Tigran Petrosian, the Soviet chess champion, gave and took away last week in Moscow. Chess, he said, is no longer the major preoccupation of Russian youth that it was 20 years ago. "When I was a boy you had to fight for a board. But now there are more distractions and fewer young players." The chief distractions are television, soccer and hockey.
"But," said Petrosian, "chess is an element of the national culture. There is more search and support for young players." And what have the authorities found? The best youth player in the U.S.S.R. is a 12-year-old Georgian girl, Maya Chibordanidze. "She is better than any boy of her age, a very quick thinker," Petrosian said, adding that one Bulgarian grand master who had watched her compete recently called her "a shattering player—a girl Fischer." The U.S.S.R., it would appear, is not ready to bow out of the international picture just yet.
There is a ceiling now on the New Orleans Superdome but not on expenses. The latest estimate of operating costs per day, every day of the year: $37,500. That includes bonded debt service, personnel and the new high price of energy. The last item is up about $2,000 a day to $4,800, or $1,752,000 a year, just one more shock in a series that has jolted the dome's original backers.
LOBBYIST ON THE RUN
Pan Am pilots, backing the financially pressed airline's request for a temporary government subsidy, had a message for William Proxmire, the jogging Senator from Wisconsin and one of the plan's most vocal critics. But how to get it to him?
No problem, Copilot Rich Selph said. A jogger himself, he hopped into his running clothes early one morning and trotted over to Proxmire's house where he waited for him to come out for his daily run to the Senate. Selph fell in alongside the Senator, handed him a letter rolled up in a tube and, after a few pleasantries, bid him adieu.
Next morning when Proxmire came whisking out of his house, there was Selph again, full of run. "I guess you have something else for me to read today," said Proxmire. As a matter of fact, said Selph, he did, and handed over another tube.
The pilots are taking no credit for it, but soon afterward Proxmire took the Senate floor to strongly back a Department of Transportation program of aid. From a runner's standpoint, it may have been a terrible mistake. The lonely mornings of the long-distance Senator seem numbered.
CONFUSION IN THE CREASE
As weeks go, the National Hockey League might better have spent a month or two locked in the ice of Hudson Bay. First, there were the matters of the divisions and the playoffs, for which the NHL has itself to blame. Then there was the new rules caper. TV is the culprit there.