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Garry & Magnus

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The news that 13th world champion Garry Kasparov has been training Magnus Carlsen broke today. This has been going on in secret for six months, including a two-week session in Croatia where Garry always takes his summer holidays. ChessBase has the most extensive report, with a few pics of them working in Croatia and a translation of the Norwegian article that released the story today. The ICC blog also has the news, though it shouldn't be only in the future tense as they've been working together for a while now.

Since it was translated into Norwegian and then back into English there, which resulted in a few tweaks, here's Garry's original statement:

At just 18 years of age, Magnus Carlsen is already close to the peak of the chess world. In six months of working with Magnus I have seen in him many of the qualities of the great champions. With so many victories coming relatively easily to his immense talent and fighting spirit, the final crucial ingredient of relentless work will guarantee his place at the summit.

Garry's appreciation for Carlsen's attitude was as much a factor in this as his "talent," which, despite its inevitable use and overuse, is a bit too abstract a term for Kasparov's view of what makes up a great chessplayer. From Carlsen's earliest days on the world stage Garry was impressed with the way he fought at the board and how he was, seemingly simply enough, "a winner." That is, he really wanted to win not just games, but events, instead of thinking about rating points or being intimidated by his opponents and his surroundings.

There will be much more about this coming out in the coming days, and then of course more when Garry goes to Oslo on the 15th. If you have some questions for him on the topic, feel free to post them below.

More importantly, Garry and fam came to Brooklyn on Saturday and he was a big hit at the Brooklyn Public Library. Here's a shot of him in front of the building giving the TV crew some footage of him walking up to the camera.

After that he was just another dad pushing a stroller in Park Slope, the kid capital of the US, where we live. Stroller traffic is worse than car traffic in our neighborhood.

I'll toss in here that a December Paris series similar to the Valencia format has been added to the Kasparov-Karpov 25th anniversary tour. Not sure if it's all signed yet, will confirm. Still hoping for one more in Moscow as well, probably in 2010. [Paris not signed yet, says Garry. But sounds pretty solid.]


Fascinating news. Out of curiosity, what sort of time investment has Kasparov put in? Is it indicative of (or the cause of) any slowing down in his political ambitions?

Will Kasparov be visiting any chess clubs during his stay in Oslo?

Carlsen will be World Champ as soon as the crazy world of FIDE politics gives him a chance. I wonder how Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, and Topalov feel about this.

@Mig: As you encouraged questions to Kasparov, I have some tricky or provocative ones ,:) :
It seems that Carlsen started working with Kasparov roughly the same time when Karjakin started working with Dokhoian (Kasparov's former coach). And both have similar ambitions, but there can be only one ... world champion and/or #1 on the rating list.
When Kasparov said "yes" to Carlsen's request, was he aware of Dokhoian's new student (and/or the other way around)?
How does Kasparov feel about entering into competition (sort of) with both Dokhoian and the Russian federation?
I do not necessarily expect answers on this ... .

Related is another excerpt from the interview with Karjakin that I mentioned before, not yet really newsworthy as of yesterday evening. Karjakin was asked if working with Dokhoian gives him access to Garry's secret archives. His answer was +- yes, adding that it wouldn't be too helpful because opening theory evolved a lot since Kasparov quit.

Looks like Gary's put on a few pounds!

This is really a crap pic of kasparov christ the shoes orrible baggy trousers ill fitting unmatching jacket - pretty much chessplayer attire I guess. Per chessbase he has 30 staff but maybe nobody advising him on dress sense? The typical heavy handed mig stroller reference this means kasparov has a kid?

"Carlsen will be World Champ as soon as the crazy world of FIDE politics gives him a chance."

The crazy world of FIDE politics is what caused Carlsen to lose to Aronian and Kamsky in candidates matches.

Carlsen is coming from a C-nation in chess. Up till now, he has been self made. Apart from a few supporting souls, the national chess organization has offered him next to zero support.

Buying assistance from Kasparov will equalize the competing terms he faces with players coming from bigger and prouder chess nations.

I applaud the strategy of Carlsen: He is buying upwards, not downwards. He is investing serious money in a world class trainer like Kasparov, rather than a budget GM second. –The same determine attitude which he demonstrates on the board!

lol Andy exactly my thoughts when I first saw the pic :)

It's fantastic to see Garry training Magnus. The years of experience and wisdom that Garry has to offer is invaluable. I think Carlsen can certainly reach 2800 in the ratings if this continues and can be world champion in the next three or four years. The chess world misses Garry so much, so with these matches with Karpov coming up and him training Carlsen, he's slowly coming back!

Chessvibes just put up a telephone interview with Carlsen on the 'breaking news'. Two key excerpts:
- According to Carlsen, Kasparov took the initiative for their cooperation
- Yes, Garry is "happy to share his analysis stored in his famous laptop" with Carlsen.

BTW, good that Peter Doggers isn't Kramnik, else he would be strongly criticized for the understatement at the start of the conversation:
"First, congratulations with getting yourself a coach that has been quite a decent chess player himself."

Well... I'm about as tall as Kramnik. That's about it. Btw that's @ http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/magnus-carlsen-my-job-is-to-improve-my-chess/

No doubt Kasparov has his own apprenticeship under Botvinnik in mind; he always seemed strongly influenced by his mentor.

Mig, will Garry also be involved in building Magnus as the "strongest brand in international chess"?

I'll toss in here that a December Paris series similar to the Valencia format has been added to the Kasparov-Karpov 25th anniversary tour. Not sure if it's all signed yet, will confirm. Still hoping for one more in Moscow as well, probably in early 2010.

I'll do some audio Q&A with Garry on the Carlsen thing today if we get some time after our meetings in Manhattan. Otherwise on the train back from DC tomorrow. Makes for good atmospherics.

I know that, among other things, there is a difference in playing strength ,:) . But, in case you didn't get the irony behind my comment: I was referring to discussions here in the "Karjakin in Moscow" thread. Acirce quoted Kramnik saying
"The idea that Kasparov is so exceptional is a myth that has been created by the journalists."
This quote was subsequently 'simplified' and put out of context by various posters.

i dont get it, why is this fascinating news?

"Acirce quoted Kramnik saying "The idea that Kasparov is so exceptional is a myth that has been created by the journalists." This quote was subsequently 'simplified' and put out of context by various posters."

Most people hopefully see the difference between what Kramnik said and saying that Kasparov has been "quite a decent chess player" :)

--Didn't MG turn down GKK a few years ago? What changed between then and now?

--Why was the "secret" revealed at this particular moment?

"If you have some questions for him on the topic, feel free to post them below"

A couple of suggestions:

1. Of all the top players you have played over the years, who resembles Carlsen most wrt style?

2. What are the most fun/difficult things with being a trainer?

Questions for GK:

Without going into specifics: Do you study middlegames and endgames with Carlsen? Do you give him positions a la Dvoretsky?

In hindsight I guess Kasparov can't have been too pleased when Kramnik mentioned after Dortmund that Carlsen didn't really seem to know what he should be doing strategically in games - and needed to work with a good trainer! :)

"Kramnik mentioned after Dortmund that Carlsen didn't really seem to know what he should be doing strategically in games"

Exactly true of Nakamura. Except he needs the Yin to his Yang, a Karpov to teach him real chess (if his predispositions haven't set, not too late) rather than further encourage 1-min style.

Anand and Carlsen are the only top 8 players I like, so I am behind this. What's next? Is Judit Polgar going to mentor Yifan Hou so Hou can supplant Polgar as the #1 woman in the world someday? ;)

Question(s) for Garry:

For training to succeed, is it necessary for trainer and trainee to get along well? Do the personalities have to click? What's the relationship like between you and Magnus?

Questions for Garry Kimovich:

1. What do you think Sergey Karjakin must do to become World Champion?
2. Who's your money on in Anand v Topalov, should the match take place?

1. Hope Carlsen retires. ;)
2. Anand.

@ Onischuk Fan and others who support Anand in the match against Topalov is it because you like Anand better or is it because you think Anand is a better player?

I look at the head to head classical statistics since 2005 and it is 5-4 in favour of Topalov.

Garry says nothing signed for the Paris match with Karpov yet and was surprised they released the info. Sounds pretty solid, but even the dates haven't been confirmed 100% yet.

