Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The World Chess Championship 2006 or What Ever Happened to Dr. Zukhar?

Having recently come back to chess, I’m greatly looking forward to following my first major chess championship since 1978. I got a chuckle recently reading an old Time Magazine clipping I saved concerning that match – the one between Korchnoi-Karpov-Zukhar. I of course jest here concerning Dr. Zukhar – but at the time he seemed to be as much a part of the contest as the players themselves.

As a refresher to the 1978 match, let me quote from Wikipedia’s entry on Anatoly Karpov:

In 1978, Karpov's first title defence was against Viktor Korchnoi, the opponent he defeated in the previous Candidates tournament. The situation was vastly different from the previous match, because in the intervening years Korchnoi had defected from the Soviet Union. The match was played in Baguio in the Philippines, and a vast array of psychological tricks were used during the match, from Karpov's Dr. Zukhar who allegedly attempted to hypnotize Korchnoi during the game, to Korchnoi's mirror glasses to ward off the hypnotic stare, Korchnoi's offering to play under the Jolly Roger flag when he was denied the right to play under Switzerland's, to Karpov's yogurt supposedly being used to send him secret messages, to Korchnoi inviting two local cult members (on trial for attempted murder) into the hall as members of his team.

Now I’m not sure this latest match will be as entertaining off the board as that match was, but it does look to be interesting.

Check out the excellent article Who will win the Topalov-Kramnik world championship? at Chessbase.com.

If you read only one article on the match, this should be the one. It presents an excellent background to the match, especially helpful to people like me who have been away from chess or for new players just taking up the game. The article also explains the match format, provides player’s biographies, and even speculates who will win the match. Best of all, it concludes with a complete “Schedule of the World Chess Championship 2006” which you can copy and paste somewhere so you don’t miss a game. Highly recommended.

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