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Tiger on Retirement

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Just for serendipity, there's an interesting CNN/SI.com article on golfer Tiger Woods' comments about when he'll retire. I like the way he put it.

"When my best isn't good enough, I'm walking," Woods said. "You'll know when you're not able to produce any more. I don't lie. When I play well, I tell you guys. And I tell you when I haven't played well. I've won tournaments out there when I wasn't playing my best. But if I play my best and don't win, there's no reason to be out here."

Has he ever played his best and not won?

"No," Woods said flatly.

This is quite a contrast with Kasparov's retirement. His was "I'm still the best but there's nothing left for me to do here." Not that it was getting any easier, and it's fair to say he was past his prime at this point. I'm trying to find some of Garry's old comments about when he would leave. I know he's addressed it more than a few times. There's a test, when was the first time he discussed it in public? 1998?


This is slightly different from Kasparov's predicament of "I am playing my best but there's nothing (big money, world title, glamour, hot women) to be won".

Exactly! Most of Kasparov's old retirement comments were like that, though. Woods lists several things he wants to achieve, big records to break. With Kasparov the only thing left for him to achieve (in his opinion) doesn't really exist anymore. Quite literally, there is no avenue to the unified title at the moment. Botvinnik wasn't going to put himself through three years of struggling for a shot at Petrosian, but at least he could be reasonably sure of how to get there and how long it would take.

"Quite literally, there is no avenue to the unified title at the moment."

Does Garry actually care about unifying the title? I know he's been willing to use the FIDE "champ" as a means to an end, but doesn't he just want a shot at Kramnik?

If Vlad came to him tomorrow and said "You and me. 24 games. Old school.", would GK even remember that Rustam Kasimdzhanov even existed?

(Note that this is not a criticism of GK - you can be the true heavyweight champ without having to beat the clown with the farcical WBX belt.)

It's a good question, not sure of the answer. He wanted a shot at Kramnik for sure, but he definitely wanted to unify the title as well if possible. One reason is selfish, because it wouldn't be the "whole" thing that he had before, back before the split. The other reason, and he has spoken about this before, was that it could be a way of making up for being one of those who caused the split in the first place.

I don't know if he would have turned down Kramnik, say, last year before they found sponsorship for the Leko match. I seriously doubt he would have turned it down had everything been in place. I'll ask.

Per Kasparov, his break away effort in the 90's is a contributing factor to the mess of today. Per Tiger, his ego is so bloated, he wouldn't be able to admit he'd played his best and lost.

If Kramnik actually proposed a rematch using the exact words "You and me. 24 games. Old school.", I would raise the prize fund myself. If only world chess were that cool. Maybe if Quentin Tarantino were in charge of writing the contracts for FIDE...

Prediction as to Kasparov's response to Hogg's question:

Kasparov: Last spring I indentified myself, Kramnik, Anand, and Leko as the top players. And for unification purposes, I proposed throwing in the top four from the FIDE championship to make a field of eight Candidates who would play matches to determine the Champion. A year later FIDE has proven an unreliable unification partner and Leko has had his shot at Kramnik. Since the unfortunate event in London, the players who have waited at the top without a title shot are myself and Anand. I would have suffered immensely to deprive Anand of his shot by playing a direct match with Kramnik. But the chess world demanded it and I would have reluctantly played such a match.

Hogg/Mig followup: Would you then have considered a qualifying match with Anand so that both you and Anand could have your title shots and the chess world could look forward to two great matches: Kasparov-Anand and Kasparov-Kramnik?

Kasparov: Such a match was never proposed and I have stopped communicating with the ACP, who are simply a Kramnik tool. But to answer your question, no, such a procedure would unfairly benefit Kramnik, who would have to play only one match while I would have to play two.

Migg/Hogg followup: Yes, it sure does seem unfair to you. And by the way, did you ever, as champion, act as you now wish Kramnik to act? That is, did you ever, rather than defending your title one-on-one as champion, think it more appropriate to enter a Candidates event of four or eight players to contend for the title?

Kasparov: From a saint or a logician one looks for consistency. From a great chessplayer one looks for great chess.

Mig follow-up: Do you mind if I omit that last part from the interview?

Kasparov: I play chess how I want, you write how you want.

But Kasparov DID agree to play in another match and was ready to play both Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov. So in your fantasy, Kasparov refuses to play a qualifying match, but in reality he agreed to. Twice. Greetings to Gregworld.

And it's "I paint what I want."

Geez, all these years as a professional journalist, and I never thought once of starting a question with "Yes, it sure does seem unfair to you."

And how it did it go from Hogg/Mig to Mig/Hogg to just Mig? I'm plummeting down the totem pole here.