Will hit him with your questions and a few others for an audio interview on the train to or from DC tomorrow. Six hours to kill on the Acela...

1. Besides Carlsen and Karjakin, which other young player(s) do you think are future champions?
2. If Carlsen were to play WC match, who would you think fit best as Carlsen's second?

Do you think Magnus is really seeking deeper understanding of the game or just better results?

How does it feels being able to share your chess treasures with the young padawan?

Did anyone (besides Mig ) tried to buy/trade/steal your database before?


Truth is Carlsen will almost certainly qualify for the world championship candidates by rating so Kasparov is betting heavily Carlsen will face the winner of Topalov vs Anand.

Problem is the first and second rounds of the candidates consist of matches of only four games. The final only six games. Very short matches, one mistake and there is no time to recover. This format of the candidates is definitely better than the two game matches used at the World Cup but still far from ideal. Fide should have added two more days to the schedule and made all matches with six games, it would definitely reduce the role of chance in such an important tournament at very little additional cost.

What are Garry's goals for Magnus in the next six to 12 months?

Would Garry second Carlsen in a WC match?

greg koster:
Apparently, Garry talked with Magnus about training and access to his database a couple years ago, and Carlsen turned him down because he wasn't ready for the rigorous training schedule yet. Now that he's graduated from high school, he's ready to devote more time to chess. Also, he's racked up some biggish bucks playing and has become perhaps the biggest attraction on the chess circuit with potential for sponsorship, so the costs of training can be more easily stomached than a few years ago.

In a nutshell, without knowing Kramnik said once again that Kasparov isn't sooooooo exceptional!? ,:) [hope I put enough o's to avoid misunderstandings].

But, in fairness to both Kasparov and Carlsen, it may take some time before the younger one really benefits from their collaboration (in terms of results). The same may be the case for Karjakin + Dokhoian, given Karjakin's results in the GP tournaments.

OK, in that case I have another question. Get him to refuse those dates, as they interfere with the London super-tournament. So much for the good old London-Paris rivalry, but I wouldn't mind to visit both cities in December!

Question for Gary: There was a huge amount of rivalry among players in the heyday of the 50s through the 70s, when there was a very high number of players that could be called "outstanding", such as the likes of Fischer, Tal, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Bronstein, Keres, Korchnoi all competing with each other. This era was followed by Karpov and yourself dominating. Do you feel that sheer chess playing strength has declined gradually since the heyday of the 50s, 60s and 70s, with players like yourself and Karpov having now retired, and players like Anand being the exception to the rule?

1. Do you still feel the urge to have some connection to chess, is this a factor-are your other activities giving you enough satisfaction?
2. How do you see the sharing of your famous prep? Do you feel that it is a final separation from the idea of ever playing again? Or do you see it more positively, that all your effort will not be wasted as the knowledge willl be passed on?

But you don't care about (visiting) the third event, the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk!? ,:)

The real question is: how good is Kasparov the trainer?

Will Kasparov bring to the training table the same knowledge, skill and determination that made him into the best chess player ever?

Or will Kasparov, the inept politician, show up?

My prediction is that Kaspy's ego will not allow him to be a good - or even decent - trainer. Not to mention that there is not much, really, that Kasparov can show Carlsen at this point. The only thing that Kasparov had, what made him truly unique among other equally (or even more) talented players like Capablanca, Karpov, Tal, Spassky, etc., is his work ethic and fierce determination. And that's something that can't be easily "transferred". The rest - and more - can be bought for about fifty bucks (Rybka).

Time will tell if your predictions are correct or not Irv.
Another great World Champion , Botvinnik , trained young talents ( Garry included ) with success..So ..Give Kasparov a chance.. ;-)

In the interview in www.chessvibes.com Magnus Carlsen confirmes that Kasparov allready has given him valuable training in opening theory.

Further, he states:
"Kasparov has an extreme capacity for work, extreme determination to win and extreme perfectionism," said Carlsen. "Now I hope to be get more of these properties for myself. The goal is to become number one in the world."

"My prediction is that Kaspy's ego will not allow him to be a good - or even decent - trainer"

My prediction is that your prediction isn't good - or even decent.

Actually Kasparov's ego will probably help him become a great trainer for Carlsen, because he will feel the possibility Carlsen becoming World Champion as a continuation of his reign. He didn't just pick some random kid, he picked the one he felt could be the dominant best. If Magnus can work with Kasparov before crucial matches, that can be the little extra you need for victory.

Hmm, just noticed that the latest Android update seems to have killed my ability to edit and add new items in Movable Type, the blog software. Grrr. Anyway, on the train to DC with Garry. Going to record some A/V on Carlsen on the way back. Will get in your questions and comments. The ego one is actually interesting because on one hand Carlsen may surpass him and on the other he may see himself as part of that, as someone mentioned above.

Won't get much into specific prep, of course. Though it's funny to hear about him trying to talk Magnus out of some openings to focus on "serious" stuff.

Garry also pointed out that there is a side benefit to this collaboration for him since he needed to get into shape for his match with Karpov!

Are there any prior examples of exceptionally good players becoming good trainers? Maybe Botvinnik?

Who were Kasparov's trainers and seconds? Shakarov, Nikitin, Adorjan, Dohoyan... In Armenia we have Arshak Petrossian who also hasn't been an exceptionally strong GM.

Imo no one doubts whether Kasparov will work hard or not-he will. But being a champion and being a trainer to a champion are different things, so it it not at all obvious that this thing will last long or will be successful.

I'd be intrigued to hear whether Garry thinks it will be easy to adapt to the vicarious life of a trainer. For a player renowned as perhaps better than anyone else at influencing the course of a game simply by being present in person, how will the long-distance, and attenuated, thrills of training compare? Perhaps his time in politics has helped him appreciate "action at a distance", or this is simply just the "most" chess he can do with his current schedule (and is fine with that), or maybe mentoring is something that comes naturally to him.

As i say, though, I would love to hear what the most dominating (and domineering) chess player ever has to see about investing himself in the game once more, but "through" someone else.

Much of this stems from Garry's memories of his time with Botvinnik. It's not like a student-teacher relationship, but one of mentoring, inspiring, and the practices that might help a super-talent like Carlsen get the max from that talent. When Garry talks about Botvinnik he doesn't talk about chess knowledge so much as discipline and attitude. So while they may do work on theory, etc. I imagine the value of that to Carlsen is secondary to seeing how to work, "programming himself" in Botvinnik terms.

"Won't get much into specific prep, of course. Though it's funny to hear about him trying to talk Magnus out of some openings to focus on "serious" stuff."

Hmm.. in the final round at M-Tel, was playing Svesh vs Shirov -- according to some pre-game plan, the two of them had agreed upon??

Heh.. "serious" stuff, no more Dragon?? :(

Am I the only one who thinks Garry would write a book one day titled my great successor (not about Kramnik) ?

Questions for Garry:

1. What does he regard as Carlsen's greatest strength?

2. In what ways has working with Carlsen changed Garry's view of him as a player?

JeanMichael wrote:

"Actually Kasparov's ego will probably help him become a great trainer for Carlsen, because he will feel the possibility Carlsen becoming World Champion as a continuation of his reign."

My fear that Kaspy's ego might become a problem has more to do with the fact that strong-willed, successful people like Kasparov very seldom adapt to the idea that others can have their own methods.

Part of success in chess comes from having a very strong belief on your own skill and knowledge. kasparov has plenty of everything needed to excel at chess. that's why he is clearly the best ever. But that might predispose him to expect Carlsen to "see" things the "Kasparov way" - a very tough challenge!

The experiment is interesting, though: what happens when you pair the greatest player ever with the most talented young player of the following generation? Will the result be less than the sum of its parts or will we see a hyper-player on a straight, accelerated path to the top?

Only time will tell. I'll stick to my prediction that it won't produce much of a result. No a catastrophic failure, but not much to show for it, either.

It seems to me that Kasparov has a desperate need to feel relevant, to feel important, to be in the public eye.

As the world's best chess player, he certainly had all that - at least within the circle that mattered to him.

Kasparov then failed to win comparable respect within the field of politics. So now he's working with Carlsen in order to (in his own mind, though I'm sure he won't be shy about publicizing it) be able to take credit for Carlsen's eventual ascent to the world chess title.

