After alleged world title ‘blunderfest,’ chess world turns to St. Louis

The fun thing about watching chess in the Internet age is that you have no shortage of ideas about what’s going on. Yesterday, around move 40 of the 12th and final game in the World Chess Championship, defending champion Vishy Anand had either all but officially retained his title, blundered away his advantage, come up with some diabolical plan or run off to a corner to sing Carry On My Wayward Son in a fetal position. Former world’s women champion Susan Polgar was among those who thought Anand had blown it on move 40, which was the last move before … Continue reading After alleged world title ‘blunderfest,’ chess world turns to St. Louis

Why this world chess championship is so exciting

Like the world heavyweight boxing championship, the world chess championship has fallen on hard times since the ’70s and ’80s. The succession of colorful, controversial figures died out in a muddle of disputed titles and curious decisions.

From a U.S. perspective, the peak was the 1972 match in which Bobby Fischer won the title from Boris Spassky. The Soviet Union wouldn’t be without the title long — the erratic genius Fischer made a couple of unreasonable demands for his title defense and forfeited the crown to Anatoly Karpov in 1975.

Yet even without an American involved, Karpov’s 1978 title defense in Viktor Korchnoi was well-covered in the USA — see Sports Illustrated‘s report from the match’s opening and note Korchnoi’s “Ali-like entourage.” With the rabble-rousing defector Korchnoi facing a Soviet champion after disposing of several Soviet challengers, the match was steeped in Cold War animosity, perhaps even moreso than the Fischer-Spassky match. A Korchnoi comeback made the match almost as interesting on the board as it was off. Sports Illustrated recapped the final games, hinting that the key decision may have been the organizers’ agreement to kick out two Korchnoi aides — American members of an Indian “meditative sect” who were out on bail pending appeal of a stabbing convictiong — and the front-row seating of a Soviet “parapsychologist” who helped Karpov by staring intently at the challenger.

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Friday Myriad: Get your track shoes and chess pieces

Don’t let the volcano or blown calls get you down. All times ET, which seems appropriate given the birth of new I-95 rivalries in MLS and WPS this weekend. TRACK AND FIELD Penn Relays, featuring the “USA vs. The World” events, will have a same-day delay broadcast, 8 p.m. ET Sat., ESPN2 The Drake Relays also will have their big names competing Saturday, though they’ve already seen a meet record with U.S. champion Diana Pickler in the heptathlon. Also the first official IAAF event of the season, the Dakar Grand Prix on Saturday. Two marathons Sunday: London and Madrid. London … Continue reading Friday Myriad: Get your track shoes and chess pieces

World chess championship delayed

Iceland is once again playing a role in the confused history of the world chess championship, and this time, Bobby Fischer isn’t involved. Thirty-eight years after Fischer beat Boris Spassky to break the Soviet Union’s Cold War stranglehold on the title and two years after Fischer died in Iceland as a wanted man in the USA, the 2010 title match has been delayed one day because champion Viswanathan Anand had trouble getting to Bulgaria, where challenger Veselin Topalov already has home advantage. Anand had trouble getting to Bulgaria because — you guessed it — that giant ash cloud from Iceland’s … Continue reading World chess championship delayed