Put the name Viktor Korchnoi into an Internet Google search and you’ll get over 58,000 “hits.” The major biographies identify him as a four-time chess champion of the Soviet Union, a five-time winner of the European Championship, and a six-time member of Soviet teams that won the Chess Olympian. In September 2006, Korchnoi, known as “Viktor The Terrible,” became the World Senior Chess Champion. He has been active in chess for more than 50 years.
You’ll have to really search, however, to find mention of Korchnoi’s most interesting and intriguing victory, a match that started in 1985 and took 7 years and 8 months to complete. His opponent was another Chess Grandmaster, a Hungarian named Geza Maróczy. What made this match between the two grandmasters especially interesting and intriguing is the fact that Maróczy had died in 1951, 34 years before the match began.
At his website, researcher and author Miles Edward Allen ranks the case as number one of “The Survival Top 40.” That is, he feels it is the most evidential case of spirit communication on record. Allen draws from the April 2006 issue of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research article about the match. His account can be found at his website, listed at the end of this article. To summarize, however, Wolfang Eisenbeiss, Ph.D. got the idea from an acquaintance. Eisenbeiss arranged for a medium, Robert Rollans, to facilitate the competition. Rollans knew nothing about chess and was known to Eisenbeiss as a trustworthy individual.
Dr. Eisenbeiss, an amateur chess enthusiast, set out to find a Grandmaster here on the earth plane willing to compete with a Grandmaster in the spirit world. Even though he risked ridicule, Korchnoi accepted the challenge. Then, Eisenbeiss asked Rollans’ spirit control to find a Grandmaster in the spirit world who might be willing to compete against a Grandmaster here on the earth plane. After searching, Rollans’ spirit control reported back, through automatic writing, that Maróczy had accepted the challenge on that side of the veil.
Because Korchnoi was frequently traveling and competing, the game was drawn out for those seven-plus years. Maróczy, who played in an “old fashioned” style, resigned after 47 moves. Rollans died three weeks after the completion of the game.
Because of the time element, skeptics might easily question aspects of the game itself. It is Eisenbeiss’ questioning of Maróczy about his personal life and tournaments that provides the most evidence of spirit communication.
Using Rollans’ hand, Maróczy wrote 38 pages of biographical information in response to Eisenbeiss’ questions. Eisenbeiss then obtained the services of Laszlo Sebestyén, a historian and chess expert, to find out if the information could be verified. Out of 92 statements made by Maróczy, Sebestyén, who dug into library records and interviewed two of Maróczy’s surviving children and a cousin, was able to confirm 85 of them as factual. The remaining seven may have been factual, but no records could be found to confirm them.
One particularly evidential exchange between Eisenbeiss and Maróczy (through Rollans, of course) had to do with a match Maróczy had in 1930. Eisenbeiss, who had found a record of the match, asked Maróczy about the player he had defeated, an Italian named Romi. Maróczy replied that he never knew anyone by that name, but that he did defeat a man named “Romih.” Even though the historical records showed the name as “Romi,” Eisenbeiss found a program of the 1930 match in which the name was spelled “Romih.”
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