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Kasparov in WSJ

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Not to create yet another entry in the Kasparov sob-fest, but news it is. I've fielded a few calls from journalists looking for quotes and the wire stories are everywhere. The usual analogies are out in force too. "Surprise move from Kasparov" "Checkmate for Kasparov" "The King Leaves the Board" My favorite was from the Argentine sports paper Olé: "All the Squares are Black."

Kasparov, who is a contributing editor for the Wall Street Journal, will have an article there on his decision early next week, probably Monday. [Not Tuesday.] Many people have sent me kind words to pass on to Garry when I see him next week, but feel free to post them to one of these items here. Questions also welcome. Many refuse to believe Kasparov will really leave serious chess. Of course a return is always possible, but he certainly doesn't believe so now.

But he's still a chessplayer. When GM Alex Yermolinsky posted some analysis of the Topalov-Kasparov endgame here showing a nice drawing line for black I passed it on to Garry on the phone. Ten minutes later he called back having found a win for white! Details will be in this week's Black Belt, along with some cool Kasparov notes on his wins over Kasimdzhanov and Adams.


Kasparov's comments indicate he hasn't completely quit the game. He has left open the possibility of playing in Rapid events, or Simuls.

Tim Krabbé made thes comments on his site: "When [Kasparov] described how wonderful it is when new chess-ideas occur to you, he seemed like a man in love. And he did have fantastic ideas, which often even baffled his colleagues."

Mark Crowther over at TWIC makes the point that in recent years Kasparov had tried, through extremely rigorous preparation, to eliminate risk from his games, as has almost every other top GM. Then he pointed out that "Kasparov, first at the Russian Championship and now here (look for instance at his game as black against Adams and quite a few in the Russian Championships) reintroduced risk in what may turn out to be his last games."

[Sorry for the lack of hyperlinks, but I'm not adept with hypertext.]

Please ask Kasparov if he might consider playing in other, weaker (by comparison only!) events, where he can play in a riskier manner, more reminiscent of his youthful days. I would love to see him take a crack at the Aeroflot Open next year! It would not require the extremely rigorous preparation that is required for a Linares, or even a Corus.

Mostly, I just hate to seem him leave while he is still so damned good at the game. But Kasparov carries a burden that Korchnoi, for example, doesn't ... that of being The Best, not just now, but ever.

I think the greatest tribute in sports is to be the ultimate target. Kids playing games in vacant lots dream about playing one-on-one with LeBron James or hitting Randy Johnson's fastball or trying to stop a David Beckham free kick.

Garry was more than that - well, he still is, since he's not dead. He's not only the dream for 1200-rated stiffs like me, but for his peers in the business. In 50 years, when people talk about Veselin Topalov, what two games will be the most-mentioned? Two games with Kasparov. Vladimir Kramnik's place in history will be as the Man That Beat Kasparov. Deep Blue is famous as the Machine That Beat Kasparov.

That's a pretty astounding accomplishment - to be the gold standard in your field for 20 years. I hope he has as much luck in his next endeavors.


The Norwegian press is reporting that Garry will be training Magnus Carlsen, and that Carlsen will be travelling to Moscow next month to begin.

Any idea if this is true? It sounds a bit too good to be true.

If that's true and it works out well, Garry will officially be a demigod in my eyes too.

I didn't hear about it till today, so I'll ask him tomorrow. He's in the UK for a few days before coming to NY. What will the Russians say?! First he coaches the US women's team and now a Norwegian prodigy!

Never mind, just got off the phone with Garry about other stuff and asked. The rumor about setting up training for Carlsen in Russia (and/or with Russian coaches) is true, but in a very preliminary stage. Too early to talk about. (This led to a long tangent discussion on the way chess is failing in Russia. All the coaches have to work abroad, no strong Russian teens, etc. More on that later.)

BTW, there will be a front page interview with Kasparov in the UK Guardian on Monday. One for the scrapbook.

Thanks for the heads-up on The Guardian piece. Haven't bought it in a decade but now I have a good excuse. I take it the front page status is dependent on nothing particularly newsworthy happening tomorrow?

"Of course a return is always possible, but he certainly doesn't believe so now."

That "now" makes you think, doesn't it?

