WMD: Tribute by Lev Khariton:
Also from the same source:
Yasha, a brilliant chess player and a most original chess thinker and analyst, was Viktor Korchnoi’s second at the famous (or notorious?) match between Korchnoi and Karpov in Baguio in 1978 – exactly 25 years ago!
Below are some of the highlights of Murei’s comments on that memorable event that he shared with me years ago.
“The funny thing was that Tal, my idol in my chess childhood, was Karpov’s second, and I was Korchnoi’s…Later I could never bring myself to forgive Tal this sin…”
“In Baguio Karpov was scared of me. Upon making a move he used to look from the stage at me, and I also looked straight into his eyes. He could not stand my stare losing this psychological battle each time…”
“When I remember Baguio, I experience two feelings: delight and disgust. As a chess professional I was overwhelmed with happiness to participate in this historic event. But thinking about what was happening there behind the scenes fills me up with bitterness and disgust. Too much hatred on both sides…”
“Korchnoi lost the match because he was too much involved into extra-chess activities. He should have focused only on chess, as Fischer had done playing against Spassky in 1972…”
“Viktor was totally manipulated by Petra Leeuwerik. I understand that after 10 years of Stalin’s camps she hated the Soviets, but she had learnt so many bad things from them. So, in Baguio she often insulted Korchnoi’s seconds, she was putting too much pressure on everyone…”
“Before the decisive 32nd game I asked Viktor not to play the Pirc. “Please, play the French! You haven’t lost a single French against Karpov in the two matches!” Unfortunately, Keene, Stean and Petra were already giving interviews anticipating Korchnoi’s victory…”
“After Korchnoi’s loss in the 32nd game I was crying. I wanted him so much to become World Champion! I said to Petra: “Now, Viktor’s son may die in Siberia” Her reply was shocking: “Let him die. Viktor left the USSR to live his own life!” I told Korchnoi her words. Korchnoi would not budge saying: “Well, I know her opinion…”