Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chess by Ray Kerr

(Originally when I started this bl0g, I wanted to copy as many of the chess columns from the local Victoria, BC newspaper (they had chess/checker columns in the 1930s, for instance), in any case I stopped posting the articles, but I might as well start posting the articles I found again.

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Taken from the Times Colonist, October 5, 1980.
(pg. 12) Chess: German dark horse in world playdown
By Ray Kerr
Looking at the world chess championship playoffs, one has to admit that things haven't gone exactly the way they were supposed to.

Before the Candidates' Matches started, I predicted that Victor Korchnoi would once again be in the semi-final and would win it, then going on to meet World Champion Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union for the title.

Korchnoi came through and qualified for the semi-final.

Former world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union and Lajos Portisch of Hungary seemed to be the top two choices to meet Korchnoi in the semi-final.

Spassky didn't make it past the opening round and Portisch lost in the semi-final to West Germany's Robert Huebner, who now takes on Korchnoi for the right to meet Karpov.

So there you are: If you like a dark horse in the Korchnoi-Huebner match, here's your chance.

I'm still calling Korchnoi but a Huebner victory would not surprize me in the least.

Korchnoi had difficulties in this series right from the start and did not look impressive in disposing of former world champion Tigran Petrosian of the Soviet Union.

Then came his match against Lev Polugayevski, another Soviet grandmaster, and Korchnoi had to go into "overtime" to qualify for the semi-final.

It was this same Polugayevski that Korchnoi trounced 5-1 in these same playoffs some three years ago.

So you have to say that Korchnoi is slowing down.

But he's still favored because of his fantastic experience and tremendous stamina.

Talent, too, but then they all have plenty of it at this stage of the world championship.

Huebner, incidentally, was the man who ousted Portisch in the quarterfinal but Portisch only has himself to blame - he tried to play it safe and as a result is in the safest place of all, on the sidelines.

It is also interesting that for the first time since I can remember in these matches, the Soviet Union does not have a representative in the semi-final (Korchnoi is now a Swiss citizen).

Portisch, incidentally, is featured in our game of the week, but on the losing side.

The winner is young Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman, the man I expect to see in these same world championship playoffs during their next cycle. Timman beat Portisch during the celebrated Tilburg, Holland, tournament won by Karpov earlier this year.

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