the time Paul Petrovich has saved us. He had interesting hobbies. He owned one of the most fabulous record collections in the Soviet Union, he had many first editions. It wasn't this hobby that helped us in Mexico, but another. He always had the flight plans of different airlines, so Keres sat down and put together a route. We then flew as follows: Mexico - USA- Montral - Amsterdam - Prague - Moscow. The alternative would have been to wait for five days.

We have been told that Kasparov earned a fortune by teaching Carlsen. When was the last time you were offered a solid fee to work as a coach?

I do not know if it's true that Kasparov became rich this way. This is probably not true. I have not trained anyone.

Not interested?

I don't have the time. I could act as a consultant, but prepare someone for the world title fight, working on their opening repertoire? No. I still play chess because it's fun, and usually blitz chess. I enjoy playing with Karjakin and Morozevich.

The brain of a chess player is somewhat special. Have you noted changes with age?

The speed is different. The reaction is not as good as before. I no longer play at the level of the greatest chess players on the planet.

What do they have over you? How are they better?

They have better knowledge. They sit at the computer several hours a day. I'm definitely do not. I play at the board. On the other hand if I come out of the opening without being in a situation where someone "caught" me, the position is still acceptable. Then I have problems with no one. Also, because the quality of the players has worsened. In the autumn, Carlsen and Anand were playing, and I came to the final. The FIDE Vice President Georgios Makropoulos came to me and said: "Judging by today's games, even an out-of-shape Karpov would beat either of them..."

Has your memory worsened?

It takes longer to remember variants.

And in everyday life?

In cities where I have been more than once, I can remember well. I could even draw a map and position all the streets. I only got lost once - in a suburb of Brussels.

Is there someone who stood out for his amazing memory?

Yury Balashov was unique. In the Botvinnik School he already knew every participant of every Soviet Championship, including every game, and of course, the results. He could instantly calculate on which day of the week, let's say, March 5th, 1923 fell. The answer came after one second. He had special techniques.

Why didn't Balashov become a great player?

Memory is an important tool, but not the most important. My father had, as far as technique, a fantastic memory.

Could you give an example?

He was chief engineer at a plant in Tula. 13 thousand workers. You can imagine how much detail went on there. My father had the nationally defined standards of each individual worker in his head! That was an eight-digit number followed by some letters. My memory is not as good as my father's.

On the other hand, you know geography perfectly thanks to your travels. Better than Senkevich.

I do not like Africa, and have never been to Central Africa. Nor have I been to New Zealand, Tasmania and Tierra del Fuego.

Are there any countries in Europe you may have "missed"?

No, nor is there a big city I have not been to.

The following story is known. During the World title fight against Korchnoi, in 1978 in Baguio someone tried to poison you. The special security measures taken were obviously not in vain.

We had expected trouble. Even as we prepared for the match with Fischer. In these battles, it was not just about chess. For Korchnoi, as far as the general situation was concerned, it was even more complicated. The Filipinos were very friendly towards me. Personal contacts play a very important role.. In Baguio, on the organizer's side, I was looked after by a former pilot of Eisenhower.

Sounds exciting ...

Yes, a colonel in the American Air Force. His wife was either Miss Asia or Miss World, an impressive lady. He himself left and moved to the Philippines. After a few days we had become friends. He was the one who helped me solve a problem: I played tennis. All around there were only "difficult" tennis courts.

Directly beneath the windows of my hotel was the recovery base for American airmen who fought in Vietnam. The colonel invited me there where I was received by the General, the chief of the base. He had no objection, "Anatoly can come whenever he wants and get what he needs!" When I got hold of some time between the typhoons, I immediately went to the tennis court. The typhoon were extremely powerful. This is something I've seen only once in my entire life!

How was it exactly?

The first started at 8 AM until it ended, the next came an hour later. In three months over four times the rainfall of Moscow in a year fell upon us. Whenever the rain gave it a rest I would call the base, "I'm coming in 20 minutes!" Once a celebration was organized for the delegation. We went to a bowling alley, which belonged to the base and I saw that it was "closed for cleaning", an expression not restricted to the Soviet Union. The Americans hung the exact same sign on the door after they let in us.

Korchnoi was informed about your friendship with the Americans?

After learning that they supported us, he started a scandal by using the press. He was of the opinion that the Americans should be supporting him.

Tal said that if you had lost in Baguio, the sport of chess would have been declared a pseudo-science in the Soviet Union.

Maybe he just had a hangover and dreamed that up. At that time, he has also said that I had prepared everything to not return to the Soviet Union if I had lost the match. Utter nonsense.

We have read about how Korchnoi prepared himself for the match with you. Some chess players have confirmed this. Viktor Lvovich had your picture hung on the wall and spat on it.

This is the first time I hear this. I would be very surprised if that were true. I myself have never felt the desire to hang an opponent's portrait to prepare myself this way. Was this actually told to you?

Yes, Mark Taimanov, and he was not the only one.

Hmmm... Botvinnik, Korchnoi and Kasparov had to hate the opponent to play successfully. I belong to a different type of chess players. I'm like Keres, Spassky and Portisch. On the board we fight, but in life we get along great.
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Old February 15th 15, 01:04 PM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Chessbase interview with Karpov

On 15/02/2015 09:34, Offramp wrote:

[snip]


1. Why didn't you post a link instead?
2. Karpov gave this interview to Спорт-*кспресс, and not to ChessBase.
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Old February 18th 15, 12:54 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Chessbase interview with Karpov

On Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 12:34:08 AM UTC-8, Offramp wrote:
We met in Karpov's office in the Duma around New Year. It was snowing outside. Spending his holidays in warmer climes was not to Karpov's taste.

