Maradona Meets Karpov
Chess is not really a spectator's game. Of course, you will find a number of fans enjoying the games in major tournaments. But the interesting part of it is that most of these spectators are reasonably good players themselves! It's not possible to get anything out of a game played between two world class players, unless you are familiar with things like positional play, kingside attack, combinations, minority attack and so on.
The difference between chess and other games is quite marked here. For example, football fans of almost all categories watch the matches played between the best sides in the world with more or less the same amount of enthusiasm and excitement. The pundits know better about the technical sides of the game, but football is such a game that you don't have to be an expert to enjoy it. That's not true about chess.
For obvious reasons, chess stars have less appeal than their football counterparts. They were heroes in the former Soviet Union, but today there are very few countries where chess is more popular than the outdoor sports.
Perhaps Bobby Fischer was the first world champion who attracted a large audience. His match with Boris Spassky was seen as more of a fight between the Soviets and the lone American, than a title match. It assumed an unmistakable political overtone.
The Soviets didn't have any communication with the so-called free world in those days. But things have changed considerably since the break-up of the country. Anatoly Karpov, world champion 1975-86, recently met Diego Maradona, the living football legend. It was an interesting meeting. Though people know about Maradona, Karpov might not be that familiar a name to many of them. The two stars played a game of chess too, perhaps because it was easier than trying a bit of football! The game ended in a draw. Karpov surely knows how to play against a football superstar, but the game must have been a very insignificant one!
Karpov at his best was a different player. Watch how he wins the following game.
Black-Anatoly Karpov [E04]
Candidates final, Moscow 1974
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.Nf3 c5 6.00 Nc6 7.Qa4 Bd7 8.Qxc4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Rc8 10.Nc3 Qa5 11.Rd1 Be7 12.Nb3 Qc7 13.Nb5 Qb8 14.Nc5 a6 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.Nc3 Nde5 17.Qa4 00 18.Bf4 Qa7 19.Bxe5 Nxe5 20.Qe4 Nc6 21.Rd7 Bf6 22.Rad1 Qb6 23.Qc2 Na5 24.R1d3 h6 25.a3 Rc7 26.b4 Rxd7 27.Rxd7 Rc8 28.Rd3 Nc4 29.Ne4 Qc7 30.Nc5 Ne5 31.Rd2 b6 32.f4 bxc5 33.fxe5 Qxe5 34.Bb7 Rc7 35.Qe4 Qa1+ 36.Kg2 Qxa3 37.bxc5 Rxc5 38.Rd3 Qa5 39.Qf3 Qb6 40.Rd7 Rf5 41.Qg4 Qf2+ 42.Kh3 g6 0-1
Position after 27...Rc8!!
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