I decided to get away from the “press” as Americans witness it because I tend to think the argument rests more with a need to explore what I call “the insanity of it all”. Reporters are beholden to the head honcho and board of a news outlet. There is bias everywhere–even in chess coverage. I went to my archives recalling the 1981 chess match between then world champion Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi that took place in Merano, Italy. To say I draw on published writings, I do so with my own spin as time changes the mood of an audience especially when it comes to chess. However, I try to keep the mood of the times alive and well or such reports would be junk or even as some call it fake reporting.
Besides the chess match itself, journalist Capece touched on a number of conditions existing above and beyond the match itself. The citizens of Merano hoped to focus attention on the ethnic problems. Merano is part of Italy but it was originally German and many of the residents speak German with street signs in both Italian and German. The problems and friction that might arise is obvious. Also the census was being taken at the time of the match so citizens had to declare themselves either Italian or German heritage. In Merano this was of concern because public jobs normally went to those of Germanic speaking backgrounds. In this atmosphere, one might wonder how the people viewed the chess match. Most common folk favored the underdog Korchnoi because Italians usually are for the underdog. Sympathy is sometimes drawn along political lines.
For example, L’Unita , the official communist newspaper reported little press covering Korchnoi who had concerns for his family and scant notice of any Korchnoi wins. In Karpov’s case his coverage was wide with great headlines and full coverage of his wins.
On the other hand, the newspaper II Giornale, anti-communist paper printed mostly Korchnoi material news coverage.
Well, the consensus of opinions of the time as to whether chess will benefit from the match to develop further Italian chess is mixed with enthusiasm and skeptics who like to point that the Italian mind is not suitable for the game and predict that once the match is concluded, interest in chess will wane. The writer concludes with the “hope that the future will provide the answer.”
By all my standards, the Italian Game is alive and well.
(We have the good, the bad, and ugly in journalistic prose which reflects the times in which we live. Can we blame journalists, reporters and news outlets for bias? It has always existed that writers will tend to slant the news in such a way as to be pro to their particular viewpoint. Our own American heritage of news reporting and journalistic integrity could be threatened should the written word or oral bombastic newscasts be so designed as to harbor distrust by the public of its right to hear the truth and nothing but the truth. I am reminded of the article I wrote on Thomas Jefferson who often is cast as evil because of his ownership of slaves by the radical left-wing where he reminds us that given the choice between government and the free press, he would take the free press as essential to maintain our freedoms.)