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Chess Imitates Life

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Okay, I know I was supposed to be taking a break from Kasparov items, but this is a good one. The NY Post reveals that Penguin books has won the bidding war for Garry Kasparov's next book project. The fee? How about half a million dollars! First off, it won't have any chess notation in it. It's called "How Life Imitates Chess" and is about, well, life's lessons from chess.

After three days of incremental bidding, Emily Loose at Penguin agreed to pay close to $500,000 for "How Life Imitates Chess," by champion Garry Kasparov. The Azerbaijan-born Kasparov has been the No. 1 ranked chess player in the world since 1984, according to the 31-page proposal that was sent to nine publishers.

"Before I knew much about life, I understood chess," it begins and then goes on to explain how advantage, initiative, opinion, threat and hope (among other ideas) influence both life and game.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Crown and Simon & Schuster were the underbidders for the philosophical self-help tome. Kasparov's co-author, is Mark Reiter, who is also acting as agent. Reiter performed the same two services for Twyla Tharp's best-selling "The Creative Habit" last year.

I've perused the proposal and sample chapter, but I'm not the best person to comment. I'm sure there are many insights to be gleaned from a life of top-level chess, but this sort of forced authorial introspection is weird coming from someone you know. It's not really a self-help book, but it's not a memoir either. On the other hand, maybe he could write one on getting in touch with your inner child!

Okay, cheapo there. If this is as big a hit as they must expect considering the price tag, it could push Kasparov fully into the American mainstream. His regular Wall Stree Journal articles keep him visible, but his Q-rating still isn't that great, at least not for someone who was in a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial a few years ago. And if it's good enough for Twyla Tharp...


Mig, no need to be apologetic on Kaspaov news. Your access to Kasparov is certainly good for the forum.

Good for Kasparov. Maybe this will make him open to lower bids for the upcoming FIDE KK match.

Maybe Yermo should collaborate on the book - considering his analysis of Kasparov's early years and general comments on open thinking and chess.

Screw that I wish yermo would write another book. I totally dug 'Road to Chess Improvement'. If you are out there Yermo, WRITE ANOTHER BOOK PLEASE!

Maybe Mig can find out how much of the book is already written, and when it will be published? These types of books, along the lines of Pandolfini's, EVERY MOVE MUST HAVE A PURPOSE, tend to be cliche ridden. I hope Kasparov does not force feed the metaphores, because when they're forced-fed they seldom work. Any shmoe can list a bunch of chess principles and then find examples from life that illustrate these principles. (Pandolfini did it with business.)

I hope Kasparov's new book avoids these cliches and does the philosophy right.

And, BTW Yermo, I too love your writing and would like to see a new book!

Rob G and Goldowsky,

Thanks for your support. I'm thinking of writing another book, hopefully next year.

This stuff is not new. Lasker's Chess books are full of comparisons between life and Chess. Lasker also concluded, rightfully so, that Chess is more limiting because there's no 65th square, whereas in life you can reach further.

Maybe Garry should brush up on his chess! Rublevsky is no slouch of course but I can't remember the last time he was outplayed like that.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 30, 2004 11:42 PM.

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