If possible, we've always spent the holidays in family and in Moscow. This time we will spend the holidays modestly. My wife and I are not fans of large parties the 12th World Champion explained.

In documentaries about you, we learn and see you enjoying ice baths. Do you still?

I am not sure if I should still do it. Over the years, ice swimming has become more dangerous. I tried it for the first time on the eve of 2000. In the night before New Year I immersed myself in the icy water to celebrate the transition to the new millennium.

What did you feel?

Stress. One shouldn't indulge in this for too long. There are people stay in the hole for a very far long time. This is not correct from a medical point of view. But if you do it only briefly, you can feel it stimulating your circulation.

You had planned to play a game of chess in the ice hole.

It was limited to a single move. I entered three times and then quickly went to the sauna to warm myself.

We asked Mikhail Boyarsky about his most unusual New Year. He immediately replied: "In a helicopter over Gudermes (Chechnya)." What was your most unusual New Year?

I can remember the New Year that I celebrated the least. I spent the entire night from 1971 to 1972 playing chess. It was the traditional English tournament in Hastings. I was playing the last game. I had to win. Four roudns before the end I was 2.5 points ahead of Kortchnoi, but then I lost a game, followed by two draws and Kortchnoi began to win. To finish first, I had to beat the British player Markland, who was not even a grandmaster. The game was set for 11 PM, which meant well after midnight Moscow time. I went to the hotel and sat down to prepare myself. Two hours later I went there and by five in the morning Moscow time I had won.

I have often spent New Year abroad: in 1966 in Czechoslovakia, in 1968 in Holland. In 1972 I was with Paul Keres in Mexico. The return from this trip was an adventure.

Why?

The flight was suddenly canceled and we did not come with a direct flight to Europe. Today in the Internet age it is all very simple. At the time Paul Petrovich has saved us. He had interesting hobbies. He owned one of the most fabulous record collections in the Soviet Union, he had many first editions. It wasn't this hobby that helped us in Mexico, but another. He always had the flight plans of different airlines, so Keres sat down and put together a route. We then flew as follows: Mexico - USA- Montral - Amsterdam - Prague - Moscow. The alternative would have been to wait for five days.

We have been told that Kasparov earned a fortune by teaching Carlsen. When was the last time you were offered a solid fee to work as a coach?

I do not know if it's true that Kasparov became rich this way. This is probably not true. I have not trained anyone.

Not interested?

I don't have the time. I could act as a consultant, but prepare someone for the world title fight, working on their opening repertoire? No. I still play chess because it's fun, and usually blitz chess. I enjoy playing with Karjakin and Morozevich.

The brain of a chess player is somewhat special. Have you noted changes with age?

The speed is different. The reaction is not as good as before. I no longer play at the level of the greatest chess players on the planet.

What do they have over you? How are they better?

They have better knowledge. They sit at the computer several hours a day. I'm definitely do not. I play at the board. On the other hand if I come out of the opening without being in a situation where someone "caught" me, the position is still acceptable. Then I have problems with no one. Also, because the quality of the players has worsened. In the autumn, Carlsen and Anand were playing, and I came to the final. The FIDE Vice President Georgios Makropoulos came to me and said: "Judging by today's games, even an out-of-shape Karpov would beat either of them..."

Has your memory worsened?

It takes longer to remember variants.

And in everyday life?

In cities where I have been more than once, I can remember well. I could even draw a map and position all the streets. I only got lost once - in a suburb of Brussels.

Is there someone who stood out for his amazing memory?

Yury Balashov was unique. In the Botvinnik School he already knew every participant of every Soviet Championship, including every game, and of course, the results. He could instantly calculate on which day of the week, let's say, March 5th, 1923 fell. The answer came after one second. He had special techniques.

Why didn't Balashov become a great player?

Memory is an important tool, but not the most important. My father had, as far as technique, a fantastic memory.

Could you give an example?

He was chief engineer at a plant in Tula. 13 thousand workers. You can imagine how much detail went on there. My father had the nationally defined standards of each individual worker in his head! That was an eight-digit number followed by some letters. My memory is not as good as my father's.

On the other hand, you know geography perfectly thanks to your travels. Better than Senkevich.

I do not like Africa, and have never been to Central Africa. Nor have I been to New Zealand, Tasmania and Tierra del Fuego.

Are there any countries in Europe you may have "missed"?

No, nor is there a big city I have not been to.

The following story is known. During the World title fight against Korchnoi, in 1978 in Baguio someone tried to poison you. The special security measures taken were obviously not in vain.

We had expected trouble. Even as we prepared for the match with Fischer. In these battles, it was not just about chess. For Korchnoi, as far as the general situation was concerned, it was even more complicated. The Filipinos were very friendly towards me. Personal contacts play a very important role. In Baguio, on the organizer's side, I was looked after by a former pilot of Eisenhower.

Sounds exciting ...

Yes, a colonel in the American Air Force. His wife was either Miss Asia or Miss World, an impressive lady. He himself left and moved to the Philippines. After a few days we had become friends. He was the one who helped me solve a problem: I played tennis. All around there were only "difficult" tennis courts.

Directly beneath the windows of my hotel was the recovery base for American airmen who fought in Vietnam. The colonel invited me there where I was received by the General, the chief of the base. He had no objection, "Anatoly can come whenever he wants and get what he needs!" When I got hold of some time between the typhoons, I immediately went to the tennis court. The typhoon were extremely powerful. This is something I've seen only once in my entire life!

