Korchnoi qualified for this match from the Leningrad Interzonal (1973), and Mecking qualified from the Petropolis Interzonal (1973). The three other quarterfinals were the Spassky - Byrne Candidates Quarterfinal (1974), Petrosian - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1974) and Karpov - Polugaevsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1974). Victory would go to the player who first won three games, or to the player in the lead after 16 games. If 8-8, the winner would be picked by lottery. (1) The matches were held in order to select a challenger for Robert James Fischer, the World Champion.
International Arbiter Bozidar Kazic noted that here was a battle between players of different styles, different careers in chess, and different generations, and whose only common point was the ardent desire to win. (2) Korchnoi (42) had previously taken part in three candidates' competitions whereas Mecking (21) felt that youth was on his side. (2) The two had played each other four times since the Sousse Interzonal (1967). The selection of Augusta, USA for the match was a compromise between the Russian winter and the heat of Brazil, explained Ed Edmondson, the Executive Director of the USCF. (2) Augusta also had hospitable chess enthusiasts: Lee Hyder, William Henry Dodgen, Vera Hagler and others. (2) The venue was the Towers Quality Inn at 444 Broad Street (3) which also accommodated the players. (2) The arbiter was Kazic, with Martin Morrison as assistant. (2, 4) General playing time was set at 5-10 pm. (5)
Korchnoi, Isabella (his wife), Viacheslav Osnos (second) and Mikhail Soloviev (head of delegation) arrived in Augusta on 10 January. (2, 6) Mecking and Herbert Abreu Carvalho (second) arrived two days later; they were met by Ulf Andersson (principal second), who was already in town. (6) On Monday 14 January they were welcomed by Mayor Lewis A. Newman, who held a Key to the City ceremony in his office. (7) On 15 January there was an opening ceremony and a banquet. (8) Invited guests included the governors of Georgia and South Carolina. (9) Attending guests included Edmondson, FIDE comptroller Gian Carlo Dal Verme, (10) and Kamalakar Raut, the president of the Georgia Chess Association. (8) Kazic asked pro-tem Mayor K. Johnson to choose between two envelopes which contained a black and a white pawn and the name of the contenders. Johnson picked the one with Mecking's name on it. Mecking was thereby given the opportunity to choose from either hand of Korchnoi who held a pawn in each palm. He chose Korchnoi's right hand and the pawn was black, thereby giving Korchnoi white in the opening game. (8)
The players: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_jjgksVeNn...
In Game 1, Mecking proved worthy of the occasion. (2) The game was adjourned with Mecking a pawn up. Osnos said he spent two days with Korchnoi seeking a way to save the position, which Korchnoi regarded as lost. But Mecking played imprecisely in the end, and the game was drawn. (2) Game 2 was quiet. In Game 3, Korchnoi was forced to sacrifice a pawn, but in the end, the point was divided. Game 4 was also a draw, once again with an extra pawn for Mecking. (2) Mecking had said he studied Korchnoi's style and that he liked it. (5) The players could now rest for two days. Korchnoi was in the USA for the first time, and went to North Augusta Plaza Shopping Center, two hospitals, and Augusta College - "to tour and talk with people". (11) Mecking spent the day in the hotel, studying for the next game. (11) On 22 January, Korchnoi went shopping to select a suit and accessories at no charge. (4) He was no expert on clothing, to judge from the repeated calls to his wife, "Bella, Bella, come here". (4) He picked a smart-looking brown plaid suit. Osnos and Soloviev bought shirts, sweaters, beach robes and an umbrella. Mecking again spent most of the day in the hotel. (4)
Game 5 was played on Mecking's birthday. Before the game, Korchnoi, Bella, Soloviev, Kazic and his wife Olga and a Soviet radio journalist toured the Merry and Terrace Manor elementary schools, Glenn Hills High School, and the Sego Junior High School, where they had lunch with the students. (12) To avoid too much excitement, Mecking did not want flowers or other reminders of his birthday. In the game, Korchnoi was about to gift a point. But Mecking made a mistake before the time control, and later lost. (2) Now Mecking complained of 'insomnia', and Game 6 (which was scheduled for 24 January) was postponed for two days. (13) This game was a quiet draw. (2) In Game 7, Mecking was a pawn up at the adjournment. Korchnoi got compensation and offered a draw, but Mecking refused. Five moves later, Korchnoi had the better position and Mecking offered a draw. But now Korchnoi refused, and won the endgame. (2, 14) On the next day (29 January), Korchnoi, Osnos and Kazic visited the Capitol and met with Governor Jimmy Carter and Lt. Governor Lester Maddox. (15)
With a 2-0 lead, Korchnoi now played cautiously. (2) Four draws followed. The excitement at the chess table gave way to provocative statements by the players to journalists, which made the situation all the more tense. (2) Game 12 was won by Mecking, in lovely style. After the match, Korchnoi said that this was the most complete and best game. (2) Korchnoi adjourned it in a lost position, waiting to resign, to have four rest days, instead of two, before the next game. (2) He and Isabella left for the Clark Hill Reservoir to go boating and fishing. Mecking stayed close to the hotel, and Andersson made a trip to Atlanta to see the attractions there. (16) Game 13 became the last of the match. Mecking surprised Korchnoi with a Benoni and had opportunities to tie the score. But short of time, he ruined the prospective position he had been building for hours. (2)
Augusta, USA (Georgia), 16 January - 13 February 1974 (17)
Korchnoi advanced to the Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Semifinal (1974).
