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Indian Givers

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At least 50% of the chess news that comes in via news searches at Google and other services originates from India. Their mainstream media cover junior events, local clubs, and tournaments local, national, and international. Little of it is of particular interest to an international audience, but every once in a while something catches your eye. The last paragraph of this cutesy report on U-10's playing at a tournament in New Delhi, for example. Anand is invoked, as always, but then it finishes with this:

So what is their dream wish? They are unanimous in their answers and it has a Russian flavour to it. “We want to spend a day with Gary Kasparov and learn the finer points of the game from him,” they say in unison.

Disloyal rugrats! Maybe they saw Anand's loss to Kamsky? Joking aside, it's a little scary to think how long Kasparov has held this position in the imagination. In his post-retirement interview with New In Chess, Kasparov spoke about being touched when Anand came up to him after Linares to talk about how he and his clubmates had pored over his famous 1982 Olympiad game against Korchnoi. Anand was 13 at the time, but thanks to him they start much earlier at home these days. I had that interview in mind because I just received a copy of NIC editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam's latest collection of interviews, The Day Kasparov Quit. Great stuff.


there is an aura about GK that is unique, a royal aura, whether you love him, hate him or anything in between. It stems mostly from his chess achievements, amazing games like the one Anand pored over, mind blowing ideas in old positions, having played virtually every decent opening (including the Evan's Gambit!) at the highest level, and his mastery of the all three phases of the game. Those who say he's just an "openings" man are clueless. You can argue about who's the best in the world, but how many can lay claim to being the very best in the opening, middle game, AND the end game? He's master of strategy, tactics, calculating ability, everything. There never was a more complete player.
But it stems also partly from his association with past legends, because he's just old enough to have played guys like Tal, Gligoric, Geller, and hobnobbed with Botvinnik, true legends. There is a romance about that era, of which Kasparov is a part somehow. And it also stems from his personality and charisma, which is evident even from old footage, stills etc.

It is simple really: Anand is a great chess player (and a seemingly very nice guy), but Kasparov is the greatest player ever.

Even when I look at beautiful twin sisters, I still pick the "hot" one. We are just inclined to always take the best.

Last week, at a tournament for kids aged 10 - 12, I asked "who is the world champion?"

I thought I might get a couple of different answers, but was surprised to find the kids (at least the few who answered) unanimous: Bobby Fischer!

That "Searching for" damn movie is all most Americans know. Not that it wasn't a good film.

I hate to say this, but considering the "star" quality that was cast, it wasn't a very good film. In my mind, it had more to do with the script than the acting and directing. Production and editing wasn't bad but neither was it that good. Probably low budget and a "paycheck film" for the actors.

About 15-20 years at a scholastic event I saw a young girl outside the playing hall. She was crying and I thought maybe I could raise her spirits, "Bobby Fischer lost thousands of games before he got good". She looked at me in surprise. She did not know who Bobby Fischer was. Of course that was before THE MOVIE. Also I guess my statement is probably off, it was probably "hundreds of games" that Bobby lost including one to my friend Viktors Pupols in a US Jr.

John, assuming you are from the US as am I, no wonder we suck at chess with such erudition.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 21, 2006 6:08 AM.

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