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Surprise Attack

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It's hard to beat Garry Kasparov at the chessboard, but today someone beat him WITH a chessboard. He has a bruised head, but is otherwise okay. This frightening incident is being tracked at ChessBase.com. Luckily he's hard-headed.

A Kasparov advisor on the scene was quick to place blame on the militant pro-Putin "Nashi" ("Ours") youth movement, which was mainly organized to deal with an anti-Putin youth group in St. Petersburg and which has been blamed for several violent incidents against anti-Putin groups. All the interview talk about Kasparov's physical safety doesn't seem so melodramatic anymore.

Update, 16.4.05, 16:00: I talked to Garry and he's doing fine, just a lump and a sore head. His exact quip right after it happened: "I'm lucky that chess, not baseball, was one of the most popular sports in the Soviet Union." He called this his official welcome to Russian politics. He also said they didn't call the police or do anything to the guy who did it, since that was clearly what the attack's organizers were hoping for. (The attacker was shouting "Go ahead, beat me, call the police, I don't care!") Not only that, but the guy came up later and apologized! Apparently the best way to refute a sacrifice is to decline it.


Unfortunately, it is not such a huge surprize. It looks as a planned action by some of the countless Putin supporters. Maybe "Nashi", maybe KGB, all the same. And it confirms that Kasparov is in some way dangerous for the regime. They are trying to insult and humilate him. It is also a warning.
I hope that the case will be investigated. Otherwise the Russians would only trust even more in the violence as suitable method of solving problems. I also hope that chess organisations (ACP?) as well as individual players will express their opinions about attitude to violence.

Hot news on Kasparov in Russian can be followed at:
http://news.yandex.ru/yandsearch?stype=news&nl=0&text=%CA%E0%F1%EF%E0%F0%EE%E2 (According to latest messages "Nashi" have denied their involvement.)

I, personally, think that Kasparov was totally wrong in his position on Middle East and also in his way of dealing with FIDE. But now he is doing rather a good job for the democratic future of Russia. The the Putin system is so odd that 'Beast of Baku' may look almost as a lamb in the current political atmosphere.

Poor Garry, It must have hurt a hot being hit on the back of his head. I hope there won't be side effects in the long run. Perhaps it will be much better for him to return to chess once more or simply stay away from too much exposure to public campaigning or the media, which may be detrimental to his security.

'lot' in the 1st line

When compared to Russian politics, the chess world with all its turmoil now seems such a peaceful and civilized place...

According to this http://www.echo.msk.ru/news/main/243196.html#open

Kasparov's answer to the question "How do you feel after the assault?" was:
"It's good that a popular sport in USSR was chess, not baseball"

Well I'm glad to learn that he's alright. Unfortunately this is, I guess, bound to make him some kind of martyr of the "democratic" opposition. Anyway nobody should be scared off from political activity due to things like this - it doesn't matter that I don't sympathize with his 'mission', it's about democratic values.

From the Kommersant report chessbase is linking to:


"Kasparov said his objection is to get 40 percent in the next State Duma. To attain this purpose, Kasparov intends to attract political forces at large. “From the radically right to the radically left, there is a political morass. Our chance to win is to take in everyone, up to Glaziev,” Kasparov said pointing to Rogozin’s Rodina as the main competitor."

I have said this in private conversations, but I'll say it here. Kasparov has some questionable views on international affairs and he will be fortunate not to expose himself to serious harm... or even worse. My only surprise with this assault was that it happened so soon.

It is unfortunate, but seeing that strong chess players are being beaten up every few months (and sometimes killed), he cannot expect to receive any special treatment or protection. Not only does his chess omnipotence mean little in politics, it may make him more of a target.

Is Kasparov willing to put his life, limb and reputation on the line if a couple more of these assaults occurred? Perhaps. However,as someone said above, the WCC cycle and the problems with unification seem so much more peaceful now.

