25 May 2017

Unlocking Items of Distinction

Anatoly Karpov's Birthday Celebration and His Collection Items Exhibition in the Review of Eteri Kublashvili and Vladimir Barsky

On May 23, birthday celebrations in honor of the 12th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov took place in the Central House of Chess Player in Moscow. Many famous figures of chess, culture, and politics arrived to congratulate him: Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation and FIDE Vice-president, Sergey Baburin, a statesman and scholar, Vladimir Palikhata, President of the Moscow Chess Federation, Yuri Lvovich Averbakh, world's oldest grandmaster, Galina Lvovna Dvorkovich, Anatoly Avraamovich Bykhovsky, Evgeny Andreevich Vasiukov, Alexander Grigorjevich Bach, Valentina Gunina and many others.

Same day the Central House of Chess Player opened an exhibition that featured part of Anatoly Karpov's rich collection put out for public display, including those items that had never left the 12th world champion's domestic premises. Thus, it displayed the grandmaster’s portrait by Ilya Glazunov, an Order of Malta badge, a watch gifted by an Arab sheik, a unique porcelain chess set, most remarkable stamps and badges from Karpov's abundant collection, with the items dedicated to the later failed 1975 Fischer-Karpov match being among them as well. A special showcase exhibited Karpov’s legendary chess ties.

The program was hosted by the RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky.

Andrey Filatov shared about his bringing up a story of Karpov's victories over hockey players in a conversation with the legendary hockey player Vyacheslav Fetisov. Fetisov seemed unsurprised and added that they had been indeed happy to allow a couple of goals to play chess with Anatoly Yevgenyevich. It turned out, however, that it were table hockey goals that Karpov had been scoring after all.

Andrey Filatov: "Anatoly Yevgenyevich, please accept my hearty congratulations you on your birthday! I am happy that you have invited us to celebrate this holiday with you here on the Gogol Boulevard 14, the home of all chess fans and players. It is so nice to see this many wonderful people come to wish well to the birthday man, who has a wonderful gift in store for his guests in the form of exhibit items from his richest of collections, most of which have been put out in public view for the first time ever. A collection of stamps and other philatelic rarities that you brought into the Norwegian city Tromsø for the 2014 Olympiad has left an indelible impression on me, and I will never forget a fascinating story that you told back then. I am confident that acquaintance with this priceless collection will feast the eyes of not collectors only, but all chess fans in general. I wish you strong health, inexhaustible energy, new victories and bright creative achievements!"

Anatoly Karpov thanked everyone for congratulations and told the audience more about his collection, recalling some noteworthy facts along the way.

"What you see here is no more than a fraction of my collection. This exhibition has come about thanks to the efforts from my wife and Dmitry Oleynikov. The exhibition's commemorative badges, stamps, ties, and chess sets has now come to personify a certain period in the history of chess. I like to say, as a joke, that an overall number of stamps picturing me has come to outnumber those with Lenin. There is a portrait by Ilya Sergeevich Glazunov, who we have been friends with for more than forty years now, as well as sculptures by Sergeev and Petrov. You can also have a look at the badges manufactured in anticipation of the later failed match Fischer-Karpov. May 24, 1975 marked a celebration staged at the Pillar Hall of Unions in honor of the newly-crowned world champion. Back then, they came out with a blue-background badge portraying the world champion Karpov wearing a crown. I had nothing to do with the badge. Baturinsky showed it to Pavlov, the then head of the USSR State Committee for Sports, to report on the work accomplished, and the latter came back with: "Viktor Davydovich, have you taken leave of your senses? There is no way we can allow it into circulation." "So, what is to be done about it?" "Let's pretend you have never shown it to me." Despite this, the badges were distributed among the participants anyway," told Anatoly Karpov.

Sergey Baburin read out a congratulatory letter from Sergey Kiriyenko, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia.  

With the official part over, everyone was free to take an in-depth look into a unique set of exhibited items, congratulate Anatoly Yevgenyevich on his birthday in person, drink champagne to his health and partake of a chess cake. The Big Hall had tables and chess equipment set up and ready for action. Valentina Gunina, for one, would miss no opportunity to warm up pending the World Team Championship.

The Russian Chess Federation congratulates Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov on his birthday and wishes him robust health, prosperity and more victories to come!


Pictures by Vladimir Barsky