Kasparov: 'Something is dead wrong in chess'

9/30/2009 – The recent match between Kasparov and Karpov in Valencia, Spain, was a tremendous success. That is tragic, says Garry Kasparov – when two old guys, one retired, the other no longer a real force in the game, still are the greatest show in the world of chess. In his interview with GM Robert Fontaine for the French magazine Europe Echecs Kasparov vents his feelings on this and other subjects. Part two.

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Interview with Garry Kasparov – part two

By GM Robert Fontaine

Kasparov: “I must make this very clear, and people are not listening: I have no interest [in coming back to professional chess]. Because I accomplished everything I wanted in the game of chess, and now I enjoy it immensely, but playing professionally is a very different thing. Let us not forget, I am working with Magnus, and that is my professional work. You cannot combine these two things. I’m happy that I played well with Karpov – well, is a huge overstatement. Karpov played some very good moves, but the quality of his chess was not stable, sometimes it dropped quite dramatically, and also his time handling. As a professional player you know that very often your game depends on your opponent.

Karpov couldn’t cope with the pressure. The real level of chess would be tested if I had Anand playing against me. I am not sure I could handle it, it would probably be too much. But again, you never know.

Fontaine: This match is a fantastic promotion for chess. How do you explain that Anand, Kramnik or Topalov cannot get the same popularity?

Kasparov: I said it and Karpov said it, at the opening press conference, it’s tragic that a Kasparov-Karpov match, twenty-five years after our first World Championship, five years after I retired, and Karpov no longer a real force in the chess scene, that this is still the greatest show in the world of chess. It shows that something is wrong, and I think that is a very important message, for chess organisers, for FIDE, for chess fans, for grandmasters: I mean guys, something is dead wrong, if nobody cares about everything else and everybody pays attention to a match of, okay, two old guys.

Anyway, we are still here and we are creating the biggest show in the world of chess. I think it is wrong. I can only hope that things will somehow change. I don’t know how, because looking at the game of chess which is now being played in Elista, Nalchik, Sochi, Khanty-Mansiysk, sometimes Baku and Yerevan, it brings chess to obscurity. For twenty-five years since our first match chess was sliding towards obscurity, and now it is a game that is out of the mainstream. If the top leading players are happy with that there is nothing you can do about it. But I think chess deserves better. We tried to prove it during this match – whether we did it or not is hard to say.

The next stop will hopefully be Paris. Our target is to play matches in all the countries where we played World Championship matches. The ideal choice would be to start in Moscow, but for quite obvious reasons it seems that Moscow will not materialise. My guess is that Paris is likely, and maybe nothing else. Probably my best chess results were in Paris. I played five rapid chess tournaments in Paris, I won four times out of five, and the fifth I lost in the final. In Moscow I made only one semi-final and I never won it. So Paris was the best ever, and those were not ordinary tournaments: every time I faced the strongest opposition and scored my most memorable victories there. So I wish to play another event there, and hopefully help people to see that the game of chess is still alive.


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



Kateryna Lahno and Robert Fontaine, who recently married, with Garry Kasparov

During their stay in Valencia Robert and Katya went to visit the world-famous L'Oceanogràfic marine complex, which has approximately 100,000 m² of marine habitats. It is the largest complex of its type in Europe and has 45,000 animals of 500 different species, including fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates, with sharks, penguins, dolphins, sea lions, walruses, beluga whales, all inhabiting nine underwater towers. The sea water is pumped from the Malvarrosa Beach.


L'Oceanografic complex in Valencia, Spain


The park naturally also includes a dolphinarium, with shows put on many times a day


Kateryna in front of one of the aquariums, with a sunfish in her back


Playa de la Malvarrosa is the place to eat to authentic Spanish paella

Video interview with Garry Kasparov on Valencia
28.09.2009 – 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.

ChessBase articles on the Karpov-Kasparov 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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