VIENNA -- The wife, son and step-mother of defected Russian chess master Viktor Korchnoi arrived in Vienna Sunday, ending a six-year struggle to emigrate to the West.
Bella Korchnoi, her son Igor and Korchnoi's step-mother, Rosa Friedman arrived at 10:20 a.m. Vienna time aboard an Aeroflot flight from Leningrad.
The chess master's son had spent 2 years in a Siberian jail for refusing military service and had been served with another draft notice when word came the family could join Korchnoi in Switzerland, where he has lived since defected in 1976.
'I am very happy my son won't be convicted a second time,' Mrs. Korchnoi said, smiling as they waited for a Swissair flight to Zurich. 'He's very happy that he is free now.'
'We have no plans yet,' she told reporters, but young Korchnoi said he wanted to study in the United States.
'I had some difficult times,' while waiting to emigrate, Mrs. Korchnoi said. 'I was afraid we would have to stay there a long time.'
Igor, 23, said, 'I'm glad, but there is a little bitterness. I've left a lot of friends in the Soviet Union.'
Accompanied by Korchnoi's lawyer, the family planned to be reunited with Korchnoi later Sunday in Zurich.
Korchnoi, ranked the 2nd best chess player in the world, has been a bitter critic of the Soviet Union since his defection after a chess tournament in Amsterdam in 1976.
Korchnoi, who apparently had gambled on world opinion to force the Soviets to release his family, wrote letters to President Leonid Brezhnev, former President Carter, Pope John Paul II and Sen. Edward Kennedy asking for help in getting them free.
In January 1979, Korchnoi was stripped of his Soviet citizenship along with his titles and decorations, and efforts were made to blacklist him internationally. But Western countries blocked the move and Korchnoi sought political asylum in Switzerland where he alleged that the moves against his family were part of Moscow's 'psychological pressures.'
He began to play in tournaments under the Swiss flag but refused to look at the Soviet flag, so whenever he played against Russians he insisted that no flags be shown at all.
In 1977 Korchnoi won the right to challenge Russian master Anatoly Karpov for the world championship and took the occasion to appeal again to Russian authorities for the release of his family.
The match, in the Philippines, was one of the most remarkable in modern chess. Both sides made extraordinary accusations of devious tactics including electronic devices, hypnotism, poisoning, yogurt-flavored coded messages and reflecting moves in their glasses.
Karpov won 16 to 15 .
'I consider it a political task to show the world that only in the West can you play chess normally,' Korchnoi said after his defeat.