Daniel Johnson
White King and Red Queen

Friction between the two camps was exacerbated by various incidents, including a remark that Petra Leeuwerik overheard Dr Zukhar make to another Russian: 'Volodya, do you remember, I read in our files that Korchnoi has chronic gonorrhoea.' For the fifteenth game, Karpov began rocking his chair, ignoring requests to desist by Schmid. The most influential of the Soviet journalists, Alexander Roshal, who kept up a steady flow of propaganda, blamed Korchnoi for taking 'the liberty of insulting the Champion and members of his delegation' (a reference to Korchnoi's remarks about Baturinsky) and for pretending that Karpov was universally admired for his sporting conduct. Korchnoi attributed Roshal's animus to the fact that his father 'was eliminated along with millions of other thinking people in a Stalinist torture chamber. The son does not intend to repeat the mistakes of the father. He won't be forced into becoming a individual.'

The next crisis came in the seventeenth game. Korchnoi demanded that Campomanes move Zukhar back to the seventh row. Campomanes protested, but Korchnoi shook his fist: 'Move him within ten minutes, or I'll deal with him myself.' Although the front six rows were cleared of all spectators, Korchnoi had wasted eleven minutes on his clock. 'Is it possible to play a serious, intense game after expending so much nervous energy?' he asked rhetorically. Having held the advantage throughout, he blundered in time trouble and 'contrived to fall into a ridiculous mate in a drawn position.' Even years later, in his memoirs Karpov could not disguise his glee: 'I slapped him with a beautiful checkmate using the two knights. One blocked the king while the other delivered the blow. So many chess players dream of realising something like this on the board once in their lives, but to do it in a match for the World Championship...'

With the score now at 4-1, almost everybody expected Karpov to wrap up the match quickly. Korchnoi was close to losing faith in himself: 'I was in a terrible state. I claimed my last two time-outs and together with Frau Leeuwerik I went to Manila, to at least relax a little and come to.' While there, he consulted a priest psychologist, Father Bulatao. Then he let off steam at an impromptu press conference. Denouncing 'the pact of the Soviets with Campomanes,' he threatened to abandon the match unless players and spectators were separated by a one-way mirror-glass partition, which meant that the players could not see the audience: 'The centaur with the head of Zukhar and the body of Karpov must be split in two, otherwise the match is impossible.' Another 'gentleman's agreement' was proposed by Colonel Baturinsky: Korchnoi must give up his glass screen and his reflecting sunglasses, while Zukhar would sit with the rest of the Soviet delegation.

This deal seemed to satisfy both players; however, it did not take long before a new casus belli emerged. The eighteenth game was drawn, but this time it was Korchnoi who had a surprise for the nineteenth game. According to Raymond Keene, 'Ms. Leeuwerik flooded the audience with parapsychologists and gurus...One group consisted of girl parapsychology students of Father Jaime Bulatao, the Jesuit priest from Ateneo de Manila University...This nubile bunch was busy conjuring up good vibrations for Korchnoi, though it later transpired that none of them could play chess.' Yet another group proved far more controversial. Two yogis in flowing saffron robes and turbans appeared in the hall. Having sat down, they adopted the lotus position. The Soviet camp reacted immediately. According to Korchnoi, Dr Zukhar 'covered his face with a handkerchief, and within a short time he left the hall-for good, until the end of the game.'

The Soviet camp at first tolerated the yogis, while insisting that they wear normal clothes. However, after Korchnoi narrowly escaped with a draw in the twentieth game—prompting the British master Harry Golombek to comment that now he believed in life after death—the Russians held a meeting with Campomanes. Without the slightest trace of irony, Baturinsky, the KGB commissar, denounced the yogis as 'terrorists' and demanded that they be excluded from all contact with the Soviet delegation. The Soviet complaint was upheld by Campomanes and the yogis were not only excluded from the playing hall, but also from the hotel and Korchnoi's official car. Confined to the country villa assigned to him, they continued to train him there in meditative arts. Not all the Korchnoi camp approved of this exotic addition to the team. Karpov quotes the Swiss lawyer, Alban Brodbek, who led Korchnoi's delegation in the Merano match three years later, claiming that the yogis engaged in weird rituals, obliging Korchnoi to spear an orange that symbolized Karpov's head. Keene also felt uncomfortable in their presence, yet a photograph of a cheerful Korchnoi standing on his head shows that they undoubtedly boosted his morale.

Known as 'Didi' and 'Dada,' the yogis' real names were Stephen Dwyer and Victoria Shepherd and they belonged to Ananda Marga, an Indian sect whose guru, Sri Sri Anandamurti, was a prisoner of conscience. He had been kept behind bars for seven years without trial, until his release after a campaign by Amnesty International. It emerged that Dwyer and Shepherd, both Harvard graduates, had been on bail for the previous six months, having been convicted on scanty evidence of the attempted murder of an Indian diplomat, Jyoti Suarap Vaid, the previous February. The Marcos government did indeed regard them as terrorists, accusing the Ananda Marga of being a threat to national security. Whether they had had a fair trial was, however, questionable. According to Keene, their trial papers were 'full of inconsistencies and even [accuse] Ananda Marga of being Communist-inspired.' The yogis were, of course, anti-communist.

However dubious the provenance of the 'Margi,' they acted on Korchnoi like a tonic. When he arrived for the twenty-first game, Zukhar was sitting in a car waiting for him. The parapsychologist got out and approached Korchnoi, apparently intending to shake his hand. Korchnoi looked Zukhar in the eye and uttered the Sanskrit mantra that he had been taught by the Margi. By Korchnoi's account, Zukhar stopped, covered his face with his arms and fled. Zukhar knew that Korchnoi believed in parapsychology, and his apparent acknowledgement of the power wielded by the Margi reinforced that belief.

  The World was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,

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Through Eden took their solitary way.