MARK RUBERY CHESS
The Austrian grandmaster Karl Robatsch (19292000) was a frequent visitor to this country during the 1970s and 80s where he gave numerous simultaneous exhibitions. I recall as an awed youngster hearing players describe how he was essaying 1 b4 and winning games in around 7 moves! An exaggeration somewhat, but he certainly left an indelible impression on many. Robatsch played his best chess in the early 1960s and is best remembered as a pioneer of the Pirc-Robatsch Defence -1 e4 d6 or 1 e4 g6. Unlike many of his peers he was not dedicated purely to chess, but was by profession an orchidologist. It was in 1988 during his last visit that I, together with former chess columnist Darryl Accone, joined him on an excursion to the Drakensberg to search for wild orchids!
De Villiers,Charles - Robatsch,Karl [B89]
RSA Masters ch Cape Town, 1975 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.0–0–0 Qc7 10.Bb3 0–0 11.g4 Na5 12.Kb1 Nxb3 13.cxb3 b5 14.g5 Nd7 15.h4 (15 Rc1!?)… b4 16.Na4 Nc5 17.f3 Bd7 18.h5 Nxa4 19.bxa4 Bxa4 20.Rdg1 (Lining up for an attack. At the very least the young De Villiers should be commended for his uncompromising play, objectively though the GM is still in control)… b3 21.axb3 Bb5 22.Qd2 d5!? 23.exd5 Qd7 24.g6 Qxd5 25.h6 fxg6 26.hxg7 Rf7 27.Rxh7 Kxh7 28.Nxe6 (A spectacular shot that meets with a prosaic refutation)… Bd3+! (De Villiers no doubt hoped for 28…Qxd2? 29 Rh1+ leading to mate or 28… Qxe6 29 Qh2+ Kxg7 30 Qh6+ Kg8 31 Rxg6+ leading to equality) 29.Ka2 Rf5 0–1
When in 1974 Kortchnoi was facing the final Candidates ‘ match with Karpov, the Sport Committee and the leadership of the national chess federation were completely on the side of his opponent, Anatoly Karpov. This preference was not a secret among Soviet grandmasters and only Bronstein and Keres offered their services to Kortchnoi. His reaction was remarkable - he used Bronstein ‘ s opening ideas , but he gratefully turned down Keres’ offer.
This is his explanation after all these years. ‘My score with Paul Petrovich was 0-4, and I had the feeling that if l agreed to his help, it would be him fighting at the board, and not me. His chess authority would put too much pressure on me. ‘ (from ‘Chess Silhouettes’ by Genna Sosonko)