Kasparov answers questions in Norway (2/2)

6/6/2014 – In this second part, Garry faces provocative questions, starting with Levon Aronian's allegation that aside from Kasparov and Karpov, there were no good players in the 80s. Even Short presents some misgivings, but it is not over when the former world champion is asked to discuss the 1.e4 and 1.d4 debate and why it has virtually disappeared from elite play. What do you think?

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Dirk Jan Ten Geuzendam - You were telling a story yesterday about Aronian telling you that in the 80s there were no good players. Not talking about you, he meant there was you and Karpov and that was it, basically.

Garry's reaction to being told he had it easy

Garry Kasparov - I think every quarter of a century we have players that challenge the credibility of previous generations. I don't know, and maybe my views are also very harsh, but you know when I look at these young player that grew up with computers and ask them questions and the things they understand I think Tigran Petrosian would probably be horrified.

Let's not forget that even in the 80s they were quite old but Spassky was playing and Petrosian, and there was Viktor Korchnoi, who even in the 21st century beat young players (Ed: referring to his demolition of Caruana in 2011 just before his 80th birthday), and in the 80s he was only in his early fifties. Then we had Jan Timman, we still had Polugaevsky, we still had Tal.

Nigel Short - I think his point was that there wasn't the break through of the younger players because most of the players you are referring to are from the previous generation.

Yes, but how do you evaluate "my generation"? What about Artur Yussupov?

How can you dismiss players such as Timman, Yussupov and Portisch?

Short - Yes, he was a very good player, and I consider him to be an 80s player.

GK: Exactly.

DjtG - Did he say this tongue-in-cheek?

Short - I don't know, but I said that there were more better players today, not the absolute top, and it is because of computers.

Let's work on the definitions. Are we talking about more better players, or more better young players? Because the average age of the best players has dropped. Then let's compare the current top 10 with the top 10 from then. They were older but still, you know, but let's remember that Tal and Polugaevsky were still playing and they were quite good. And Portisch I'm sorry was also pretty good.

Short - I mentioned Portisch but Levon was pretty scathing.

DjtG - Another provocative question now. Nigel was expressing his doubts on 1.e4 these days and that it was a much better move in the old days.

Short - It's unprotected, Garry. You put your pawn on e4 and they attack it with the Petroff and the Berlin.

Admit it, you were playing a defective opening move your entire career

Yesterday I saw the statistics of the use of white's first moves, second moves, and the statistics were quite telling. You could see that e4 was gradually replaced by d4 in the 30s and then e4 was no.1 again. Still, there is more 1.e4 in professional tournaments, but when you go to the very top, yes, it is very clear. And I think it is a philosophical reason why 1.e4 is no longer being played in the World Championship. It has almost disappeared. The top players are instinctively avoiding very sharp lines or just the simplifications because everyone wants to move to the position where they can still show their qualities, without being hijacked by an unusual opening line, so that's why 1.d4 and 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 are dominating the field and the World Championship matches.  

Short has fun needling Kasparov who in turn takes it all in with a laugh

DjtG - Would you nevertheless recommend young players to start with 1.e4 if you want to learn the game? Is that a better way to learn the game?

I'm not sure. That was the conventional wisdom when I was a kid, and you had to start with 1.e4. I remember being in the Pioneer's Palace preparing for a tournament and Vladimir Bagirov was the captain of our team, and someone showed him a game where they played 1.Nf3 and he looked at it and said, "are you going to play e4 after?"

I don't know. It's not as simple now because with 1.e4 you can face several openings that are not offering many chances, like Nigel mentioned: the Petroff, the Berlin. The Berlin is a very interesting endgame, but saying that this is the way to move forward and to learn about chess...

This is the complete video of Garry's visit to the commentary booth. It starts at 5:00 and
lasts until the end. You will find more questions and comments in it if you listen to it all. 



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Navak Navak 6/6/2014 08:41
I don't think Aronian made an "allegation" as you put it, he just simply stated a fact. Here is a graph from chessmetrics showing exactly the same thing, in the 80 the Ks dominated, they were head of the rest. http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/Chrono/ChronoGraph-1975-2005.gif
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