Mind Control, Chess, and the Race to Find a Superman in Sport

The following excerpts are from: Mind control, levitation and no pain: the race to find a superman in sport published April 18 in The Guardian.

The US and Soviet Union both believed people could develop superpowers. And, reveals The Men on Magic Carpets,

their psychic experiments played out in the sporting arena, by Ed Hawkins.

Baguio City, the Philippines, 14 years later. Mental combat has begun for the World Chess Championship. Anatoly Karpov, the golden boy of the Soviet Union, is playing Viktor Korchnoi, a defector the regime loves to hate. Despite sitting opposite each other for hour after hour, day after day, they have not spoken. But somebody is talking to Korchnoi. There is a voice inside his head. It is incessant. Over and over and over it berates him: “YOU. MUST. LOSE.”


Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov compete for the 1978 World Chess Championship. Photograph: Jerry Cooke/Corbis via Getty Images

Korchnoi recognises the voice. It’s not his. It belongs to the man sitting in the front row of the audience since the match began. His heart starts to beat a little faster. He begins to sweat.

“YOU. SHOULD. STOP. FIGHT. AGAINST. KARPOV.”

The demands keep coming. Korchnoi is not afraid but he is angry. He understands perfectly what is happening. The man is trying to control his thoughts.

“YOU. ARE. TRAITOR. OF. SOVIET. PEOPLE.”

The man sits cross-legged, dressed immaculately in a white shirt and dark brown suit, reclining with a hint of arrogance. He looks like an accountant, albeit a somewhat demented one. A slight smirk plays across his face. His eyes are terrifying, bearing into Korchnoi. He does not blink until Korchnoi is defeated.

Both of these stories are true. Murphy, the zany hippy in bell-bottom jeans warbling occult orders, would, in time, have the US government dancing to his tune. And Dr Vladimir Zoukhar, the immaculately dressed communist spook, staring demonically for comrade and country, was considered the KGB’s mind control expert. Both men were protagonists in an extraordinarily paranoid chapter of human history: the cold war.

Murphy was no regular football fan. Known as “the godfather of the human potential movement”, he co-founded the Esalen Institute, a famed new age retreat and pillar of the counterculture movement in 60s California. It was a centre for eastern religions, philosophy, alternative medicines, and a fair amount of nude hot-tub bathing. Controversial eroticist Henry Miller swam at the hot springs in the grounds, Beatle George Harrison once landed his helicopter there to jam with Ravi Shankar, and Timothy Leary, whom Richard Nixon called “the most dangerous man in America”, taught regular workshops on the benefits of LSD, claiming that women could orgasm hundreds of times during sex when under the influence. And most recently, in the final frames of Mad Men, advertising executive Don Draper was seen smiling on Esalen’s lawn.

While Murphy was establishing Esalen, if Soviet state security wanted to place a negative or damaging thought in someone’s head, they called Zoukhar. That’s why Zoukhar was at Korchnoi’s match; communism trumped capitalism if it could produce a world chess champion. Korchnoi, hang-dogged and pot-bellied with his mistress in tow, was not the image they were going for. He could not be allowed to win against Karpov, the poster boy for true Soviet values.

Murphy and Zoukhar hailed from opposite cultures teetering on the brink of nuclear Armageddon. But for all their differences, America and the Soviet Union held a common belief: the existence of superhumans. Both world powers believed in a race of cosmic beings who could, just like in the sci-fi movies, slow down time, speed it up, change their body shape, feel no pain, levitate, see into the future, and more. With boggle-eyed mind control and harnessing the occult, both nations believed they could put a thought in someone’s head, or stop a man’s heart at 100 paces. Both nations thought these powers would win them the war. From the west coast of America to the far corners of the Soviet Union, yogis, shamans and psychics were sought out to aid these alternative war efforts, with millions spent on attempts to create a real life Superman or Wonder Woman.

In 1975, the Chicago Tribune reported that the CIA was attempting to develop a new kind of “spook”, after finding a man who could “see” what was going on anywhere in the world. CIA scientists would show the man a picture of a place, and he would then describe any activity going on there at that time.

In fact, there was more than one of these men. Russell Targ, who had taught this psychic power at Esalen, was one; another was Uri Geller. (You might have heard of him and his bendy spoons.) There was a whole team of psychics based at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, as part of the CIA’s Stargate programme to find psychic warriors. Targ and Geller would sit in that office, close their eyes, breathe deeply and then after a few minutes draw the location of Soviet missiles. Sometimes, they were right.