Let's hope with this political experience Kasparov can come back to the chess world with a renewed political vision to help set the chess world on the right course... if not as a player, as some type of participant in the process.

It is unfortunate.His political views on middle-east,war on Iraq(I never came accross a prominent person from this side of atlantic who supported Iraq war so blatantly.) are indeed pathetic and go against what he is preaching , but still he should not have been attacked.

To: Pavani

Kasparov's political views are universal and clear:
he is preaching DEMOCRACY (including Iraq and the
Middle East by the way. Kasparov is much smarter and can see much further than your typical prominent persons in pathetic Old Europe which used to kiss asses of murderers Saddam and Arafat. Though you should admit that quite few on your side of Atlantic now are now reluctantly agreeing that
Bush (and Kasparov) were right.

War of aggression and military occupation is the direct opposite of democracy. Support that and you have very small credibility when it comes to domestic issues as well. Recall how he supported Yeltsin and still can say "Yeltsin did anything wrong against Russian democracy". This was the man who dissolved and stormed the parliament at the cost of hundreds of lives. Kasparov is just a spokesman of the new bourgeoise. His talk about "democracy" is propagandistic hogwash.

..can still say that Yeltsin did *not* do anything wrong.

Daain Shabazz:
Dont hope any comeback to Chess world now. The struggle has started. I hope, he will succeed in the fight for democracy.

Yes Kasparov's views are universal. He believes in democracy for his country. Now, look at Ukraine, Iraq, Afganisthan. There is freedom. Please dont tell about the Old Europe typical prominent persons. They are pathetic.

Oldfun -- hilarious post!!

Is democracy more democratic when typed with Caps Lock?

And this is a clever joke: "...pathetic Old Europe which used to kiss asses of murderers Saddam and Arafat."...as opposed to "pathetic old and new America" which kissed the asses of murderers Pinochet, Stroessner, the Shah, Videla, Suharto and Saddam, and now kisses the ass of murderer Sharon?

And a great capper: "...quite few on your side of Atlantic now are now reluctantly agreeing that
Bush (and Kasparov) were right."

You're absolutely right -- quite few. And this is big news that Kasparov assisted Bush in preemptive war.

Democracy in Iraq ? Wait a few years .. a totally radical Islamic state is in the making. Imposing democracy in middle east is not easy. Too many forces (oil, fundamentalists, foreign interests etc etc )at work there. USA may well have created a potentially much bigger problem than they solved. Democracry needs a lot of ingradients (Education, Lack of too much religious influence in politics etc etc) which seems natural to a Westerner. Take a look at India and Pakistan. Both are developing nations (i.e. poor) Both inherited the British form of Govt. In India democracy thrives because religion has little influence and that also helps in Education. In Pakistan it is an on-again off-again thing with democracy thanks to too many coup de etats and strong religious influences in parts.
Russia of course is a good candidate for democracry ... but maybe the 70 yr rule (especially from the Stalin era) of communism coupled with extreme propaganda .. have changed the people's psyche. It will take time for democracy to thrive as in Wetsern Europe.

Or maybe this guy who hit Garry was just trying to make a point. That he should stop his political dabbling ... and put his head back to the chessboard and make us all happy.
I hope Garry will be ok and maybe the attack might just about make him change his mind and start playing again.

As an Ukrainian, who also actively supported the orange revolution, may I ask you: how can you compare Ukraine and Iraq? Well, "democracy everywhere" is a popular idea in the US as I know. But look: in Russia, for example, majority of people simply and honestly does not want to have responsibility for political things. They just want to have a hard leader like Putin. We can say that in Ukraine, 52% of those who voted, voted for the democracy. This is not much, so the fight has only began here. In any case, not the US standards but the standards of Europe, including of course the "old Europe" is our direction. The common American's worldview, basically, can not be fully tolerated by anyone (with exception of immigrants to the US?) because American's basic belief that "we are the best" (or "blessed", and all this stuff) destroys almost any possible ground for mutual understanding. (BTW, some time ago I was amazed, reading somewhere that majority of Americans never visited other countries. Was it a fake?)
A lot of innocent people were killed in Iraq, who were not worse people than Mig Greengard, Mikhail Golubev or anyone who writes here. And all reasons of why was so much necessary to do it is only a rubbish. You want to make the Earth free of terrorists, but for the moment you became the terrorists yourselves. Note that I do not think that what Russia is doing in Chechnya is better. Rather contrary. But Russia is just a semi-wild country, and not the leader of the developed world.

