Defeating incumbents is never easy. This is true when the incumbent is competent and honorable, but it seems almost equally true even when the sitting office-holder is incompetent and corrupt. (Perhaps especially when he is corrupt.) Which kind of incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is I leave to your evaluation, but one way or another he repulsed Garry Kasparov (pun intended) and won re-election a few minutes ago with a big margin of victory, 110-61.
Entries in Garry Kasparov (31)
Continuing our recent series of posts on Garry Kasparov...
I was looking through one of Kasparov's recent autobiographical volumes, and when describing his activities in 1985 between his two world championship matches against Anatoly Karpov that year he mentions a 10-board blindfold simul. He doesn't give any of the games but mentions with some pride a victory over a computer with sacrifices and a long mating combination. Naturally I was curious to find the game, but it isn't in ChessBase's Mega database. Fortunately it can be found online, so I downloaded it and added some very brief comments; you can replay it here.
As many of you may know, one of the coming non-chess highlights of the Tromso Olympiad is the FIDE Presidential Election (on August 11, I think, but I may be wrong about this), pitting former world champion Garry Kasparov against the 19-year-incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Those interested can find so much material to read that the election will be over before they can finish reading it, so I'll just point you to this longish article in the popular press. (HT: Chris Falter.) In the unlikely event anyone is curious about who I'm rooting for, it's Kasparov, but I worry that while he's fantastic at attracting sponsors to the game he's equally adept at subsequently destroying those partnerships and chasing them away.
The documentary film Chess: A State of Mind came out in 1986 and was written by British IM William Hartston. This (almost) 30-minute piece offers a recap of the world championship from Paul Morphy (not an official champion) through the beginning of the Garry Kasparov era. It goes from Morphy through Boris Spassky pretty quickly, and then takes its time with Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. Viktor Korchnoi gets a lot of air time in the Karpov segment, and both Korchnoi and Spassky have a bit of fun at Karpov's expense.
Young whippersnappers should watch for the history lesson, and oldsters should watch for the nostalgia.
I noted yesterday that a major controversy is afoot with the Olympiad. The base problem was the failure of the Russian chess federation to register their women's team - the defending Olympic champions! - by the deadline. From that starting point further controversy is roiling, including an accusation by FIDE VP Israel Gelfer that the Olympiad organizers in Tromso, Norway failed to show lenience to the Russian team because they were acting under Garry Kasparov's influence. (Kasparov is running for the FIDE Presidency, which will be decided at the Olympiad, and he is in many ways estranged from Russia and Russian chess.)
Today, we have a reply from Kasparov. He expresses sympathy for the Russian women's team but affirms with the organizers that the rules ought to be followed. As for Gelfer, he has no sympathy there, as you can see for yourself.
Garry Kasparov went to Bobby Fischer's graveyard on what would have been the latter's 71st birthday and attended a small memorial at the church there. More here, with a video and transcript of his remarks during an accompanying on-site interview.
Story here. You might recall a few months ago that Garry Kasparov applied for Latvian citizenship, but that fell through. He's still a Russian citizen too, but his aim in acquiring Croatian papers is to help him maintain his freedom to travel. This seems a good move for him, and altogether apart from any ambitions he has for the FIDE presidency. Vladimir Putin seems to have the brass knuckles out these days.
It isn't really a chess story, but news about Garry Kasparov is generally interesting to chess fans - at least to those of us who have been in the game since before 2005, when he retired from professional play. So the news is that Kasparov is looking to obtain Latvian citizenship (without giving up his Russian citizenship) to have a safe base for his political activities. Why Latvia in particular? This article hints at a family connection, but it's left unclear whether that was relevant to the decision.
More on this as warranted.
HT: Chess Today
There's a neat, short autobiographical essay by Sergey Shipov (which doubles in passing as an ad for his outstanding books on the Hedgehog) that can be obtained from Mongoose Press. He discusses his career as a player, then as Garry Kasparov's sparring partner in blitz, and then in a non-playing capacity. He concludes with some highlights from his career, focusing on a 2006 win over Magnus Carlsen.
You can look through the goodies for yourself (the booklet/essay can be obtained as a free PDF by writing mongoosepress [you know the symbol to use] gmail.com), but I will focus on just one of the things he wrote. I've heard from when I was a kid all the way up through a year or so ago that Kasparov was mainly an openings expert. A very strong grandmaster all-around, obviously, but he wouldn't have been such a dominant force aside from that particular strength. Even Hikaru Nakamura has made a comment to that effect. By contrast, here's what Shipov had to say on the matter.
By the way, those fools who for years explained Kasparov’s dominance only by his opening superiority (which, let me point out, is not a gift that falls from heaven, but rather comes from hard labor) simply had no idea what they were talking about. I remember we played six games of Fischerandom chess, and there was no battle there at all! In completely unfamiliar positions, Kasparov’s advantage over me was far greater than in normal chess. In the absence of the usual pathfi nders his flights of fancy, his sense of dynamics, and his ability to instantly separate the important from the secondary became particularly salient.