How was it exactly?

The first started at 8 AM until it ended, the next came an hour later. In three months over four times the rainfall of Moscow in a year fell upon us.. Whenever the rain gave it a rest I would call the base, "I'm coming in 20 minutes!" Once a celebration was organized for the delegation. We went to a bowling alley, which belonged to the base and I saw that it was "closed for cleaning", an expression not restricted to the Soviet Union. The Americans hung the exact same sign on the door after they let in us.

Korchnoi was informed about your friendship with the Americans?

After learning that they supported us, he started a scandal by using the press. He was of the opinion that the Americans should be supporting him.

Tal said that if you had lost in Baguio, the sport of chess would have been declared a pseudo-science in the Soviet Union.

Maybe he just had a hangover and dreamed that up. At that time, he has also said that I had prepared everything to not return to the Soviet Union if I had lost the match. Utter nonsense.

We have read about how Korchnoi prepared himself for the match with you. Some chess players have confirmed this. Viktor Lvovich had your picture hung on the wall and spat on it.

This is the first time I hear this. I would be very surprised if that were true. I myself have never felt the desire to hang an opponent's portrait to prepare myself this way. Was this actually told to you?

Yes, Mark Taimanov, and he was not the only one.

Hmmm... Botvinnik, Korchnoi and Kasparov had to hate the opponent to play successfully. I belong to a different type of chess players. I'm like Keres, Spassky and Portisch. On the board we fight, but in life we get along great.

Korchnoi was also inspired by his wife to hate the enemy.

Petra Leeuwerik did not tolerate anything connected to the Soviet Union. She showed this in her behavior and comments.

Wasn't she sent to a Soviet camp?

Yes, but it is connected. She has spent the best years in a Soviet prison, but for good reason. She said so herself. She was - it seems to me not too successful - a spy. However, she only managed to work in this capacity for three days.

Betrayal and parapsychology
Once in an interview you commented that in 1962 Korchnoi had deliberately dumped a game to Petrosian. "Their wives were friends and the wife of Petrosian persuaded Kortchnoi's wife Bella to lobby her husband to lose on purpose. Since it made no difference by that point, he agreed." Have you ever been asked to deliberately lose a game?

(Editor's note: This is in reference to the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curacao, where Korchnoi lost two of his four games against Petrosian. Later in 1971 Petrosian was promoted as the next rival to Fischer, as it was believed he had the best chances...)

Yes, it has happened. In the Candidates Final in 1990 against Jan Timman. The winner of the candidates would earnt the right to play against Kasparov. One of the sponsors of the Dutch grandmaster asked me straight out: If you're tired of facing Kasparov, I am prepared to compensate you to lose the match to Jan. How much do you want?

What was your answer?

Nothing! If I agree, I will lose my self-respect. I believe Jan knows nothing of this episode.

The most painful betrayal in your life?

Beliavsky. We were friends and worked together in 1986. A year later he went to Kasparov.

What did he tell you?

Nothing at all. He said nothing. I simply learned at some point that he was there.

Had you quarreled? Or was it a question of money?

The circumstances that led him to take this step are not known to me. There was no conflict between us. Even if there had been a disagreement, it is morally wrong to immediately go work for the opponent. Finally it comes down to chess secrets and nuances of preparation. But Beliavsky found this perfectly normal. In general, there have been a lot of defectors in chess at all times. Once the world champion loses his title, many around him will switch and try to be part of the winner's camp. When I became FIDE world champion again many tried to come back, but that train had already left.

Was Beliavsky among them?

No, he knew that the feelings toward him were very negative, not as a chess player but as a person.

Your parapsychologist Vladimir Suchar also switched to Kasparov's camp. Isn't that also betrayal?

That is a different situation. Suchar liked to present himself to journalists, telling them what a great psychologist he was. The crazy Petra Korchnoi always poured gasoline on the fire, instead told Korchnoi: "Viktor, don't concern yourself with such useless things."

Originally, I had invited Suchar to the match with Korchnoi in Moscow in 1974 as a counter action. In Kortchnoi's team a parapsychologist showed up and I was tense for this reason. I knew the character of Viktor Lvovich: If he has something that his rivals doesn't, he gains confidence from this. His forces grow.

I noticed this man in the very second game. At that time I did not know who he was. I described his appearance to my coach Furman and was told: "I didn't want to mention it ... Korchnoi has brought a parapsychologist." My doctor Mikhail Gershanovich suggested he call up Suchar. "I studied at the military medical academy with him. He is now in Moscow, working in psychology. Let him come and they will work against each other!"

Suchar has - it seems - worked at the Center for Space Medicine?

Exactly. He is a specialist in sleep and learning foreign languages in your sleep. However, in Baguio, all he demonstrated was utter incompetence. After the Game 22 I suffered from insomnia. He sat there the first night, and then the second - to no avail. At six in the morning I told him, "Vladimir Petrovich, do not torture yourself. I can hear you whispering. I will try to fall asleep on my own" - He said, "You have such a strong nervous system! I cannot penetrate it." He could not, even though I wanted him to! And if I had opposed it? On the whole Suchar's defection to Kasparov's team did not worry me.

And Tofik Dadashev? Did he tell you, years later, what Kasparov tasked him with?