Carlsen and his dad seem very stable, grounded people - they have nothing to lose from the interaction. They do say the training is "expensive" - I would have advised them to strike a harder bargain, since Kasparov really had no alternative at all.

"I imagine the value of that to Carlsen is secondary to seeing how to work, "programming himself" in Botvinnik terms."

Ask Gary to write a book on that. :)

zarg, Kasparov scored 3/4 playing the Dragon against Anand in their WC match (although he also said he wouldn't rely on the Dragon too much).

hcl, Carlsen needs Karpov to teach him "real chess"?! Ugh. When Dvoretsky tried to teach Josh Waitzkin to play like Karpov, Josh got so bored he quit. An anaconda may be effective, but lions have more fun.

Anand was so demoralized by then that Kasparov could have scored 3 out of 4 with 1...b6. Anand had given up.

When exactly did Anand give up? The score was still equal when Kasparov played the first Dragon, going +1. Then he played another Dragon in his next Black game, won and went +2. I would understand it if Anand "gave up" a little at that time, but hardly earlier.

Btw, Kasparov had the fascinating but...perhaps slightly doubtful...theory that it was actually Anand's win in game 9 (the first decisive game of the match) that "killed" him, because it made him lose respect for Kasparov and assume that the match was more or less over.

Arguably not the most convincing of hypotheses :)

Games 13, 14, and 15. In game 15, with white, and trailing in the match and time running out, he wimped out with a 16-move draw. Pathetic. Just like Kasparov giving up against Kramnik.

Where did Garry express that theory, acirce? Don't remember that one myself, but you I trust. (But verify, as Reagan said!)

Just did a nice little interview on the train about Magnus with some karpov tossed in. Did it on video using my G1 so I hope the audio is clear enough. Will send you your chunk, Peter, unless you want to share the longer version with everybody else.

One item we discussed after I stopped recording, unfortunately, was the old bit about Botvinnik not appreciating the Karpov's talent. Garry thinks it was mostly a style thing, that Botvinnik also liked Shirov much more than Kramnik. Meanwhile, he (Garry) having been 'educated' so much by Karpov in that style immediately recognized Kramnik's potential. Talked a little in the vid about where Carlsen is in that line. Good stuff.

I guess I could go full indymedia and upload raw to youtube now. But probably enhancing the audio and filtering out the train noise would be nice.

Carlsen is working pretty hard.
But I think the encounter with the Soviet School attitude will be a shock to him. As for all westerners who have only a weak idea about what WORK means. How many have found Dvoretsky far too heavy to go on with? Most.
So, please GK, start out easy with the kid...
Important Quest. to GK:
1. Will this be on the agenda: How to jazz up his openings with White, in order to assure regularly an initiative? All too often he gets nothing out of his White openings. Pity to see.
2. Do you think Carlsen- only 18 - is mentally ready to take on the crazy hard work needed?

I understand Gary Kasparov did not offer his services to Peter Leko. He probably had his reasons.

Great. Very much looking forward to hearing Kaspy's views on all of this.

I think Kasparov gave that interpretation of the 1995 match in an interview with new in chess after the match.

Just found this on a Kasparov Master Class with talented young American players - Ray Robson and Sam Shankland were the most well-known names [or rather: the ones I heard of on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean ,:)]

Two Kasparov quips:
"Sam asks, “do you think the Dragon is better than its reputation?”
“Look many strong players are playing it again, but I don’t think it’s an opening I would rely on.”
As to why Radjabov has revived the Kings Indian Defense, he remarks, “Radjabov must play complicated unbalanced positions, because his level of understanding of simple positions is not sufficient to top level tournaments.”
[the last one may have to be taken with a few grains of salt, I think it is safe to say that Kasparov and Radjabov - his self-proclaimed successor from Baku - aren't exactly friends of each other]

Mig: as guido said, a big New In Chess interview right after the match (1995/7). He gave Dvoretsky credit for giving Anand this idea! Pardon me for posting two relatively lengthy quotes, but I thought it was very interesting to see his reasoning:

"- You think Dvoretsky was on his team?

No, Dvoretsky was not. Of course, Dvoretsky was there, and the biggest damage to Anand's psychology was done by Dvoretsky. And I am very grateful to him for that. That was one of the reasons why Anand lost respect for me after Game 9. That was Dvoretsky's great contribution. The man, as everybody knows, is obsessed with Kasparov and that obsession dates back to 1975, when Dvoretsky was selecting his pupils and I was not very keen to go with him. He took Dolmatov and Yusupov and he promised to everybody to show what a real coach could do. That they would always beat Kasparov. Well, that didn't happen. The man is paranoid about Kasparov. You can ask anybody, my friends, my enemies and they will tell you that Dvoretsky is something special. And I think that this obsession and this poisoning didn't help Anand.

- In what way?

I think Dvoretsky's influence was strong enough just to help them to lose respect. Because, what was happening in the second half of the match, in this crucial part of the match, was purely a loss of all respect. In Games 10, 11, he was not careful. He thought, 'It's over. Kasparov can't play anymore.'"

(The beginning of Kasparov's reply here seems a bit cryptical but he has just before said that Anand's team was "even bigger that was shown here")


"I lost this game [Game 9] and now (slows down) in retrospect that was the best thing I could have done to win this match. Because this game finished the match. OK, I didn't do it on purpose. I was very sad, very upset, but when we look at the situation.. If it was time for a psychological trick that was the best one I could ever have imagined.

- Your wake-up call?

No, no, forget about me. I was ready to play. The Dragon was ready for Game 11, and I knew it would be a crushing novelty. Game 9 killed Anand. Because I can tell you what happened after Game 9. I don't know it for fact, but I believe that was what happened. He came back, he was very happy, overwhelmingly happy. He had good reasons to be happy. And he had the coaches around. I mean, I believe that Artur (Yusupov) is quiet, that Ubilava is also quiet. But somebody like Patrick Wolff, and I don't know whether Dvoretsky was there or not, but I think he was, but I mean, they were saying, 'Fine Vishy, Kasparov is gone. He cannot play. He's impotent with white and with black you've just thrown him out of the Scheveningen. Now we're going to kill him. It's over Vishy, in two weeks you will be the world champion.' That's what I believe they said. Game 9 made Anand lose his respect for me. Just an obstacle for him to be removed to get the crown."

Interesting, Thomas, on all counts. I also liked:

"Regarding 4. Ng5 in the Two Knight’s Defense (a.k.a. The Fried Liver Attack), Kasparov approves, although he says it’s still not properly analyzed, probably. Daniel is dubious. “This is actually okay for Black, according to Informant,” he proclaims.

“Well, what about common sense?” comes the immediate retort."


"“What would you recommend instead of the Benoni?” asks Andrew.

“Anything!” Kasparov says."

(I do like to hear the great players say what they really think about an opening, beyond the old cliches about them all being playable if you feel comfortable with them and blahblah.)

Also on Radjabov. Harsh but there is probably some truth there? You can say many things about Kasparov's attitude towards various people but he is usually honest when it comes to the purely chessical matters (maybe less so regarding off-board politics and such) -- I don't think his pride allows him otherwise, and rightly so. But as if to compensate for this, he has praised Radjabov to the sky when it comes to exactly his KID treatment, Radja having "single-handedly revived the defence I abandoned in 1997 [...] Long ago Korchnoi said that the only person who can kick Kasparov out of his Najdorf can take his title. In fact I instead lost to the man who kicked me out of the King's Indian! Now I see I was probably overestimating the dangers. Every metal has melting point and my King's Indian armour was feeling overheated" (New In Chess 2007/2).

Truly interesting stuff , thx acirce.

Re: Kasparov and Dvoretsky - obviously this opinion on the part of Kasparov has changed, as Dvoretsky has checked analysis for the MGP series, and Kasparov is said to be checking problems for the forthcoming Dvoretsky / Pervakov book in one of the USCF articles about training American juniors.

