05 March 2019

March 1969 'On the Cover'

From the March 1964 'On the Cover' ('What was happening in the U.S. chess press 50 years ago?') through last month's February 1969 'On the Cover', this post marks the fifth anniversary of the monthly 'On the Cover' series.

Left: 'Shooting(?) for No.3; Tigran Petrosian Meets Boris Spassky in Moscow April 14; ?? World Championship Match Victory'
Right: 'From Knocks at Kiev to Palms at Palma'

The Chess Life photo caption is partially obscured by what must have been the mailing address label. I imagine the caption had something to do with the camera that Petrosian is holding.

Chess Life

[Burt Hochberg:] Let me describe my first impression of the World Champion. He had earlier that day bought a book of endgame studies ("2,500 Finales," by Kasparian). He was sitting at the table examining the book, flipping through the pages. He stopped, his eye caught by a position, and after studying it for a moment, his head would start bouncing from side to side, in the manner of a man listening to a rhythmic and familiar piece of music. All the while, the fore-finger of his right hand was "conducting" the "music." After a couple of minutes of this, he would frown and nod his head in approval or appreciation, and then resume flipping the pages.

Petrosian's physical appearance came as something of a surprise. Although I knew he was shorter than average, I was not expecting a man of such obvious physical power. He is rather broadly and thickly constructed, with powerful arms and hands, and an I-can-take-care-of-myself aura.

Chess Review

[Dr. Petar Trifunovich:] The Tournament at Palma de Mallorca has become an annual and has already acquired world-wide renown. It takes place at the end of November and the first half of December which sets it in line for the timely awarding of the Oscar in chess [reported in same issue]. Quite aside from that factor, however, the tournament bids to become one of the greatest and most attractive chess events of the year. And it is no exaggeration to say that, though as a tradition the tournament is hardly ancient, the chess world is so accustomed to it that it would be considered a catastrophe if the event ceased to be promulgated. [...]

Viktor Korchnoy [Korchnoi] lived up to his first name. He scored fourteen points out of a possible seventeen, eleven victories, six draws and not a single loss. His was a veritable triumph! And it was for him so much more important in that it came immediately after his defeat in the match with Spassky. His main rivals in the fight for first place, Larsen and Spassky, he eliminated in direct meetings toward the end of the tournament, in the fourteenth and fifteenth rounds.

Fifty years ago, the international chess calendar coalesced around the World Championship, just as it does today. Korchnoi's 'defeat in the match with Spassky' refers to the final match of the 1967-69 Candidates Matches ('Kiev, IX, 1968'), where he lost to Spassky +4-1=5.

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