The recent Kasparov-Kramnik dust-up in the Russian press is the key to the timing of Kasparov's retirement announcement. The articles publicize the fact that Kasparov demanded equal status with Kramnik and that Lautier agreed, proposing Kramnik versus Leko, Kasparov versus Anand. The winners play each other.

Given the parity among the top players, winnning one long match is a daunting prospect. And winning two? Probably no top GM would be accorded even a 50-50 shot at winning two long matches. Kramnik, for example, survived but did not win his Leko match. So Kasparov refused Lautier. But Kasparov left open the possibility of playing in a championship event proposed by Ilyumzhinov, a liar who twice wasted large chunks of Kasparov's time on imaginary championship non-events.

At this point Kasparov's public relations posture did not look promising: Waiting on the ever-unreliable Ilyumzhinov while facing the possibility that a growing chorus of chess writers might question his courage in rejecting a Kasparov-Anand qualifying match.

So Kasparov got out. And he's enjoying the tributes of the chess world.

Kasparov will tutor Magnus or another youngster, keeping abreast of current opening theory, developing opening innovations, staying in chess shape. Meanwhile, Lautier and/or Kirsan will assemble a Candidates event featuring Anand, Leko, Topalov, and others. When the money for the Candidates event is in place and contracts are being signed, Kasparov will announce that he'll emerge from "retirement" to play in the Candidates event, but only if Kramnik does. Then it will be Kramnik's courage that the press questions. And with Kasparov's re-entry into the chess world chaos will reign anew.

Enjoy your retirement, Garry.

Grab a copy for me, just in case Garry or his manager don't bring me one. I asked but his luggage tends to get full!

Well, having been part of such things before, there are usually negotiations with conditions. I give you an exclusive interview only if it's front page with a photo, stuff like that. There are probably contractual loopholes in case Blair resigns tomorrow or if Kylie shows her butt. Well, it's the Guardian so maybe just the Blair part.

He was on the homepage of the New York Times website for much of yesterday. I printed out a nice glossy of it for him. His mom likes that sort of thing.

It's funny, talking about him as if it were an obituary or something. He's only 41! Bizarre.

Interesting fantasy, Greg. Of course we don't know what will happen in the future, even you with your mighty powers of telepathy and prediction somehow failed to predict the retirement, no?

Garry was considering this last year but took the Russian Ch as a chance to prove he was quitting, not being fired, so to speak. It was really sitting out Corus that pushed him over the edge, realizing that even though it would have been great, it was just another tournament. He even considered retiring when he wrote the letter withdrawing from the FIDE plan. But he had already agreed to play in Linares and he still hadn't really decided yet. He's quite impulsive, you may have heard.

As for long matches, Kasparov would be a prohibitive favorite to win any number of matches right now. Whose chances would be better?

As for "refusing Lautier," what is that? Refuse what? An offer or invitation? There was nothing at all and would be nothing. You can propose 50 fantasy situations all day and then say Kasparov declined them when he asks you to show him the invitation and the money. Cheap thrills. Anyway, what kind of unification would that be?

(Sorry, my settings still had Greg's name from when I moved his post to another thread a few minutes ago.)

To Ilyumzhinov's idea, Garry said, "show me the money." To Lautier's idea, on the other hand, Garry said, "no."

If Garry left the door open to a Kasparov=Anand qualifier the world would be beating down the doors to make it happen.

Still don't understand why he made this grandiose farewell to professional chess. He already released an open letter stating that he had given up on the world championship. Don't see why he can't just keep doing what he was doing; play tournaments. It's clear he can still more than keep up with the young ones.

If you give Garry a 71% edge against Anand, then a 71% shot against Kramnik that gives Garry a 50% shot at sweeping them.

For all his "greatness", Kasparov will always be remembered as black prince of chess, ever brooding and spewing venom. There was no capablanca, no mozart
in this guy. Always an ego the size of mount everest.
Always homophobic, misogynic, uncouth, despicable human being. Even this so called retirement is a calculated ploy.

Please post some quotations from this conversation between Lautier and Kasparov, Greg. You take some comments on comments from a Kramnik interview and suddenly Kasparov has refused to play a match with Anand. You may as well say that you proposed Kasparov play Stefanova and he declined. Ilyumzhinov, full of it as he is, at least leads an international federation and has put up or found money in the past. The ACP, of which I am a member, has not and represents nothing on the path of unification.

