Chess: Victor Korchnoi vs. Geza Maroczy

M Bornong

Senior Member
http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/stafford-betty-materialism---the-creed-of-the-scientific/article_c23c108f-5f74-55fe-8a10-d9c90527b198.html

This appeared in the Op-ed section of my local paper today. I thought it offered some food for thought, yet conclusions were made that do not follow the scientific method. There was absolutely no control, the results can not be tested, and the reults are not falsifiable.

Here is the game, http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1486372 I see too many ways that this game could have been hoaxed. A study of Maroczy's play could have gotten one through the first 8 to 10 moves. Consulting a grand master, in the 8 years it took to finish the game, could have helped. Why in 1985, wasn't the medium video taped?

I enjoy playing chess, but I do not study it, and my skills are below to average at best. Just curious if we have any chess players or anyone that would like to comment. I'm thinking of replying to the letter. So far, I've only had a couple of hours to look into it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The game started in 1985, and finished seven years later.

There were quite reasonable chess computers in 1985.

One has to ask: what seems more likely, that a man plays chess from beyond the grave, or that a spiritualist fakes something. Consider the proven historical record of the two occurrences.
 

M Bornong

Senior Member
Thanks Mick, I've spent a little more time searching, I can only find a few vague references on some of the chess sites, there is a short discussion on James Randi's forum, not much there in support of the claim. It seems that few other than Mr. Betty, in his letter to the editor, takes this seriously. If anyone else did, I'd expect the paranormal crowd to be all over it.
 

Geonerd

New Member
Will give it a look this evening. At first glance, I can't envision Maroczy playing the white side of a line that didn't really 'exist' in his time. Pepin's article probably sums it up fairly well. IMO, the computers of 1985 were pretty weak by GM standards. I'd suspect a human played the white pieces.
 

skephu

Senior Member
If we compare the automatic writing of Maróczy through the medium:
upload_2017-3-11_12-54-48.png

with the actual handwriting of Maróczy:
upload_2017-3-11_12-55-41.png

we see the two writings are quite different, note e.g. the letters k, M, G. Also, in the automatic writing, the name appears to be Maroszy instead of Maroczy.
 

Jim J.

New Member
http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/stafford-betty-materialism---the-creed-of-the-scientific/article_c23c108f-5f74-55fe-8a10-d9c90527b198.html

This appeared in the Op-ed section of my local paper today. I thought it offered some food for thought, yet conclusions were made that do not follow the scientific method. There was absolutely no control, the results can not be tested, and the reults are not falsifiable.

Here is the game, http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1486372 I see too many ways that this game could have been hoaxed. A study of Maroczy's play could have gotten one through the first 8 to 10 moves. Consulting a grand master, in the 8 years it took to finish the game, could have helped. Why in 1985, wasn't the medium video taped?

I enjoy playing chess, but I do not study it, and my skills are below to average at best. Just curious if we have any chess players or anyone that would like to comment. I'm thinking of replying to the letter. So far, I've only had a couple of hours to look into it.
I have reached the rating of chess expert from the US Chess Federation (2000+). A far cry from master strength, but high up on the bell curve. I understand the game enough to recognize things like pawn structures and such.

I found this to be rather unremarkable game and not worthy of the glowing praise of the grandmasterly play displayed by the alleged spirit.

If you read through the site comments, it's noted that the position at move 10 was in their database. Jokes are made about the ghost needing to study modern opening theory instead of resting in peace.

With so long to finish the game it must have been a weird variation of correspondence chess. Where even a weaker player can take days to decide on a move.

Add that to teams of players collaborating it would be easy to produce respectable play from a less than grandmaster source. Even if the medium has to make several moves in one session. Memorize, if Nxf6 then Bxf6 followed by if Qxd5 then Kh8. Then the medium can "lose contact" with the ghost until the real player/team has a chance to analyze.

A lot of speculation on my part, but if I was going to hoax a chess game with a ghost, that's how I would do it.
 
Top