Karpov in Scotland - 1984

The Scottish Chess Association, having been founded in 1884, planned a number of events for the centenary year. The highlight of the celebrations was the visit to Glasgow by the World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, to give a simultaneous exhibition.

The following report by John Glendinning is taken from Scottish Chess, Nr. 81, June 1984.

Scottish Amicable sponsor Karpov visit

The Scottish Amicable World Champion Challenge on May 14 proved to be one of the most memorable chess events in Scotland for many years. Excitement grew as Bill Proudfoot, Chief General Manager of the sponsors Scottish Amicable Life Assurance Society, introduced the World Champion. As the lights in the function suite of the Albany Hotel in Glasgow dimmed, a spotlight picked out Anatoly Karpov appearing on stage preceded by piper Wilson Brown. Karpov made his way from the stage through a guard of honour comprising kilted girls from Fernhill School in Rutherglen to a rousing reception from more than 500 spectators present.


As the display progressed, rumours of who was beating Karpov spread round, with Mark Condie the hottest tip. The first result came - a draw with Douglas Griffin - with a rush of results after about 3 hours. Tension grew again as the number of players left reduced; Condie went wrong as the time he had to think became less and less. And in the end no-one managed to defeat the world champion, although 9 drew. They were Douglas Bryson (Glasgow), Mark Condie (Edinburgh), Alison Coull (St Andrews), George Coutts (Edinburgh), Alan Grant (Glasgow), Douglas Griffin (Airdrie), Patrick McInally (Edinburgh), Stephen Robinson (Stirling) and Roger Walker (Glasgow).

When the display finished - by the agreement of a draw on Condie's board - after nearly 4½ hours, many of the audience remained, even though it was getting towards midnight. They gave warm applause to the spectators who had won the five prizes in the competition run for them, to the nine players who had drawn as they collected their silver medals, and to Bill Proudfoot and sponsors Scottish Amicable Life Assurance Society. But they reserved a special ovation for the world champion who was clearly moved by the occasion and who later commented on how many players had stayed for the end of the display, and on their enthusiasm.

The presentation of a Caithness Glass commemorative bowl to Karpov brought to a close an evening when chessplayers from all over Scotland travelled long distances to see the first world champion to visit the country for about half a century. We must make sure we do not have to wait so long again.

The following will give a taste of the standard of play.

Karpov - Mark Condie [C60]
Glasgow (Simultaneous) 14.05.1984

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 Ne7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nc3 Rb8 10.Re1 d6 11.Ne2 c5 12.c3 Nc6 13.Nf4 Ne5 14.Bc2 Re8 15.Rb1 Bb7 16.b3 Qh4! 17.h3 Re7 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.Qxd5 g5 20.Qd2 Re6 21.Re3 Bh6 22.Rg3 Kh8 23.Qe2 Rg8 24.Bd1 Reg6 Now Black threatens ...g4 with a very strong attack, and probably has a winning position. 25.Rg4 Giving up the exchange is White's most practical chance. 25...Nxg4 26.Qxg4 Re6 27.Bc2 Qxg4 28.hxg4 Bg7 29.Bd2 c6 30.Kf1 Bf6 31.Rd1 Kg7 32.Bd3 Rh8 33.f3 h5 34.gxh5 Rxh5 35.Kf2 Be5 36.Ba6 d5 37.exd5 cxd5 38.Bb7 Rd6 39.Be1 d4 40.Be4 Ra6 41.a4 Scottish Chess gives 41. d6 in error. White must have played the text move, to allow for his later 51. a5. - A.McGowan. 41...dxc3 42.Rc1 Bd4+ 43.Ke2 Rh2 44.Bxc3 Rxg2+ 45.Kd3 Rd6 46.Kc4 Re2 47.Rd1 g4? Black, who was now having to move much more frequently as the number of players still in the display reduced, missed White's nice reply.
48.Rg1 Kf8 49.Rxg4 Bxc3 50.Kxc3 Rd4 51.a5 Ra2 52.Rg5 Rxa5 53.Rxc5 Rxc5+ 54.Kxd4 Rc7 55.b4 Ke7 56.Kd5 Kf6 57.Kd6 Rc4 58.b5 Kg5 59.Bc6 Kf4 60.Kc7 Rc1 61.Kb7 Ra1 Scottish Chess gives 61...Rd1. 62.Kb8 ½-½

On a personal note, I would like to express my very sincere thanks to the 50 or so people who helped on the night, or before. Apart from those seen or referred to on the night (Walter Munn, Ken Stewart and Gerald Bonner), a dozen stewards 6 demonstration board operators and their link man with the results board, 7 people at the reception desk, 26 girls in the guard of honour and our police piper all made the evening go very smoothly. Considerable help too should be acknowledged to Scottish Amicable and especially Robert Greenshields, who managed to achieve considerable publicity for the event.