Beating down the doors? What would a match with Anand unify? FIDE is supposed to abandon Kasimdzhanov? Anand is supposed to turn himself into a huge hypocrite after not playing in Libya because it was to play Kasparov? Such trollery. With the collapse of the Kasimdzhanov match there was no avenue to play Kramnik (and even had he beaten Kasimdzhanov Kramnik would not have played him).

Yes, +9 in two events and you say he's running away. Jesus, how pathetic.

In the interests of enlightening the masses maybe you'd like to cite sources for attacks such as "homophobic and misogynistic". Otherwise you sound, well, uncouth. And come up with something relevant to the thread or risk being banished to the BashKasparov thread or troll heaven.

Relevant or not, but he called 12..Bxd4 in Shirov-Salov, Wijk aan Zee 1998, "a homosexual move" after having improved on it with 12..e6. Not absolutely sure what that was supposed to mean.

(Timman: "Power Chess with Pieces")


Examples are numerous. To mention a few are his well publisized comments about women being second class human beings totally incapable of beating his highness, referring to some players as tourists, etc ...



Woman are totally incapable of beating Kasparov in a match.
Khalifman will be remembered as a tourist who got crowned as world champion.

Mr. Misha, You seem to be not exactly unfamiliar with the notion of giving exact proofs of one's propositions. Given the severity of your citation of an alleged remark from GK about women please provide the source/context/if this is a translation/verbatim etc. (btw GK's contributed to the success of US women's chess team in Calvia). Also interesting would be the scenario you had in mind wheb referring to GK's retirement as a "ploy".

Why don't we all have a whip around for a Kasparov/Kramnik rematch?

Surely Garry would come out of retirement to have a crack at his old title if the price was right?
I'm sure he'd win too!


Please don't feed the trolls. Even unfounded opinions are tolerated, if not welcome. Thanks.

Garry certainly leaves behind a few boneheaded and controversial remarks. That's life in the public eye when you are headstrong and talkative and your every word is recorded for all time. He has always been a natural polemicist. But certainly he hasn't been defined by them and the good has far outweighed the bad.

"Women, by their nature, are not exceptional chess players: they are not great fighters." - Kasparov in the (London) Times, Oct. 9, 1990

Not mysogynistic and not an entirely unreasonable (or original) thought, although this tilts into the nature vs nurture question as much as anything. That most women are less aggressive than most men in most societies is unquestionable. The reasons why, well, that's another thread. Please don't pick it up here!

Ok, thx for the quote, but there is a long way to go from being a "not exceptional chess player" to being a "second class human being" (at least where I live).
For the audience and chess in general it's certainly more enlightening if players treat chess as a fight, whereas the current classical WC seems to be entangled in this artist thing, missing what a sportsman would have naturally done: granting a rematch.

"That most women are less aggressive than most men in most societies is unquestionable."
Wait until you meet your mother-in-law...

Mig, if there is one thing I would hope you could convey to Kasparov, it is that we wish him well and would like him to succeed in achieving his goals in the next phase of his life. Kasparov should be congratulated not just for being a great chessplayer, but more importantly, for being a good man and a decent person. As much as he has entertained chess fans over the years, his essential dignity deserves recognition too.

Mig-- thanks for the impossibly quick confirmation (such as it was) on the Carlsen training rumor. Once again, you rock! I hope that Garry finds a continuing role in the chess world he is comfortable with, and does not abandon the game altogether. (I'm reminded about the quip about Reuben Fine leaving chess to become an analyst as being a loss to chess, and a loss to psychoanalysis, but that's not a fair comparison here-- it will take a bit of time before any of us can judge Garry in the political arena.) I'm amazed (but not surprised) by the trolls who claim to love chess, and despise Garry-- which makes about as much sense as loving music and despising the Beatles. Even if his style is not to one's taste, there is no denying the magnitude of his greatness. Any way you slice it, the chess world of the past two decades would have been a much poorer place without Kasparov. I wish him well in his future endeavours, whatever they may be.