Dadashev has told it this way, and one can read all about it in his articles. He told me the same thing, but I do not believe he was sincere. I noticed him before the last game of the match in 1985. I arrived a bit earlier in the room, and there weren't many spectators yet. I became aware of a man in the sixth row. During the game, I often caught his eye. Dadashev has claimed that he was trying to muster strength for Kasparov. No! He was clearly working against me.

For some things I have a feeling. I do not think that psychics can exert constant influence. If so, then only for a short period of time. I suspect that was the case here. Dadashev captured the moment when my nervous system was somewhat relaxed and was able to penetrate it. He destroyed my concentration. There is no other explanation for what happened thereafter, absolutely none.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Kasparov had eight minutes to make sixteen moves. This is a terrible shortage of time, even more so when you have a bad position. I had 46 minutes, and a completely winning position. And then the unbelievable happens! I miss the win! Of course I would be able to achieve a draw, even when a draw would have achieved nothing. But I was so upset that I lost in the end.

Sometime later, on our way to a tournament, Kasparov would not give it a rest on the plane. Using the computer he tried to prove that his position was not dead lost. He did his analysis. I waved it off and said, "It's all forgotten." But Dadashev had an effect on both me and the history of chess. If I had won that game and as a result that match, Kasparov would not have become world champion. I do not think he would have been able to bear it.

What about the hypnotist from Odessa in your team who proposed piercing the cheeks with needles?

Grisha Rozhkovsky. He was not actually part of the team, but we had a good relationship. An exceptional personality. Leaving aside the needles, Grisha freaked us out in another case. He was extremely displeased when I lost the last game against Kasparov in 1985. The match was over, and we sat there eating, dejected. Quietly Grisha took a piece of cut-glass and began to eat it.

Huh?

Yes, yes, you hear me right! It crunched when he bit into and while he chewed it. Before the eyes of the entire team he ate the glass. Maybe he wanted to cheer us up. But the shock of defeat was followed by the shock of what we had just seen. Grisha, however, continued to eat normally, as if nothing had happened.

Kasparov and the 1984 match interruption
It would seem that everything that could be said about the match against Kasparov has been said and written. Have there been any subsequent revelations on the subject? Something that is only now coming to the fore?

There are still mysteries that only the former deputy chairman of the State Commission for Sport, Marat Gromov, could shed light on. Only he knows what he told Campomanes, the FIDE president, in the car, whose instructions he then followed. An extremely unpleasant citizen.

What could he have said?

I took leave of Campomanes in Gramov's office. Campomanes got into the car to drive to the press conference. He was to announce the match with Kasparov would continue. I know for sure that someone called him and he then changed his mind. He had to cancel the match.

Karpov and Kasparov played Fischer's idea of the first to six wins, and the result in 1984 was a match that was still going after five months

Have you any idea why?

Someone called him on behalf of Gramov. Probably an order by Gaydar Aliyev. But what did he say? Why did Campomanes change his mind all of a sudden?

They must have been strong arguments.

And how!

Have you spoken with Campomanes about this?

What was there to admit? This is the president of an international sports federation, who can issue commands that are not subject to the law!

The match was not to be played anymore in the Pillar Hall due to a number of deaths in the Central Committee. First Ustinov died, followed relatively quickly by Chernenko.

Chernenko died sometime during the 40-plus games. You understand, it was expected that the Hall would be cleared for the funeral.

You later visited Kasparov in jail after he was arrested in the "Dissenters' March" and imprisoned for five days.

They arrested him wrongly. I went there, but even I was not allowed to see Kasparov. Suddenly all the generals were gone. There was some colonel there who said, "I can not take this decision..."

Was that in "Matrosskaya Tishina"? (Ed: a well-known Moscow detention facility)

No, in Petrovka. They have an entire building of detention cells.

What did Kasparov later say? "Thank you, Tolya?"

No, but he was touched. When we visited the radio station "Echo Moskvy" there was one statement he did not like. He began to speak of the difficult conditions as there were four beds in the cell. I clarified, "Garry, the four beds there don't matter since you were alone in the cell." Whereupon Kasparov frowned.

Is there something that really surprised you at Petrovka?

No, nothing. I know it well.

My God. How come?

That was long ago. There is a fantastic Museum. I had befriended the head of the Moscow Criminal Investigation. In the movie "The colorful gang of Moscow", he was the prototype of the investigators. He invited me, "Drop by, it is incredibly interesting!"

What exhibit do you remember?

At that time there was one story on everyone's lips, where a lot of an unbelievable amount of money was stolen from a bank in Yerevan. They had succeeded in bypass the alarm system and security. They had everything thoroughly investigated and drilled a hole in the ceiling. They then entered from the upper floor, and stole two million rubles. Can you imagine how much money that was in 1977? In the museum they showed us just how much money stealing that would be if you stole it in one or three-kopek coins?

Around ten kilograms.

Ten is nothing. Try to calculate the correct number!

I have no idea, Anatoly.

I'll tell you. There was a brigade of technicians responsible for the maintenance of the agricultural services at the exhibition hall (Ed: a typical Soviet exhibit to show their achievements). They stole over 300 thousand from the vending machines and it brought in the very best members of the Judicial Police to help. Today it is not so difficult to catch such a band, but at that time it was absolutely impossible to find who they were. Until they devise a powder that was sprinkled over the machine, the thefts continued. They began to review the brigades and quickly found the right one.


I am trying to find out who this was:

Yes, a colonel in the American Air Force. His wife was either Miss Asia or Miss World, an impressive lady.

