Kasparov IV opens in London

1/13/2005 – Volume four of Garry Kasparov's My Great Predecessors, which concentrates on Bobby Fischer, has sold 9000 copies in its first three weeks – and that's just the English edition. Last weekend the author visited the London Chess Centre to lecture and sign copies for his fans. We bring you a report, pictures and videos.

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Garry Kasparov at the London Chess Center

By Dave Bland


The queue forming outside the London Chess Center before Kasparov's arrival

London welcomed Garry's fourth visit to Chess & Bridge with typical January weather: cold, windy and not a glimmer of sun. Despite the relatively short notice and the prospect of queuing in the driving wind and rain hundreds of people came to see the world number one, who was in town to promote the fourth part of his My Great Predecessor series. They were not to be disappointed by what proved to be a great day.


Inside the store, which sells chess books, sets, software and other equipment

The highlight certainly proved to be a marvellous one-hour long lecture from Kasparov on the plans for the series, how it has evolved and some marvellous insights into the players included in Volume Four.


Early arrivals: Jan Svarovsky, Mark Zarb-Adami and David Robertson actually turned up three hours before Garry!

In particular Garry spoke about the roles of Reshevsky and Fine in the development of American chess life and how it was not Europe but the USA that held sway in the pre-war years. Fine was described in glowing terms, and Reshevsky's match victory against Botvinnik in Moscow was praised. Kasparov stressed the fact that both Fine and Reshevsky were amateurs!


Garry arrives for a three and half hour (!) signing session

Garry also spoke about Korchnoi's fantastic contribution which still continues and mentioned the relative merits of Karpov and Fischer.


With visitors IM Simon Williams (left) and IM Richard Pert

One particularly interesting point made was that, in Kasparov's opinion, Karpov would have had very good chances against Fischer in 1975 if the match had ever come to fruition. Only after a careful study of the games whilst preparing Part Four did Garry come to this conclusion, and he was at pains to point out that this was not a rehash of the views of the Soviet Chess School – an accusation too often levelled by "Fischer-ites".


All the day the book was selling in large numbers

With amusing anecdotes and crisp analytical insight, the lecture lasted twice as long as we expected! And it included the whole game between Fischer and Gligoric, and a mention of Larsen, whose ideas from a match against Ivkov in he 1960s surfaced again at 1994 in Linares when an unknowing Illescas and Bareev played the same line. You can catch the whole lecture in the video links given below.


Signing His Great Predecessors for a future Successor?

After Garry departed in a taxi, still signing books and shaking hands even in the street, a blitz tournament started in the pub down the road from the Chess Centre, attended by amongst others Rashid Ziatdinov, Danny Gormally, and the winner, GM elect Simon Williams. We can't wait for the next Kasparov Day.


Mareta and Meri Grigoryan, mother and daughter, both competent chess players


With David Foster and his five-year-old son Thomas, the youngest fan on this day


Peter Andreev, who is just six years old and, we presume, an avid reader of chess books


Was it good for you? Kasparov with London Chess Center head Malcolm Pein

Video Links

The London Chess Center has videotaped Kasparov's lecture and made it available in Windows Media format. You can click on the following links to replay it in six parts. Each video is about 6 MB in size.


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