By contrast to the Soviet plan, Targ and Geller seemed harmless. “They were using it to kill people,” Targ said. The Russian term for superpowers was “Hidden Human Reserves”.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/18/superhuman-sport-cold-war-mind-power-men-on-magic-carpets-ed-hawkins-extract?fbclid=IwAR3IAsmcuth_VhCadNCMFGmKMcAG56NgEiTPltDNzM00Ikp7zjYP-L5AtIw

Russell Targ

is the brother-in-law of Bobby Fischer.

Mind and Matter with Russell Targ

Russell Targ | CONTACT in the DESERT 2019

Indian Wells May 31 – June 3 2019

Russell Targ

London’s ‘pawnographic’ World Chess Championship logo

The headline in The Telegraph reads:

Grandmasters complain London’s ‘pawnographic’ World Chess Championship logo looks like the Kama Sutra


The new logo for the 2017 World Chess Championship in London

By Leon Watson

19 December 2017 • 4:54 PM

The unveiling of a logo for a big sporting contest is meant to be a grand occasion that builds up a flurry of excitement.

Yet for the next World Chess Championship the organisers may have gone a bit too far in trying to set pulses racing.

When their “trendy” new logo was revealed for next year’s flagship event in London it was met with a rather passionate response among grandmasters.

The chosen image shows two chequered bodies entwined around a chess board. It is, World Chess say, unashamedly sexual. Perhaps, one could even say, pawnographic.

“No, this is not a joke,” said Australian international David Smerdon on Twitter, before adding: “You had one job!”

The British Grandmaster Nigel Short, a long-time critic of the game’s governing body Fide, said the organisers were “perhaps suggesting that they are giving the chess world a good f——.”


World chess champion Magnus Carlsen (left) and London Evening Standard Editor George Osborne announcing the city as the host of the 2018 FIDE World Chess Championship

And Grandmaster Susan Polgar, the pioneer of women’s chess, questioned whether the racy image was appropriate for children.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/19/grandmasters-complain-londons-world-chess-championship-logo/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

The Houdini Smartwatch

Co-founder of ConceptLabs, Peter Cochrane, (http://www.cochrane.org.uk/) gave an update on artificial intelligence and technology on the Coast to Coast AM radio program last night, 8/20/13. He said wearable technologies such as the smartwatch, and wearable cameras recording everyday activities are on the horizon. Speaking of his individual cell phone, he remarked, “there is more computing power, more memory, on this mobile phone than was on the planet in 1956,” and that is the scale of the great change that has taken place. He also noted how every new technology that comes along displaces people and causes mayhem, but then transforms society and creates new types of employment and opportunities. Concerning the state of modern technology, “It is far beyond Garry Kasparov getting knocked out of chess by the computer program.” http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2013/08/19
It matters not how great players and fans of the Royal game consider Garry Kasparov to have been. The fact is that in the general perception of the public, Kasparov will always be thought of as the human who lost to a machine.
During the course of my live it has been that no matter what new technology has appeared on the scene, there is newer, and far superior, technology already developed. How long before a chess player on the cutting edge of technology will be caught with a powerful chess program contained within the timepiece on his wrist? Is it possible a player may have access to such a device now?

His Rise Eclipsed Those of Morphy and Fischer

One of the chess blogs I follow regularly is Chess for All Ages, by Mark Weeks. His post of July 9, 2013, Burundi Chess Masters, contains a picture of four stamps showing World Champions Paul Morphy; Emanuel Lasker; Alexandria Kosteniuk; and Stan Vaughn. I cannot make this up. http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2013/07/burundi-chess-masters.html
You are probably asking yourself about now, “Who the heck is Stan Vaughn?” He is the WCF World Chess Champion. I knew Stan Vaughn. He was an opponent of mine. He was no World Champion. Stan played in tournaments in Atlanta decades ago. After seeing the aforementioned picture of the World Champions the first thought I had, when I finally stopped laughing, was this picture is the quintessential, “Which one does not fit.”
I plugged “World Chess Federation into http://www.startpage.com and found four listings for FIDE before finding anything concerning the WCF. The first reference to the WCF concerns a lawsuit between the WCF and the World Chess Museum located in St. Louis, which was won by the WCF. Read all about it at: http://www.wcfchess.org/wp/press-release-january-21-2013-world-chess-federation-prevails-in-federal-court-case-versus-world-chess-museum-inc/
The next citation is “About Stan Vaughn.” It begins, “In 1975 as a high school senior Stan Vaughan was introduced to the great game of chess and developed a passion for it. By 1980 he was the Gold Medal winner representing the United States at the International Student Games and became American Chess Association National Champion the same year, which through 2012 he have won 32 times, surpassing Paul Morphy’s and Bobby Fisher’s records of wins.”
What’cha talking about! I cannot recall how many games we played but do recall the game I lost. Those are the ones that stick with you. I may have beaten him before he became strong enough to become a NM, but I cannot recall. I do recall he played the French defense, and also have it in my memory of thinking he had become much stronger than the last time we played. It would happen all too frequently that one of my “regular customers” would improve to my level, and continue getting stronger while I continued running in place. I have scored wins against many players who later became NM’s, such as Mark ‘The Shark’ Coles, and Mike Blankenau, from Nebraska. This game is important to me because it is the only game I won in the National Telephone League in the 70’s, playing for the Atlanta Kings. I played in the class ‘A’ tournament held in conjunction with the World Open years ago. The Legendary Georgia Ironman mentioned the names of several players in the World Open proper with whom I had previously battled. We totaled my lifetime score against those players and, much to our surprise, I had a plus score, and that included my three losses to IM Boris Kogan.
Then there is this: – 1982 – 1986: “Grandmaster Stan’s expertise as a cryptanalyst led him being noted for having solved two of the most important previously unsolved ciphers in the world: The Shugborough Hall Monument cipher for which he had received an award from the Reform Club, and the Zodiac Serial Killer 340 character cipher. Stan was also National Trivial Pursuit Champion of 1986.”
Grandmaster Stan? I will agree this could be a reference to Grandmaster of cryptanalysis. But later there is this: – 1994: “Bobby Fischer retired, undefeated and declined to defend the title in, at which time as the challenger and American Chess Association champion titleholder, GM Stan Vaughan became WCF Champion and defended the title successfully in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008.”
GM Stan Vaughn? There it is again! How about one more for good measure? – “Present: GM Stan Vaughan is currently scheduled to defend the WCF “The World Chess Champion” title in 2012 against Ron Gross, winner of the Candidates Tournament held in 2010 at the Riviera Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, pending receiving any legitimate challenge for the title in the interim to defend against.” Check it out at: http://www.wcfchess.org/wp/about-stan-vaughan/
Stan has written a book, “Paul Morphy, Confederate Spy”. Upon first learning of the book I sent Stan an email inquiring about his book, but received no reply. Later I read he had been accused of plagiarism. In Edward Winter’s Chess Explorations (88), http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4008401/edward-winter-s-chess-explorations-88-.aspx, we learn “…in December 2011 (C.N. 7427) a correspondent, Rick Kennedy (Columbus, OH, USA), pointed out cases of plagiarism in Paul Morphy: Confederate Spy by Stan Vaughan (Milwaukee, 2010). At random we opened the book on page 133 and found that whole chunks of text had been lifted from the website Exploring Toledo. It was by no means an isolated instance.” Here is a review of the book by Rick Kennedy: http://jeromegambit.blogspot.com/2011/08/sunday-book-review-paul-morphy.html
Tartajubow on Chess II has this to say about the WCF Champion: “Stan Vaughn, a Life Master with the USCF whose rating briefly peaked at over 2300, was born in Murray, Kentucky in 1956. He was recognized as an outstanding student of American history and as a member of the Kentucky Junior Historical Society drafted a legislative bill which was passed by the Kentucky legislature leading to the preservation of historic covered bridges. He once served as a community church as a minister. He has run for congress, been a formidable correspondence chess player, heads the World Chess Federation, Inc. and is a Grandmaster with the World Correspondence Chess Federation (WCCF). And that’s just to name a few of his “accomplishments.” Vaughn learned to play chess while in high school in 1975 and in 1980 was the gold medal winner representing the United States at the International Student Games and became American Chess Association national champion the same year. According to Vaughn, his rise eclipsed those of Morphy and Fischer.” http://tartajubow.blogspot.com/2013/01/stan-vaughn.html
Then there is this from Chessbase: 1.4.2013 – “It has come to our attention that an application for Sainthood has been made for the late World Champion Bobby Fischer. This was initiated by Stan Vaughan of the World Chess Federation. The application cites six postmortem miracles that were prayed for and verified as having occurred – normally only two are required.” http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4009341/sainthood-for-bobby-fischer-020413.aspx
I found an article on the chess circle forum, “Stan Vaughn played in a real chess tournament.” Go here to find out how well Stan played: http://www.chesscircle.net/forums/showthread.php?32132-stan-vaughan-played-in-a-real-chess-tournament
Mark Weeks, in another post, Chess Mafia? http://chessforallages.blogspot.be/2013/03/chess-mafia.html gives us a 44 minute interview with Stan Vaughn.
When I mentioned this to a former Georgia Champion, originally from Kentucky, he recalled, “Stan was involved in a terrible auto accident that affected his brain.” The word “colorful” is usually reserved for people like Stan.