Victor Korchnoi resigned game 14 of his world championship chess match with Anatoly Karpov, as expected, without resuming play. The 50-year-old challenger sent word to chief umpire Paul Klein about an hour before the scheduled resumption. This makes the score 5 to 2 in favor of world champion Karpov, who needs only six points to win, and most nonpartisan observers in Merano, Italy, where the match is being played, expect Karpov to retain his title without much trouble.
Korchnoi partisans, however, have not given up. "We will fight," said Eduard Sztein, a spokesman for Korchnoi. "We believe even now the match is far away from the end." Like other Korchnoi partisans, he recalled that the last match between the two players, three years ago in the Philippines, also reached a score of 5 to 2 in Karpov's favor, after which Korchnoi won three of the next four games, evening the score, before he lost the last game.
Events have moved much more swiftly in the present match, however. The 1978 match, which ran to 32 games and lasted more than three months, did not reach a 5-2 score until game 27. With only one more Karpov victory needed and Korchnoi playing sometimes brilliantly but often erratically, this promises to be a much shorter match.
After losing game 14, Korchnoi went into seclusion in his Alpine villa. He is expected to ask for a postponement of game 15, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.