Back on October 30, 1938, Orson Wells performed
the H G Wells’ classic “the war of the worlds” on Columbia Broadcast
system, you know CBS radio. Orson
did such a great job, people who listened to the broadcast thought it was
a real news broadcast. They were frightened by it. It was an incredible
The war of the worlds was about a Martian invasion of earth.
Orson did such a great job, that it caused mass hysteria on the
east coast, especially in New York and New Jersey. People actually thought
we were under attack. Many people panicked and got in their cars and left
town. Police, news media, and radio stations were flooded with calls from
worried listeners. Even though the broadcast from time to time announced
that it was just entertainment, people missed those announcements. The
show sounded like a real news-broadcast.
Now days, people
take great liberty with April Fool’s day jokes. They don’t always
happen on April first. During a March 30th Chessbase lecture,
fabricated an exciting encounter from two genuine games played by Fischer
and Karpov. The games were just a hoax. I
am just wondering about the Prague agreement, when was it signed?
Wasn’t it signed on April first of 2002?
As I recall it was signed very close to that date. The whole
agreement was to unify the chess world again. Its goal was to create a
single world champion.
One aspect of the agreement called for a match between Garry
Kasparov and the FIDE KO Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. Maybe the Prague
agreement was just an April Fool’s day joke. Maybe it was a hoax that went
horribly wrong, just like back in 1938. It could have picked up steam and
maybe everyone missed the announcement that it was just a hoax. I
certainly missed those announcements. I was completely fooled by it.
Looking back on it now, I find it incredibly hard to believe
that in three years FIDE couldn’t find a match partner for Garry
Kasparov. I find it even more unbelievable that Ruslan Ponomariov would
not sign a contract to play Garry Kasparov.
Maybe the Prague agreement was just a case of mass chess hysteria?
This hoax even fooled Garry Kasparov, because he waited three years for a
match that never occurred. He finally got so fed up and retired from
chess. However it didn’t fool Ruslan, he didn’t participate in
it. However the hoax did not stop here.
The mass chess hysteria got so great that 128 players flew to
Libya to play in another FIDE KO Championship. Most of the top players
must have known that the Prague agreement was a hoax. They didn’t jump
on planes and head for Libya. Rustam Kasimdzhanov won the KO this time
out. He thought by doing so he would play a match with Kasparov. However
FIDE could not find a sponsor that would come up with the financial
guarantees. There was some interest in the match, but sponsors must
have quickly learned about the hoax as well. This is probably why the 14th World
Champion Vladimir Kramnik did not want to play the winner of the Kasparov
vs. FIDE KO Champion. Kramnik obviously knew the Prague agreement was a
am embarrassed to say that I was fooled by this hoax. The only reason
I started Chess Reporter was to give my views on the troubles with the
Prague agreement. I think I
will have to close Chess Reporter down now. After all, the whole premise
for it was based on a hoax. I
can’t believe I was so naďve.