Kasparov interviewed by King

by Albert Silver
8/7/2014 – Playchess viewers have been treated to more than the expected dose of grandmaster commentary of the games. Daniel King has been on-site conducting interviews each and every day, live on Playchess. When Garry Kasparov sat at the table, days before the elections on August 11th, King quizzed him on everything from the world championship, the campaign, and even what he taught Magnus.

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Daniel King - How are you enjoying the atmosphere of the Olympiads?

Garry Kasparov - (...) Well, I played eight Olympiads, four under the Soviet flag, four under the Russian flag. Eight gold medals, team medals. It's a unique event, what can I say? The Chess Olympiad is special. It combines a high class event with all the best players. Not just one match like Russia-China, or other great matches with big games and top players who are rated 2700+ or 2800. Magnus is playing, and everyone is watching. But it also has a lot of chess players, a lot of people from countries where chess is yet at a stage of development, and for them it is a unique experience. They are in the same tournament hall with the greatest players on the planet. It's not just they can learn, since they can watch the game on the internet, but it's not the same as being there. I think it's a unique atmosphere.

Garry Kasparov was both enthusiastic and clear

That's why when people dream about chess being part of the big Olympics, that's great but it would also mean very few teams playing, and we would lose the uniqueness of the event. It's the 41st Olympiad since 1927. Chess can and should be proud of two great traditions: the World Championship match, uninterrupted since 1886, and the Chess Olympiad since 1927.

But you're not here as a chess tourist, you're here on business.

Well chesswise I am here as a tourist (laughs), but yes, I am here on business.

And you're fighting for the FIDE presidency and the vote takes place on August 11th I believe. Tell us your vision, what do you want to make better? Briefly. Your vision for the chess world.

One of our keys is to expand our base. We have to integrate chess into education. I should emphasize I don't mean integrate chess into schools, but into education. It sounds like a question of semantic but it is very important. We don't want chess in the premises, we want chess as part of the modern education system.

Playchess viewers not only had the live commentary by grandmasters, but had interviews
throughout the day on ChessBase TV

Part of the curriculum?

It could be compulsory, it could be selective, but it should be part of the program. Chess has a lot to offer. The education system around the world is facing new challenges, and these changes are imminent. I have been travelling around the world, and met with authorities from educational quarters, not chess-related, and I can tell you that chess has a unique opportunity now to present our unique values. In many countries I know there is already data that has been accumulated, and I built several Kasparov foundations around the world (...) with more to come. (...) We must seek corporate sponsorship. Commercial corporate sponsorship doesn't come to you. You have to make an effort, and this effort means you have to present something that is attractive to the sponsors, attractive to the corporations.

And how do you do that?

We have to sell the image of the game that relies on three key components: one is education, the second is technology. Chess always struggled with the big screen. Chess on the big screen is not as attractive as football, basketball or tennis, but now everything has gradually been moving to the small screen, and that's where we have our competitive advantage. Watching football on your small screen or on your mobile is not as exciting, while playing chess, following the games, listening to the commentaries, and learning... all that can be done.

Daniel King asked some tough questions on transparency regarding campaign funding, but
Garry showed that he was not above the same rules he demanded of others

The way FIDE is organized is vertical. If you have Putin's crony running the organization, everything will be vertical in power. We'll move it to the horizontal. You have to create a structure with many power centers around the world that will be built by the federations, not by the order from the top. It's not FIDE first, as Ilyumzhinov insists on his website, it's federations first. This is a fundamental philosophical difference. I believe that federations should be given the power to come up with plans. We don't know how to organize chess life in West Africa or Oceania, and we don't have to. We have to help the federations to do what is best.

A kind of devolvement you are talking about.

Exactly. It's decentralization. FIDE is too big. 181 federations and different realities.

We have a world championship match that should be taking place this year, supposedly in November in Sochi. Now, if you win the presidency, I have a funny feeling that will not be taking place in Sochi. Do you have a Plan B? Do you have something lined up? It's hypothetical, but...

It's hypothetical, but unfortunately the match in Sochi is also hypothetical. We are in August, we are less than three months away from this hypothetical match in Sochi, but there's no contract, there's nothing there, so this is only Mr. Ilyumzhinov's announcement. Is it normal that the world championship match, the crown jewel of the world of chess, and the most important event that helps us to grab corporate sponsorship, and to demonstrate the beauty of our game, that this match is not yet funded? (...) Does it help the promotion of the game of chess, that this match, if it takes place, will be run in a locale that is not open to corporate sponsorship?

Garry shared his view on the promised Sochi match

First of all I am not sure we really even have to consider running the match in November, since it is a joke the match is run every year. What's the rush? The world championship match must be properly prepared.

You are confident that if you won the presidency, you would be able to stage some kind of world championship, if not in November...

No, not in November, but I said yesterday, in my interview with Norwegian press, that within 45 days I will raise significant corporate funds to guarantee that the match will take place in a good location and conditions this match deserves, and that will be an event we'll all be proud of. You cannot and should not force sponsors to organize a match hastily. Every serious sponsor needs at least six to seven months, so that's why, should I be elected, this match would take place in April/May next year and it would be a great event everyone will be proud of.

Let's leave the politics aside. Let's look at some chess, your real passion.

(After ample game analysis that can be viewed in the video, they reach Magnus Carlsen's win.)

Magnus, he's extraordinary, isn't he? His games have this kind of elegance.

It's a sign of greatness.

Absolutely, but when you were tutoring him, did you perceive this kind of aesthetic quality in him?

He has a great combination of Karpov and Fischer. There is Karpov's precision and Fischer's passion to push for the initiative.

Kasparov was visibly proud of the brilliant game by Magnus, declaring he thought that Carlsen's
best play was yet to come

What do you think you brought to Magnus's game?

Help with the openings, how to study them, but also it's a different algorithm of making decisions. My style is different, and that's why for him it was helpful to see the chess board from the eyes of a player with a totally opposite school of thought. That's why he became more universal.

Garry, I'll let you go, I wish you well, and thank you so much.

On August 6, the New York Times published a full page article on Kasparov's campaign for
the FIDE presidency, written by Steven Lee Myers, a foreign correspondent for the Times.
The in-depth piece describes the setting of the FIDE presidency, how it got to where it is,
and the various issues and controversies surrounding it.


The complete video of his interview with Daniel King that was broadcast live on Playchess,
with all questions, comments, and analysis

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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