Found this article written by Magnus Carlsen's father indicating as far back as June 2008 that Magnus was already working with Garry Kasparov.


noyb, "June 2008...already working with Garry Kasparov" is a pretty shaky interpretation of Henrik's comments. In his post from Feb. 2007 (which someone quotes in the comments section of the June "Aerosvit" post you linke to, Henrik discusses Magnus' recent great results and acknowledges the help he got from several sources, including Garry:

"Magnus has also been fortunate enough to spend two training session with Garry Kasparov himself, and Garry and his team have been very supportive of Magnus. These sessions were of unique importance not only because of the extremely high quality Garry brings to the analysis board but also as an eye opener of the long, difficult and laborious road leading to the top. Despite being a GM, Magnus really felt like a pupil and novice in the analysis. (It was the first time he had felt like this for many years!) I’m sure these experiences has contributed considerably to his development over the last 2 years."

Thanks for posting that NIC clip. I remembered it reading it, and also how it's about the opposite of what Anand said he was feeling after his win. "Like I have a tiger by the tail!" was his response after being asked, though I suppose that could be interpreted as jovial. Still, why not be happy at that point?

Amusing about a few memes traveling through the threads lately. One was about Kramnik saying it was important not to have much respect for Kasparov. The other now is that Anand lost because he didn't have enough respect for Kasparov! I don't doubt that Dvoretsky, who made comments similar to those of Kramnik a decade earlier, was encouraging Anand not to fear Kasparov, that he was only human and beatable, etc. Who knows, that might have gotten a little carried away. But of course that's spinning quite a long tale from what is just conjecture to begin with.

@noyb: He was referring to a pair of sessions Carlsen had with Garry quite a long time ago, 2006 I think. Not much to do with the current collaboration. Uff Da painted the picture pretty well from Carlsen's side, I believe. He didn't have the time, and possibly not the funding, to dedicate back then. And perhaps they also wanted to see how far he'd get without it.

Does this chess activity indicate that Kasparov's political "career" is over?

Will Gary attempt to steal Carlson's glory, or bask in his sunlight (as he takes his money) and say things like, "I created him, I made him a champion," which is of course false?

Is Gary just a blitz chess training opponent for a bored Carlson? Could Gary even hold his own against the current class of the field?

Gary's chess was slipping before he retired, it must be much worse now. Also Gary is from the pre-computer days, are his methods and training even relevant to today's new chess? Why bother with Gary when you've got Rybka and Fritz, both stronger opponents? Maybe Carlson is plateauing and getting desperate for ways to improve further?

¨Why bother with Gary when you've got Rybka and Fritz, both stronger opponents? ¨

Remember Rybka don´t understand the game , just calculates , specially if Magnus wants to understand Garry´s thought process in developing openings or stuff like that.
Maybe i am wrong but Magnus seems to have the type of intelligence that sometimes sees results without completely visualizing the process.If that is the case this may be a quest for the ¨thruth in chess¨ , as Kramnik calls it.
This is also a luxury that almost every chess player would like to afford and deserve , awesome experience.

Having said that , working with Garry made miracles in less talented players like Vlady so i don´t see what´s the point of questioning Carlsen.

"Does this chess activity indicate that Kasparov's political "career" is over?"

Why should some training sessions with Carlsen mean that his political career is over? Writing chess books must be ten times more time consuming.

"Will Gary attempt to steal Carlson's glory, or bask in his sunlight (as he takes his money) and say things like, "I created him, I made him a champion," which is of course false?"

His name is Carlsen, and the rest is wrong as well :)

"Is Gary just a blitz chess training opponent for a bored Carlson?"

Yes, impossible that it is the question of something else than blitz for the bored, right!?

"Gary's chess was slipping before he retired, it must be much worse now."

It is possible that he knows a thing or two about chess.

"Why bother with Gary when you've got Rybka and Fritz, both stronger opponents?"

Indeed, my Rybka 3 must be better to train with than Kasparov, mein gott!

"Maybe Carlson is plateauing and getting desperate for ways to improve further?"

Can be no other reason.

For what Kasparov might do to (or rather with) Carlsen, I can again refer to the coverage of his master class with young American players. BTW, that article was by Macauley Peterson, and it's two clicks away from the chess.fm coverage of the recent news - the first click is a video interview of Macauley with Kasparov, also on the USCF pages.

Quite simply, Rybka and Fritz cannot talk, cannot enter into discussions, and wouldn't/can't concede that maybe you are right and they are wrong after all ... .

Acirce already quoted more from Macauley's piece, I found the parts on players' personalities also interesting: some were rather quiet and shy, others were full of energy and kept talking (Sam Shankland was apparently the most talkative one). Then maybe it's good for Magnus that he gets individual lessons: He seems to be relatively quiet and shy, as most Norwegians!? Of course both is just my own impression [I don't know Carlsen personally ,:) ], the latter based on maybe a dozen Norwegians I met work-related - including once spending six weeks in Bergen.

@Mig: "Kramnik saying it was important not to have much respect for Kasparov"
once again, this should be "not too much (or excessive) respect for Kasparov"

@Manu: "less talented players like Vlady"
Which Vlady do you mean? ,:) Of course you will never acknowledge that Kramnik is talented, but other people might disagree ... .

Less talented (than Magnus) is not the same as not talented at all , like you can figure it out by yourself or by actually reading what other people wrote instead of playing the imaginary journalist or whatever is called what you do.

""Kramnik saying it was important not to have much respect for Kasparov"
once again, this should be "not too much (or excessive) respect for Kasparov""

I wonder how many games he thought about when saying that Kasparov would lose far more often if everyone didn’t believe in the journalist myth about his playing strength. In his last six active years Garry lost four games apart from the two in the match against Kramnik. Maybe five losses more in those years would have been enough to count as "far more often"?

Actually, from a few books, magazines and interviews from another sources, it seems that the general consensus about Kramnik was that he was (by 13 years old) the biggest talent many people had seen, and this while having the likes of Shirov, Kamsky and many others older than him but playing at almost the same level. You could say that he didn't live up to his potential (which i could find possible, in any case one could debate about) but he was absolutely the promise of world chess since his youth. No need to play the imaginary anything.

I was just trying to find what Kramnik said about Kasparov helping him when he was starting out and found this from an interview after the London match:

John Henderson: There’s been much talk in the past – and in particular in the run-up to this match – about Kasparov teaching you at the legendary Kasparov\Botvinnik Chess School in Russia. Did you really receive much personal tuition from Kasparov, or did mostly other trainers do it?

Kramnik: It wasn’t personal. Not really. At the school we were in groups of twelve – Garry would spend maybe three days at a time when he would be giving lectures and doing simuls. This tale about him being “my teacher” was simply a journalist’s story – Botvinnik himself mainly did all of our training.

Garry would simply give what precious time he could to the school as he could. You could say he was my teacher as he was Shirov’s and Akopian’s.

Where he did help me though was in his insisting that I should be included in the Russian squad for the Manila Olympiad in 1992. He put his neck on the line here in this respect. He basically saw the raw talent that I had and helped to nurture it along. He really didn’t need to do this. It must have been obvious at the time to him that he saw me as being a “threat” to his crown. But in all fairness to him, despite this potential threat in the future, this never stopped him from giving help.

J.H: Now this brings me neatly to another topic of interest with your past workings with Kasparov. Do you think that it was a sort of world championship suicide on his part to allow you to be his second against Anand in 1995?

K. You know this is a question that can be looked at in two ways: Not only did I get to know him better, but he also got to know me better! Both of us could have taken an advantage from this from seeing how each other worked.

But it was not basically to someone’s advantage – it was who would make the better use of this information. I know I certainly did! I basically got to know and understand him much, much better – he didn’t with me. So yes, in a way, he contributed to his own downfall. But not such a major contribution as a lot of people have made it out to be.


Also going back to the topic of how to play against Kasparov there was this:

J.H: Nobody else in the world can handle Kasparov like you – why do you think Kasparov can’t play against you as he does against others?

K: Don’t get me wrong here – Kasparov is a great player, fantastic player. But most of the players tend to be afraid of him when they shouldn’t. I can see it in their eyes when they come to the board to play him. They just want to make some moves and stop the clock. I tell you, this isn’t the way to play against Garry! He can literally sense the fear. He “feels” it and this gives him additional powers at the board.

So basically it’s very simple: to start with, if you want to win the match, you shouldn’t be afraid of him. There are still many, many things to do, but above all this is the most important: Don’t be scared of him!

