Log in to play online chess. Cookies must be enabled in your browser to play online chess.

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

1975 World Chess Championship

In 1972, the regulations for the world championship match was the first to win 6 games was declared the winner, draws not counting, with a limited number of 24 games.

In September 1973, Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) proposed the following changes to the world championship match. The match continues until one player wins 10 games, draws not counting. There is no limit to the total number of games played. In case of a 9-9 tie, the champion retains the title and the prize fund is split equally.

In June 1974, Fischer resigned his “FIDE title” during the June 24-30, 1974, FIDE Congress, held in Nice, France (site of the 21st Chess Olympiad). However, FIDE, with its 88 member federations, did not accept his resignation. The FIDE General Assembly voted 26 to 24 (with 12 abstentions) to make the match a 10-win, but with a specific limit on the number of games played. The assembly voted for a 36-game limit. The next day, after hearing of a limited match, Bobby Fischer sent a telegram, dated June 27, 1974, “…I RESIGN MY FIDE WORLD CHESS CHAMPION TITLE. SINCERELY, BOBBY FISCHER.”

On June 29, 1974, Dr. Max Euwe (1901-1981), President of FIDE, asked for a vote after stating, “Now that the World Champion has resigned, shall we change our decision to limit the match length?” The vote was 35 No, 17 Yes, and 11 Abstentions. Former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik called the 9-9 clause unsporting. Viktor Korchnoi, David Bronstein, and Lev Alburt considered the 9-9 clause reasonable.
Soon after, the United States Chess Federation (USCF) considered withdrawing from FIDE.

On August 30, 1974, Fischer indicated that he might still play under FIDE auspices, but he was not prepared to compromise on his conditions.

On November 22, 1974, Anatoly Karpov (1951- ) won the right to play Bobby Fischer in the 1975 World Chess Championship after defeating Viktor Korchnoi (1931- ) in the Final Candidates Match, held in Moscow, with 3 wins (games 2, 6, and 17), 2 losses (games 19 and 21), and 19 draws out of 24 games played. The proportion of draws was about 79%. In the 3 candidates’ matches, Karpov played 46 games and lost 3 games. By comparison, Fischer demolished all three of his candidate opponents in only 21 games. He beat Taimanov 6-0, Larsen 6-0, and Petrosian 5-1, with only 3 draws and only 1 loss.

Fischer proposed a 10-win unlimited match. Larry Evans pointed out that if the Karpov-Korchnoi draw proportion held through a 10-win unlimited match, it would take 80 games and over seven months of play.

According to the FIDE rules at that time, if by April 1, 1975, Fischer had not declared his availability to play the match, the world title would be awarded to Karpov.

On December 15-20, 1974, the FIDE Bureau met in Panang, Malaysia and voted 5 to 4 to decline the consideration of changing the world championship regulations that was adopted in June 1974 by the General Assembly at Nice.

The Chess Federations of Japan, Iran, and the Philippines called for a Extraordinary General Assembly to discuss Fischer’s proposed changes in the regulations.

On January 1, 1975, bids were open for the world championship match. Only three bids were offered. Mexico City would host the event with a prize fund of $387,500. Milan, Italy offered to host the event with a prize fund of $426,250. The Philippines offered to host the event, most likely in Manila, for a guaranteed $5,000,000. According to FIDE regulations, the winner of the match would get 5/8 of the purse ($3.5 million) and the loser would get 3/8 of the purse ($1.5 million).

Details of the bids were sent Fischer and Karpov. They were to list their preference by February 17, 1975. Karpov chose Milan. Fischer did not respond, but Ed Edmondson, executive director of the USCF and representing Fischer, selected Manila. FIDE selected Manila as the playing site. The USSR challenged the choice of Manila, since Edmondson, not Fischer, notified FIDE of Fischer’s choice. Edmondson was a FIDE Bureau Member and was legally authorized to accept Fischer’s choice.

On March 3, 1975, the Chief Arbiter had to be selected. Fischer requested that Paul Klein of Ecuador be the chief arbiter, as he was for the Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match in 1972 in Denver. Karpov requested that the chief arbiter be Lothar Schmid of Germany, Wilfried Dorazil of Austria, or Alberic O’Kelly of Belgium. Max Euwe, President of FIDE, selected Klein to be chief arbiter, assisted by Dr. Wilfried Dorazil and Dr. Enrico Paoli of Italy. The Soviet Chess Federation immediately protested these decisions, calling them “violations of procedures.”

On March 18-20, 1975, the first FIDE Extraordinary General Assembly was held in Bergan, the Netherlands. 70 member federations participated. They voted on two proposals. The first proposal was that the world championship match be played to 10 wins for victory, with no limit on the number of games. This proposal was accepted with 37 federations in favor and 33 federations against. The second proposal was that the match would be terminated if the score was tied 9-9, and that the Champion would retain his title. This second proposal was defeated with 35 federations against it and 32 federations for it. So, if the score reached 9-9, then the winner of the next game wins the match and the title.

The USSR attacked the FIDE Extraordinary General Assembly, and in a letter, threatened to boycott all FIDE events. The letter was signed by Petrosian, Tal, Geller, Korchnoi, Polugaevsky, Beliavsky, and Kuzmin.

On April 3, 1975, with no word from Bobby Fischer if he would play or not, FIDE President Max Euwe declared Anatoly Karpov the 12th World Chess Champion. For the first time in history, a World Chess Champion was crowned without having won the title by playing chess. Fischer was rated 2780 and Karpov was rated 2705 at the time.

After Karpov was crowned world chess champion, Fischer took a two-month cruise around the world, visiting Europe, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Bali, India, etc. He had grown a beard and most people did not recognize him.

June 1, 1975, was supposed to be the start date of the World Chess Championship. The purse would have been the second-highest in the history of sport. Only the world heavyweight boxing championship had a higher purse. It would also be viewed by more people in the history of sport.

On June 2-21, 1975, in his first tournament since “winning” the FIDE World Championship, Karpov won an international tournament (3rd Vidmar Memorial) in Ljubljana-Portoroz, Yugoslavia, with a score of 11-4. He won 7, drew 8, and lost none. It was the first time that a reigning World Champion finished in sole 1st place since Alekhine in 1934 at Zurich. Karpov played 29 games as world champion before he lost to Ulf Andersson in Milan on August 28, 1975.

Twenty years later, Fischer played Boris Spassky with the same proposals that Fischer suggested back in 1972. Fischer won with 10 wins, 5 losses, and 15 draws in 30 games.

– Bill Wall

Comments are closed.

Daily Online Chess Puzzle

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Online Chess

Play Online Chess

If you have a website or a homepage, feel free to link to ChessManiac using these links: Play online chess