SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
I found Andy Soltis’ article (below) in the New York Post quite interesting, especially the headline! Despite all the stress involved in competitive chess–especially at the top–chess champions can (and do) live long and healthy lives. Viktor Korchnoi is still playing 2600-plus chess and he is almost 80 years old! It would appear that you can even live longer if you win more often…
Win, live longer
By ANDY SOLTIS
April 11, 2010
Playing a world champi onship match “takes a year off your life,” according to Mikhail Botvinnik, the sixth world champion, who endured the strain of seven title matches and one exhausting match-tournament.
This should be a warning to current champion Vishy Anand of India and challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, who face off in a title match beginning April 21.
Champions like Anatoly Karpov have been known to lose more than 15 pounds and suffer from insomnia and other afflictions during a grueling match for the highest title in chess.
But winning has a way of compensating. Botvinnik lived to be 83 and Vasily Smyslov died at age 89 last month. They brought the average age of the 10 deceased world champions to 66.8 years.
In contrast, the nine world championship challengers who never won the title lived an average of 62.2 years — or 4.6 years less than the winners.
Genes don’t explain the shorter lives of nonchampions. Paul Keres of Estonia, often called the greatest player who never became champ, died of a heart attack at 59. His older brother Harald, a distinguished scientist, celebrated his 97th birthday in November.
I find the silence from the Russian Chess Federation a bit curious. Supposedly the meeting to decide whether they would support Anatoly Karpov or Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was to have taken place at the end of March, but apparently not. Does anyone have any news? I am googling every day but there is nothing out there… none of the people that I have been speaking with know much more.
In the meantime, Karpov is gathering more support from individual member nations of FIDE. In the past week the USCF and the German Chess Federation have signed up on Karpov’s team. It seems likely to me that Karpov will get the support of almost all Europe and the Americas. But , much as in the previous FIDE election, this is not enough if Karpov can not get the support of the 3rd world countries.
Kirsan’s main powerbase has been the 3rd world. Following in the steps of Campomanes, who in 1982 shocked the western chess world by winning easily against the incumbent F.Olafsson, Kirsan is thought to have spent much time and (especially) money in developing solid contacts in Africa, the middle east, China and the Pacific rim nations. He fully realizes that he can just about ignore the rest of the chess world’s votes if push turns to shove.
I remember hearing amazing stories about all the work that Campomanes did while he was president of FIDE. One such story was visiting Zimbabwe in the mid-1980’s. Campo (as he is fondly called) personally showed up unannounced at the Harare airport with a dozen boxes of chess equipment and books (part of a program that FIDE started to promote chess in the 3rd world). For some reason, he was not allowed to leave the airport. So the chess federation went to the airport to see Campo! He talked with them all night long in the lobby before taking the next flight out in the morning. You can rest assure that Zimbabwe was very greatful to Campo when the election time came around!
No doubt his enormous influence explains why Campo is, even to this day , part of Kirsan’s inner circle of advisers.
That is why the support of the Russian Chess Federation is so important. Should Karpov get their support instead of the incumbent, then it is likely that the 3rd world will sense that they are not backing a winner anymore. And with the Kremlin’s tentacles reaching out in every direction, probably Karpov would only need about 30% of the votes from the 3rd world to defeat Kirsan.
I found the following facebook support group! So far not too many have signed up, but the momentum is just beginning to get started:
Chess players supporting Karpov for FIDE President is on Facebook
Sign up for Facebook to connect with Change FIDE
Chess players supporting Karpov for FIDE President.
Name: Change FIDE – Chess players supporting Karpov for FIDE President
Category: Sports & Recreation – Games
After 15 years of utterly bewildering decisions in FIDE, it is time for change in the World Chess Federation. Gens Una Sumus – we are one people, yes, but currently, some people seem to be more equal than others.
Anatoly Karpov’s candidacy for FIDE President is a first step in the right direction. In the past, he may have been no stranger to political games himself, but at least he doesn’t believe he was abducted by aliens, nor does he think Saddam Hussein was ‘a great personality’.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS