08 June 2016

Viktor Korchnoi (1931-2016)

After the passing of Viktor Korchnoi at the beginning of the week, a post about him on this WCC blog is mandatory, but also problematic. Mandatory because of his long record of participation in WCC events, as in World Championship Stalwarts (October 2015 on my main blog: 'GM Korchnoi heads the list'); problematic because of the often controversial nature of his participation, as in A Rigged Match? (November 2009).

While my main blog probably focuses more on chess personalities, as in yesterday's post My Two Encounters with Korchnoi, this WCC blog is more about events. Here is an image I picked off eBay back in its early days. It depicts another controversial event.

The quality of the image isn't great, but the elements are readable. The eBay description said,

SIGNED MATCH POSTER BY VIKTOR KORCHNOI. This is an item of great historical chess significance. This is the official match poster from the aborted Viktor Korchnoi versus Garry Kasparov Candidates semi-final match in Pasadena, August 1983! Kasparov never showed and Viktor was left sitting for an hour and won the forfeited match which was later re-played(!) in England. Korchnoi was paid twice!

This is a beautiful framed mounted poster with a glorious painting as the back drop. The chess position is taken from the famous game between the two played at the Olympiad (if I remember the tourney correctly) prior to the match. Gazza won a beautiful game that Korchnoi was winning at one point. The border has their names in English and Cyrillic. Korchnoi has signed on 8/17/99 on the lower right in Cyrillic.

Where is Korchnoi's signature? In those days I 'cleaned up' the images I saved, so I probably deleted it. In any case, my file holding the image is dated 26 April 1999, but the description says it was signed 17 August 1999, so something is amiss.

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