Kasparov "interview" continued:

Q: In generously agreeing, at Prague, to play a match with the FIDE champion, you knew that your opponent would not be Anand, Kramnik, or, (if at Dortmund he played up to his rating) Leko. And that the FIDE format made it highly possible that you would be playing someone such as Khalifman, Ponomariov or Kasimdzhanov.

Kasparov: Yes I knew that, but Khalifman, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov are no pushovers, let me tell you.

Q. And by the way, since it's unfair to ask you to play a qualifying match to earn a title shot, was it fair to ask Anand to play a FIDE knockout tournament to earn a semi-final shot?

Kasparov: Who asked him? I didn't ask him.

Q: Since Kramnik has played Leko, and now that your proposed matches with Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov have evaporated, would you now agree to emerge from retirement, end the long wait of Anand and yourself, and insert Anand into the slot left open by the failed Kasimdzhanov match? Garry, we'd LOVE to see Kasparov-Anand, and then Kramnik-Kasparov!! Please! Please!

Kasparov: Show me the money and we'll talk.

Q. If we showed you the money, would you play the match?

Kasparov: It is clear you are working with Kramnik and many in the chess world to deny me the championship! Interview over!

Didn't mean to "dis" you, Dave. And sorry for the lame question. Even we hard-hitting chess journalists find ourselves tossing up a softball once in a while.

As always, a fascinating look into your subconcious instead of reality, but please don't hijack this thread. Seriously. It gets old. There are four or five other Kasparov threads below that might be appropriate, if only because they are older and played out. We don't need to turn each new item into your fantasy life before most people even see it.

A theoretical Kasparov-Anand match seems about as thread-relevant as the theoretical Kramnik-Kasparov match discussed by the blogmaster and Dave Hogg. But one must respect the blogmaster's determination to the contrary.

Great, you can't tell the difference between a legit question regarding why Kasparov retired (no clear shot at the title, did it matter if it was unified) from your posts. I guess that's why I'm here, so every post doesn't become "relevant" to what you've been saying in the last five threads.

The chessworld abounds in statements such as "Shirov got screwed" and "Kasparov had no clear shot at the title." Both statements are literally true, both ignore the victim's contribution to his own predicament, both pop up here and there, and depending on your stance, it's tedious to read the statement, the rebuttal, or both.

Oh, let's just continue with what happened after the tapes stopped rolling:

Mig: How should the chess championship take place?

Kasparov: Kramnik has to play me every year until he loses. I get a million dollars regardless of what happens. Anand never gets a title shot.

Mig: Garry, have you ever killed Christian children?

Kasparov: Yes. I like to make matzoh out of them and eat it for Passover.

This is fun. I am going to make one with President Bush next.

Later, with the lights down and the Cristal flowing:

MIGALO: Garry---

KASPAROV: Who said you could talk??! Can't you see my glass is empty? And don't stop rubbing my feet, I had to walk to my limo at Kennedy today.

I don't think his fiance would appreciate that much.

(Please watch the profanity (deleted), have to keep the site off all those stupid bot "kid-safe" filter lists. Thanks.)

It sounds like the picture you might draw if you don't know what it's like to have friends. Not everyone just wants to use and be used.

Clubfoot are you Gata in real life? I remember someone calling you Gata.

No, no, no. Good grief. This thread went to hell in a hurry. Move along, nothing to see here. How about that Tiger Woods?

Okay, that's fair, then let's try another tack:

Kasparov on The View:

STAR JONES: Did you see these photos from my wedding?

KASPAROV: Yes, they're quite beautiful.

BARABARA WALTERS: You flirting with a chess master, girlfriend?


Kasparov on Oprah:

OPRAH: So what was it like to finally lose to a woman? Remember it's okay to let it out, Garry, we have tissues right over here...

KASPAROV: [nervously removes watch] Well, this was an exceptional woman--

OPRAH: Hear that, ladies? You with me?

[audience members riot, wet selves]

Kasparov on Jon Stewart:

STEWART: You were the Bobby Fischer of chess and you walk away to take on Putin? He had Maskhadov killed, so what's different about you?

KASPAROV: You take on Bush every night here, so why are you still alive?

STEWART: Were you sent here to blow my mind?

[laughter break]

Kasparov on American Chopper:

KASPAROV: Wow, your father really lost it on you there.

CO-HOST: Yeah, my dad likes a clean and orderly shop, so we gotta be really tidy, okay Garry?

KASPAROV: Okay, you bet. Let's rock.

In my opinion, Kasparov still would have had some things to strive for in chess. For example, beating the latest computer software in a match.
Also Kramnik. It's not the same to know that he could have beat Kramnik and gotten the title as it would have been to actually see him do it.
i can understand how he would feel these are not goals anymore if he feels he could do them easily, and his greatness is undisputed without these achievements of course, but they would have been very interesting things to see nonetheless.

