THERE were two battles on Anatoly Karpov's mind as he passed through Hong Kong last weekend: his own fight for the world chess title and the bloody chaos in Moscow two weeks before. It was his first trip to the territory, en route to the second leg of his match with Jan Timman in Jakarta. He wouldn't have been allowed here when was world champion in 1975 to 1985; Soviet citizens were not allowed entry to Hong Kong. Karpov is leading his current match series by 71/2 points to 51/2 with another 11 games to play in a match rivalled by the contest in London between breakaway grandmasters Gary Kasparov and Nigel Short. In the break between games Karpov, who was a People's Deputy for two years in the old Soviet parliament before quitting when he got tired of the political quarrelling, returned to his Russian homeland to find Moscow in a state of turmoil. ''I came back to Moscow from Holland on a night between two battles, and was absolutely shocked at what happened: on Sunday when these young people attacked the TV station, but even more when the tanks started to shoot at Parliament. People I know well who live opposite the White House told me that at night [under cover of darkness] many bodies were brought out. ''It was announced that 137 people had died. I know that the number of fatalities was much more than 1,000 and quite well possibly more than 1,500. ''There was a big lie about the number of people killed. And it was not necessary. Yeltsin was in full control. This is the cruel tragedy of Russia. The military, Yeltsin, and his allies were supported after Sunday by the people. ''People in Russia, and I think around the world, were shocked by these tanks opposite Parliament shooting at it, with women and children inside. We were very close to civil war which the people did not want anyway. Of course you must be very careful anddelicate. It is very easy to play with the feelings of the people because of this, but in the end you will have very strong opposition. ''I know President Yeltsin personally, and I do not believe that he decided to attack parliament himself. I believe that certain people around him forced to do so. I do not believe that people will support a regime which already has made so many victims.It does not matter how they explain it, about opposition . . . There are other ways.'' Karpov is sceptical about long-promised financial aid from the West which has yet to arrive. The West, he believes, thinks: ''Yes, we are ready to give money, but under conditions. And these conditions have no end''. Karpov believes that corruption, now spread across the whole of his country, is in part to blame for the nationwide breakdown of law and order. ''The Government should go to Singapore and learn a few lessons.'' he said. As president of the Peace Foundation - in financial terms, at least, one of the most powerful charities in the CIS - Karpov has first-hand experience of the effects of inflation. ''We have now far less opportunities, but still we are trying to help. I believe that society cannot be in good shape when people are tremendously poor. This is the basis for crime, and for social discontent. ''Many people deserve to be better off because of their capacities in business, in science and culture. But we must take care of the poorest part of the population. How can you feel good or secure walking down the streets of Moscow where hundreds and hundreds of people are asking for help. You just cannot help everybody.'' Karpov's preferred city in Russia is Moscow, although he lived a number of years in St Petersburg. He is a devotee of late 19th-century classical literature, and of course Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but also enjoys foreign authors and books about geography and history. Then there is his stamp collection and the strictly non-competitive tennis he plays to keep fit and relax. He has played with fellow (former) world champion Boris Spassky who also likes to play the game without the competitive edge reserved for the black and white chequered board. Karpov was brought up in the small town of Chelyabinsk in the South Urals, the capital of the local steel industry. There was a chess club in the local steel factory where he played every night often until 1 am. He could beat adult all-comers at age 10. He started to travel to neighbouring factories and towns, growing in experience and spreading his reputation. His parents later moved to Tula (200 kilometres south of Moscow) where he became national master. ''Chess gave a lot to me, a lot you cannot understand at school. For example, the literature teacher would tell us to write things down according to a plan. If you do not have a plan in chess, you will lose immediately. ''You make a stupid move, then another one on the other side of the board and then you lose. So you must have a plan like that in life or in any business you have. Also in chess you must make decisions, be responsible for them and make them within a certain period of time. People try to avoid such situations in life, but still they encounter them. So chess teaches you some necessary habits for your life.'' Chess has allowed him to travel widely and given him international fame, but the split in the chess world, between FIDE (the international chess federation) and the Professional Chess Association (PCA) which has arranged the game between his old rival Gary Kasparov and Nigel Short, has taken some of the spotlight from his own title bout. Karpov thinks that FIDE president, Florencio Campomanes, may have miscalculated the time needed in trying to schedule his match successfully. It was clear that Raymond Keene, chess correspondent for The Times , a joint sponsor for the Kasparov match, had worked on setting up the contest for at least a year. If Karpov's own match had started in early 1994, sponsorship would have allowed FIDE tomount a proper response to the challenge. As it is, a lack of sponsors has led to the game being moved to Indonesia. Karpov thinks that PCA may survive for one or two years, but in the end it will collapse. He says that unlike national federations where many volunteers work for free, the PCA is driven by the profit motive. ''How can an organisation survive that is clearly not democratic. Kasparov and Short start the next cycle already on a different level,'' he said. Karpov believes few grandmasters would want to join such an organisation, when there is already the Grandmaster Association (GMA), a professional organisation of which both Kasparov and Short were past presidents. And which he believes they have now betrayed.