Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Lennon or Lenin

| Permalink | 16 comments

Garry Kasparov just left New York City after a brief visit. Meetings with his publisher, Kasparov Chess Foundation sponsors, and other things were finished off by an unusual documentary interview today. A UK company is producing a documentary for the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death and wanted Kasparov to talk about Lennon's influence on him and in the USSR in general. The documentary will be on UK television next year, I believe.

A few years ago Misha Safonov wrote an article suggesting the Beatles had more influence on the break-up of the USSR than Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov. Kasparov's comments were in a similar vein, about how Lennon and the Beatles were known as symbols of freedom to the young long before most people could hear their music in the USSR.

They probably came to Kasparov because of a questionnaire answer he gave during a world championship match against Karpov in the 80's. To the "favorite composer" question, Kasparov gave Lennon. (Karpov, according to Safonov, gave "Alexander Pakhmutov, Laureate of the Lenin Komsomol award".) I remember this questionnaire and I know it's included in at least one of the 1000 chess books 20 feet from where I'm sitting, but I can't find it. I thought it was one of the 1985 match books. (I believe both gave Lermontov as favorite writer.)



Lennon´s influence on Garry? Beatles Back in USSR?
As a big Beatles fan, I can´t wait for it! Guess what am I listening while typing? "In my life", the very best of Lennon!

What a stupid article.. "orthodox communist Karpov" vs "freethinking Kasparov". Yes, these clichés are very relevant. Yawn.

Lermontov -- good choice.

Hi Mig - You had me pouring over my 1000+ chess book collection (2 feet from my PC) and I couldn't find the reference to the questionnaire either (I know I read it in one of those too). Thanks for three lost hours of sleep... lol

That's the spirit! A few more hundred hours wasted between all the readers and someone will stumble onto it. It might be in one of those fluff trivia-type books. Should check The Complete Addict and things like that if it's not in the match books.

The reason I wanted to see it is because the guy running the show at the taping, who wasn't the director or producer and didn't seem to know much other than to ask the questions, seemed to think that both Kasparov and Karpov had given Lennon as their answer, and that this was relevant. Karpov saying it as a way of showing off he was priviledged and could flout the official negativity toward Lennon, Kasparov out of rebellion. Interesting, dubious, and useless conjecture, but the Safonov article has it differently so I wanted to check the questionnaire.

If you look at the Paul McCartney Moscow concert DVD -- http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0007QJ1ES/ref=pd_sxp_f/102-2923784-0250521?v=glance&s=dvd -- which really isn't a bad concert video (honest!), you will see interview clips with 6 or 8 actual dissidents from the Soviet era describing how important the Beatles were to them in those dark days. Such people might be more compelling for this filmmaker than an interview with Kasparov, who was 7 years old when the Beatles broke up, and is after all a chess player. But, hey, it's his movie.

He might talk to them, who knows? But I doubt it. It's probably more a case of BECAUSE he's a chessplayer, i.e. anyone famous. But Garry's comments were pretty interesting, although I think he disappointed the guy by not picking a favorite song. He did mention Yellow Submarine...

For musically dogmatic fans, I truly recommend Shostakovitch's "Hymn to the Re-forestation Campaign of the USSR"... I don't know if revisionists gave it a different English title... also, be damn careful about the director...

Mig, how many more times will you recycle that beating on the dead Soviet horse propaganda manure?
Garry Kasparov the freedom fighter theme is getting a bit stale.
In retrospect I can tell that the only influence the Beatles had on Kasparov and other "dissidents" in the USSR was Mc'Cartney's money-making skills.
Who's next to talk about chess, drugs and rock'n'roll in the USSR, Korchnoi?

Just reporting on the interview, thought it was interesting. It's not my documentary.

Next, Che Guevara's secret stock portfolio.

Just for the record, the laureate's name was AlexandrA PakhmutovA. Would've been really funny if Karpov had put down her hubby as his favourite poet.

Dear Yermo,

Please don't be upset. Media needs "the Story" with a capital "S". Of course they could write about sudden fall of oil prices at that time which put USSR on the verge of default or some other logical explanation of the fall of the great Empire, but who would buy such a story? Personally I would prefer a different (though equally inane) theory. How about "The Krematoriy" group and their song "The Garbage Wind" as a cause of the Soviet Union collapse?

Karpov and Korchnoi both listed Lermontov before their 74 match also.

I have noticed all along that Kaspy makes sure his responses are meant to please the western press. Essentially he tells them what they want to hear.

Strangely, he is doing the same thing as a politician. Thus he gets a good amount of publicity in western press as politician while Russians (including GMs) do not seem to care. He shouldn't forget who will be voting!


Kasparov says that his main goal is to bring freedom and democracy in Russia by thowing out Putin. This is a nobler goal. He is promising all good things. But he has a great problem not Putin but himself. How can he make people trust him? Does he have any record of public service? How can he convince people that he won't become another tyrant? My russian friends say, he will not have a slight chance to win the election, since the russians will never vote for a non-native russian as their Prez.

Alexandra Pakhmutova is a woman and Karpov definitely could not make such a stupid mistake, please, try to be precise.

In fact, Karpov answered the questionnaire claiming to have been the Fifth Beatle, while Kasparov wrote down Fifth Column. I believe their subsequent careers bear out those assertions.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 21, 2005 8:39 PM.

    Computer Blunder was the previous entry in this blog.

    Caruana Takes Segovia is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.