Who could that be? I assume she was a Filipina.
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Old February 18th 15, 01:06 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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Very important news, if true.

"This is in reference to the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curacao, where Korchnoi lost two of his four games against Petrosian. Later in 1971 Petrosian was promoted as the next rival to Fischer, as it was believed he had the best chances."

They are saying that Korchnoi dumped two games to Petrosian in Curacao so that Petrosian would win the tournament and not Fischer and thus qualify for the World Championship.

Later Korchnoi played Petrosian in Candidates matches for the World Chess Championship. Because of the result of Curacao 1962 everybody expected Petrosian to win, but Korchnoi beat Petrosian in both 1974 and 1977.

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Old February 25th 15, 11:31 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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The meetings with Fischer
Your most memorable encounter with Fischer?

1976 in Tokyo. We talked from 7 PM to 1 AM. The reason I remember the exact time of our meeting, is because at the other side of the world Korchnoi was in a police station at Amsterdam requesting political asylum.

Did you have secret meetings on an eventual match that might take place?

Yes. That was how I got my first gray hair - in Moscow I story circulated that I planned to sell the World Title to Fischer. As a result, the KGB started a file on me.

Was it clear to you that Fischer was crazy?

Crazy how?

You yourself said in an interview that Bobby had paranoiac disorders.

That does not mean that he was crazy. But anomalies were certainly visible.

A sick person?

This too is debatable. Perhaps this is not so abnormal? If you are unable to restrain your thoughts, and are compelled to express them, is that a disease? Or a lack of upbringing? If Fischer had something in his mind, he would immediately interrupted you, "No, no, let me say something ...".

Your last meeting with him?

In America. But the meeting in Spain was more interesting. We ate at a small restaurant and decided to go for a walk. We had barely started down the streets when we were surrounded on all sides by people who wanted autographs.. We had to flee in the truest sense of the word!

You were not worried, but it may have been stressful for Fischer

We no longer walked in the streets, and talked at the hotel. Then I went to play the end of a tournament playing at the end, and he stayed in Spain two more days. Together with Campomanes we went to Madrid. I told Fischer that I would stay at the Hotel at Barajas Airport. I had to stay there because the flight would leave the first thing in the morning. At one o'clock, the phone rang and it was Campomanes. "We have an idea. Can Bobby and I come to meet you? " " Of course ... ", I replied.

We talked for another two hours. Our last meeting was held in Washington. 1977. The match was as good as agreed upon. We went to the Philippine Consulate. Campomanes located a typist who typed out the entire agreement. But still the match never took place.

Do you really never meet again? The world is small.

Sometimes not so small. Bobby lived in Budapest. I was there often. But I had never once visited the famous Baths on Gellert Hill, which the Turks built in 1466. Once some friends persuaded me to go. My flight to Moscow was at about eleven, and it was seven still, so I went to the sauna. I swam around a bit in the pool and rested on the stairs. They are very wide, and everyone sits on them. A Hungarian recognized me as he swam by, and greeted me, "Did you know you are sitting in the same place Fischer usually sits? You might still run into him. Will you be here long? " - " An hour or so. " - " Bobby comes at 11:30. I see him regularly ... ".

Fischer died young.

Yes, he was only 64 years old. He was admitted to the hospital for kidney failure. Nowadays it is an easily treatable problem. As it turned out, he had not taken the medication that had been prescribed to him, and left them lying around. The old paranoia. He feared someone wanted to poison him.

Was there a last question you asked him?

Sure, of course .... At the end we tried to negotiate a match through Lothar Schmid. I was still active in chess, and he still followed chess though he had not played for a long time. Finally, I suggested to him we could play Fischer Random Chess, but he never replied.

On stamps
You appear on more than 200 stamps. Are there any you do not like?

In North Korea they printed a stamp in tribute to my match with Korchnoi. On it both Viktor Lvovich and I look like Koreans. The African stamps on silver foil are also something special. The Brazilian grandmaster Henrique Mecking appears on it looking like a black Africans, while I look like a mulatto.

What is the crown jewel in your stamp collection?

A Cuban stamp series in 1951 commemorating the 30th anniversary of Capablanca's victory over Lasker. There were two versions, one that was perforated, and the other not. The latter were kept in the safe of the company, which had printed the stamps. In 1979, one of the owners died, the safe was opened and we came across a sheet of the non-perforated stamps. They went for $600, which at that time was a considerable sum.

How did they come to you?

A friend, an avid stamp collector, was president of the Spanish Chess Federation for many years. Just before he died, he offered to sell me his collection. The stamps were among them, even two.

What is the most interesting way by which a stamp came to you?

There is a story that made me famous in the world of philatelists. It's about an auction in Belgium in 2000. There are people who get into a fever on such occasions, but I am completely calm. Thanks to chess, I have learned to control my feelings. If the price of an item in an auction went through the roof, then so be it, you cannot have everything. At this auction there were many people unexpectedly. The prices shot up. After a while I realized that the only item left that I really wanted to buy was a XIX century envelope. It was a standard dimensioned envelope with small border. Ok, I think I will fight for this one a bit. The number of bidders declined gradually until the only one left was a Belgian pensioner. He fought and fought and only gave up when the price had reached an astronomical 16,000 Euros. He simply did not have that much money. Yes, and I had driven up the price, but it was really not my style.

Had you gone too far?

