CHESS

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT | COMICS -

The grand­mas­ter, Miroslav Filip (1928-2009) was, dur­ing his peak years, one of the strong­est grand­mas­ters out­side of the Soviet Union. His ma­jor claim to fame was qual­i­fy­ing for the gru­elling Can­di­dates Tour­na­ment in Cu­ra­cao 1962 that con­tained such ti­tans as Tal, Fis­cher, Pet­rosian, Korch­noi and Keres. Apart from an at­trac­tive vic­tory over Mikhail Tal the Czech GM was un­able to com­pete at such a high level and thus con­cen­trated on jour­nal­ism. He be­came an ar­biter of some dis­tinc­tion and was se­lected to be present in six world cham­pi­onship con­tests The pro­lific English chess au­thor GM Ray­mond Keene gave the fol­low­ing brief por­trait: ‘It was dur­ing the seven years from 1955 to 1962 that Filip, at six foot nine inches in height an im­pos­ing pres­ence at the chess board, truly be­came a world force. Dur­ing this period he twice achieved the no­to­ri­ously ar­du­ous feat of qual­i­fy­ing for the Can­di­dates Tour­na­ments for the World Cham­pi­onship, at Amsterdam 1956 and again at Cu­ra­cao, 1962. Thus Filip was au­to­mat­i­cally pro­pelled into the up­per ech­e­lons of the world elite. It was in this happy time that Filip in­flicted de­feat on no fewer than three world cham­pi­ons, Dr Max Euwe in 1955, Vass­ily Smyslov (the reign­ing cham­pion) in 1957 and former world cham­pion Mikhail Tal in 1962’. Tal,Mikhail - Filip,Miroslav [B43] Can­di­dates Tour­na­ment Cu­ra­cao (12) 1962 ‘At one point smok­ing was wide­spread among chess play­ers. Lots of the World Cham­pi­ons smoked: Alekhine, Tal, Spassky, Korch­noi. Nowa­days there’s quite a strange sit­u­a­tion – among the Top 100 only about five guys smoke. That cre­ates cer­tain dif­fi­cul­ties. Be­fore a tour­na­ment I usu­ally have to ask the or­gan­is­ers to pro­vide a smok­ing room within the ac­ces­si­ble zone. Last year I played in Wijk aan Zee and in or­der to smoke there you had to go out­side to a pav­il­ion. It wasn’t just that the weather was bad – zero de­grees, a strong wind – I also had to go there and back with an ar­biter so no-one would give me any tips along the way. That all took around ten min­utes. My op­po­nents nat­u­rally no­ticed and the mo­ment I ap­proached the ar­biter and left the hall they made a move. So that was how I had to play the whole tour­na­ment – mad­ness! By the way, young chess play­ers don’t even drink. That re­ally does look strange.’ (Alexander Grischuk)

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