But now that he is retired, how about playing some sort of friendly match against Fischer? i know it would have little benefit for Garry's reputation, it's not like even a genius like Fischer can be at his prime anymore, but i doubt i'm alone in thinking that would still be the match of the century for the audiences. i am certain Fischer could still play better than half of the players in Linares for example.
It was actually some non-chess people who talked to me about this after they heard of Kasparov's retirement, so there would be true public interest out there for such a thing...and sponsorship for such a match would probably be the easiest thing in the world to find.

And then maybe he could dig up Capablanka...

sorry bad taste, but couldn't help it.

I'd say there's a much better chance of the match with Capablanca happening.

* I enjoyed the "interviews" very much, for a sober view nothing better
than those pearls..

Now that the subject is "motivations",
(the "nothing to be won out there" thing) what about these goals:

--beat the US $ 5 mill record set by Fischer-Spassky 1992 (plus, in a
"non-title" event self-promoted as WC, plus outside FIDE, plus against
a-nobody --sorry Boris).

--surpass Fischer's eternal attraction to the Press at any time,
any where, for anything.

--come to the point of being able to rise millions for a third edition
Fischer-Spassky III (or for any match, for that matter)

--Produce "true gems" out of his games --okay, that's difficult.

--Have a mouth bigger than Fischer's --okay, that's easy.

(As GK's objective in chess seemed to become "a continuation" of BF, goals are easy to find)

Yep, the Fischer-Spassky II prize fund must have driven Garry crazy. It's odd that it now seems like chess has lost its largest name, and with it the promise of large paydays, when he was often never the #1 draw in any case. Even the money for the Nigel Short match was generated off the back of Short's participation, not Gazza's.

Mig --

I like reading your posts, and try to hit the site everyday to see what is happening in the chess world. But honestly, when I get to the comments, I really feel like never coming back again.

This has nothing to do with you, but everytime I read a post that starts witha topic, and gets Darwinized by Mr. Koster or Mr. Clubfoot, I get bored all over again.

Sample post now always seems to be:

Mig post:

New tournament happening, will post when we get more details.


Interesting article on chess and/or the chess world.

Comments start:

Mr. Koster and/or Mr. Clubfoot

This also sounds good, but did you know that Kasparov is the devil? OMG how did you not know.


It's boring, it's repetitive, and frankly, I find it more difficult to come back for the chess journalism tree in the verbal diarrhea.

Back to the Tiger Woods topic...

Woods has a very clear career goal: to break Jack Nicklaus's record for most "major" championships (this looked like a lock two or three years ago, but the pace has slowed). Thus, when his best play is no longer good enough to win majors, he'll hang it up because there's no chance to reach his goal. I'm pretty sensitive to egotism, but don't find anything objectionable in Wood's statement.

OTOH, I don't see any significant remaining career objective for Garry in chess. Although I think he'd return tomorrow if given a sure berth in a World Championship match (with accompanying big fee, of course).

Yes, Chris,

But if you skipped the Daily Dirt comments you'd miss out on such wonderful visual images as "the chess journalism tree in the verbal diarrhea."

Quote --

"... difficult to come back for the chess journalism tree in the verbal diarrhea."

Intended Quote --

"... difficult to come back for the chess journalism tree in the verbal diarrhea forest."

See, the comments are impacting my communication ability already.

For me, I approved of the imagery of the verbal diarrhea rising so high that you couldn't even tell there was a forest anymore. I thought you did it on purpose and were being artistic. Too bad.

Save it, Chrissie. Your correction was more prolix and lame than the original.

[Trying to get back on thread.] Faced with an obstacle such as Chris described, I wonder whether Tiger Woods would lay up or try to clear it in one shot.

Jeff --

Thanks for the thought, I'm an engineer as well as a chessplayer, but it's nice to know I can be accused of art as well. =)

Mr. Clubfoot --

Whatever, I think you are in the "pot...kettle...." category, given the quality of posts you have produced.

Greg --

I agree with getting it back on track. With respect to the Tiger/Kasparov analogy, I would like to see whether Tiger means that he would quit competitive playing, and advance in other avenues. Kasparov not playing professionally anymore does not preclude a couple of "things he hasn't done before". The discussion of whether Garry will train one of the youngsters is interesting, can he help train a champion? Only time will tell (and if he decides to do it instead of politics full time, I am not sure on his contribution there).

Whether it is Mr. Ego or not, Mr. Self-Promoter or not, Mr. I-can't-take-defeat-in-a-gracious-way or not, WHATEVER GARRY IS, his is a perfectly normal decision. It's like having a job in a business in which you become better and better till you are the best or one of the best; however, because of ANY reason, you will never be named CEO. You once were CEO, you lost the job to a youngster and now, there is no way in which you can fight back in open competition for that job. No matter how much you love your job, this is gonna end up pinning you down. It seems that Garry's main goal was this, and seeing no way to achieve it, he chose to step down and look for another place in which, even if it's a long shot, he could have an opportunity to make it to the top. That -My retirement from chess is not about running for president or any other higher office, although I am not prepared to rule anything out- thing seems to be pretty clear 'bout this.

