Video interview with Garry Kasparov on Valencia

9/28/2009 – Garry Kasparov won the commemorative match against Anatoly Karpov convincingly by 9.0-3.0. After it was over GM Robert Fontaine, roving reporter for the French magazine Europe Echecs, sat down with the winner to discuss the games, the match, and Kasparov's work with the young chess star Magnus Carlsen. The interview is presented in two sections. Here for your enjoyment is part one.

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Interview with Garry Kasparov – part one

By GM Robert Fontaine

Intro: "Let's not forget, I'm working with Magnus, and that's my professional work..."

Garry Kasparov: Two old guys – we are still here, and we are creating the biggest show in the world of chess. I think that is wrong.

Playing chess, being at the chessboard, almost five years after retirement, that was quite a challenge. If I hadn’t started my cooperation with Magnus earlier this year I would not have accepted the offer, because I knew the difficulties I would face. Even in preparation, because you lose your instincts. It is very hard to explain to non-professionals. If you don’t play chess, at the chessboard, in the auditorium, facing real opponents – nothing can substitute that. Even if you do chess studies at home, if you play chess on the Internet, there’s a huge difference. Internet blitz is causing some damage, because you play with a different kind of instincts.

It is quite funny that this experience both helped me and caused me damage. The quality of some of my moves was not quite sufficient. A typical Internet move was …f4 in game one.

Karpov,Ana (2619) - Kasparov,G (2812) [D72]
Match Valencia ESP (1), 22.09.2009

20...f4!? Of course I would play 20…Ne4 in a classical game, five years ago, because I saw that the moves gives Black a very comfortable game – Black is not substantially, but definitely better. But …f4 is a move of the Internet, especially in bullet, when you want to follow one idea – you want to have your knight on d4 – and it creates threats. So it is a bad move, but it actually worked well for me, because what I learned on the Internet is how to manage time, so I never lost on time. Karpov was always having huge problems. [Click to replay]

Anatoly Karpov between GM Robert Fontaine and his wife GM Katya Lahno

Karpov: Time for thinking during the game – first you have time, and then you don’t have time. This is a problem of rapid chess, and this is the problem of zeitnot in time trouble in a normal game.

Kasparov: So quality-wise I was disappointed, because certain moves I made were ugly and hurt my chess intellect. In game four Karpov has five seconds left and I have two or three minutes. It’s typical: you make a short move. You understand it, but it is hard to explain to normal chess players why you make s short move. Because that’s the way you play. I got really upset, because after 32.hxg6 hxg6 33.Rh1 I had a very nice game. From almost an even position I got a strategically complete winning position, in Karpov’s style, by the way.

So I had these difficulties preparing for the match. I tried to use my professional instincts. On my political blog on the Wall Street Journal I announced a timeout, and for one week I was out of politics, so don’t bother me. I went to Oslo, we had a session with Magnus. It was not about my match, it was getting back into the normal chess atmosphere. We worked, and we played a few blitz games. I did not play rapid with Magnus, but I played some rapid in Moscow, against one of the strong GMs. It was real, I played with a very strong grandmaster, and I was happy with my game. Most important was that my mind was clearing up and getting ready for chess.

I had certain ideas, but I also had some restrictions, because I did not want to play anything that could jeopardise my work with Magnus, because he needs ideas in China [at the Nanjing Super-GM tournament] than I need here. So I played something simple. Karpov made a conscious choice to play very simple positions with black and something sharp with white. Actually I was quite happy – except for the totally stupid game one in blitz, where something happened and I could not recover after playing 12.exd5, because after castles, castles, Rc1 I think that Black is in real trouble.

I like this position, for me it was easy, I always had a good result with white – I remember a game with Spassky twenty years ago in Barcelona, and other good games – so Karpov’s choice was natural for him, but I was quite pleased. So I did not want to make big changes. Also in games five and seven I went for some deviations, but in the end I like these structures. I had no risks, and the fact is that Karpov lost five games out of six, which probably gives you an idea that this was not the smartest choice. Maybe he expected more of e4, that is my suspicion. And also having Bologan [as a second] he concentrated on defending against 1.e4, where he had serious problems lately.

Magnus plays Gruenfeld and Queen’s Gambit – sometimes Meran. That means that I am probably studying these openings, I have to look at them. So Gruenfeld was definitely one of their prime choices, and he prepared a very sharp opening. I thought it’s tough, but it offers me interesting opening positions. It might be worse, but there were complications. I had enough ideas to not actually show what Magnus plays.

Game one – Gruenfeld: I think it was quite an important game, because before Sutovsky and others always play …Re8, which in my view is a little premature, because with the rook on f8 you can actually play …f5, and that is what I did. I was quite happy, and the fact is that Karpov did not repeat it, and he found by the way an interesting move – it is amazing that 13.Be3 is a new move…

Produced by Robert Fontaine (middle) and Gérard Demuydt (right)
© Europe Echecs 2009 – transcription by ChessBase

ChessBase articles on the match

Karpov-Kasparov: Grudge Match in Valencia
30.08.2009 – They played each other in five big World Championship matches, most famously in 1984, when their first encounter was abandoned after 48 games without a final decision. Now to mark the 25th anniversary Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov will play a 12-game match – four rapid and eight blitz games – from 21 to 24 September, 2009, in Valencia, Spain. Details and statistics.

Karpov-Kasparov: Match start in Valencia today
22.09.2009 – Exactly 25 years after their first encounter – the World Championship match in Moscow – the perennial opponents Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov are playing a twelve-game rapid and blitz match in the Spanish city of Valencia. The rounds start on Tuesday at 19:00h CEST (21:00h Moscow, 1 p.m. NY), with two days of rapid games and one for blitz. Watch it on Playchess.

Valencia: Kasparov starts with 2-0 crunch
23.09.2009 – Twenty-five years and still going strong: Garry Kasparov started his commemorative match against eternal rival Anatoly Karpov with two quick wins. The first game was over in 24 moves, when Karpov overstepped his time; and the second ended in 28 moves after a flashy kingside attack by Kasparov. The international press is reporting extensively, and we have some interesting video documents.

Valencia: Karpov wins game three, Kasparov wins the match 3-1
24.09.2009 – Day two of the commemorative rapid chess match saw Anatoly Karpov win a fine game against the man who dethroned him as World Champion 25 years ago. In the final game Garry Kasparov only needed a draw, but put on the pressure until Karpov crumbled and lost – again – on time. The final score of 3.0-1.0 is exactly what the ratings predicted. Illustrated report with videos.

Valencia: Kasparov's blitz win, final score 9.0-3.0
25.09.2009 – Everyone expected an easy win by Kasparov, but their eight-game blitz encounter started with a shock loss. Karpov drew first blood, Kasparov took a "deep breath" 17-move draw to clear his head, and then went on to score five wins in a row. The final game was a draw, leaving Kasparov winning the blitz with 6.0-2.0 and the match with 9.0-3.0 – exactly as their ratings predicted. Illustrated report.

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