Closing Gambit

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1990
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:07 pm

One of the more challenging aspects of the documentary is that Korchnoi's 'defection' is not seen in the context of other chess players leaving the Soviet Union before Korchnoi did, Spassky being the most recent high-profile example prior to him. How they were treated is not mentioned.

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1990
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:07 pm

They make it seem like Korchnoi was the first to leave, which clearly wasn't the case.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19339
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:26 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:07 pm
They make it seem like Korchnoi was the first to leave, which clearly wasn't the case.
Would he have been the first to leave without, as it were, an exit agreement?

Wasn't that one of the Soviet Union's nightmares, that they sent a player to Hastings or any other Western tournament and they didn't come back?

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1990
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:43 pm

Well that's open to much debate as players were leaving decades before them both. It should have been covered whether he went through the proper channels with supporting evidence if he did. If he didn't perhaps they were with reason to appear rather pissed off.

User avatar
Matt Mackenzie
Posts: 3636
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Millom, Cumbria

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:21 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:07 pm
One of the more challenging aspects of the documentary is that Korchnoi's 'defection' is not seen in the context of other chess players leaving the Soviet Union before Korchnoi did, Spassky being the most recent high-profile example prior to him. How they were treated is not mentioned.
Spassky didn't officially change his designation from USSR to France until 1984 IIRC.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 8383
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:48 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:07 pm
One of the more challenging aspects of the documentary is that Korchnoi's 'defection' is not seen in the context of other chess players leaving the Soviet Union before Korchnoi did, Spassky being the most recent high-profile example prior to him. How they were treated is not mentioned.
Spassky represented the USSR on top board in the 1978 Olympiad which began a week after the Baguio match concluded.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1990
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:07 pm

Yes but the point is that how Korchnoi's case was handled is not compared to previous cases by his compatriots. It would have been easier to illustrate to what extent Korchnoi was singled out and why had they done that.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 8383
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:09 pm

Well, the point is that you used the exact and specific phrase "Spassky being the most recent high-profile example prior to him".
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2466
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:43 pm

Spassky was allowed to marry his French fiancée, Marina, he asked for permission to visit his new in-laws in August 1976
just a few weeks after Korchnoi defected. Spassky was given a one year exit visa, and when this expired another year was granted
He was still a Soviet player.

The Spassky - Korchnoi match (1977-78) had the funny fact that Spassky played under the flag of a country he no longer lived in.
Korchnoi was not allowed to play under the flag of the country he lived it. (pictures show only one flag on the table.)

Not sure if at that time it would have been Holland, the country where he sought asylum, West Germany where he lived for a while,
or Switzerland. He settled in Switzerland just after the match with Spassky , but may have been granted Swiss nationality before then.
(his chess books were apparently in England, he smuggled then out of Russia on a previous trip.)
Last edited by Geoff Chandler on Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joseph Conlon
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:18 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Joseph Conlon » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:46 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:05 pm
I should know better than to bite, but yes of course it would, because neither the Soviet Union nor (to my recollection, would appreciate examples to the contrary) any other state had or has any particular track record in assassinating sporting figures who had defeated their own.
As Korchnoi would know well, the threat is stronger than the execution....

User avatar
Paul Robert Jackson
Posts: 214
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:10 pm

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Paul Robert Jackson » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:58 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:43 pm
Spassky was allowed to marry his French fiancée, Marina, he asked for permission to visit his new in-laws in August 1976
just a few weeks after Korchnoi defected. Spassky was given a one year exit visa, and when this expired another year was granted
He was still a Soviet player.

The Spassky - Korchnoi match (1977-78) had the funny fact that Spassky played under the flag of a country he no longer lived in.
Korchnoi was not allowed to play under the flag of the country he lived it. (pictures show only one flag on the table.)

Not sure if at that time it would have been Holland, the country where he sought asylum, West Germany where he lived for a while,
or Switzerland. He settled in Switzerland just after the match with Spassky , but may have been granted Swiss nationality before then.
(his chess books were apparently in England, he smuggled then out of Russia on a previous trip.)
Who was looking after his chess book collection?
Paul Robert Jackson

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2466
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:23 pm

No idea Paul, I got that bit from wiki: (who may have got it from here!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Korchnoi

But I have heard/read something about that elsewhere, maybe it is in 'Chess Crisis' another good book by RDK.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 8383
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:27 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:43 pm
The Spassky - Korchnoi match (1977-78) had the funny fact that Spassky played under the flag of a country he no longer lived in.
This is not at all unusual
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

David Sedgwick
Posts: 4243
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:29 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:43 pm
[Korchnoi's] chess books were apparently in England, he smuggled then out of Russia on a previous trip.)
Paul Robert Jackson wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:58 pm
Who was looking after his chess book collection?
Geoff Chandler wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:23 pm
No idea Paul, I got that bit from wiki: (who may have got it from here.
Korchnoi played in the Hastings Congress 1975 - 1976, about four months before his defection.

I recall reading in contemporary sources shortly after his defection that he had smuggled some treasured possessions out of the Soviet Union on the Hastings trip.

I don't recall it being suggested that that included all his chess books.

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2466
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Closing Gambit

Post by Geoff Chandler » Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:48 pm

Hi Dave,

"I don't recall it being suggested that that included all his chess books."

The wiki site says:

"...having smuggled his chess library out of the USSR in two stages, on this trip as well as the previous year's trip to England."

I know Wiki is not always reliable but that is what it says. 'chess library' I too would guess it would not be ALL his chess books.
Back tracking I'm glad to report I said: 'apparently' and did not say ALL his books.

Now locked in with 600+ chess books (most of them unread in full) I have something to do. (Thanks Dave)

Page 120 of 'Chess is My Life' (the Korchnoi one) says when he went to Hastings he took with him 'a number' of chess books
and photo albums. Wiki has stumbled yet again and we have a new quest for the locked in chess historians - what chess books
did Korchnoi leave behind in Russia? Korchnoi adds after the tournament he sent them to Sosonko in Amsterdam.
(Sosonko played at the same event so 'maybe' we should read that as Sosonko took them with him.)

Sorted...However...

I do not think it's a coincidence the English Chess explosion happened around about the same time
as Korchnoi was in Hastings (the 1975-1976 event ) and whilst his books were still in England.

I'm thinking Bob Wade broke into his hotel room, copied out Korchnoi's chess book by hand
and passed them onto to the English players. In February 1976 Tony Miles got his G.M. title!

Bob was at Hastings as a controller. A wee click/trip across to John Saunders excellent site:

https://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/pgn/19 ... iewer.html

We find Bob clearing up a Les Blackstock incident reported in CHESS. Bob could have done the deed whilst Korchnoi was playing.

My only doubt is that Korchnoi never reported someone had broken into his hotel room
and drawn moustaches on all the pictures in his photo albums.

Post Reply