No sweat, it was an interesting one. Luckily my friend Angela speaks Norwegian and could relay some reports. Plus, I've been talking to Garry a lot going over his WSJ article (coming out tomorrow, 1300 words!) so it was easy to drop that in.

To be fair to the haters, I suppose you can love music, love the Beatles' music, and still consider Sir Paul McCartney an insufferable twit! (At least I hope you can.) Garry hasn't gone out of his way to be loved or lovable, but in most ways that makes me like him more. Better honest conceit than false modesty.

As many interviews as GK has given (in different languages), I'd be amazed if he hadn't said some stupid things. Who hasn't?

My job as a sportswriter would be horrendously dull if everyone kept their guard up all the time. It's when people show themselves to be human that they are interesting.

The fact that GK is willing to do that is why he's at the top of my list of people I would like to interview some day. His retirement doesn't change that - it's not like he was likely to be playing in a supertournament in Detroit anytime soon, anyway.

Continuing from the Paul McCartney analogy, my all time creative hero is Prince. Talented and prolific beyond belief, the fact remains that as a person he's a total prick. I'm not saying that GK is in the same boat, but there's one striking difference between them if nothing else. Prince seems to have contempt for the fans and the general public. GK on the other hand (from the limited experience I've had, only met him once) is approachable, happy to answer Qs and pose for photographs, etc. If he's less of a Mr Nice Guy with his colleagues then that's just part of the game he plays better than anyone else.

Mig, if you don't get hold of the Guardian article I'd be happy to post it straight on to you. Just let me know.

Unless you're a fanatic it is easy to keep the person and the player separated. It's stranger when you see great players (Kramnik and Leko are two names that come to mind recently) denigrated for the way they play!

Separate personality from playing style? The person from their success or failure? God no. Elite chess is very psychological, toward your opponents and for yourself. Not many tactical attackers in history known for their quiet, humble personalities. At least not of those with careers distinguished enough to allow them a public personality. As for Leko and Kramnik, many distinguish how well you play from how you play.

Sure, please grab an extra copy for me, Colin. If they don't bring me one I'll need it. I'll swap you for having Garry sign something. I'm cheap!

Wasn't it Rod Laver (tennis great) who said, "Anything a player says about another player is just part of his game. The real clue to personality is how he treats the bartender."

Or was that someone else?

If we call players "chickens" when they take an early draw, it doesn't mean we are anti-chicken.

It's a figure of speech. Note also that different languages & different cultures can have different figures of speech or customs. Another example: in the English language, it's very common to use the word "fairy" to denote cowardly, effeminate or un-masculine (whatever that means) actions. If that's homophobia, then it's ingrained in society, a society of which language simply is a reflection. In any case, it is sometimes hard to avoid politically incorrect language, even if you try, simply because languages are full of it.

I am a hopeless chess hack - but an addicted one. The chess world is a darker place without Kasparov. Love him or hate him he was the lightning rod of chess. He was the man with the bullhorn bringing the world of chess to ears that otherwise would have otherwise been deaf to the sport/art/game. His brillance and passion for the game has inspired more players of this generation than probably any other player in the modern era. Though I may not always understand his moves, I was inspired by his passion.

To many of us Garry was chess, and the world is a bit darker today...

Greg Koster,

relating to your first post on this thread, I have four questions for you.

1) Are we supposed to believe in ACP?
2) This is what you want?
3) What makes you think Kasparov would refuse it, if it was for real?
4) Why did you post this message at all?

Details below.

1) Are we supposed to believe in ACP?

Do you seriously believe that ACP would organize those 3 matches?

What have ACP actually done so far? The last “cycle” that they “endorsed” in 2002 was a traditional tournament that would take place anyway. They just said “this year, the tournament is the qualifier for the cycle”. And don’t say that “it was the best given the sponsorship available”. ACP added no sponsorship at all, it was all raised by the Dortmund organizers. It was the Dortmund organizers who agreed to have a different formula that year, and raised additional sponsorship for that.

After that, we waited TWO YEARS for the Kramnik-Leko match. And even this match was organized by the Kramnik and Leko manager, not by ACP.

Lately, the ACP organized the “ACP tour”. What is it? A list of several tournaments that would take place anyway. They just made a list of those tournaments and said “this is the ACP tour”.

