In one of the sillier stories in the chess world, Garry Kasparov played a two-game rapid match with Japanese IM and Shogi legend Yoshiharu Habu, and of course won 2-0. The silly part is Kasparov's remark that he had "everything to lose". While it would be a little embarrassing for a player of Kasparov's stature not to win 2-0, there was objectively little chance that it would happen. Further, while his opponent could take justifiable pride in such a result, who would really care about the result of a rapid exhibition match played nine years after Kasparov's retirement from serious chess? Kasparov's place in chess history wouldn't be dented in the least by an accident in such an event. Finally, if there was really everything to lose, then why participate? Perhaps Kasparov should read a book on decision-making before agreeing to any more such events in the future.
Entries in Garry Kasparov (36)
In general I'm a pretty decent player, an FM who has repeatedly come close to getting IM norms, but compared to Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand I'm of course a fish - and a small fish at that. So while I hope that what I do know, combined with conscientious work and the judicious use of the computer enables me to say things that are sensible and at least occasionally insightful, there's always the very real danger that the gap between me and them will lead to every so often to comments that are completely off the mark.
One such comment was about Anand's choice of opening line today; in particular his decision to head for the quasi-endgame with the queen trade. It seemed to me both dubious in its own right and all the more so as a way for him to play against Carlsen. Perhaps I'm the stopped clock that's right twice a day or the blind squirrel who found a nut, but on this occasion I can at least enlist Garry Kasparov in support of my claim. A few minutes ago, he offered these tweets:
It's even harder to understand Anand's opening choice today than the blunders. I looked at this line for my match vs Kramnik in 2000. Bad.
I remember looking at Bf4 and this h-pawn push and it's miserable for Black. Especially against Magnus, bizarre blunder today aside.
It will be very hard for Anand to come back. There was an exchange of terrible openings in g3 & g6 [DM: game 3 and game 6], doubt it will happen again.
If you were a chess player at the time of the Kasparov-Deep Blue matches in 1996 and 1997 there's little you'll learn from this video by Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight crew on the second match. It does a very good job of summarizing the match in a way that's useful for "civilians", so I recommend it for the curious non-chess players in your life.
HT: Allen Becker
Yesterday's mail brought the final installment of the helpfully titled Garry Kasparov's Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov* (Part III: 1993-2005). This will not be Dennis Monokroussos on Garry Kasparov's Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, by Dennis Monokroussos, however. Instead, I want to report on an intriguing tidbit at the very end of the main section of the book and see if anyone can supply further details.
On page 460, Kasparov (incidentally also the author of the Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors* series) offers a short summary of his activities since retiring from professional chess, and begins one paragraph thusly: "From time to time I have worked on chess with the young stars - Carlsen, Nakamura, Giri..."
This gives rise to a double "Hmm". Everyone who has been around chess the past five years or so knows about his partnerships with Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, but this is the first I recall hearing about his working with Anish Giri. Kasparov (surprisingly also the author of the series Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess*) has done lots of little camps for juniors in the United States and elsewhere, and while I'm sure they've proved valuable on many levels for the campers I would be surprised if Giri's inclusion in the very short list above was due to that very limited sort of collaboration. But does anyone have any further information?
Second, I know that Russian language writers tend to overuse the ellipsis, but as he doesn't use them elsewhere on the page when detailing his activities, I wonder if he's hinting at anything. Is there someone else he's working with now whose identity is a secret? Is someone on his radar? Maybe he's just open to the possibility down the line of further proteges, or - going full circle - it's just a stylistic quirk.
* While I'm mocking the titles of all three series, the 12 books they comprise are interesting and important. If you're a fan of chess history or an aspiring player, they're pretty close to must-haves.
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.
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.