Russian chess legend visits PH, holds lecture for Filipino fans

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Courtesy: PSC

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 1) — Filipino chess enthusiasts were treated to a rare opportunity to meet and learn from former world champion and Russian chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov at a commemorative event at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old chess champion is in the country where he held a lecture for fans and athletes at an event commemorating the 1987 World Chess Championship in Baguio City.

The 1978 tourney is when reigning champion Karpov outsmarted challenger Viktor Korchnoi, retaining his title.

During his lecture, the grandmaster emphasized benefits a game of chess could bring to its players.

“Chess helps to organize your body, yourself, physically and grandmasters, normally, they can keep the pressure of chess game, doing the whole game for hours,” the chess champion said.

Karpov also said chess is better when you are competing with players who have an interest in the sport.

Aside from the lecture, young Pinoy chess players also got a chance to ask Karpov questions.

The country’s chess legend and Asia’s first grandmaster Eugene Torre was also at the event to reunite with Karpov whom he had the chance to beat in a 1976 chess challenge.

“In the total of 11 games we played, I’m quite happy with my two wins, four losses, and five draws,” Torre said.

“It was big news because at that time Karpov would rarely lose a tournament or even a game,” he added.

Torre said Karpov’s visit is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the young players attending his lecture and said that the event would “benefit Philippine chess.”

Widely considered as one of the best chess athletes of all time, Karpov was the 12th World Chess Champion, maintaining his title from 1975 to 1985.

The grandmaster is also a member of the USSR team and a six-time winner of Chess Olympiads.

Karpov is set to make a quick stop in Baguio city during his visit to the country.