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Old November 18th 07, 10:50 PM posted to rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Soviet cheating and other topics (transferred from Devil's Disciplethread)

Taylor Kingston wrote:
On Nov 17, 4:25 pm, "J.D. Walker" wrote:

Mr. Kingston,

As I have said before, I believe that all of the published authors in
this discussion know more about the Keres-Botvinnik controversy than I
do. On this topic I am happy to accept my role as a member of the
various author's audiences. So as a 'fan' let me pose a few questions...

1) Do any of you consider the topic played out? Or is there more to be
considered?


The topic of Soviet coercion, collusion, and other chicanery? It is
by no means played out, in my opinion. I still hold out some hope,
however slim, that more evidence on the treatment of Keres will
surface. I still don't think we know the full facts of the three
Karpov-Korchnoi world championship matches (1974, 1978, 1981) or of
the first Karpov-Kasparov match (1984-85). Going back further, I still
have questions about Flohr-Botvinnik 1933 (a non-title match in which,
Bronstein alleges, Flohr was bribed), Botvinnik-Bronstein 1951, and
the 1953 Candidates Tournament. It's well established that there was
collusion by three Soviet players (Petrosian, Geller, Keres) in the
1962 Candidates; other instances would not surprise me.
Another related and interesting topic is title fabrication, i.e. the
faking of tournament and/or match results to earn phony norms for FIDE
IM and GM titles

2) Are any of you considering or engaged in new work(s) based on or
related to it?


I am not, at the present time, and I probably will not be in the
future. I wrote my two articles on the Keres-Botvinnik case in 1998
and 2001. Not long after I was offered the chance to write a book on
the subject, by McFarland & Co., a very prestigious publisher of books
on chess history, but I declined because I don't consider my research
at all comprehensive. To take it further would require delving into
Soviet archives, interviewing Russian and Estonian sources, tracking
down the few people still living who might know something relevant (if
there are any - it's been 59 years now), etc. Those things are beyond
my means and abilities.

3) How about the counter proposal of Russian GMs about the materialistic
influence of the West on chess? It seems it would require a different
approach. I doubt that the FBI has much on chess players with the
exception of Fischer. How could an author tackle this topic?


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "the materialistic
influence of the West on chess." Do you mean the larger prizes that
began with the Fischer era? Until 1972, the financial impact was all
in the other direction. The Soviet GMs were paid professionals,
servants of the state enlisted for one purpose, to play chess, while
almost all Western chess players had to earn a living away from the
game (Fischer and Reshevsky being some of the very rare exceptions).
And the Soviets totally undercut the market by pricing themselves low
- playing practically for nothing. When the Soviets played abroad,
they asked no appearance fees from tournament organizers. So naturally
organizers would jump at the chance to get a top Soviet GM for free,
rather than pay an American or other non-Soviet player.
As Dutch GM Jan Hein Donner wrote in 1972:

"The Russian hegemony had an appalling effect on prices in chess
world. The Russians were the best and they were cheap. They were sent
by their federation and required no starting fee, as they weren't
allowed to ask for one - to the extreme delight of chess organizers
all over the world."

So to my mind, the Soviet chess machine had two very negative
impacts on chess: one ethical, the other financial.

warning, tangent with speculation ahead...


Rev, I will pass on your next topics. What expertise I have lies in
chess history, mainly from Morphy down to around 30-50 years ago.


I am sorry Taylor. I completely missed this message as I usually read
from the rec.games.chess.politics newsgroup. Thank you for the answers.
Tis appreciated. Now, let me catch up with the other responses.

Cheers,
Rev. J.D. Walker, MsD, U.C.
--
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick
society."

-- Jiddu Krishnamurti
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