When the world chess title competition resumes in Lyon, France, Nov. 24, who is going to win the match and title? Anatoly Karpov!
On whose authority is that statement made? Karpov. These were some of his final words before leaving New York. It was well reported prior to the match that Karpov did not want a match outside Europe and did not want a recess after the initial 12 games.Just why he opposed a non-European site and what difference it would make to him has not been disclosed.
Prior to his and Gary Kasparov's departure for France, Karpov had an interview with Robert Burkett, a chess promoter. Eric Pace of the New York Times reported the event:
The offbeat showbiz folk who have spent millions putting on the first half of a world-championship chess match just off Times Square are thinking of taking another chess show on the road.
They are Frederick W. (Ted) Field, a California multimillionaire whose passions have included race-car driving and moviemaking, and Robert Burkett, a Long Island-reared former labor-law judge who heads the World Professional Chess Promotions division of Mr. Field's Interscope company.
With lots of ballyhoo, Interscope underwrote the 12 world championship games between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov that were held in during the past five weeks in the Hotel Macklowe.
That series ended in a 6-6 tie. Up to 12 more games will be played in Lyon to decide the championship for the next three years. Kasparov wrested the title in 1985 from Karpov.
Field and Burkett believe they helped make sporting history at the Macklowe. "I've always believed in the game of chess and that this match would have a profound impact in the United States," Field said.
Burkett said, "It seemed to capture the imagination of one of the most cynical cities in the world."
Now, Burkett said, he hopes to form a road company of Kasparov, Karpov and other players traveling west of the Hudson to cities like Cleveland and Indianapolis. He envisions a tour with high-speed chess, with rules intended to make the game quicker and more attractive to television.
"I don't think we're tilting at windmills," he insisted.
"Millions and millions of people play chess in the United States," he added. "We're in the infancy of professionalization of one of the world's most popular sports," which he said has the potential to boom the way tennis did in the 1970s.
"I've discussed putting together a barnstorming tour: I've talked to Karpov and Kasparov, and in principle they both like the idea of participating. If we are going to do that, we are going to do it soon, within the next year. Otherwise we would lose the momentum we have."
Himself an inexpert chess player, Burkett reported that Interscope expects a net loss of less than $2 million - "which we anticipated" - from the 12 games. The company has no business role in the forthcoming Lyon series.
But he said, "We're feeling good. In a sense, what we were doing was, we were planting seeds in what Ted thought was very fertile ground for the future promotion of chess, not just in this country, but around the world."
Field agreed, "When we started out on this adventure, we were aware that it would be a high-risk undertaking. But subsequent events have proven that the rewards were definitely worth the risks. Somewhere in the U.S., there is a future world champion just learning the intricacies of chess. If this match inspires him or her to join the ranks of Kasparov and Karpov, it will truly have been a great success."
All told, Burkett said, "The venture cost us approximately $3 million." But happily, he added. "We've recouped close to $1 million in sponsorships, gate receipts and licensing fees." He said he believes he might recoup more with the sale of a home video about the Macklowe contest.
The players on a barnstorming tour would play speed chess or blitz chess, a rapid-fire version in which players' hands flash over the board and bang time clocks that limit the duration of the play.
In each city, he suggested, eight players would participate in a speed chess tournament taking one or two days.
Such a tour, Burke said, would need local financial support, though he said, "I see this as being television-driven," perhaps through Interscope's finding a major sponsor.
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