Today’s Vintage Chess Humor
From an old 1960-ish ChessReview magazine. Naturally before the Fischer era, when chess often appeared on TV. It was a golden opportunity that was squandered by inept FIDE politicians in 1974/5 when they refused to negociate seriously with Fischer.
Max Euwe was FIDE president at that time. He was too old for the job and did not have the patience to deal with Fischer’s stubborness. Fischer withdrew from chess, resigned his World Championship title and disappeared for 20 years.
But starting at the 1978 World Championship (and in subsequent matches) FIDE gave the Russians every condition and advantage (and more!) that they refused Fischer 3 years before. No doubt that hurt Fischer very much and made him bitter.
Soon realizing that FIDE was almost bankrupt (the bonanza from the Fischer boom was ending), Euwe took the unprecedented decision to start making money by selling cheapened FIDE-titles.
He convinced Karpov (and the Russians) to agree to FIDE’s lowering of the standards for the GM-title — the argument was to ‘promote’ chess in undeveloped countries…
Curiously, Karpov would later openly regret his support of Euwe’s ambitions, but the genie was already out of the bottle. The rest is history: today there are almost 2,000 grandmasters in the world and FIDE continues to rake in the money with ever new titles being introduced all the time! When you consider the FIDE trainer titles, the arbiter titles, etc etc, that exist today, FIDE must have made (and continues to make) millions of dollars to help fatten its bank accounts and pay for its ‘promotion’ of chess.
But remember that it all started with Fischer’s withdrawal from chess…and today chess (again, like in the 1960’s) also never appears on TV. In the chess world, the more things change they more they stay the same!