Friday, March 19, 2010

The Russians Have Fixed World Chess- Bobby Fischer

The Russians may no longer hold a huge influence in the sport these days but for those certified chess history buff, you may not want to miss this one out. It was in 1962 that Fischer wrote an article for Sports Illustrated magazine that took the whole chess world by storm. It concerns about the Soviet running some sort of Mafia in FIDE. In the article "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess.", Fischer exposed the claim that the Russians was controlling the sport more evident when he participated in the Candidates match in Curacao in June 1962. It's a long read but chess researchers will find this a gem. Fischer opted to published the article in Sports Illustrated as the magazine have gained more audiences than any sports magazines at that day. The article was dated August 20 1962.

The international Candidates' Chess Tournament that ended June 28 in Curacao left me with one conviction: Russian control of chess has reached a point where there can be no honest competition for the world championship. The system set up by the Federation International des Echecs, the governing body of world chess, insures that there will always be a Russian world champion because only a Russian can win the preliminary tournament that determines his challenger. The Russians arranged it that way. As far as I am concerned, they can keep it that way. I will never again play in one of these tournaments.

Sometimes, after their quick draws with each other, the Russians wouldn't go back to the swimming pool. They would openly analyze my game while I was still playing it. It is strictly against the rules for a player to discuss a game in progress, or even to speak with another player during a game—or, for that matter, with anyone. I studied Russian enough to be able to read their chess books, and I could easily understand what they were saying. They would say this move is good, or that move is good—in Russian, of course. My Russian isn't the greatest but, believe me, they weren't talking about the weather. If I was playing against a Russian, and one of these debates was going on right in front of us, my opponent might get up and join the discussion after he had made his move. Even if the advice they gave each other was bad—and too many chess cooks can spoil a game—it was annoying. It made me mad that they thought they could get away with it. I protested to the officials. I learned that they could get away with it. I complained a few more times, but their lead had increased to the point where they were unworried, and they then gradually stopped doing it.

Somebody asked me, "What did you learn at the tournament?" I said, "I learned not to play in any more of them." It is a waste of time for any Western player. The present arrangement for selecting a challenger for the championship is bad for chess, bad for the players taking part in it and bad for any real standard of the world championship. The general public long ago lost interest in any title gained in this fashion. Maybe chess players are losing interest in it also. I have, permanently.

Read the whole article at

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