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Superstition & Sabotage

Viktor Korchnoi's Quest for Immortality

Co-Authored with Grandmaster Korchnoi

Viktor Korchnoi: the greatest chess player never to win the world championship.

Superstition & Sabotage

Viktor Korchnoi is considered by many people the greatest chess player never to win the world championship. Between 1974 and 1981 he engaged in  three vitriolic and highly controversial matches with Anatoly Karpov, but Soviet interference, particularly in the second match (Baguio City,  1978) ultimately contributed to Karpov victories.

This book reviews Kortchnoi's extraordinary campaign for the world title, beginning with the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curacao (in which he drew the ire of Bobby Fischer!), through controversial losses to Spassky, Petrosian, and Karpov, two champion matches against Karpov, and finally the loss to Gary Kasparov. It then discusses the denouement --  an aging Korchnoi's reappearances in the Candidates event through 2002, the remarkable win against Karpov in 1994 -- in which the world champion resigned despite having two Queens! -- Viktor's triumph in the World Senior Championship, and finally the strange match against the "ghost of  Maroczy" (1985-93).

It was a career full of sabotage,  superstition, controversy, and endless speculation. Did Korchnoi "throw" games under pressure from the Soviet chess "bosses"? Was his 1978 match sabotaged? Did his own superstitions get the better of him?


©2021 Lenny Cavallaro

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