Did the ACP actually organize something? To my knowledge, they never organized anything but some small online tournaments. We all can do this on any chess server.

You say that Kasparov said “no” to the ACP proposal. What proposal? Something concrete, or the ACP just talked about it? Anyone can TALK about matches at any time – people do this daily on this forum, for example – but actually organizing something is quite another matter. Any word about sponsorship? If not, and with the lack of organizational background from ACP, this proposal is as concrete as the guarantee from Ilyumzhinov that the match in Dubai was confirmed, as reported in http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2009

2) This is what you want?

This suggestion of three matches, in the end, is no more than the Prague agreement, had Anand played and won the Tripoli KO. Is this what you want?

During many months , I read many posts in this forum (including by you) objecting to the Prague agreement, and saying that we should have a “real cycle” instead.

By the way, I just looked in the ACP page, and found nothing about this idea of those three matches. Did someone actually even talked about it? Or you just invented this crap?

3) What makes you think Kasparov would refuse it, if it was for real?

You suggest that Kasparov refused the proposal out of fear not to win two matches. Well, it does not seem to me that there was a real proposal to be refused, but it is interesting how you can read Kasparov mind.

I can not read his mind, but, judging from his past record, the idea of fear seems ridiculous to my eyes. An example. If you remember, the idea of unification of the world title was born with an article, “A Fresh Start”, by Yasser Seirawan. The original proposal included the idea that Kasparov should play not two, but THREE matches, two of them with draw odds against him. According to later Seirawan reports, Kasparov was the FIRST of all the parties involved to agree with the idea (it was Kramnik who refused).

You can find Seirawan original proposal here:
You can find Seirawan reports on later developments here:

Kasparov promptly agreed to play three matches, two of them with draw odds against him, and now you say that he was afraid of playing two?

Besides…. for God’s sake, look at all of Kasparov carreer. What is it all about, if not taking the hardest challenges? Not only in tournaments, but also on direct matches. He played five matches against Karpov, when they were undoubtedly the two best players in the world. He played against Short in 1993 (breaking up with FIDE) when Short defeated Karpov and earned the right to play for the title. He played against Anand in 1995, when Anand won the PCA qualifier (not a traditional tournament that would take place anyway) and nobody doubted that he was the most dangerous challenger. He hand-picked Krmnik in 2000, in a moment that Kramnik was getting the best results of his life and again nobody doubted that he was the most dangerous challenger.

To me, as I said above, Kasparov did not refuse the ACP proposal, since there was no real proposal to be refused. I believe he would have accepted it, if it was for real.

There are many bad things that can be said about Kasparov. Selfish personality, enormous ego, bitter remarks, violating touch move against Polgar, tantrum against Radjabov, etc. But do not say that he refused real challenges.

(For the sake of completeness)
And do not say that he dismantled the old cycle structure. He did break up from FIDE in 1993, and recognized many times that it was the biggest mistake of his life. But it was FIDE, and not him, who dismantled the old structure and went for the KOs. FIDE could maintain the structure without Kasparov if they really wanted, the same way they maintained it without Fischer after 1975. And they could rebuild a new structure tomorrow, if they really wanted. They have no more the excuse that “Kasparov refuses to get out of the way”.

4) Why did you post this message at all?

It seems to me that the only reason why you wrote this BS message was to write the sentence “So Kasparov got out”.

Coming from you, it should be no surprise. I remember the many messages you posted on this forum, mentioning Kasparov‘s “continuous demands for a direct rematch”, and saying that he “demanded special treatment”.

You ignore some simple facts. After losing the 2000 match to Kramnik, Kasparov really claimed for a direct rematch, on the basis that his continuous first places at Supertournaments established him as the most dangerous opponents, and that a direct rematch was no worse than Kramnik himself being directly picked. You may agree or disagree with his claim (I disagree), but it ended on May 2002, the date of the Prague agreement.

After May 2002, Kasparov did NOT claim for a direct rematch. The only “special treatment” that he “demanded” was that FIDE and Kramnik honor the contract they both signed. And even that “demand” was dropped two month ago. Now he is not “demanding” anything at all.

You ignored this facts, and even a few days ago, at the end of the Linares tournament, you posted a message saying that Kasparov “demanded special treatment”, and that if we just ignore all the games that he won, than he would have no more wins. (brilliant!!)