In the evening, a friend, the organizer of the auction called me at the hotel:

"There is a rumor that you've bought something special."
"I've got so with a madman fought, he drove me into a corner."
"This is not a madman. This has to do with the envelope. "

This is what was discovered: There was an envelope with 17 stamps, one of which was no longer on the envelope. Before it arrived in the auction, it had belonged to the well-known collection of a Belgian tobacco magnate. The first description was from 1897, when there were no photos. It was noted that a stamp was missing. It was the most expensive item in the history of Belgium mail, the equivalent of 365 Euros today. And the 17th missing stamp found itself in the possession of the pensioner, who had fought with me to get the envelope!

How had he gotten it?

He collected first editions of stamps. He had received the auction catalog, read the description of the envelope and became interested. He then looked in his album, looked at the contours and the post mark and realized this was the envelope it came from. He then rushed, from France where he was living, to the auction in Belgium.

The poor guy.

Why? He sold me the final 17th stamp, not at its nominal value of 60 Euros, but for 3000 Euros, or 50 times its value. Still, it was worth it to me. The price of the complete envelope grew instantly doubled. At the following auction, it was solemnly placed under the surveillance of television cameras. After more than 100 years, including two world wars, the stamp had finally rejoined its envelope intact.

How much is your stamp collection worth?

I have no idea. On the Internet numbers have surfaced at around 13 million Euros, but they are based on estimates that do not know the full content of my collection. To evaluate the whole collection would be a tough job, and I've never tried. Why should I? I don't collect the stamps as an investment and am not trying to sell them. I enjoy seeing the collection grow.

Do you keep your collection in a safety deposit box in the bank?

Yes. It is better to have one in Europe, because the collection is constantly expanding. But a part is also in Moscow.

Do your wife and daughter share your interest?

Sonja not particularly. Natalia has her own passion - she collects Soviet porcelain.

Have you ever thought about who should get your precious treasures after you pass away?

-No. Thinking about it is still too early. In any case, the Chess Olympics series should not be separated. These are the finest collections in the world! Yes, at auctions a lot is sold in parts, if the heirs are not interested in the hobby, but unique collections should remain in the family.

Is there a stamp that is no longer in your collection, and whose loss you bitterly regret?

Not a single one! I would not have won so many tournaments and World Championship matches if I constantly lamented the missed opportunities. Think of the match in Seville with Kasparov in 1987. Ten more seconds and I would have beaten him and regained the world title. Not to mention the fact that it cost me $400,000 in financial terms. If you spend your entire life tormenting yourself, the nervous system breaks down very quickly. Of course I retain the lesson learned from it, but the fact itself, I try to forget.


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Old March 2nd 15, 09:25 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Chessbase interview with Karpov

Karpov on Fischer (1/3)
3/2/2015 - Though most chess players know about the match that never took place in 1975, few know that not only was Anatoly Karpov in Reykjavik in 1972, following the games up close, but that he was also a part of the team responsible for preparing and training Boris Spassky for his title defense. Here is the first part of an interview dedicated to only one topic: Bobby Fischer.

Irwin Fisk: When did you first become aware of Bobby Fischer?

Anatoly Karpov: People started to talk about Fischer, but I was living very far from Moscow at that time and we had no Internet, no TV, so information was slow in coming. But, of course after the Candidates Match everyone knew Fischer.

IWF: How old were you in 1971?

AK: I was 20 years old. I was already one of the strongest grandmasters.

IWF: Spassky was in preparation to play Fischer for the World Championship. Had you played Spassky?

AK: Yes, I played a training match with Spassky. He asked me to play training games, but we played only one game. Spassky won this game even though he had a lost position, but I made a stupid mistake, and after this suddenly Spassky said he doesn't want to continue this training match, so maybe he was happy he beat me in that game.

IWF: Where was this game played?

AK: We were near Moscow.

IWF: Was it at a training facility?

AK: Spassky had a training session before he left for Reykjavik. He had some problems in putting together his team and making last minute preparations, so he wasn't concentrating so much on chess. I stayed at the training session two weeks, and almost every day Spassky was going to Moscow and coming back. It was near Moscow, like 60 km from Moscow, but he had to go to the city every day, so you can't concentrate. We were analyzing a lot. (Efim) Geller was there. Then, (Nikolai) Krogius was there, then Iivo Nei, so that was his team. Reykjavik was soon, and I was there, but the main piece (Spassky) was not there. Spassky only came in the evenings, and as I said it was not very serious what he had done.

IWF: Were you playing at a government facility?

AK: No, it was at a health resort.

IWF: What do you think was going on with Spassky? Why wasn't he coming to train?

AK: He was very self-confident and he had a positive score in his previous games. He had played well against Fischer in previous games before the match. Spassky, as I said, was quite sure he would beat Fischer in spite of the impressive results Fischer showed in the Candidates Matches. It is known that Spassky is not a big worker or hard worker in chess. He is quite lazy, so he didn't work too much on chess. This was the main reason he was defeated by Fischer. If you recall the games, it was game four when Spassky with black showed a fantastic novelty which was prepared by him and his team. I know this novelty. But, what happened is Spassky didn't make the effort to memorize it, because it was winning by force.

Geller told me when they started to repeat this before the game, Spassky, after three or four moves into the novelty, said, "Oh, this is not so important, because I will find the moves over the board." So, he didn't remember the moves and he didn't win the game, which had already been won at home. This was extremely important because Spassky won the first game, a strange game. Better not to say that Spassky won the game, but that Fischer lost the game. Then, Fischer didn't appear for the second game, and Fischer won the third game, so if Spassky had won game four with black, he most probably would have won the match. He just didn't play well after game four.