Let me raise an off-topic issue that's nevertheless connected with Gary. I'm just going through Part 3 of Kasparov on Modern Chess (Kasparov-Karpov 1986-87). Apart from the great dramatic and chess content, there's one point that intrigues me: the surprising and out-of-character leniency Kasparov shows towards the traitor in his camp in 1986.

While what happened was awful, unique in the history of world championships, quite determinant for the whole match, and Garry quite rightly covers the issue at great length -- he still chooses to be a bit vague and strangely reserved throughout the book, reciting only the verifiable facts and refraining from strongly and crushingly condemning Vladimirov for his acts. (Also, he lets the actual role of his KGB-liaison Litvinov remain quite unclear.)

One has to wonder whether he knows more than he wants to disclose. He hints at a possible army/KGB blackmail against Vladimirov and one might suppose that he actually knows the details, and wants to protect him, feeling him to be more a victim than a villain.

But, if true, this really would belong not just to chess history archives, but to the Black Book of Communism... Worse than what happened to Korchnoi. Maybe we'll only know more only after the death of the key characters.

Edward Winter comments on Vladimirov here: http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/child.html

Scroll down to the very bottom - it ends, perhaps a bit harshly:

"Note those words carefully:

‘... I cannot assert anything, and I have no grounds for accusing him ...’

Our admiration for Kasparov’s chess skill is immeasurable, but the rest fills us with revulsion."

That's just the point. Kasparov leads the reader to the very clear and convincing conclusion that treason has happened, while repeating that he has no clear evidence. At the same time, he refrains from a strong (moral) judgment -- this is what I find out-of-character and intriguing.

"He basically saw the raw talent that I had and helped to nurture it along. He really didn’t need to do this. It must have been obvious at the time to him that he saw me as being a “threat” to his crown. But in all fairness to him, despite this potential threat in the future, this never stopped him from giving help"

Yeah, even more reason for people to be less worried about Kasparov's supposed bad influence on Carlsen.

Still, Alez :
What i said was ¨less talented ¨ than Magnus , so its a matter of opinion , so Thomas lies when claiming that i will never acknowledge that Kramnik is talented , so you can be his imaginary friend , so Spain is not one of the countries who won the World cup , so you need to get over it .

Very interesting thread. I'm very surprised nobody has mentioned the affect of Gazza's game 10 win over Anand. Must have been crushing to have confidently repeated your prep and see your opponent just stampede over you...... After that game there was no lack of respect more lack of confidence. I dont buy the argument that Anand lost respect at all. In London to Elista Bareev constantly emphasises that Kramnik showed no fear of Gary on the chessboard. Kramnik was right that opponents feared Gazza (and they had good reason to!) but just like Tiger Woods in golf you have to overcome those fears in order to win - many lack this ability.

"Maybe Carlsen is plateauing and getting desperate for ways to improve further?"

I doubt an 18 year old with lots of potential improvement areas is "plateauing". :o) In particular, a lot can be still be done in the opening phase for Carlsen - for instance, he could get an opening repertoire... ;o)

Over the last 1,5 years, Carlsen has stabilized as a world top 5 player. Taking some time to become stable at that level is anything but strange. Now Carlsen has time (and money) to up the ant - until this summer he still was in school (high school), now he's gone professional. Becoming a top 5 player when chess is only a part time activity is quite impressive, IMHO. Now let's see what he can do when he devotes most of his time to it, while having a proper trainer for the first time in a while!

I'd say Magnus recent loss to Vlad must have been extra painful to Gary if he'd any involvement in the prep. Adds an extra intrigue to their next meeting in London.

He could always blame it on Carlsen blundering :)

The question is whether Kramnik knew Garry and Magnus were working toguether at that time.
I remember being surprised by his comments on Magnus ´s play , my guess is that he knew.

Kramnik made very similar comments about Carlsen last year, so I think it's highly unlikely he knew Kasparov had started training Carlsen before Dortmund. Kramnik doesn't have a history of criticising Kasparov when it comes to chess.

Was reading Belyavsky's book 'Uncompromising Chess' last night and noticed these three predictions on page 181 (in 1998 or so)

Kasparov will retire from chess early in the next millennium and eventually take a high political position in Russia.

Kramnik will be Kasparov's successor.

Karpov will (or more accurately, 'may yet') become a banker.

Not bad! A little off-topic, maybe, but still.

I disagree about the clothing. Gary looks very snappy...The jacket is the one he wore in Zurich, a lightweight Aboud, dark blue trousers go with it very well. The shoes look comfy and compliment the shirt. He is very "GQ".

Also, re: Irv "The only thing Kasparov had...what made him truly unique..was his work ethic and fierce determination"...

I would add that he is a man of great courage who stands up for what he believes is right. Not an easy thing to do in Russia. Perhaps his unique qualities cannot be transferred to Magnus, but spending time with him will be time well spent.

The do vs. teach debate is interesting (and neverending), but my first thought is that it is less relevant here. I would think that the higher the level of chess, the less relevance for the pedagogical component. Just thinking out loud here, maybe this problem is constant no matter what subject or level.

I can't see what Spain and football are doing here but maybe you have a talent for such connections. In my view, for things i remember i read in that time and i've read now, I would say Kramnik was more "promising" than Carlsen, although it would be quite a trivial debate. I really like both a lot, it would be like chosing between dad and mom.
A more interesting debate is if Gary would be a great coach. I'm a musicien, and have experienced several times that a great player is not always the best coach. Sometimes they can't help you overcome the difficulties they didn't experience or they're focused on what made them succesful rather than what may work for you. I sincerely hope it isn't the case with Magnus and Kasparov. When i first learn about it i thought "the rest of the world better start playing their best because in a few months it just won't be possible to beat the guy" but only time will tell. It would be very nice indeed if Carlsen would get back some more attacking punch to add to his outstanding technique. And while he is already quite a hard worker at the board, if he could get that extreme ferocity of Kasparov he could really mark chess history.

¨I can't see what Spain and football are doing here but maybe you have a talent for such connections.¨

I just thought that with all the interesting subjects going on in this and other threads , why would you interrupt the hostilities between _¨murder she wrote¨ and me?
Then i said to myself : Maybe he hasn´t recovered from that argument , but now i see that i was wrong and you had a lot to share.
Im interested on hearing whatever music you have to show.

Back to the talent issue: I would simply question whether any outsider could even say who is or was more talented - Kramnik, Carlsen or a few other names which could be mentioned (see also below). Manu, I and everyone else posting here are outsiders, I would say even Mig is. Kasparov would have the right for an opinion (now that he worked with both of them) - but even that would be just an opinion, and what would it mean: Kramnik scores 8/10 on the talent scale, compared to Carlsen's 8.5/10!?

Another story might be that Carlsen's talent got more early recognition and/or media attention. But that is, IMO, simply due to the fact that Kramnik was "one of many Russians", and Carlsen was the only one from the rest of the world, or at least western Europe.

About other talents: Many years ago, during a period when the iron curtain was about to collapse, I was marginally involved in organizing a German youth tournament. It was won (ahead of many much older players) by a small 10-year old kid, back then a very promising but still largely unknown talent. In the years that followed, he grew in height as well as ELO, his name is Peter Leko.

This things may change a lot depending on your country (due to the different attention media give to chess and who they focus on) but i would say Kramnik was more remarqued than Carlsen. The norwegian had to share the focus with Karjakin especially, while Kramnik seemed to be ahead of Kamsky, Shirov, Anand or even Topalov in terms of potential. Sure, quite debatable, but what it seems to me according to the few NiC i could read and the books and magazines i had in Spain (mostly Jaque, which was then an outstanding one, really at the level of NiC which is the best IMHO)

Carlsen was a very good player when he was very young, but that was not the whole story...after all, there have been many other young players who also were very good. The media (chess and non-chess) latched on to him because he was a cute little photogenic athletic polite european blonde haired cherub, not some bespectacled skinny dorky pimply geek, or not some unprounceable asian robot.

tjallen wrote:|

"Maybe Carlson is plateauing and getting desperate for ways to improve further?"

I agree with you 100%!

So, the source of Leko's boring style is revealed...
He he.