The Guardian interview is now available online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1436919,00.html

For those who know Russian, there is also an interesting interview in Sport Express: http://www.sport-express.ru/art.shtml?100546

Replying to Mig's comments:

"Please post some quotations from this conversation between Lautier and Kasparov..."
--After mentioning the Kasparov-Lautier meeting and a correspondence involving Kasparov's attorney, Kramnik says: "The possible match tournament was also discussed…- Kasparov rejected all the ideas about tournament match or matches against Anand, Topalov or whoever before the Unification, giving excuses that he wants to start from one and the same stage with me." "But in this situation, since I played the match against Leko, he should also play his match."

"Kasparov would be a prohibitive favorite to win any number of matches right now."
--Kasparov himself has a more realistic appraisal. In the "64" interview Kasparov (not known for modesty) acknowledges that he is no longer the indisputable #1 and that "Anand has had brilliant results that arguably make him the best in the world currently."

"Whose chances would be better?"
--Jeff Sonas will undoubtedly tell you that statistically speaking it's much more likely that Kramnik can defeat Kasparov than that Kasparov can defeats Anand in a qualifier AND Kramnik in a championship match.

"What would a match with Anand unify?" "FIDE is supposed to abandon Kasimdzhanov?"
--Neither a Kramnik-Kasparov rematch nor a Kasparov-Anand qualification match would have had anything to do with unification, but Kasparov demanded a Kramnik rematch and rejected an Anand qualifier. Unification, while a worthy goal, was irrelevant to Kasparov's motives for killing off any attempts to organize a Kasparov-Anand qualifying match.

"Yes, +9 in two events and you say he's running away."
--In the Russian Championship and Linares, Kasparov defeated Dreev, Tseshkovsky, Bareev, Svidler, Adams, Timofeev, Kazimdzhanov and Vallejo. These gentlemen, after London 2000, had amassed a combined record of 3 wins, 13 losses and 34 draws against Kramnik and Anand. Do Kasparov's victories over the above-named gentlemen in tournaments prove he can defeat Anand and Kramnik in matches?

Prior to Linares, by demanding equal status with Kramnik, Kasparov had put himself in a box. When an equal status idea came along: Kramnik v. Leko; Kasparov v. Anand, the winners play each other, it doesn't look too good when, instead of saying "show me the money", or "here are my conditions", Kasparov categorically rejects the idea of an equal status, obviously marketable Kasparov-Anand qualifier.

Kasparov's retirement solves that problem. Kasparov's retirement also dissolves the problem's inherent in planning a world championship event around Kasparov's special conditions. But when a Candidates event is finally formed, Kasparov will likely calculate that the challenge, "I'll play if Kramnik will," would tend to make Kramnik look bad if HE doesn't agree.

Kasparov's not running from Kramnik. Kasparov's running (if that's the right word) from the reality that it's statistically more likely that Kramnik can defeat Kasparov than that Kasparov can defeat Anand AND Kramnik. By "retiring" now, and "coming out of retirement" later, Kasparov will improve his prospects of taking down Kramnik. It'll also re-introduce chaos into the chess world, but what the heck.

"Kasparov himself has a more realistic appraisal."
Well, the latest Kasparov's appraisal is quite unambiguous: in the (just published) Sport Express interview he says: "They all know perfectly well that come decisive moment, I will beat any one of them - Kramnik, Leko, Anand..." (my translation.)

The Guardian article was mentioned on the front page (UK broadsheets usually have a banner at the top mentioning a couple of featured articles) and appeared on Page 6 of G2 (the magazine-style part of the newspaper). The first three paragraphs are wasted comparing Kasparov to the soccer player Ronaldinho (Barcelona & Brazil) which the interviewer feels should flatter Garry. It doesn't, and I'm hardly surprised. Ronaldinho has been considered the world's top player for, oh, must be nearly 24 months now! Hardly comparable. And he is only ever a cog in a larger machine, with no real control over his footballing destiny. So he scored two goals against Chelsea this week (in a game Garry watched according to the article)? So what - the other team scored four and Barcelona crashed out of the world's biggest club competition. The only team player who can be compared to Kasparov is probably Michael Jordan.

