The Cold War rivals Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi face each other over the board again at the 4th Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup which begins tomorrow at National Academy of Law in Odessa, Ukraine. The tournament will be Rapid Chess and the veterans are in a tough field which includes two of the highest rated players in the world today.
Karpov and Korchnoi contested three matches for the world title. The first, in 1974, was in effect a title contest as Fischer soon abdicated. The second two took place after Korchnoi defected from the USSR in 1977 and had become a non-person, scarcely ever mentioned or even referred to in the official media in the USSR. The match at Baguio City in 1978 became notorious for the shenanigans off the board including the famous accusation from Korchnoi’s camp that Karpov was receiving messages in his yoghurt during the game. The Russians sent parapsychologist Dr Zukhar to stare at Korchnoi from the front row of the audience and Korchnoi took to wearing reflective glasses. The first match was very close, but Karpov won the decisive 29th game. The match at Merano in 1981 was more comfortable for Karpov who at 57, is 20 years Korchnoi’s junior.
The full line up is: Boris Gelfand (2723, Israel), Ruslan Ponomariov (2719, Ukraine) Anatoly Karpov (2655, Russia) Pavel Tregubov (2629, Russia) Viktor Korchnoi (2598, Switzerland) Yuri Drozdovskij (2581, Ukraine) Valery Beim (2523, Austria) Mikhail Golubev (2474, Ukraine). Each player will face the other with both colours. The time limit is fast with 10 minutes on the clock and an extra five seconds added each move. Bank Pivdenny is the largest bank in southern Ukraine and one of the main sponsors of the Association of Chess Players or ACP.