Mig, please send Garry our best, and I hope he is doing well.

Yes many innocent were killed. But tell me how many millions died during Saddam's rule? Which is better? The world is much better today without Saddam and Taliban. Soon, the day is coming for nations like China, Russia, Iran. The doors of freedom will be opened to millions of people there.

Personally for me, the US decision to begin a war in Iraq was a tragedy. Even worse, the most famous player, who represented chess world in mainstream media, supported it as actively as no one else.
Well. It is off-topic discussion, first of all. I understand that supporters of this war will never change their opinion. Otherwise too many people in the US may become mad. Possibly, our children or our grandchildren will understand each other better.

IMHO, chances that this incident was staged by GK himself are much higher than that it can be related to the cowardly Mr. Yakemenko and his followers. The fact that police was not called is quite difficult to explain.
Anyway, if Kasparov considers himself a serious politician, hiring a bodyguard should be his first priority.

Heh, I don't think having a chessplayer support the war was worse than the war itself...

Anyway, I just talked to Garry. Thanks to those who passed on kind wishes. He's doing fine. I updated the main item.


I'm not necessarily counting on a return (although like others, I feel it is probable), but what I am saying is that I hope whatever he decides to do, he will come back and play a more balanced role in the chess world... as a better negotiator and organizer. His history in the chess world showed his lack of political understanding, but this new political endeavor will give him quite a humbling experience!

Oh Clubfoot... you forgot US' support of the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. The country (again called the Congo) has never recovered.

Oldfun... the Iraqi invasion, which Kasparov endorsed, is one of the worst strategic blunders ever. The long-term damage it will do to the psyche of the Iraqi people is incalculable... the depleted uranium which will poison the country for one billion years, the explosions, the fires, the smell of rotting bodies, the blood-curdling screams, the pools of blood, the confusion and chaos, the daylight vigilante killings, the prison abuse and rapes, the patrolling soldiers from foreign countries, the huge tanks, the curfews, the night raids (with uncovered women)... these visions will scar and anger about 4-5 generations of Iraqis. In addition, this epic has destabilized the region, fractured Iraq and has precipitated a civil war which is simmering as we speak.

Both Bush and Kasparov were dead wrong about Iraq. Before the "democracy line," the pretext was said to be about WMDs. Somebody lied and that story was quietly dropped. What happened to the bin Laden story? It disappeared too. If this were a chess match, both Bush and Kasparov would certainly be far from 2800 ELO. "Bring it on," Bush pompously exclaimed. What kind of leader would make such a taunt?

Ryan... you say millions, but those are not accurate figures unless you counting the lives lost in the Iran-Iraq war (where the US aided both sides). Hussein was said to have killed 300,000-500,000 Iraqis (in 20+ years including 100,000 Kurds) until he was deposed by the US military. However, 100,000 Iraqis have been killed in two years since the US invasion. Do the math.

Kasparov will have to justify his political views on Iraq and he will run into serious problems. He overextended his position.

Wait and see, the Bin Laden story will reappear again. Do you have a solution to remove saddam from power and bring Democracy? In the west, we take granted of our freedom. But unfortunately, the Iraqis had to suffer and sacrifice to earn freedom. If you are for Democracy, then in Iraq's case there is no other alternative except making a war. The US is helping the Iraqis. Not like your Old Europe. Kasparov is right in supporting the war. Some of those who are saying No War are really hypocrites. They show themselves to the world that they dont care for the voiceless people.

