Yesterday's post on my main blog,
November 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover'
(November 2022), was partially based on the November 1997 issue of Chess Life
. I ended the post saying,
An article by Rachel Landry featured an interview with then FIDE World Champion Anatoly Karpov, plus his relationship with GM Ron Henley and Smartchess Online. Is this worth a follow-up?
Indeed it is worth a follow-up. Karpov gave his side of two hot topics from the second half of 1997. The first topic involved a reunification match that was never held. For background, see FIDE/PCA Chronology
(m-w.com; Feb 1993 - Oct 1996).
RL: There have
been many rumors circulating about a
World Championship rematch in Compiegne, France. Carol Stroe, the proposed organizer for this event, said in a press release
that you and Garry Kasparov were close to
signing a formal accord. Mr. Kasparov's
publicity agent fervently denies these
rumors. Were you approached about such
AK: Yes, but no
agreement was signed.
RL: What is the true likelihood of a
World Championship rematch between
you and Kasparov?
AK: It is possible but not in October,
and as I said before, nothing is definite
until an agreement is signed and a prize
fund is agreed upon.
The second topic involved the introduction of the much-criticized knockout matches to determine the title of FIDE World Champion.
RL: Will you be playing in the FIDE
World Championship Knockout matches?
AK: Yes. I'm playing in the final as
RL.: A letter signed by sixteen grandmasters was delivered by Vladimir Kramnik to
the 68th FIDE Congress in Moldava. This
letter conveyed these players' concerns
about seeding arrangements in the upcoming FIDE World Championship Knockout.
Can you shed any light on what took place
in Moldava with regards to this letter?
AK: I heard Kramnik would be there
with the letter. Kramnik read the letter to
the assembly, and gave his point of view.
Later, I addressed the assembly. Subsequently there was a vote by the FIDE Congress to uphold the original arrangements
under which the Championships were
organized: that is if Kasparov and myself
were playing, then we would both be seeded into the semifinals; whereas if one us
was not participating then the other would
be seeded automatically into the final.
Indeed, the original papers I signed regarding my participation were based on this
exact arrangement, and Kramnik amicably
agreed that he would abide by FIDE's decision. Incidentally, I met the former President of the New Jersey State Chess Federation, E. Steven Doyle, in Moldava, and we
discussed a number of interesting things.
All of this was happening at the same time I was building my WCC site, as I documented earlier this year in
The First Quarter Century
(September 2022). I researched the 'FIDE/PCA Chronology' partly because I wasn't sure who the *real* World Champion was.
The Karpov interview included many more details related to Smartchess Online, one of the earliest chess web sites. Its first capture in the 'Wayback Machine', dated January 1999, shows the following home page.
A footnote to the interview mentioned that it first appeared on Smartchess Online in September 1997. I tried to find the original interview via the Wayback Machine, but failed. Smartchess.com appears to have been built using techniques that are incompatible with Wayback assumptions. The period in which Smartchess was active was a controversial time for the World Championship and its association with Karpov might provide valuable background material. I'll try to look at its Wayback records another time.
In the meantime, some other subjects for 'normal' web searches related to Smartchess are
GM Ron Henley,
The home page pictured above leads to the 'November - December 1998' issue of Smartchess Online, with the following headlines:-
'1998 US Championships:
SmartChess Online coverage with GM Ron Henley & NM Irina Krush.
SmartChess Online Columnist
1998 US Women's
'Press Release: "Krush Challenge" Series. Irina Krush to play a match against GM Walter Browne'
'Press Release: SmartChess Online welcomes its new Columnist - NM Hikaru Nakamura'
Krush was 14 years old at the time. Nakamura was 10.
In his interview with Smartchess, Karpov mentioned a couple of video series he was developing for Smartchess's 'WWW Chess Superstore'. I've featured two of these in posts on my main blog:-
How many more of these videos are still available on Youtube? That makes a second topic for follow-up.