Both players had lost so much energy in the first eleven games that they were like boxers in the last round. Tired. Spassky could have won many games in the second part of the match, but he missed everything. Then, Fischer won everything. It certainly brought chess to the forefront.

IWF: Did you go to Reykjavik?

AK: No, I didn't go to Reykjavik. This was a mistake by the sport leaders of the Soviet Union, because it was considered that I should go, not as a part of Spassky's team but just to watch and understand the championship match and to get experience. In an official document from the (Soviet) Federation, one of the sports leaders in the Ministry of Sport wrote that it was too early for Karpov to go, because they didn't see a great future for me for the world championship (laughter).

I watched the games (from Reykjavik). We were making preparations for the World Chess Olympiad. I was there with (Tigran) Petrosian and (Paul) Keres and (Viktor) Korchnoi and (Mikhail) Tal. I mostly analyzed with Keres and Korchnoi.

IWF: Where was this?

AK: Near Moscow. I remember that summer because it was very hot and there were fires all around Moscow. Fire of the turf (peat). You could smell the smoke. We were in the city of Dubna. Dubna is famous for its nuclear energy institute, and Dubna at that moment was one of the chess centers. Many scientists played chess, so they liked chess players to come there. So we stayed in the hotel in the middle of the city. We analyzed together with Keres and Korchnoi most of the games that Spassky played against Fischer. I found ways that Spassky could get a winning position in the opening of the Alekhine Defence. Fischer played the Alekhine Defence and Spassky missed a very big advantage.

Spassky was confident he would beat Fischer based on his positive score prior to the match.

IWF: Geller and Krogius went to Reykjavik, as I recall.

AK: It was the team of Spassky, Geller, Krogius and Livo Nei from Estonia. We had our team, the Soviet Union team, which were preparing for the Chess Olympiad.

IWF: What were the team members saying as the Spassky vs. Fischer moves were coming in?

AK: We could see it was a very big fight. Very emotional. Actually, my friends on the team with whom I was working were impressed by one of the adjournments where Fischer had the advantage, but after the adjournment he played a very sharp line and he analyzed very deep because it looked dangerous. But Fischer analyzed very deep and won the game which had many complications.. We were impressed by the quality of his analysis of that game. Fischer showed many novelties in the opening, so it was clear that Fischer had prepared very well.

IWF: I know Fischer was playing 1.e4 so much before the match that there was a cartoon on the cover of Chess Life that featured Spassky at the board, surrounded by the Soviet team. One asks, "But Boris, what if he doesn't play 1.e4?" Were they training for a variety of openings or did they place more emphasis on e4?

AK: I wasn't there for all of the training, but Fischer had to play 1.d4.

IWF: At what point did you and your team realize that Spassky was going to lose the match?

AK: Fischer took the lead very quickly after he lost the first games. Spassky couldn't show anything; he was playing very bad. It was already clear that Fischer was playing better chess at that moment. Later, nobody expected Fischer to lose.

After the strange incidents in the beginning of the match, Bobby Fischer quickly took control

IWF: When Spassky lost, there was a lot of talk that he wasn't treated well..

AK: What do you mean he wasn't treated well?

IWF: The Soviet authorities were unhappy that he lost; there was so much at stake.

AK: The Soviet authorities were very disappointed, and of course chess players had deep (many) privileges within the society until that moment. We started to come under attack years later, not immediately, but at that time the prizes (money) were not taxed. Spassky received the full prize (money) without paying any taxes, but then he began to behave strangely. Probably this was a reaction for his defeat, and so he didn't feel psychologically well.. He started to behave a little bit arrogant. He just made the leaders disappointed and upset. They gave full support to his preparation. They put some conditions which Spassky didn't like about forming his group. They insisted that he have security as part of his team. Spassky didn't want it. Spassky wasn't happy. He was not free to take everyone he wanted and he wanted not to take other people. This, as I understand, was the only inconvenience.

These people thought Spassky should behave differently after losing this important match. He had problems with his private life, which was being criticized at that time. In the Soviet Union, the moral part of life and the private life was to be under control, always. Spassky, from their viewpoint, wasn't behaving well. At the end, they (Soviet authorities) attacked not only Spassky, but all of our advantages. In 1975, they created a law under which we gave part of our prizes (money), a big part of our prizes, to the state.

IWF: Really?

AK: When I played my match with Korchnoi in 1978, I received only 20% of my prize.

IWF: 80% went to the state?

AK: Yes, Spassky received 100%.

IWF: So that hurt chess players from then on.

AK: Before Spassky lost to Fischer, and two years after, we didn't give any money (to the state) from our prizes. From exhibitions, yes, but not from prizes. I was the biggest victim in 1978. We had good money in the Philippines, but I had to give most of my prize to the state.

IWF: Did they call it a tax?

AK: No, actually it wasn't a direct tax. We had to give it to the Sports Ministry. They called it participation in developing sport and chess in the country.

IWF: Didn't Spassky move to France?

AK: Yes, he moved to France in '75. This was described when the leaders said, "This is enough. We gave chess players everything and they didn't behave well.
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Old March 3rd 15, 09:13 AM posted to rec.games.chess.misc
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Default Chessbase interview with Karpov

3/3/2015 - in 1974, Anatoly Karpov defeated Viktor Korchnoi in the Candidate Finals to earn the right to play Bobby Fischer for the title. Although Bobby never showed up, Karpov had no way of foreseeing this, and prepared for it as best he could. Want to know how he got ready for the greatest match in his life? Read on to find out the complete details of his preparation.

