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The Chess Match between Heaven and Earth

Posted on 25 September 2013, 8:13

I’ve enjoyed chess since I was a boy and studied a few books on the game.  Nothing I ever read, however, compares with the match played out of two different worlds: our own earth and—apparently—the world to come.  The match is meticulously described in 14 pages by Oxford-trained Chris Carter, one of the world’s leading historians of psychical research, in his book Science and the Afterlife Experience

The competitors are a living chess champion, Viktor Korchnoi, and a spirit communicator claiming to be the deceased Hungarian grandmaster Geza Maroczy.  The match begins in 1985.

The game was arranged by an amateur chess player, Dr. Wolfgang Eisenbeiss, who was looking for evidence of survival beyond death.  The medium, Robbert Rollans, did not know how to play chess and knew nothing about the history of the game, including the players involved.  Rollans put out a call to the “Other Side” for any deceased grandmaster willing to challenge Korchnoi.  “Maroczy” answered the call. The game lasted for over seven years and ended with Korchnoi the victor. Parapsychologist Vernon Neppe, a former South African chess champion who analyzed all 48 moves, commented, “This level could not have been achieved by the medium even after great training, assuming the medium was not a chess genius.”

But the communicator claiming to be Maroczy wasn’t finished. Eisenbeiss and Korchnoi drew up a list of 81 questions about “the obscure life of Geza Maroczy,” and Rollans asked them to the spirit.  “Maroczy” answered 79 out of 81 correctly. “Many of these answers were so difficult to authenticate that . . . a professional historian from Hungary was employed to track them down.” Carter concludes that the only plausible explanation of “Maroczy’s” performance is his continued existence beyond death.  “Maroczy” was really Maroczy.

Every good psychical researcher is on the lookout for fraud, and Carter is no exception. In the many cases of mediumship that he develops at length for the reader, the famous chess match being only one, “there is not a shred of evidence that elaborate fraud was committed by the highly respected people involved.”  Carter feels that the best cases of mediumship—however astonishing or bizarre or out of synch with what passes for established truth among materialists—leave no doubt: “As others before me have concluded, survival of human consciousness past the point of biological death is a fact.”

Stafford Betty is a professor of religious studies at California State University, Bakersfield, and author of The Imprisoned Splendor and The Afterlife Unveiled.

The Imprisoned Splendor is published by White Crow books and available from Amazon and other book stores.

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