The best talent spotting quote of all time has to be Botvinnik's assessment of the young Karpov: "The boy doesn't have a clue about chess, and there's no future at all for him in this profession." :)

That's a classic clouded crystal ball and illustrates the folly of making projections about young players (or youngsters in any field). Similar stories exist of imprecise predictions by established masters about so-called upstarts like Pillsbury, Capablanca and a certain Garry Kasparov.

It may indeed differ by country: Maybe Kramnik got lots of media attention at Linares, but here in the Netherlands Carlsen was "hyped" from the moment he first played at Corus (C group in 2004, still as an IM). BTW, this was despite the fact that Karjakin had better results in their first common tournaments (I was just browsing through the archive at coruschess.com). If anything, Carlsen had to compete for attention with local guy Daniel Stellwagen - by now it is probably safe to say that he didn't quite fulfill the highest Dutch hopes in him.
And, as far as I know, only Carlsen was subject of a "Wonderboy" book (by NewinChess, also as early as 2004).

@Manu (again): You initially wrote "working with Garry made miracles in less talented players like Vlady", do I get you wrong by putting the following words in your mouth or pen or keyboard?
1) It required a miracle for Kramnik to get as far as he went, and
2) Only thanks to Kasparov the miracle came true
I would disagree on both ... .

I know you are joking, but I decline any responsibility for Leko's playing style.

As far as the tournament I mentioned is concerned: I (or my parents) provided private accomodation for a Czech guy Parel Vavra (*1976). Just checked: he is now an IM, current rating 2351, peak rating 2463 back in 2001. It got us a return invitation to Prague. I could write books on the entire period (late 1980's to early 1990's - coinciding with the breakdown of communism in Eastern Europe), but this would be VERY off-topic ,:).

As far as my overall role at the time is concerned: I was coaching a group of kids, roughly of Leko's age. Just checked: at least one of them is still active with a national rating of 1501, most others may have quit chess (to be honest, I do not even remember many of their names).

But I thought that too much may have been made of that quote (and did he really put it exactly that way? what is the original source?) and that Botvinnik did change his mind relatively quickly. Maybe not.

May be off topic, but very interesting for me, at least; the historical context add --big-- substance to the matter. Do you have by chance a blog?

Thanks and best regards

No, I don't have a blog, and anyway it's about "stories" from 20 years ago. But since at least one person is interested ,:) [noone else is obliged to read on]:
I first have to say that my small club (SC Gross-Zimmern) was "piggybacking" on existing activities and contacts of a neighboring club (SV Griesheim, near Darmstadt).

On our visit to Prague:
1) We still needed to obtain visa at the border. Normally this wasn't quite straightforward, but when I showed the written invitation by Bohemians Prague (a leading chess club, presumably with good ties to the Communist regime) it was just a matter of minutes to get our passports stamped ... .
2) At the time, dozens or hundreds of East Germans were occupying the West German embassy, with still more climbing over the fences. A few weeks later, the West German foreign minister Genscher made his famous speach that they were allowed to emigrate to West Germany. You can imagine that "my" 10-12 year old kids were extremely curious, but our hosts kept us at a considerable distance from the whole building - it certainly wouldn't have helped if this became sort of a tourist attraction ... .
3) The same weekend, demonstrations on the main square in Prague meant more or less the end of the Commmunist regime. Again, we could feel the tension in town (many people, also lots of police on the streets). But our hosts kept us away, I think they organized a theatre visit or something alike - after all, a "Chinese solution" to the problem could not be ruled out at the time. As a matter of fact, only when I watched West German TV back at home I realized what had happened while we were just a few hundred meters away from the action. Fascinating but also scary in hindsight ... .

Another story from our friends from Leipzig, East Germany (whom we could only meet in third countries as Czechoslovakia or Hungary). The day the Berlin Wall fell [the big one, not the one on the chessboard ...], they returned from a tournament in Kiew. After a LONG train trip, they arrived at East Berlin main station blissfully unaware of what was going on. Lots of people on the streets, lots of happy faces, ... someone told them: you can just move on to the other part of town. "Are you kidding me ?????"

I must confess I'm not sure where the comment comes from and I certainly can't vouch for it. The Botvinnik and Karpov Wikipedia pages point to the following, which aren't original sources: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1005155 & http://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/07/obituaries/mikhail-botvinnik-chess-champion-and-teacher-of-champions-dies-at-83.html

Thanks to mishanp for a stiff shot of nostalgia from an era of Kaspologia that was the Five Crowns chess epoch. Winter was one of the few (another was Guezendam) who took the extra few minutes to demonstrate Kasparov's economical approach to truth, an invidious task at a time of looming East Bloc collapse and with it the big bad Karpov reign. Kasparov had already done the Playboy interview and the US talk show circuit, self-branding to the West as a young lion of freedom, so thanks to journalists like Winter we got to see the real thing, the tawdry figure of the Midge Kelly of Baku. As in the conclusion of the old short story:

"...but a story built on their evidence would never have passed the sporting editor. 'Suppose you can prove it,' that gentleman would have said. 'It wouldn't get us anything but abuse to print it. The people don't want to see him knocked. He's champion.'"

Thanks. He may well have said it, but I'm often skeptical to all these chess quotes (and other quotes, for that matter) floating around the internet without it becoming really clear where they actually come from...

Simply pointing out that Carlsen-Kasparov collaborating was nothing new. They've trained together before, albeit not a seriously.

Not that it has much to do with anything, but it was in the Playboy interview that Kasparov made one of his most curious suggestions - that the USSR should sell Mongolia to China. (And East Germany to West Germany, I believe.)


And I'd thought Mongolia belonged to Mongolians. How foolish of me?

This silliness illustrates the danger of paying too much attention to the opinions of great chess players on issues other than chess. Why should a 26-year old Kasparov have a more enlightened view about geo-politics than any other fresh graduate of his age? Or a 16-year old Fischer have opinions about the disposition of US bases in Iceland?

We need to learn to regard chess masters, even the great ones, as chess specialists. Their views about other subjects ought to be scrutinized for relevance and expertise, like any other. Chess mastery does not confer expertise on just any issue the master cares to voice an opinion on.

Apparently, other people thought that Kasparov was so enlightened about the Mongolia thing that he was next spotted with a couple of bodyguards. Just in case someone hadn't understood his point. One can say he has won with age although I wouldn't still consider him an example of wisdom. The only thing I want now is to see Carlsen attacking the under top-5 with black the way Kasparov was doing in his time. If the best of all time can train the most talented of all time (this is only for the sake of the argument) we could witness a monumental thrashing of the world elite to tell to our grandsons.

Of course Kasparov's suggestion to sell Mongolia (at least formally an independent country) was silly or curious, but probably not meant seriously either. He just seemed to point out that the Soviet Union was financially in dire straits, and 'creative' solutions were required: selling the Kurile Islands to Japan "would keep us going for maybe five or ten years", selling Mongolia to China would get us a few more years.

The first suggestion is at least not historically unprecedented: the Russian Tsar sold Alaska to the USA in 1867 because he was in need of money. For the second one, it may be at least as curious that the Mongolians took Kasparov's quip seriously and were seriously offended (protest letters and petitions, two-hour strikes).

Regarding selling East Germany to West Germany, (if you weren't just kidding), what's your source acirce? ,:) But actually during the Cold War, East Germany earned hard money selling not the entire country, but some of their people: From 1964-1989, a total of 33,755 political prisoners were "sold" at an average prize of 90,000DM per head (source: German Wikipedia, don't know if there is an English version).

Interesting that he was bizarre even back then. I don't remember the statecraft non-sequitur from the Playboy interview; I do remember GK mentioning that he'd beaten Karpov in Seville, then getting pissy when reminded it was a drawn match. The writer also noted that GK consumed a lot of caviar during the sessions and kidded him about it, which upset him as well.

Kasparov has said that there has been a falsification of history for about 1,000 years following the fall of the roman empire to approximately the early 16th century. He says the purported history of this period is all fake. He said there has been a gigantic, world-wide coverup of this massive conspiracy, but I don't recall that he offered a coherent motive for it.

He makes more sense when he talks about chess.

Cover up? Conspiracy? Maybe RJF and GK were secretly brothers?

Kasparov, the strongest player ever, is not a wise - or even honest - man away from the chess board. He should not be expected to know much of anything: his entire life has been devoted to the study and practice of the royal game.