Irwin Fisk: At that point, did you know who would become the challenger?

Anatoly Karpov: No, first I played in the Interzonal Tournament in Leningrad which was much stronger than its counterpart in Brazil. It became clear after the quarter finals that we had qualified already Spassky, Petrosian, Korchnoi and myself. I beat Spassky in the second match.

In the second match, the semi-finals, I lost the first game to Spassky, so this was the most difficult match for me. He wanted to play another match with Fischer, so he prepared quite well. When you lose the first game with white against Spassky, this is not a good start. But, then I started playing very well. I think I played my best match against Spassky. I won convincingly.

I faced Korchnoi in the finals, who I beat. Before that Korchnoi had won his match against Petrosian.

We played in the Chess Olympiads in Nice, so this was not only important for chess but also for chess politics. If you remember, Fischer sent an ultimatum to the congress that was taking place in Nice during the Olympiads. I remember in this congress that I made a speech on behalf of myself and Korchnoi, because at that moment we were the two who could play Fischer. I was talking on behalf of two, so we discussed the things we should stress. Korchnoi asked me to talk because it was known that when he became emotional or nervous, he would say much more than he should. At that time we were friends. So I mentioned it to the delegates to the congress, but then when I beat Korchnoi, he gave an interview and changed his position completely. He said a completely different thing, so this was very unpleasant for me. The congress in Nice didn't accept Fischer's demands, and I must say that what he wanted was not realistic.

IWF: So Fischer was making demands even before you became the challenger?

AK: Yes, then he continued to demand these conditions, so we had an extra-ordinary congress in '75 after Nice. In this congress there was a big fight and in the end the delegates accepted one of Fischer's conditions to play without limits to ten wins, which was crazy. Then Fischer sent them telegrams saying if they didn't accept everything from his ultimatum, he wouldn't play.

IWF: At what point did you as the challenger know that you were not going to play Fischer?

AK: The first deadline was the first of April, so Euwe tried to contact Fischer for another two days, the second and third of April, and when he didn't succeed on the fourth of April, he announced me as the new world champion..

IWF: Was there ever a time leading up to that, that you thought Fischer might play?

AK: No, I didn't bother too much. I just made my preparations. I was just doing my job to prepare the best way I could. If I had spent time worrying whether Fischer would play or not, I couldn't make my preparations. I tried not to think about this.

IWF: Once you defeated Korchnoi and became the challenger, was there a preparation team assembled for you?

AK: I made my own choice and continued with the same seconds I had.

IWF: Who were they?

AK: My main one was Semyon Furman. He had been my trainer since 1969. Efim Geller, who helped me with my match against Korchnoi. I needed specialists in the openings. So at that time I was with Efim Geller, and later I invited Balashov who had been my friend for many years, and especially because he got his diploma at the Sports Institute on Fischer's games. He was the Fischer specialist in the team. I also had a fitness team as part of my preparation.

IWF: When the deadline passed, and Max Euwe declared you world champion, where were you?

AK: We were at a training camp near Moscow. I remember I was playing tennis at the time the journalist came from Moscow and said there was a declaration that Fischer hadn't confirmed, so they declared me world champion.

IWF: What was your feeling at that moment?

AK: Two feelings, first, okay, I was happy that I had been declared the new world champion, but second I was not very happy that I couldn't play Fischer.

IWF: Were you angry at Fischer for not playing?

AK: No, it's difficult to say. Like I said I had two feelings. If I hadn't become world champion, I would have been angry. I had played very well during the whole cycle. I had played the best Interzonal tournament, and when I recalled all the matches, I felt I deserved it. But I didn't expect that Fischer would leave chess forever. I thought OK, I became world champion and we can negotiate and we can play.

IWF: When you said you were preparing to play Fischer you were pretty much on your own. Did you make any special preparations?

AK: I just studied. I must say I didn't have too much pressure from the officials, so I received funds. I presented my plan to the Minister of Sports of the Soviet Union and they accepted. So after this I was ready.

IWF: Were you at the training facilities outside of Moscow?

AK: Yes, in Moscow it was difficult. They have many friends. It's difficult to go out somewhere. Better to go somewhere in the country, then you have better control. I was with my team at a special camp of the Olympic team near Moscow.

IWF: When you were preparing with Geller and your team, what would a typical day be like?

AK: I would get up late, because I went to sleep late. I got up at half past eight or nine, then a small physical exercise, then breakfast. After breakfast, we worked on chess maybe two or two and a half hours, then one hour of tennis or swimming, then lunch. Then after lunch a one-hour break, then a chess game. Then more chess for two to three hours, then another half hour to one hour sports, then dinner. After dinner, of course not every day, we could spend time on chess preparedness or have free time.

IWF: How long were you at this camp?

AK: We had camps from two weeks to three weeks, then we had a break for five or six days, and then another camp or a tournament.

IWF: Who was in charge of the Soviet Chess Federation at that time and who would you answer to?

AK: We had a chess department in the Ministry of Sport. Mr. Baturenski was the head of this department, so he was responsible for all chess players and events. He was the person I contacted. Pavlov was the Minister of Sports. He was famous as one of the best ministers of sports in my memory.

IWF: So, they tried to give you all the help you needed?

AK: This was a system that was established by Botvinnik as soon as Botvinnik became world champion. It was always like this. They did nothing very special for me. It was just a continuation, so if Spassky hadn't made this crazy match... Spassky had the same situation and so he received everything he asked.
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