Greengard's ChessNinja.com

The Ides of March

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It's just been one of those weeks. You know, the ones where your body seems to be falling apart and you end up with electrodes all over your head and in your ears? Yeah, one of those. The tests will continue, it seems, but the worst of them are over for now with nothing conclusive having appeared yet. For now I'll just have to get used to having a nine-piece brass band in my left ear. I just wish they could learn to play in tune.

Been busy while having my head examined. Garry Kasparov is on the march, and not just in Russia, where he led a big rally in St. Petersburg on March 3. He had two business speeches in Sweden on the 14th and 15th, in Stockholm and Goteborg. Of course we couldn't miss the chance to make a cautionary tale out of the famous Argentine fiasco in the Najdorf at the Goteborg Interzonal in 1955. But Garry didn't want them to go away thinking the Goteborg Variation was synonymous with disaster and he added that Bobby Fischer himself revived it against Gligoric a few years later. And we tossed in a few IKEA jokes as well. "If I seem a little sleepy at the beginning it's because all the furniture at my hotel is made by IKEA. It took me hours last night to assemble my bed!"

The other news is on the book front. How Life Imitates Chess is finally hitting the shelves, first in Germany this month. Garry is there now for signings and other appearances. Strategie und die Kunst zu leben is the German title. You can see it here on Amazon. They actually used a photo of mine for the cover, although they replaced the wooden board he was actually standing on with a sharper black and white.

The UK version hits the shelves next month. I just received a copy from the publisher, Heinemann, and it looks great. It's really exciting to be holding the end product after spending so much of my life on it for the past two years. (To answer the usual question, my name is on the title page. By Garry Kasparov with Mig Greengard. Only one font size smaller, heh. I told them that otherwise they were missing out on many sales because now my mother will buy dozens of them.) It's a manuscript that has gone through many changes and travails. We'd already found a few small errors in the text, unfortunately, for which I have duly flogged myself. The US version, which is quite a different book, comes out in the fall. There will be nine editions this year and deals have been arranged for 18 so far, last I heard. Buy at least three of each! (I comment more on the development of the book in the comments here.)

Garry appeared in the NY Times last week and will have major items on him in The Times (UK) and TIME Magazine next week. Time, time, time. Forbes is also in on the act and jumping on the Kasparov bandwagon. It's almost all politics, although the book gets the occasional mention.


Aren't you tired of playing second fiddle to Kasparov all the time?

1) Kasparov is not a writer
2) Mig Greengard is just a ghost writer
3) Mig Greengard does not have confidence in his own talent
4) Nobody wants to buy books that are clearly commercial and careerist endeavors, in which the purported "author" did not coin a single word

If Kasparov wants to go on speaking tours line Bill Clinton, he can hardly expect to make as much money as the former president. That is obvious because he does not have as many fellatio anecdotes.


What are the differences between the UK and US versions? Also, is the US title The Attacker’s Advantage?

It sounds like it will be an interesting read as long as it isn’t just another pop psychology/business book.

Nice! The german title seems to be even more ambitious if i got it right. But I might buy the book just out of the curiosity.

I think the cover of the UK version is much better - the idea with the shadow is witty and relates to the title. By contrast the German version with the full body shot w/o jacket seems too intimate/brash - name and title are strangely placed if you know what I mean. Also I personally would avoid stepping on a chess board with my shoes and - OMG look at the h1 field !


Thanks for posting, if only to let all your well-wishers know that you're basically alright, even if your tinnitus is not sorted out yet. Here's to a full recovery.

Ok, forget about the h1 remark - time to organize glasses :-)

Awesome MIG... now you can retire and collect royalties for life!!!

I am thinking Mig will have an IPO for chessninja.com. It has become an online virtual community like myspace, facebook, etc.

Hi Mig,

My mother has tinnitus too - you have my utmost sympathy.

Congrats on the book deals - the cover with the king shadow looks really good. Is there a chapter list anywhere which would help give and idea of the content? Is it aimed more at individuals as a self-help book or at entrepreneurs as a 'how to run your business well' book?

