GM Torre: Karpov visit to bring back popularity of chess

Published March 21, 2021, 2:13 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Grandmaster Eugene Torre believes having former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov visit the country would boost the sports’ popularity in the local scene as efforts are already underway to bring the Russian legend this year.

Torre, also Asia’s first Grandmaster, said Karpov’s presence would show the younger generation that one of the fiercest battles in World Chess Championship history was fought in the country.

The Russian Embassy and Baguio City headed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong are eyeing to have Karpov in the country in November for a nostalgic tour.

Although specific plans about the proposal have not been laid out yet, officials involved are hoping that the pandemic situation in the country would ease to make it possible.

Baguio City is a memorable place as far as Karpov is concerned since it is where he fought one of the most controversial world championship matches in his career.

The country hosted the 1978 World Chess Championship at the Baguio Convention Center where Karpov fought Soviet émigré Viktor Korchnoi.

The event, which took place from July 18 to Oct. 18, generated controversies particularly off the board with histrionics that include protests about the flags used on the board, x-raying of chairs and alleged hypnotism.

Eventually, Karpov won, 16.5-15.5.