As for goals, I do think he left a few things unresolved behind him. He didn't beat any of the computer programs he played after the Deep Blue incident. He didn't retire as a World Champion (ok, he had no shot at doing it). I think the most unresolved issue is the sponsorship-publicity thing. Garry's aim was always to make chess into such a popular sport that matches could have a space in TV, and big matches would always have sponsors who would toss in cash to make them big events. He seemed to make a breakthrough when ESPN broadcasted his match with junior, but if his claims are honest, he tried to make a change so that when he would depart the chess world, his presence was not necessary to bring in such media breakthroughs. Now he leaves, and he takes all the media he generated along to politics, leaving the chess world with a media void as big as his Mother Russia. I wonder if ESPN would ever broadcast a Kramnik match? Even Junior and Fritz seem to generate more media than him lately. A sport's media is always boosted when there is a clear number 1 among the pack (Jordan, Tiger, etc.). Are Kramnik or Anand clear no. 1's? Will they ever be? Let's also not forget his web-based failure; I'm sure he would like to get that right (so would you Mig!).

His decision, however, seems to be about accomplishing some other goals in chess. He's solid about writing chess books, and if his respect for chess tradition is as high as he claims, he will maybe end up mentoring new chess talents.

And just for serendipity, did Garry ever play his best and not win?

There is one more computer to play: Hydra, the multiprocessor beast. Also there is something to play for: re-match with Kramnik, to avenge the only loss to human in a match.

Pelé “half-quitted” soccer in 1972, at the age of 32, when there was nothing else for him to do but breaking his own records. He still played for five more years (just “for fun”?), but out of the main competitions, until he finally started to lose his shape with age.

In an interview years later, he said that he still felt perfectly fit in 1972, but made a conscious decision to quit on top. I assume there may be really a problem of motivation, not only of capability. Perhaps, after achieving so much, the person may be just tired of striving for more. I wonder if something similar may have affected Karpov, after playing in 7 world championships (an eighth cancelled) and nearly 25 years being the first or second player in the world.

Well, sorry. Perhaps I should have said that Karpov played in 7 unified world championships. If you want, consider also 1993 against Timman, 1996 against Kamsky and 1998 against Anand.

Chris, you're right, i dont know what's worse, clubfoot belabouring under the misapprehension that he's being wittily saracastic or ironic (rather than just tediously moronic), or koster tirelessly pushing his anti GK agenda.i'm losing interest in this myself.

You know what would be funny? Some lazy reporter from Reuters scanning this thread randomly and posting one of those interviews as real. Now that would be hysterical.

[tangent] Speaking of thread drift, my front page for the daily dirt still talks about poor Khalifman's mouseslip. How long has that been up? At least Nakamura's getting good exposure.[/tangent]

Kasparov NEVER had a slump like Tiger Woods, Woods was NEVER at the top of his sport for 20 years, so the comparison is ridiculous and merely shows the inability of Americans to understand anything except in terms of themselves.
Linares was the world championship and everyone who didn't turn up was absent through fear.
I hear the Americans asking,"what is this Linares"?.
They couldn't even be bothered to mention the tournament by name on A.B.C. Because it didn't take place in the U.S.
The only thing that Americans know about chess is that they once had a freak who was world champion for a while.

Yes, its ufortunate that we dont have a tournament like Linares every year in US. The only biggest event is the World Open.

Sacateca mentioned the positibility of Kasparov playing Fischer in some kind of friendly match. One thing that would probably attract a lot of interest and be entertaining for chess fans would be a Fischer Random Chess match between the two players. I for one would be watching each game eagerly, and if it was promoted correctly it could be an opportunity for both players to improve their images. Though honestly this is more of an idea for a year or two down the road, rather than in the immediate future, given Kasparov's recent retirement and Fischer's current situation. Fun idea, anyway.


I think in his book "Unlimited Challenge" (1990), where, according to Amazon "the book highlights the grand master's running feud with a bureaucratic "chess mafia" and his gutsy attempt to democratize the sport as it is played in the Soviet Union." Kasparov makes some predictions when he will retire.

If I remember right (please correct me, if I'm wrong), Kasparov estimates that at the age of 35 he will be at his best (1998) and will gradually start weakening. So, it looks like Kaspy had it all figured out long before, so it will be just a natural move for him. I'm very impressed about this mans capabilty of planning ahead.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 16, 2005 2:59 PM.

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