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nima_tal ♡ 332 ( +1 | -1 )
"Terrible Viktor"! Question from Korchnoi:
Can you make a living from playing chess? Not because you are forced to do so, short of a better occupation, but because you just love it?
A:Yes, you can, but on condition that nothing else claims your body and soul, that you have become sufficiently immersed in chess, but you don't feel that you have reached the bottom. And, of course, provided you are quite confident that chess is worth it. Chess players say that the game encourages rational thinking, teaches us to respect another man's opinion (as expressed through his move), and shows that success can come only as a result of a lot of hard work and talent.
The professional chess players do everything they can to stop their children from becoming chess professionals. It is a curse when a hobby becomes a permanent occupation, when a knight's wrong move results in more than just the victory of a wooden army, when for the chess enthusiasts chess becomes as much of a game as Russian roulette is a game.

Korchnoi once said in an interview: "Chess is like an enormous balloon, but one that's been punctured. You keep trying to inflate it but to no avail." And then further on: "No chess grandmaster is normal; they only differ in the extent of their madness."
For three decades near the very top, he never quite made it. The year Kasparov was born, Korchnoi played in his first candidates' tournament. Twenty-one years later Kasparov would block his fresh drive toward a third match with Karpov for the supreme title.
Korchnoi's results have once again demonstrated the chess game's contempt for age limits. It was not for nothing that his chess colleagues in the USSR nicknamed him "the terrible one". "Conflict was what always excited" He said. He was not the kind of player that would only take notice of his opponents when they blew smoke into his face. He was very strongly motivated by his own rapport with his partner. That was the source of both his strength and his woes. He carried his age extremely well because he never lost his inquisitiveness and his love for chess: no matter when and against whom, he would always go for a win. He is surprised at being called "terrible Viktor," the man who claims to be afraid of his dentist, Yet he was not afraid of facing any opponent across the chess board. This can hardly be described as courage, for once you have burned your boats behind you, there is nothing left for you but to pursue the road you have chosen. The draw is an infernal device. How much better it would be without it. It is so much easier to fight when the stake is life or death, than when the choice is between a bird in hand and two in the bush: There are fewer options, less agony, and certainly fewer regrets.
Before the match against Karpov, Korchnoi said: " For me this match is a matter of life and death." He lost this match, but he is still alive. Very much alive in his 70th year!

Korchnoi - Spassky [D 58]
Belgrade 1977

1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 b6 8.Rc1 Bb7 9.Bf6 Bf6 10.cd5 ed5 11.b4 c6 [11...c5!?; 11...Re8] 12.Be2 Nd7 13.0-0 a5 14.b5 c5= 15.dc5 [15.Re1!?] 15...Nc5 16.Nd4 Qd6 17.Bg4!? Rfd8 18.Re1 Ne6 19.Be6!? fe6 20.Nc6! unclear Bc6 [20...Rd7 21.e4!] 21.bc6 Bc3 [21...Qb4!? 22.a3! Qa3 23.c7 Rdc8 24.Nb5 with compensation for the material] 22.Rc3 Rac8 23.Qc2 e5!? 24.c7 Rd7 25.Rc1 d4 26.Rc6 Qd5 27.Qb1!! d3 28.Qb6 d2 29.Rd1 Qa2 [29...Qd3 30.Qa6!] 30.h3!!+- [30.Qb7 Qa4!!] 30...Qa4 31.Rd2! Rd2 32.Qb7 [32.Qb8!? Rb8 33.cb8Q Kh7 34.Rc8] 32...Rdd8 33.cd8Q Rd8 34.Rc7 Qa1 35.Kh2 e4 36.Qe4 Qf6 37.f4 Qf8 38.Ra7 Qc5 39.Qb7 Qc3 40.Qe7 Rf8 41.e4 Qd4 42.f5 h5 43.Ra5 Qd2 44.Qe5 Qg5 45.Ra6 Rf7 46.Rg6 Qd8 47.f6 h4 48.fg7 1-0

mightytiny ♡ 69 ( +1 | -1 )
That was interesting! Some interesting points there... something to think about for all of us who wish our favourite hobby was what we did for a living; maybe that's not ideal, when there's a risk of that hobby losing it's thrill when it becomes an oblication upon which your income depends.

Also, I liked the comment of a draw being"an infernal device" - but I wouldn't do away with it completely... I think the best solution would be to change the point system regarding draws, wins and losses - make wins more valuable!

For example if in tournaments a win was 2 points, while a draw remained at a half a point, then I bet there'd be a lot less agreed draws! :)
nima_tal ♡ 225 ( +1 | -1 )
About draw! From the same source:

If neither side makes a serious error, then a draw is the logical outcome of a game. Yet some critics advocate rule changes to reduce the great number of draws.

A pet target of the draw-haters is stalemate. This rule states:
"The game is drawn when the king of the player whose turn it is to move is not in check and the player cannot make a legal move. This immediately ends the game."
A crude proposal that keeps popping up is to award a loss to the player who is stalemated. This would radically alter centuries of tradition and make chess boring.

How many players would dare to risk gambits in the opening or embark on sacrificial attacks if there were no hope of salvation in the endgame? Youíre a pawn up! Trade down! Brute force invariably would decide the issue.

We canít destroy chess to save it. Many beautiful, subtle themes would vanish without stalemate as a saving resource. And those who get careless no longer would be punished for letting the underdog escape with a surprising draw.

When Rules Clash

Another rule states: "The game is won by the player whose opponent declares that he resigns. This immediately ends the game."

Suppose a player fails to notice he is stalemated and resigns by mistake? Is it scored as a win or a draw? Which rule takes priority?

The consensus seems to be a draw because stalemate happened first, but itís still a grey area that needs to be resolved. "Law should be clear, concise and consistent. To interpret it is to corrupt it," said Napoleon, who was an avid chessplayer.

This game from Italy holds the record for the shortest stalemate in 27 moves.
Final position

Ravenna 1982
1 e4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 e5 c5 4 b4!? cxb4 5 d4 Nh6 6 a3 bxa3 7 c3 Nf5 8 Nxa3 Nc6 9 Nb5 a6 10 g4 Bd7 11 Bg5 Be7 12 gxf5 axb5 13 fxe6 fxe6 14 Rxa8 Qxa8 15 Rg1 Qa3 16 Bxb5 Bxg5 17 Rxg5 Qxc3 18 Kf1 O-O 19 Bxc6 Bxc6 20 Kg2 Ba4 21 Qe2 Bc2 22 Ne1 Be4 23 f3 Rxf3? 24 Nxf3 Bxf3 25 Qxf3 Qd2 26 Kh3 Qxg5 27 Qf8! Kxf8