Kasparov, Karpov, Korchnoi and Polgar in Zurich

8/19/2006 – It will be a day with the champions: Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Viktor Kortschnoi and Judit Polgar playing an exhibition blitz tournament in the Credit Suisse building, and then giving a simultaneous display on 80 boards. You can watch it live on Playchess.com. Here are all the schedule details, and for starters a great interview with Garry Kasparov.

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Battle of the Chess Legends at Zurich "Lichthof"

To mark the bank's 150th anniversary, Credit Suisse brings four chess legends to Zurich: grandmasters Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Viktor Kortschnoi and Judit Polgar. On August 22, 2006, from 12 noon, the four will appear at the "Lichthof", the shopping arcade in the Credit Suisse building at Paradeplatz 8, to compete against each other.

The rate of play with be five minutes per side per game and three seconds increment per move. Each player will face the other three opponents twice, once with white and once with the black pieces. After the matches the players will take on 80 challengers in a simultaneous exhibition. Chess enthusiasts and passersby are invited to watch the matches – entry is free.

The games will be displayed live on screens around the venue on Bahnhofstrasse and Bärengasse, with commentary provided by international chess experts. Here, members of the Swiss national team can also be challenged to a speed match by the public.

With this event Credit Suisse bank wishes to pay homage to the four chess legends and to look back at its substantial sponsoring commitment to the sport of chess between 1982 and 1996.

Schedule overview

12:00
12:30
13:20
14:10
14:50 / 15:00   
15:30 
18:30 - 19:00

Opening, Introduction of Grand Masters and Referee
Anniversary Match Round 1
Anniversary Match Round 2
Anniversary Match Round 3
End of Anniversary Matches
Beginning of simultaneous games
End of simultaneous games

The games and a live video feed will be broadcast on the Playchess server.

The Competitors

Viktor Kortschnoi, born 1931 in Russia, is also known as "Viktor the Terrible" on account of his uncompromising playing style. To this day, at the age of 75, he continues to take part in chess tournaments at the highest level. Viktor Kortschnoi has lived for many years in Switzerland, the country he now represents in international competition.

Anatoly Karpov, born 1951 in Russia, was World Chess Champion from 1975 to 1984. He is regarded as one of the best position players of all time. At the 1985 World Championships, he was defeated by challenger Garry Kasparov, who thus became the youngest World Chess Champion in the history of the sport.

Garry Kasparov, born 1963 in Azerbaijan, was able to successfully defend his World Championship title from 1985 to 2000. In March 2005, he retired from professional chess sport. The Credit Suisse Chess Champions Day represents one of his rare public chess appearances.

Judit Polgar, born 1976 in Hungary, was the only female competitor to win the Junior World Championships in her age group in 1988 and 1990. She achieved the title of Grand Master at the age of 15. Today, the world's premier female chess player appears exclusively in men's tournaments and ranks among the world's top ten players.

Referee: Lothar Schmid, Grand Master; Commentators: GM Vastimil Hort, IM Werner Hug.
Enquiries: Credit Suisse Media Relations. Phone: +41 844 33 88 44; E-Mail: media.relations@credit-suisse.com.


Garry Kasparov: Innovation as Recipe for Success

In a short interview with the editor of emagazine, the great strategist Garry Kasparov draws a comparison between managers and chess players, and emphasizes the need for constant innovation. On Tuesday, August 22, Garry Kasparov will take on Anatoly Karpov, Viktor Korchnoi and Judit Polgar on the occasion of the Lichthof Chess Champions Day.

Andreas Schiendorfer: Mr. Kasparov, it is remarkable how many political and business people play chess. What are the similarities between managers and chessplayers?

Garry Kasparov: Among successful managers and winning chessplayers we can talk about skill sets: qualities like calculation, competitive drive, work ethic, and imagination. It goes beyond skills and talent, however, and into the realm of combining, synthesizing, these things. Both groups are also required to see the big picture, to readily acknowledge strengths and weaknesses, and to learn quickly from mistakes.

Would it make sense if chess theory were to become an obligatory element of management training courses?

In chess vernacular we use the word "theory" to refer to specific opening variations. It might not hurt a businessman to be an expert on the Najdorf Sicilian – my old favorite defense – but it probably wouldn't help much either. If you mean the rules of the game of chess itself and the logic and strategies it can teach, managers could definitely do worse than to study chess. First there is the sheer satisfaction of the game, both from the competition and its beauty. Chess also teaches us, or reminds us, of the power of planning and disciplined thinking. Chessplayers learn to fuse creativity, strategy, and logic, something every executive could benefit from learning to do better.

Chess players are often introverted and reclusive, however, champions are often in the spotlight, giving lectures around the world. Is this difficult for you? How do you deal with it?

This myth of the introverted chessplayer has a fine pedigree, but it's a myth nonetheless. Great authors like Nabokov and Zweig created misanthropic chess masters that stay in our memory thanks to the skill of their creators. Bits and pieces may have come from reality, but only the most depressing and extreme exceptions receive attention. The vast majority of chessplayers are social, friendly, and no more likely to jump out a window than a stock broker or salesman. I certainly consider myself a member of that majority and have no interest in propagating the myth of the "reclusive chess genius." I've never met one; but I was just nine years old when Bobby Fischer left serious chess.

That said, chess is obviously a solitary sport, so someone with competitive and creative urges who is uncomfortable in a team environment might find an outlet at the chessboard. We might also see him on the tennis court or golf course.

What is the topic of your keynote speech in Zurich?

Since it celebrates an anniversary, the 150th Jubilee of Credit-Suisse, usually a time for looking back, I think it will be appropriate to talk about the importance of innovation and moving forward. Staying on top, staying on the cutting edge, is more difficult than getting there. I managed to keep the number one spot in the chess world for twenty years and the only way I did this was by finding new ways to challenge myself. This is critical for corporations as well as for individuals.


Kasparov during a keynote speech – here in Berlin in November 2005

Resting on our laurels, looking back at past successes or settling for being second-best, these things almost always lead to disaster. If you aren't right at the cusp of the curve of change and innovation you can't see what's coming. It is a wonderful thing to have a glorious past to look back on, but all the glory will remain in the past if we don't continue to innovate.

Once again you will meet Karpov, Korchnoi, and Polgar. What are your feelings about these meetings?

Well, I must say that retiring from serious play before Viktor Korchnoi made me a little uneasy. When I first faced "Viktor the Terrible" in a serious game it was back in 1982 in Lucerne; I was 19 and he was 51. Now I'm a retiree and Korchnoi is still out there playing teenagers!

Of course overall it will bring back pleasant memories from the great old days. World championship matches, bright lights, great chess and great competition. In our own ways, all four of us have made huge contributions to our sport. But despite the festive occasion and the surplus of gentlemanly gray hair on the stage, I don't expect young Judit will be the only one with fighting spirit at the board.

Interview text in German, French and Italian

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