Oh, and do you know what day the UK Times is running their piece - I don't want to miss it!

Hi Mig,
all I can do is wishing you full recovery pretty soon.


Glad you're still alive. I wasn't sure after awhile.

Hey, I told you not to get married.
Now, it's too late !

Ups!Sorry, I just read the text.
I thought photo was a joke.
Be all right soon man !
We need you!

Thanks for the wishes, all. The good part of their not having any clue is that I can just try to ignore it and get back to life instead of living it around doctor's appointments.

Kind of Chess Auditor to make a numbered list of the things he has no clue about. We can only assume that it was the first in a 50-post series. It's not easy to have so many self-contradictions in only four points. Someone got a lucky bag of stupid for St. Patrick's Day.

Garry has spent massive amounts of time and energy on this book and it is very much his intellectual product. Anyone who thinks for a moment that Kasparov is either bereft of ideas or that he would let the ideas of others go out under his name knows nothing of the man. That he doesn't write in English as a first language is hardly a revelation. That having a first draft from a writer, in my native language, instead of a translated version is superior was something we figured out long ago. Garry's English is quite good enough to participate actively in such a project and I have years of experience writing in his voice. I did a huge amount of research looking for examples and we spent literally hundreds of hours discussing the book, every page of it. This is why "ghost writer" is way off on all counts, at least as that term is usually understood.

As for playing fiddles, I'm not sure why I, or any writer, or anyone for that matter, would be annoyed at working with someone of Kasparov's intellectual firepower. It takes anyone with a brain of his own around 20 minutes with Garry to realize he's something quite unique in the brains and energy department. That his full-tilt, twenty-ideas-a-minute personality comes with the confidence and charisma of a lifelong winner and center of attention can be both inspiring and obnoxious, as the chess world found out. For me it's been a privilege and a tremendous learning experience on many fronts.

This book is the book Kasparov wanted to write. It's coming out a year later than planned expressly because he refused to put out the ghost-written, commercial version the first publisher expected. He doesn't need the money and he has ideas he wants to get out. Of course Garry will be happy if it sells well, but he was just as uncompromising with the book as he is well known to be in other areas. There's a self-help aspect to the book, but there's nothing pop about it. It's part memoir, part theory. The American edition is relatively streamlined -- much of the chess has been cut out as recommended by the American editor. Fair enough, the US isn't much of a chess country and she thought it would distract from the message and ideas in the book.

In searching for reviews of the book I came upon another by Gary, Modern Chess Series, Part 1: Revolution in the 70's (Modern Chess), which I hadn't been aware of; is anyone here familiar with it? Does it differ substantially from info & ideas presented in the "My Great Predecessors" series, or is it tied in with them? Or...? Any info appreciated; thanks.

Helping Kasparov present his ideas, Mig is called a confidence-less second-fiddle-player. Slamming Mig and Kasparov concerning a book he's probably never read what, then, is Chess Auditor?

In important matters, life is less like chess and more like building a house. Screw up a chess game? Set up the pieces and try again. Screw up the foundation of a house? You've got a 50-year problem. Kasparov's major errors come from treating life as chess.

To Kasparov, the Short match, the legitimacy of the classical title, the Intel and IBM sponsorships, were discrete "games". But to break off from FIDE, disparage his successor's title, spurn Intel, and defame IBM was to undermine the organizational and financial foundations of the house of chess.

Kasparov's political efforts display the same, dangerous perspective. This time "the game" is to build a left-right-center coalition to depose Putin. But what happens to the foundation of Russian society when Putin's gone and dozens of antagonistic parties are fighting over the succession? Not Garry's problem.

But Mig is one of the best things that ever happened to Kasparov. Filtered through the calming, organizing, more-or-less sensible influence of Mig, "twenty-ideas-a-minute Garry" probably has a great deal to offer.

best wishes of full recovery from egypt ,u make us love chess ..i hope u get better

So, Mig, are you saying that we should purchase the UK version if we want a decent read with lots of chess?

Does the US version compensate with more business stuff, or *just* less chess, with about the same amout of business stuff?

Howard Goldowsky

I just did a comparison between the US version (300+ pages) and the UK version (256 pages). If the word density is the same, then it seems like the UK version is the trimmed down one. So, Mig, do we need to read both versions to get all the scoop? What's the deal?

Howard Goldowsky

>That having a first draft from a writer, in my native language, instead of a translated version is superior was something we figured out long ago.<


I am not sure what this sentence means, can you explain? Kasparov and you rough draft/brain storm it together in English rather than have him write in Russian and somebody translates it or have him write it in English?

I suffer from tinnitus myself. It seems to come and go to an extent, but most days I can't sleep easily unless I've got a fan running on the nightstand.

Hi Mig - How can we get the UK edition? It's dissappointing the hear that the book was compromised on the basis of the perception of Americans. Thanks - Noyb

I sincerely wish you a prompt and full recovery, Miggio.

As for Kaspy's off-chess work, I'll just have to pass. His rating in political matters is 1825, but having met some real GM-strenght politicians has Kaspy convinced he is one of them.

I sincerely wish you a prompt and full recovery, Miggio.

As for Kaspy's off-chess work, I'll just have to pass. His rating in political matters is 1825, but having met some real GM-strenght politicians has Kaspy convinced he is one of them.

I sincerely wish you a prompt and full recovery, Miggio.

As for Kaspy's off-chess work, I'll just have to pass. His rating in political matters is 1825, but having met some real GM-strenght politicians has Kaspy convinced he is one of them.

I sincerely wish you a prompt and full recovery, Miggio.

As for Kaspy's off-chess work, I'll just have to pass. His rating in political matters is 1825, but having met some real GM-strenght politicians has Kaspy convinced he is one of them.

Hey, it's Göteborg, with an ö!

No thread of Melody Amber?

First round (blindfold):

Radjabov - Kramnik 0-1
Aronian - Vallejo Pons 1-0
Leko - Svidler 0-1
Moro - Anand 1-0
Van Wely - Ivanchuk 0-1
Gelfand - Carlsen 1/2 - 1/2

Kramnik played 1.e4! against Radjabov in the rapid game.


I had a hunch that you might be into science fiction. Either that or you like getting wired. =8-)

The rapid part:

Kramnik - Radjabov 1/2 - 1/2
Vallejo Pons - Aronian 0-1
Svidler - Leko 0-1
Anand - Moro 1/2 - 1/2
Ivanchuk - Van Wely 1-0
Carlsen - Gelfand 1/2 - 1/2

1.e4 Kramnik gained an advantage according to Fritz but in the end Radja had the sunny side of the torture.

Congratulations on the book, Mig. It's a real achievement!


In that photo it looks like you have joined the Borg!

I know two people with tinnitus. And from the blog replies today I am beginning to think this problem is more prevalent than I had realized.

One of the two people I know got tinnitus from jaw surgery (nerve got stretched I guess). The other got it from being too close to an accidental explosion.

I think Bill Shatner and/or Michael Jackson also have tinnitus? I sense there are opportunities for dark humor with a skit about a tinnitus support group gathering together, but I'll take that thought no further right now.

Hopefully time will heal.
- - - - - - - - - -

I noticed your frustrated remark about minor editing oversights you found too late in your new book. Maybe someday all books will be produced by economical POD technology, eliminating this common problem.

Until then, let me just say that most of us do not glare at such mistakes with the frosty look given that Edward Winter gives to same.

Can you post the chapter titles?

I highly appreciate the fact that when Kasparov's name is on something, you know it's quality. It goes for his CB videoes, books (although you can argue there's almost 'too much' quality in the "My great predecessors" series for us mere mortals) and the speeches I've watched. Not to mention the chess he played; it's certainly no coincidence that when someone criticize you for playing something, and you can defend by saying "Kasparov played this", they usually go "oooh". :-)

In high contrast to Karpov by the way, just look at "his" new books on Caro-Kann. I bet the reason Karpov's name is on them is for selling copies, not because he has written anything in them.

Anyway, congratulations, Mig, on getting (the first versions of) the book published, looking forward to reading it. And good luck getting the brass band out of your ear.

I have a deep respect for Kasparov and I do envy Mig's good relationship with the man. You know it's a priviledge I think most of us would like to have.

It is not easy task to achieve something in Russian politics. But you know, I recently had a lecture about great inventors, what is common with people who invent something great, distiguish themself from the ordinary. I was surprised to find out the the common factor was the enormous energy they had in every part of life, not just in science but also in sports and physical activities.

I think Kasparov is one of those guys. If would not be a chess player he would be succesfull in something else.

It's not of course guaranteed that Kasparov will be succesfull in politics, because politics is so much out of one person's control. But I think it's a good thing for the rest of us that he trying. Even though he wouldn't achieve all the goals at least he is putting some pressure on the administration to change it's old ways.

Excellent post, greg!

"In important matters, life is less like chess and more like building a house."

How life imitates building a house
by Greg Koster

Does any1 know about the russian version ? I cannot find it in the russian sites ?

The Russia edition comes out in the fall. It will be launched at the big Moscow book fair in October, I believe.

Maybe if Ludwig van Beethoven could have put all those electrodes on his head, he would have cured his buzzing in the ears. He would then have been content to continue composing in traditional style and we might have been deprived of some of the all-time masterpieces of music.
Not that I wish Mig anything of the sort for the sake of posterity, I prefer to see him recover soon and continue running this blog :-)

The front cover of the US edition resembles the book on Bobby - "Bobby fischer goes to war". Did anybody notice that? I wonder if this is intentional or a mere inspiration, the cover designer got out of the book on Bobby :)

Look at Kasparov's/Fischer's shadows.

Bobby fischer goes to war link - http://www.amazon.com/Bobby-Fischer-Goes-War-Extraordinary/dp/0060510242

The front cover of this book closely resembles the book on Bobby - "Bobby fischer goes to war". Just look at their shadows :)

I wonder if this is intentional or a mere inspiration drawn by the cover designer from that book :p

P.S: Sorry if this post appears twice, my previous comment didn't show up because of the amazon link to the book I included. So, I am posting again.

Geez, Kannan, you're right! It's the British version, BTW

The shadowed king is a good metaphor for the huge ego on both those guys.


What is the reason for the book first being released in germany? and what is the thought behind a different cover design?


Different publishers, different covers. I suppose one could ask the other to copy the cover, but they are entirely separate entities.

That's the old hardcover edition of the Fischer book. For the currently in print version there's no more shadow. And it's hardly a new idea, for better or for worse. I have at least a couple of chess books with that theme.



The American edition will likely continue with the king shadow theme, btw. Different photo and angle, etc, but they liked it.

Just finished reading the UK version of "How life imitates chess" - what a load of bollocks! Don`t waste your money.

And where, praytell, did you procure a copy? Or was it a psychic reading?

I got quite a pleasant surprise to find a copy of the book (in Bangalore, India) just a couple of days back.. really lucky since it is pretty hard to find chess books here (it was a bit torn and it was the only/last copy, so of course I had to buy it)... publisher: William Heinemann...

amazon.co.uk says the book is scheduled to be launched on April 5th in UK... interesting that the UK edition is already available outside UK

have just been able to go through about 40 pages yet... so too early to comment... somehow the size of the book and that a legendary sportsperson (along with a co-author) has written a book on his game but not really about the game (you wont find diagrams with training questions :) and thus made it accessible for general readership gives a feel like Lance Armstrongs books.

Mig, did you conside the title: "It is not about the chessboard"?? :)

So far it has been fun reading... though sometimes i get a bit confused as to whether to imagine Mig's voice or Gary's when I read some parts of it :)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 16, 2007 6:47 PM.

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