Ryan, democracy was not the pretext for the illegal war. Once the false pretext was exposed democracy was invented as the main excuse. Many other states have no democracy. But some dont have oil or some (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan) are US allies (for the time being at least). This talk of democracy to millions sounds nice. It is just another lie to hide other lies. Wait for a few years and democracy or not, Iraq may well turn into a radical Islamic state. You just have to see though the right wing jingoistic drivel that comes from the Bush Administration.

Mig said:
"the guy came up later and apologized!"

I can only assume that when he came up later he had no chessboard in his hands.

What exactly *was* the apology.

Was it like John Belushi's apology in animal house after he smashed that guys guitar?

"Sorry... heh"

Was trying to see if he would still sign the board if he apologized??

Now that we know hes ok I guess we can joke about it. But hi hit him with a *whole* chessboard! What the ..?

Whatever else you can say about Garry, at least he's trying to be a good guy and do something important. Compare that to another famous chess player in the news lately.

Ryan, my friend..
I have no antagonism against you or USA.But on democracy and Iraq we are at odds.I don't think opinions change by mere facts or great analyses etc..as opinions on these matters are more beliefs or even superstitions . I remember these words at the onset of Iraq war..

"Democracy, the modern world's holy cow, is in crisis ... every kind of outrage is being committed in the name of democracy. It has become little more than a hollow word, a pretty shell, emptied of all content or meaning,"
"Democracy is the Free World's whore, willing to dress up, dress down, willing to satisfy a whole range of tastes, available to be used and abused at will."

I thought democracy was letting people vote for whoever they wanted to govern them.

I am sorry to say you didn't understand even one bit of the meaning those words intended to imply.

Tell me the last six months happened for real and not a dream:

1. Fischer jailed, then by some miracle ended up in Iceland.

2. Red Sox won the World Series.

3. Talk of Tiger Woods retiring and he wins the 2005 Masters.

4. Kasparov retires.

5. Jews played chess in the WCC in Libya.

6. Orange Revolution in the Ukraine and the Russians didn't send in the tanks.

7. Bush re-elected in spite of Michael Moore's propaganda just before the election (odd that that was even allowed).

8. Charles and Camilla married.

9. IBM sold its PC division.

10. Kasparov says, in Soviet Russia, the chessboard attacks you!

I am surprised that so many of chess funs on this board are communist (and tyrants) sympatizers.
Here is example: "Kasparov is just a spokesman of the new bourgeoise. His talk about "democracy" is propagandistic hogwash." It looks like the author wishes Russia get rid of capitalists and return to Communist and KGB rule.

Few others want return of Taleban, Saddam, Arafat Alliende, Milisevic, Chaushesku, Che Gevara and other Castro followers around Central and South America etc.

Also, you probably want Castro, Crazy Kim in Korea, mullahs in Tehran, Mugabe in Kharare, as well as Lukashenko in Minsk stay in power forever.

I always thought that chess players have generally a good memory, but few here obvously don't. Somehow many of you've forgot that stupid, brainwashed Americans usually succeed in what they do. Americans also prefer kick (not kiss) asses. Yes, they sometimes temporary supported not very nice guys who fought really bad guys. But, it worked in most cases - number of very bad guys and regimes are no more. It is also interesting, that these cowboys do usually help people after the bad guys are kicked out.

So, Kasparov has better memory and knowledge of not so distant history than most of you and therefore he is on the right side of the current events.

P.S. Also, I prefer a leader of the free world who fully supports only democracy in the Middle East than the previous one who really many times kissed in Camp David with the terrorist extraordinair, inventer of highjacking and suicide bombing Mr. Arafat. I praise mighty Allah who took Arafat out to meet his 72 virgins. Why not much earlier ?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 15, 2005 11:20 PM.

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