Viktor Korchnoi honored in Berlin

by ChessBase
1/11/2009 – The Emanuel Lasker Society was founded in 2001 to preserve the legacy of the great German World Champion. The weekend activities started with Viktor Korchnoi, multiple world championship challenger, becoming an honorary member. Part of the festive evening was a Playchess game between the former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov and the visitors. Photo report.

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Viktor Korchnoi honored by the Emanuel Lasker Society in Berlin

Photo report by Frederic Friedel

The Emanuel Lasker Society's task is to preserve, further explore, and popularise the spiritual and cultural legacy of Emanuel Lasker. To do this the Society organises scientific symposia on the history and culture of chess and presents them in the form of publications. The Lasker-Treffs (“Lasker meetings”) in Berlin have become a fixture for friends of the culture of chess and other games. From January 9 to 11, 68 years after Lasker's death, the society is staging a "Lasker weekend" which began on Friday with a special event to nominate Viktor Korchnoi as an honorary member of the society.

Paul Werner Wagner, the Chairman of the Emanuel Lasker Society

The cultural scientist – there is no really good translation for the German "Kulturwissenschaftler" – was put into jail at the age of nineteen by the East German Secret Service. It was during this time that he studied chess and achieved a noteworthy playing strength. He narrates how he was enthralled by the matches between Karpov and Korchnoi, always rooting for the latter. When he won his first important tournament game he wrote above it in his chess notebook: "Inspired by the great Viktor Korchnoi!"

Viktor Korchnoi receives the honorary membership of the Lasker Society from Wagner

Petra Korchnoi also becomes an honorary member

An interesting lecture by GM Stefan Kindermann

Kindermann is one of the two key figures in the Munich Chess Academy, which teaches chess and trains people in using chess strategy in their professions. Stefan's lecture in Berlin was entitled "Königsplan – Strategien der Schachgroßmeister für Ihren Erfolg – Methoden für Planung, Kreativität und Management", which translates to "King's plan – the strategy of chess grandmasters for their success – methods of planing, creativity and management."

Kindermann used the above very simple chess position – but one greatly enjoyed by the lay people in the audience – in order to demonstrate how you find a winning strategy (fork on f7) by searching for the goal, and then implement it by eliminating hindrances (rook takes knight) and finding solutions to new problems that might arise (...Kg8 2.Rh8+!) to achieve the goal.

Actress and singer Vaile makes friends with Petra Korchnoi during the intermission

They are joined by the exuberant Lothar Schmid, GM and arbiter of many top chess events. It is remarkable to know that both Lothar and Petra are eighty. That is everyone's new goal, including Vaile's: to be like these two when we reach that age.

They are joined by Viktor, the main focal point of the festive evening

Here's a true story, completely unexaggerated: I last met Viktor Korchnoi at the opening ceremony of the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. Viktor and Petra had just posed with the Iranian women's team (see bottom of this report), and we had ordered a taxi to take the two back to their hotel. While we were waiting Viktor said to me: "I must tell you about an experience I had in Teheran. I was giving lectures there...". At this point the taxi arrived and they hurried off. That was on November 12th, 2008. When I met Viktor again, two months later on January 9th, 2009, his second or third remark to me was: "So let me finish the story...". He picked it up as if he had started it an hour ago. And in case you are interested: he told me how the women players had to go to the mullahs to ask permission to attend his lectures, every time and for every lecture.

A charming and interesting personality: Dr Friedrich (Fritz) Baumbach, who was the World Correspondence Chess Champion from 1983 to 1989. He was also East German OTB Champion in 1970.

Fritz Baumbach had stained the tablecloth with wine (on the left). The great collector Lothar Schmid had Vaile add a second stain so he could have the marks of a World Champion and a TV actress on the same cloth.

The high point of the evening: a Playchess match between the visitors of the Lasker Society (consulting) and former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who was in his home close to Bonn, Germany

Fritz Baumbach and Viktor Korchnoi sometimes offered advice as the game proceeded

Cheating? No, Dijana Dengler, FIDE Master and CEO of the Munich Chess Academy, was following the games on her netbook, with Fritz switched on. But she did not offer any advice to the participants – we can vouch for that.

The operator entering the moves of the players in Berlin, as the game reaches a critical phase

Emanuel Lasker Gesellschaft - Kasimdzhanov,Rustam [A29]
25m + 0s, unrated, 09.01.2009
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0-0 Be7 8.d3 0-0 9.a3 Be6 10.b4 Nd4 11.Bb2 Nxf3+ 12.Bxf3 c6 13.Rc1 Bg5 14.Rb1 f5 15.Na4 Nd7 16.Qc2 Be7 17.Ba1 Rc8 18.Nc5 Bxc5 19.bxc5 Rc7 20.Rfc1 Qe7 21.Rb4 Bd5 22.e4 fxe4 23.Bxe4 Qf7 24.Qe2 Re8 25.Rc2 Nf6 26.Bc3 Rd7 27.Bd2 a5 28.Rb1 Bb3 29.Rcc1 a4 30.Bc3 Nd5 31.Bb2 Nc7 32.Re1 Rde7 33.Qg4 Rf8?

Viktor Korchnoi was in the audience, but saying nothing. Here he couldn't hold back and started murmuring "f4, play f4". His comments were heard by the MC and quickly accepted by the public. 34.f4! Ne6 35.Bxe5 Nxc5 36.Bd6 Nxe4 37.dxe4 Rd8 38.Bxe7 Qxe7. White has won an exchange and for the first time actually contemplates winning this game. "This is going to be my first victory over a Super-GM," one of the participants says.

39.Qg5 Qxg5 40.fxg5 Kf7 41.Re2 c5 42.Rbb2 b5 43.Rbd2. The white advantage has evaporated, the GMs in hall are frowning. The consultants decide to offer a draw, which the former FIDE world champion turns down: 43...Rxd2 44.Rxd2 Ke6 45.Kf2

Both sides are in time trouble. Instead of the promising 45...b4 Kasimdzhanov goes for the inaccurate 45...Bc4? 46.Ke3 b4 47.axb4 cxb4

48.Rd4? White should have continued 48.Kd4. Now the visitors in Berlin are going to lose. 48...a3! 49.Rxc4 a2 50.Rc6+ Kd7 51.Ra6 b3 52.Kf2 b2 53.Rxa2 b1Q 54.Rd2+ Ke6 55.h4 Ke5 56.Rd5+ Kxe4 0-1. Nicely done, Rustam, tricky GM from Uzbekistan. [Click to replay]


Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) became world famous as a chess player and was among the best known German citizens abroad. No other chess player since has been able to beat the duration of Lasker's 27 years of chess world championship (from 1894 to 1921). The Emanuel Lasker Society was founded in Berlin on January 11th 2001, sixty years to the day after Lasker's death. Its members include the world champions Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, as well as GMs Lothar Schmid, Yuri Averbakh, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Rainer Knaak, Dr. Fritz Baumbach, the cabinet minister Otto Schily, the chess historian Dr. Isaak Linder, and the oldest living chess grandmaster André Lilienthal (Hungary, born 1911).

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