As expected, the article concentrates on the fact that Kasparov's exit from chess is to devote more time to opposing Vladimir Putin, and how he intends to do it. Although he 'will go on writing for the Wall Street Journal. which shares his robustly rightwing view of the world.'

Actually, the article did tell me a few things about Garry's personal life that I didn't know - the custody battle around the time of his loss to Kramnik, his current divorce, etc. The article was accompanied by a full page full colour photo of Garry which looks like it was taken at the time of the interview.

The Sport Express interview is translated into English at http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/kasvas14mar.html

Most of it is just the usual "Everyone is against me, but I'm the best and Kramnik is the villain" stuff. Always interesting read though, of course.

I think Anand summed it up nicely in this one statement:

Q: Any one complaint you will always have against him

Anand: (Laughs)...I think now’s the time to only remember the positives.

Accusing someone of being afraid to play is a hard thing.

Regarding Kasparov vs Anand:

1) Kasparov vs Anand score: 22 wins for Kasparov, 8 wins for Anand.

2) Score in the last 10 years: 8 wins for Kasparov, 3 wins for Anand (the wins for Anand were not in classical time control).

3) Kasparov GAINED more rating points in the last tournament, INCREASING his advantage over Anand, who LOST rating points.

4) Kasparov defeated Adams twice in Linares; Anand lost to Adams. Kasparov lost to Topalov in the last round; Anand had a theoretically lost position to Vallejo, who failed to materialize it because reportedly he wanted to watch a soccer game.
I know, Greg, that you regard the last point as irrelevant. You certainly would not, if the situation was inversed.

Regarding Kasparov vs Kramnik:

1) If I am not mistaken (please correct me if I am), Kasparov and Kramnik played together five tournaments after 2000 (Wijk aan Zee 2001, Astana 2001, Botvinnik Memorial 2001, Linares 2003, Linares 2004). Kramnik won two of them, Kasparov won three.

2) After 2000, Kramnik never defeated Kasparov on classical time control. Kasparov defeated Kramnik in Astana.

3) Kramnik had the best results of his life exactly around 2000, when he defeated Kasparov in the London Match. Since then, Kramnik had lost enough rating points to get out of the top three.

Does anything of the above PROVES that Kasparov would win a match against Kramnik or Anand? Of course not! There is a difference between alleging guaranteed win and alleging favoritism. But I would be very interested in seeing calculations that showed someone would be a favorite to defeat Kasparov.

Greg, my point here is: you are clearly biased for one side. If one wanted, it would be extremely easy to (unsoundedly) accuse Vladimir Kramnik of fearing Kasparov.

Just remember the recent facts. Kramnik signed contracts to play in the Russian Superfinal; then, he asked the organizers to change the date of the tournament, due to his match with Leko. A date was agreeded that he KNEW would be just a month after the match. Then, suddenly, he quitted from the tournament, alleging stress, and saying that a month was not sufficient to recover.
Then, he refused the invitation to play in Linares, alleging that he had already signed contracts to play in Wijk and Monaco. Other players, including Leko, were in both tournaments and also in Linares.

It would be extremely easy to say that the real reason for Kramnik not to play on the two tournaments was that he wanted to avoid playing Kasparov. I find this accusation on Kramnik cheap and unfounded, since we just can not know what is going on in his mind. Yes, he declined to play on two tournaments, but we can not jump to the conclusion that he deliberately wanted to avoid someone.

Greg, I find your accusation on Kasparov cheap and unfounded on the same way. You read somewhere, in a source that you have not identified yet, that someone supposedly made some preliminary proposal for a match that was still to be made official and on which the other part, as I understand, was not yet invited (and in a format equal to the Prague agreement, that you once objected), and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Kasparov feared playing two matches (when he had previously agreeded to the original “Fresh Start” proposal, where he would have to play three). Not satisfied, you start to make predictions about the future. Cheap and unfounded.

Just for the record. Almost one year ago, Kasparov made a proposal that included Anand in a championship for the title. His proposal is available at http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1642
I do not agree with the format he proposed there. I mention this proposal to say that he was not afraid of playing Anand, or anyone else.

