Karpov returns to Baguio to visit venue of his 1978 world title defense

SWEET MEMORY. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov poses with student chess athletes during his brief visit at the Baguio Convention Center Wednesday. PML

Former two time world chess champion Anatoly Karpov expressed elation as he recalled the long 100 days here during his world title defense against Viktor Korchnoi 45 years ago.

The 71 year old  Russian parliamentarian narrated two problems that caused setbacks during his 42 game marathon against the older Korchnoi.

He said that the two cannot agree on what equipment they should use – set and clock.

Moreover, during one of the games when the city was under a typhoon, the roof of the newly made facility, that was built purposedly for the event leaked.

“We had to stop play,” said Karpov who eventually took a commanding 5-2 lead but suffered a psychological setback at game 26 that allowed Korchnoi to tie the game with a round to go.

He took the last round to win the  42 game, 98 days world champipnship.

Karpov said in his nearly 30 minutes speech that it was the second time that he came to Baguio since his historic successful title defense against Korchnoi.

In 1998, Karpov was invited by then president Fidel Ramos during the 30th anniversary of the Karpov – Korchnoi match.

Karpov went up here where he met with the chess federation president Florencio Campomanes, Leonides Bautista, who as councilor in 1978 helped pave the way for the staging of the world championship match here, and the late radio journalist Domi Pineda, then the Baguio Chess Club president.

Karpov even opened the newly opened Campomanes chess plaza at the University of Baguio and played against top female player Imelda Flores, who saw action in the 1998 world chess Olympiad.

Mayor Benjie B. Magalong welcomed Karpov and the Russian embassy led by Ambassador Marat Pavlov, who said that Karpov was supposed to come here in January last year but was postponed due to the Covid pandemic.

“As a chess enthusiast myself, I express the gratitude of our people in spreading the welcome mat for Mr. Karpov in his first-ever visit to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, after winning his chess match with a tough contender,” he said.

He added that Baguio’s officialdom is honored to have him back even for a short visit.

The Karpov entourage then showed a film about his life.

Karpov will arrive at 12, have lunch with city officials then proceed to the BCC where he will have the film showing before holding the exhibition matches.

This time, Karpov returned to the newly refurbished BCC which retained its original structure. Pigeon Lobien



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