Elo* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 USD#
1 GM Korchnoi 2650 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 1 7˝ 3500
2 GM Mecking 2575 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 0 5˝ 2100
At the closing ceremony, Morrison presented Korchnoi with his first prize money. Carvalho accepted the second prize money on behalf of Mecking, who was not there. Hyder and Dodgen were presented chess boards by Morrison from the USCF, for their work prior to and during the match. Dan and Vera Hagler of Augusta were presented the clock that was used in the match. Korchnoi was asked how he would do in a match with Fischer? "I think I would lose 6˝ to 4˝. Fischer is unbeatable." (18)
The 3rd North Augusta Winter Chess Festival was held 22-24 February at the N. Augusta Recreation Center, with Francis Fielder Simpson winning in the highest rated section. Mecking was still in town, and made a brief appearance during which he signed autographs and talked with the participants. (19)
1) Harry Golombek in The Times, 15 January 1974, p. 5; Tidskrift för Schack, February 1974, p. 33.
2) Candidates' Matches 1974, by Mikhail Botvinnik, Aleksandar Matanovic, Bozidar Kazic and Mikhail M Yudovich Sr. (Belgrade 1974).
3) At which address Regency Inn had a major overhaul in 2013 and changed name to Holiday Inn Express (Augusta Chronicle, 30 July 2013).
4) Augusta Chronicle, 23 January 1977, p. 13.
5) Augusta Chronicle, 13 January 1974, p. 14.
6) Augusta Chronicle, 12 January 1974, p. 11. Botvinnik's book says 11 January.
7) Augusta Chronicle, 15 January 1974, p. 10.
8) Augusta Chronicle, 16 January 1974, p. 15.
9) Aiken Standard, 15 January 1974, p. 7.
10) The composer of the FIDE anthem, Wikipedia article: Gian Carlo Dal Verme.
11) Augusta Chronicle, 22 January 1974, p. 11.
12) Augusta Chronicle, 24 January 1974, p. 8.
13) Augusta Chronicle, 26 January 1974, p. 12.
14) Augusta Chronicle, 29 January 1974, p. 14.
15) Augusta Chronicle, 30 January 1974, p. 13.
16) Augusta Chronicle, 13 February 1974, p. 42.
17) Game 9 was played in the civic room of the Georgia Railroad Bank Building because of a scheduling conflict (Augusta Chronicle, 5 February 1974, p. 11).
18) Augusta Chronicle, 15 February 1974, p. 1.
19) Augusta Chronicle, 25 February 1974, p. 13.
*FIDE Rating List July 1973. #Prizes in US dollars according to Botvinnik's book (note 2).
Original collections: Game Collection: WCC Index (Korchnoi-Mecking 1974) by User: Hesam7 and Game Collection: Korchnoi - Mecking Candidates Quarterfinal 1974 by User: Tabanus. Game dates (Jan 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 26, 27, 30, Feb 2, 6, 7, 9, 13) are from Augusta Chronicle. Thanks to User: OhioChessFan, User: Chessical and User: zanzibar for improving the English.