Anand was invited to play for the title in 1999. He refused, and the chance passed to Kramnik. Was Anand afraid of playing? I don’t believe it. He had his reasons.
Had Kasparov agreed now to this supposed proposal, and Anand refused, would you say that Anand was afraid of playing? I would not.

Good morning, edu

--In my response to Mig I questioned the use of the word "running" to characterize Kasparov's conduct. The "running" and "chicken" terms are unhelpful whether applied to Kramnik, who did not play the Russian Championship/Linares with Kramnik waiting, or Kramnik not playing Corus/ Sofia with Kramnik waiting. Each had their respective reasons unrelated to "courage" issues.

--For Kasparov's superiority over Kramnik and Anand you cite ten-year-old head-to-head results, tournament games against common adversaries, and woulda-coulda-shoulda re drawn games. But head-to-head since London 2000 Kasparov has a single win against each in 17 games. Assigning Kasparov a 60-40 edge against each man individually makes him a 36-64 underdog to sweep them.

--Your chessbase citation proves my point. In May, 2004, before Kramnik-Leko, Kasparov said:
"It’s very simple now. We have four players at the top and we can take the top four from Libya and have matches: quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final. Anand, Kramnik, Leko, Kasparov, we have these four and then the four semifinalists from Libya. While I don’t see any reason for modifying the current structure, I would have no problem with this."
The ACP site reports that FIDE isn't even replying to the ACP's communications. Unification with the mega-liar Ilyumzhinov may be kaput. So if its fair to then remove the four Libya qualifiers from Kasparov's May, 2004 proposal you've got kasparov proposing semi-final matches among himself, Anand, Kramnik, and Leko; winners play each other. A year later Kramnik has defeated Leko. But Kasparov refuses to even discuss playing Anand. http://www.64.ru/2005/eng/2/english1.html

hi edu, nice post, measured and reasoned, full of logic. sadly our boy greg is not interested in those attributes in a discussion! just in increasingly shrill denunciations of kasparov. nice to read your post tho


Kasparov's long record of changing positions to suit his needs provides the foundation for my prediction re his future conduct.

If Kasparov stands by silently without inviting himself (and Kramnik) into the next Candidates event I'll happily admit my error.

In the obituaries for Kasparov's career are found references to a custody battle ongoing at the time of London 2000. There is no more traumatizing event than the potential loss of one's children and Kasparov's chess must have been affected. He deserves great credit for not even mentioning this circumstance. (He'd deserve even more credit if instead of talking "fortuitous" he frankly and honorably acknowledged he was soundly defeated, but you can't have everything.)

There are certainly fortuitious elements to any victory, but Garry has often stated frankly that he was outprepared and beaten fair and square by Kramnik. This a clip from an (unedited) transcript of a speech he gave in 2004 to a business group. (Not a chess crowd, obviously.) Prior to this is some interesting stuff about both being good students of Botvinnik in preparation.

"So [Kramnik] designed a strategy. A great strategy to drag me from the territories from where I felt the most comfortable into the territories where I felt shaky. So it is like two different types of game, I can tell you. Somebody has a huge serve and then rushes to the net. And then someone is playing from the backline just waiting for mistakes and then hit hard. Kramnik played from the backline. But he was also very smart to narrow exactly where I could make mistakes and on what turf he could prove that Kasparov was not unbeatable. The match was a disaster for me! In fifteen games, I could not win a single one, and lost two. I lost the match to Kramnik. I was out prepared."

There you go, Greg; now you have everything! :-)

You can say whatever you want about Kasparov (and you have done so since forever), but we will never again have a champ who has this kind of mediaappeal Kasparov has. He was our most valuable asset in order to sell chess to the outside world and now we have lost him. I think its only Anand (mostly in India) who non-chessplayes can relate to. This is a big problem, and I think it deserves our full attention, not who-said-what-to whom years ago. Sadly, the Kasparov-era is now history.

Here is a more recent quotation from Kasparov (from the first part of his interview in 64 - the one that unfortunately did not make it into the English translation):

"Why did Kramnik defeat me? He was at the cutting edge, in many respects he had advanced not only the theory but also the very understanding of chess. I said then: I will go to school..."

The Russian text is here: http://www.chess-express64.ru/2004/12/dec02.html

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 12, 2005 6:13 AM.

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