Kasparov's political endeavours remind me of Michael Jordan's desire to become a professional baseball player. Yes, they made some noise and got some opportunities because of their previous accomplishments, but they were always destined for failure: you can't turn a 35/45-year old 1200 patzer into an elite grandmaster. Desire and hard work are not enough not enough. You need talent, too.

> Kasparov, the strongest player ever, is not a
> wise - or even honest - man away from the chess
> board. He should not be expected to know much of
> anything

Sounds like proper qualifications for entering politics.

Fair enough as regards Jordan. As regards Kasparov, I rarely find his intellectual statements convincing. But that has little to do with politics. If you are implying that one needs to be a professional politician from an early age, that is a rather bad-if realistic statement about democracy, where theoretically anyone should be able to gain some power. The mediocrities which comprise most professional politicians have little if any relation with knowledge of any kind besides manipulation.

"Of course Kasparov's suggestion to sell Mongolia (at least formally an independent country) was silly or curious, but probably not meant seriously either. He just seemed to point out that the Soviet Union was financially in dire straits, and 'creative' solutions were required: selling the Kurile Islands to Japan "would keep us going for maybe five or ten years", selling Mongolia to China would get us a few more years.

The first suggestion is at least not historically unprecedented: the Russian Tsar sold Alaska to the USA in 1867 because he was in need of money."

Why don't you think it was serious?

Yes, selling the Kuril Islands (at least those of them that Japan claims) is something that could well have been discussed, and still can. Of course most Russians would be against it, but it could at least be discussed as a compromise solution.

But suggesting to "sell" a sovereign country is absurd -- to put it very diplomatically. Of course it's a grave insult to that entire country and its people.

"Regarding selling East Germany to West Germany, (if you weren't just kidding), what's your source acirce? ,:)"

My source is the same Playboy interview -- which I found at http://www.playboy.com/articles/garry-kasparov-1989-interview/index.html now, I think I had only read it in Swedish translation before.

He does talk about "fantastic and unbelievable ideas" but I don't think that implies he was simply joking, rather that he was thinking creatively and "outside the box".

So, how much for Mongolia? Start your bids!

Playboy interviews with chessplayers was hardly where people looked for enlightened political commentary in the 1980s.

Avch chadahgui. _Manai_ Mongol baigaa shu.

Bless you. Here's a tissue.

Oh no please dont raise this! - your right but Mig gets all protective and girly about his Garry when anyone raises his infantile ravings about history. Spending your life pushing bits of wood around doesnt qualify you for anything other than well talking and writing about same. Guys like Ivanchuk and even Shirov dont try to be anything other than chessplayers its painful when they venture into other areas pretty much the same for all sportsman I guess

Well, too late, I already said it and you already commented. Kasparov seems to view the world through conspiracy theories. The candidate matches leading up to the first Karpov match were conspiracies against him...the aborted first match with Karpov...conspiracy....his involvement with the so-called PCA...he was a victim of conspiracy...losing to Deep Blue...conspiracy...losing to Kramnik...conspiracy...Vladimir Putin...conspiracy...etc., etc., etc. Makes you wonder why he even bothers to get out of bed in the morning with so many enemies waiting to pounce on him from behind the conspiracy screens.

Maybe even some day Mig himself will be accused of conspiring against Garry.

One can understand that someone speaking off-the-cuff or even in a formal interview might let slip something absurd now and then.

But Kasparov's "New Chronology" article proves he can be just as absurd (or more so) when he has time to think about what he's saying.

Anyway, give Kasparov credit for cleaning up his act a bit in the last few years. Maybe he's just not talking as much, maybe some wisdom is finally coming with age, or maybe it's Mig's influence.

I agree. He does not seem to be as wacko as he used to be.

Wow acirce, you made me read Playboy for the first time in my life ,:) . But I just "scanned" the whole article, which is full of other oddities, both questions and answers. What about the reporter's specific qualification:
"Rudolph Chelminski, a veteran foreign correspondent who has owned three chess computers—and smashed two because they usually beat him"

So while I cannot assess the full context of Kasparov's "business ideas", I would still rank them in order of seriousness:
- Selling the Kurile islands might make sense, whether it was realistic is another story: Would Japan really pay money for islands (thus acknowledging [past] Russian/Soviet sovereignty) which they claim as part of their territory? Would Argentina buy the Falkland/Malvinas islands from Great Britain? Would Spain buy Gibraltar?
- Selling Mongolia may or may not be (meant as) a joke
- Selling East Germany was clearly a joke, because the full quote goes:
"the best deal would be to sell East Germany to West Germany. That would be worth a fortune—and maybe we could get even more money from England and France for not doing the deal!"
[actually, when reunification became a fact, indeed it may have been more difficult to convince friends/NATO allies of West Germany than Russia/Gorbachov ...]

In any case, I still find the strong Mongolian reaction at the time rather odd. Would anyone care as much if, say, Maradona or Roger Federer gave similar interviews? Things may be different today because Kasparov does (or at least claims and/or aims to) play a major role in Russian politics - but even now the Russian government will obviously, and justifiably decline any responsibility for interviews given by Garry ... .

"Wow acirce, you made me read Playboy for the first time in my life ,:)"

It's normally nothing I recommend...

Some things:
Kasparov's role (direct or indirect) in USSR politics was definitely bigger than his role in Russian politics today. He was a member of the ruling party (of course, so were many millions) but also (1987-?) the Central Committee of Komsomol. He had allies in very high places, relating proudly in "Child of Change", iirc, how Karpov's people were not able to resist the power of his people. And the regime cared incomparably more about chess, so he was "their" World Champion much more than he was later (or than Kramnik was in 2000-2007).

I can imagine that Mongolians were particularly upset because many saw the Soviet Union as kind of protectors against exactly China, which was still viewed with considerable suspicion even as they had agreed to respect Mongolia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Kind of if Georgia and the rest of the world one day had to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and then Kramnik would suggest that Russia should sell them back to Georgia to solve the economic crisis? :)

I can't be sure it wasn't just a joke. My feeling is that it wasn't. Not that he necessarily argued for "selling Mongolia", but at least suggested it as something to think about.

But Kasparov must have talked about it afterwards, especially given the uproar it caused. Anyone knows what he said? Mig?

"Wow acirce, you made me read Playboy for the first time in my life ,:)"
"It's normally nothing I recommend..."

I on the other hand do normally recommend Playboy. But not for reading.

Your brief summary of the relations between Russia, Mongolia, and China are quite astute. I don't think many people take the time to understand the sentiments behind the political moves. I'm very impressed.

I do so wish the ignorance in threads like this one could be harnessed as an alternative energy source. It's clearly limitless. We could put Al Gore out to pasture. It is both tragic and amusing that you then come here, to the blog of someone who knows Kasparov well, to revel in your idiocy and copy-pasted insults. I wish I could install the XKCD concept of that makes the commenter have to listen to his comment read aloud before posting. Oh, and don't forget the next step of demanding I correct each poster's lies, fallacies, and exaggerations for the 50th time. Yawn.

If anything useful comes of this let it be finding out the origin of that Botvinnik quote about Karpov. The poorly written Times obit makes it almost sound like Karpov himself reported it, which would explain a lot.

Botwinnik supported the butcher Stalin all through his life as well as some Communist military coup, Fischer's political views are well known, Karpov has always supported the ruling party without questions both as good communist and millionaire. Spassky signed antisemitic petitions. And Kasparov, what did he do? Oh, he gave some humorous answers in a Playboy interview 20 years ago.

I tried looking for the Botvinnik comments on Karpov in Russian and could only find the first half, "this boy doesn't have a clue about chess" (not "he doesn't have a future in this profession) - specified as being said to Botvinnik's assistant, Yurkov, or after Karpov took part in a simultaneous display given by Botvinnik. Those aren't original sources either...

As I think Acirce mentioned it seems as though Botvinnik was just making the point that the 11/12-year-old Karpov didn't have any idea about chess theory. Karpov says himself that at that time he'd only read one chess book, a selection of Capablanca's games, and just relied on his intuition to beat stronger players.