What were the failures? Certainly, it was disappointing that the television companies did not cover the event. They were kept fully informed, with ample opportunity to arrange coverage. If you think they were wrong, please write and tell them.

Glasgow's Evening Times can also not avoid criticism. Bill Fitzgerald, winner of the press chess competition, was presented with his trophy by the world champion at a press conference. This found its way into the Evening Times, which then failed to make any reference to the Scottish Amicable display. There is no doubt that this represented an appalling abuse of the hospitality and help provided by both Scottish Amicable and the Scottish Chess Association, and the SCA has written a formal letter of complaint to the Editor of the Evening Times.

However, despite this, the evening was a memorable one and a fitting event for the SCA's Centenary year.


Muir (left) KarpovFurther to the above, IM Andrew Muir has kindly supplied a photograph and his game against Karpov. Andrew states that he had a winning position, but blundered and lost. Phil Giulian had an exciting game in the Qg4 French.

Karpov - Andrew Muir [B67]
Glasgow (Simultaneous) 14.05.1984
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 Bd7 9 f4 b5 10 Bxf6 gxf6 11 Kb1 Qb6 12 Nf3 0-0-0 13 Bd3 h5 14 g3 Qc5 15 Rhe1 Be7 16 Ne2 d5 17 Nc1 Nb4 18 Nb3 Qb6 19 exd5 Nxd5 20 f5 e5 21 c4? bxc4 22 Qc1 Kb8 23 Qxc4 Bb5 [Andrew should call the world champion's bluff and fork queen and rook with 23...Ne3! The difficulty is trying to quickly assess 24 Qxf7 Nxd1 25 Qxe7 but Black can keep the extra material with 25...Nf2 26 Bc2 Bb5 and Black has a technical win - albeit Karpov wont resign just yet and you still have to finish him off. 24 Qxf7 Nxd1 25 Qxe7 Nf2 26 Bc2 Bb5 27 Qc5 Ka7] 24 Qe4 Bb4 25 Bxb5 Qxb5 26 Rh1 Rd7?? An unfortunate slip 27 Nxe5! Of course 27...fxe5 28 Qxe5+ forks the king and rook. 27...Rdd8 28 Nd4 Qb7 29 Ndc6+ Kc7 30 Rxd5 1-0

Karpov - Phil Giulian [C18]
Glasgow (Simultaneous) 14.05.1984
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 Qc7 8 Qxg7 Rg8 9 Qxh7 cxd4 10 Ne2 Nbc6 11 f4 Bd7 12 Qd3 dxc3 13 Qxc3 0-0-0 14 Rb1 Nf5 15 Rg1 d4 16 Qd3 a6 17 g4 Nh4 18 Rg3 f6 19 exf6 e5 20 f5 Na5 21 f7 Rh8 22 Bg5 Bc6 23 Bxd8 Rxd8 24 Rh3 e4 25 Qxd4 Nf3+ 26 Rxf3 Rxd4 27 f8Q+ Rd8 28 Qb4 exf3 29 Nf4 Qe5+ 30 Kf2 Rd4 31 Qf8+ Rd8 32 Qb4 Rd4 33 Qf8+ Rd8 34 Qh6 Rd6 35 Ne6 Kb8 36 Re1 Qd5 37 Bd3 Rd7 38 Qf4+ Ka7 39 Re5 Qa2 40 Qe3+ Ka8 41 Rxa5 Qa1 42 Bxa6 bxa6 43 Rxa6+ 1-0


‘Chess Vol 49 July 1984' reported – “…before an audience of over 600 drew with 9, beat 14, lost to none of his 23 opponents; all within 4 hours and 7 minutes. He had declined to have Roddy McKay and Graham Morrison, against him.”

During his brief stay in Scotland Karpov made a private visit to the Edinburgh Chess Club, recording his signature in the Visitors' book. http://www.edinburghchessclub.co.uk/ecchistvis.htm

Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland