Name your Hero: Garry Kasparov in Tel Aviv

6/13/2010 – He is not so jaded as some may think. Garry Kasparov was recently in Tel Aviv, Israel, as the winner of the "Name your Hero" competition, and did his 30-game simul thing, winning every game as usual. But he was most excited about meeting the famous scientists who had won the Dan David prizes. Like Leonard Kleinrock, who had failed to transmit the word L-O-G-I-N. Big illustrated report.

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Name Your Hero

By Shay Bushinsky / Photos Shulamit Bushinsky

Dan David is a shrewd businessman. He built an empire of companies by spreading instant "do it yourself" photography machines all over Europe. As a result, he now controls several successful international companies, some traded on the London stock exchange, all in all making David a wealthy man. He is 81 years old, loves chess, and says that he keeps his wits about him by playing two serious chess games every day over the internet.

Nine years ago, David and Tel-Aviv University initiated a fund for a special prize that bears his name. Every year, the fund distributes three million dollars to people from around the world who scored outstanding accomplishments. The winners are selected from four candidates in each category. The selection is done by a committee comprising of Nobel Prize winners and prominent figures such as Dr. Henry Kissinger. Among the previous prize winners one can find: former US Vice President and Senator Al Gore, England's Prime Minister Tony Blair, the American cellist virtuoso Yo Yo Ma and Robert Charles Gallo, the developer of the AIDS HIV vaccine.

[Addendum: Samuel Stolpe of Falls Church, VA, USA, reminds us that Gallo is not "the developer of the AIDS HIV vaccine," but responsible for the discover of the causative agent for AIDS. "I'm sure you are aware, there is no vaccine for HIV," writes Stolpe.]

A special award was added this year. It was given to the winner of the "Name Your Hero" competition. This unique competition was held between high-school students from all over Israel. The students were requested to write a composition in which they name their hero and the reason for their choice.


Garry posing between Dan David and Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of TAU

The winning composition for 2010 named Garry Kasparov as its hero for all of his accomplishments on the chess board and beyond it. This prompted David, the chess aficionado and philanthropist, to invite Kasparov as the honored guest at the 2010 Dan David Prize ceremony which was held last month In Tel-Aviv.

Who is Leonard Kleinrock?

Garry Kasparov looked extremely gratified. He got the chance to hand out prizes in three categories worth one million dollars each. The first category must have seemed very appropriate. It was the "2010 Past – March Towards Democracy" prize and was given to Sen. Giorgio Napolitano – nicknamed "King Umberto" – the current President of the Italian Republic.

The second prize category for outstanding literary work, the "2010 Present – Literature: Rendition of the 20th Century" was shared by Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh, Canadian and Indian authors respectively.

The third prize category "2010 Future – Computers and Telecommunications" was shared by three computer science giants: Leonard Kleinrock, Gordon Moore and Michael Rabin.

They earned their place in computer science history and are widely acknowledged as great "grandmasters" of the field. Moore co-founded Intel. His observation that computing power grows exponentially – roughly doubling every two years – was named after him as "Moore's Law".

Michael Rabin is considered one of the forefathers of Computer Science with seminal work in many computer science sub-fields: in particular, Rabin made significant contributions to computational theory and to cryptology,

L-O-G I-N

Kleinrock set the mathematical foundation for the way the Internet works. His work developed queuing theory – which facilitates amongst many other fields the "packet switching" communication protocols. These protocols are the digital networking communications methods which group all transmitted data – irrespective of content, type, or structure – into suitably-sized blocks, called "packets". The packets are collected and sent in their correct order and destination to their receivers via special network nodes...


Dasha and Garry Kasparov with Shay Bushinsky

When I met Kasparov on the doorsteps of the Dan David prize ceremony, he was excitedly telling Kleinrock's story – about the moment he "practically invented the internet": the first network gateway (a network node known as a "router") was built and delivered to Kleinrock in 1969. He then tested his new protocol by trying to send through that router a "logon message". The "l" and the "o" characters passed through successfully, but then the letter "g" crashed the system. Kleinrock and his team fixed the bug and sure enough the first network logon succeeded.


Leonard Kleinrock describes the birth of the Internet – whatever
you do, do not miss this central moment in computer history

A surgeon at work

The following day, Garry Kasparov arrived at the Tel-Aviv University's Smolersh auditorium, fully alerted, accompanied by his wife, Dasha. He was prepared to deliver a 30 board simultaneous exhibition in front of a crowd of hundreds of people. Admittedly, the playing field was not that strong. Nevertheless, Kasparov must have had both pleasant and frustrating memories of the previous simuls he held in Israel. One of them, in 1998 (as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the State of Israel's independence), was perhaps one of the highlights of Garry's career: He demolished the Israeli national squad 7-1 (a team averaging above 2600 Elo, including: Alterman, Smirin, Huzman and Sutovsky) in a clock simul. Yet on other occasions, when delivering simuls to lower rated Israeli players, Kasparov suffered a few unexpected losses…

Dasha Kasparova paced around the stage concerned about the lighting. "Garry needs good light!" she exclaimed. After making sure that all was well, she withdrew to one of the front seats watching the show on the wide television screens set up in the background. The simul was broadcast live on TV as well as webcasted and supervised by veteran international arbiters Mordechai Sorek and Yedael Stepak.


He takes these things very seriously: Kasparov before the start of the simul

The opening remarks were made by Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel-Aviv University. Klepter delivered warm greetings to Kasparov, saying that he is a good and loyal friend of Israel – Kasparov might actually start teaching in the University's business school next year! Dan David emphasized Garry Kasparov's achievements in chess as a model of excellence and talked about his own personal experiences as a chess player and about the key role he believes chess should play in education.


Dan David speaking at the start of the simul

Then the games begun: Garry approached the boards with his usual stamina and varied the openings methodically. "The relatively higher ranked opponents made a strategic mistake by starting too aggressively" Garry remarked afterwards. On the other end, one of the students, the talented Mohammed Nashef, started building a fortress out of the opening which was eventually cracked by Kasparov at a later stage of the Simul. The crowd was enjoying every minute – observing anxiously in particular little Drori's game where Kasparov seemed to pay more attention than on other boards.


Adjusting the pieces before games begin


Ready to make a move


Garry watches his opponent making a move

The players already were seated. They comprised an interesting mix. Dan David insisted that most of the competitors be young. They were divided by David into two teams; the first one included the prominent managers of Israel's Gas companies Yona Fogel and Moshe Spitzer as well as David himself. The other 20 players were a mix of Tel-Aviv University students and children. One of them, Saar Drori was only eight years old and recently became Israel's Under Nine Years Old Champion.

Commentary: "Garry Kasparov was for many years the irrevocable World Champion of Chess. At Tel Aviv University in Israel, he made an extraordinary comeback. Kasparov played against thirty students from the university and children from a scientific research group. After four hours of suspense, Kasparov defeated the last player. Some of the children that participated in the game were under the age of nine. The youngest player was eight-year-old Saar Drori, a chess champion. He used to play with older children, but playing against Kasparov was a memorable experience. Saar Drori: "He was very aggressive during the game. I was able to resist him until I failed." The young player did his homework before the game. "My trainer and I watched a lot of Kasparov’s games from the past to learn his technique." Saar’s dream is to play chess with Kasparov once again. – NTD Tel Aviv, Israel.


A line-up of chess thinking opponents


How old is this kid?? Kasparov against eight-year-old Saar Drori


The lineup: second from left is Yona Fogel followed by Mohammed Nashef and Saar Drori

As the games progressed, some of the spectators got the wrong impression that Kasparov might be in trouble in a few. Some doubted that he was in good shape, mentioning the five years that have passed since he retired from professional chess... But this was a misconception. He told me the day before that his session with Carlsen concluded with a 3-3 tie in blitz… Observing Kasparov closely at work, one realized that he had all boards under his control like in the good old days. He maintained equal-plus positions on every board, knowing exactly when to put the pressure on his opponents. It was just like watching a surgeon at work. Kasparov methodically won on every board up to the last of the thirty.


Garry in a typical state of concentration


Hard aw work in the simul at Tel-Aviv University


A surgeon at work – Kasparov won all thirty games

For the crowd of spectators and for the players it was a tremendous experience and a great event. This may be normal for such simuls. However, to Kasparov it felt very special, not because he won 30-0 (I think he didn't expect anything else). "The mere presence of the great David prize winners observing my games was inspirational and worth it all to me", Kasparov concluded.

Simul game

Enclosed is a game from the simul against the young and talented Oz Tal. The game ended with a neat Kasparov queen sacrifice…

Kasparov,Garry - Tal,Oz [D00]
Tel Aviv simul, 05.10.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 g6 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 d5 5.c4 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 c6 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.Nge2 Nc6 9.a3 Bxc3+ 10.Nxc3 0-0 11.Be2 Re8 12.0-0 Bf5 13.Qb3 Be4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qxb7 Na5 16.Qb4 Rb8 17.Qc3 Rb3 18.Qd2 Qb6 19.Rab1 Rb8 20.g3 Nc6 21.Qc2 Na5 22.Qxe4 Rxb2 23.Bd3 Qd6 24.Rxb2 Rxb2 25.Qa8+ Kg7 26.Qxa7 Qxa3 27.Be4 Rb5 28.Qd7 Rb6 29.Bd5 Qf8 30.Rc1 Rb8 31.Rc7 Rd8 32.Qb5 Qd6 33.Rxf7+ Kh6 34.Be4 Qe6

35.Qh5+!! Black resigned, as mate in four is inevitable: 35.Qh5+ gxh5 36.Rxh7+ Kg5 37.f4+ Kg4 38.Rg7+ Kh3 39.Bg2#. 1-0.

Copyright Bushinsky/ChessBase


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