I'd still guess it's possible that the full quote appears in one of Karpov's memoirs, though it's odd that no-one seems to give the source.

stendec: Thanks, I think it's important to try. Do you happen to be from Mongolia? Lived there? Or just happen to know the language? Because you posted earlier in something that appears to be Mongolian :)

hdghg: Nice to see that you have taken up the noble cause of protecting players from disproportionate criticism :)

mishanp: Not sure that's exactly what I said, but it's possible that's what he meant. Kasparov quotes Karpov in OMGP V: "His remarks regarding my completely feeble handling of the opening had their effect: I began reading chess literature." Moreover, GK says, "And in the second half of the 1960s he was already predicting a great future for him" (i.e. Botvinnik for Karpov). I take it this means starting pretty soon into the second half, since predicting that after he won the World Junior Championship in 1969 was probably not too controversial :) And Karpov was born in May 1951, so maybe when he was 14 or so? Again, don't know the details here, so would be nice if somebody filled in the gaps.

"Botwinnik supported the butcher Stalin all through his life"

You either supported Stalin or died. Myself, I prefer life. "During the late 1930s, Stalin launched the Great Purge (also known as the "Great Terror"), a campaign to purge the Communist Party of people accused of sabotage, terrorism, or treachery; he extended it to the military and other sectors of Soviet society. Targets were often executed, imprisoned in Gulag labor camps or exiled. In the years following, millions of ethnic minorities were also deported."

Oh, please :) Such a sweeping and superficial characterization gives very little understanding of neither the "Great Terror", Stalin's role in it, nor Stalin's reign in general.

But to keep the subject on Botvinnik, he lived until 1995, and no matter what happened or not happened in the 30's, I don't think you were executed under Yeltsin for criticizing Stalin.

However it's not true that he "supported" Stalin all his life. He did say that Stalin was "not only" bad, which is hardly the same thing, and should not even be controversial really.

"... characterization gives very little understanding of neither the "Great Terror", Stalin's role in it, nor Stalin's reign in general. ...

However it's not true that he "supported" Stalin all his life. He did say that Stalin was "not only" bad, which is hardly the same thing, and should not even be controversial really."

You agree with me. You can't support a leader who is not a leader. I never he said he supported Stalin all his life. Please don't put words in my mouth. Your use of "neither" and "nor" should be "either" and "or".

I never said you said he supported Stalin all his life. Please don't put words in my mouth :) Regarding neither/nor or either/or, thanks, but are you sure?

Chessbase has a story on "super-talent" Parimarjan Negi 2615. He's great for a 16 year old, but he's the 15th ranked junior in the world and with 2700 live ratings players Carlsen, Karjakin, Vachier-Lagrave, and Wang all being born within 4 years of him, I can't imagine him ever playing in a World Championship semi-final.

Acirce wrote:
"He did say that Stalin was "not only" bad, which is hardly the same thing, and should not even be controversial really."

Ohh, yeah? So if somebody says that "Hitler was not only bad", would that be controversial in your book? Just curious.

Kasparov's great predecessor, Botvinnik, received a 'dacha', a cottage, from Stalin's gangsters, of course, with the big boss' approval. That was during an era when other people were executed if they had an extra cloth or pair of shoes. And Botvinnik trained Kasparov at one point, even taking his side during the 1984 cancelled match, when he advised a 1-5 trailing Kasparov to play for a draw no matter what, until Karpov was tired. Botvinnik was retired when Karpov's star was rising, so can someone explain why he was so against Karpov? Is it because he could not understand Karpov's way of chess planning, or just because he saw Karpov as a huge talent that one day will peak on the world scene? Let's remember that in 1925 Botvinnik himself won a simul game against Capablanca, world champion en titre, and we all know how glad was Capablanca when losing a game. But for Botvinnik it was OK, of course, at that time; not so OK was years later facing the very young Karpov. It's always like this: the old dominant male feels threatened by a young male and tries to kill the youngster in a desperate effort to conserve the present, while unconscientiously realising that his time has passed. You can see it all over the place, especially from Kotchnoi, Short, and ... Kasparov. Interestingly, this bullying was not part of Karpov's arsenal.
So, Kasparov decided to coach M. Carlsen. We can all agree that 100% is about money and not Garry's genuine praise of Carlsen's chess qualities. A villa on Croatian seaside? Was it a gift from Putin, to give his enemy a 'dacha' somewhere else and keep him away from realities of today's Russia? Was this paid with the money received from royalties of the quickly-written-and-not-enough-time-to-check-for-errors books such as the 'On My Great Predecessors' volumes, and does Plisetsky has a room or two in that villa? Was H. Carlsen given the keys of the building in the name of the socialist monarchy of Norway? Will this be a far better kept secret than the Kasparov training M. Carlsen info?

Never say never, Onischuk fan ... At 16 there is so much work ahead to develop, and it depends on how much money they will invest in providing the kid with high quality training stuff, and with a good psichologist. In my opinion, Aronian did not have at 16 the results of, say, Leko, Carlsen, Radjabov, J.Polgar, Karjakin or Ponomariov, but he developed into the strong player he is today, with certainly a shot to the world champion title within the next few years.
I don't know anything about the chess abilities of Frederik Friedel, the Anand-worshipper owner of Chessbase. Whether is he qualified to exacerbate the performances of Parimarjan or not, I cannot tell. Certainly he has a penchant for Indian chessplayers' performances, while keeping quiet when they underperform. This is a partisan attitude and a journalist shall keep a distance from this kind of approach. (And probably he should hire a person with English as the first language for checking the news content before this is posted on the website. But not Nigel Short or Raymond Keene, please!)
Whether Parimarjan or another player will become or not world chess champion is a matter of future. For sure, there is a potential in this kid, but there are others too: Alekseev, Caruana, Jakovenko, Giri and possibly one of the top Chinese players (Hou Yifan?), let alone Karjakin and Carlsen. They can develop into very strong players and all it takes is a few years in a row of constantly play at 2700+ level to have chances to the title.

You seem to form strong opinions out of tiny snippets of information.

You should write , i mean go pro , always very accurate , not the first time i think this.

Your last 2 posts have left me befuddled and less than impressed.Are you completely well?

gotta love the inside scoop Mig!! interviewing Garri on a train, rough gig there :) heres too ya mig!!! nothing like a good ole frosty ale..talk at ya later...The Daily Dirt is the *&#!.. regards, eddie b.

To all you detractors of Garry Kasparov's achievements and honest outspoken-ness you should consider the following:

1. Try to become the World Chess Champion yourself ..and see how far you get! And it's the only game as far as I know in which you are unable to ...cheat! That takes a lot of beating!

2. Historical facts have been falsified since time immmemorial to the horror of any serious history student. There are many documentaries and documents being laboriously re-edited everyday by historians who care to try and set the records straight for the benefit of humanity.

3. Conspiracies are as old as time! That should only surprise anyone who suffers from narcolepsia especially in contemporary times.

3. Garry's political acumen is light years in front of the majority. That is why he is either misunderstood or criticised by those jealous of his perception based on a profound cultural preparation and personal intuition.

4. If you are not a genius yourself, how can you begin to understand one? It certainly provides a lively debate, though, does it not, to try and beat the Champion, as it were, at all sorts of things outside the world of chess?

5. Garry Kasparov is doing an enormous favour to the world trying to CHECK Putin and his band of lackeys making a mess of trying to run Russia, no less. Even the rich rats are fleeing the sinking ship - look around you!

6. Whichever path Garry Kasparov decides to follow it will not be to nourish his EGO as so shamefully suggested by some of you but to try and fulfill a purpose which is his business and not yours.

7. Leave Garry Kasparov alone unless you have something positive to comment. Anything else is "sour grapes" and the Fox know all about that.

8. I would imagine that young Carlsen, his Dad and Garry have a great time together with their dreams and hopes of a better world and not only in the world of Chess.

9. The chessboard was part of Lewis Carroll's inspiration in the book called "Alice through the Looking Glass". It may interest some of you chess buffs to revisit it, if you have not done so already.

full ACK with cheers

In my opinion, your view seems to be natural for everybody who is open minded, a little bit interested in politics and chess and has an internet connection.
So - if something seems obvious and you have to explain it broadly, so probably the explananaition won't fall on futile ground.

Nice bit of irony, Stela!
(At least I presume that's what it was).

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 7, 2009 10:39 AM.

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