Lining up for a chess book

10/27/2003 – "My Great Predecessors" is setting great precedents for the sale of chess books. After a wildly successful launch in New York Garry Kasparov's latest book caused gridlock when it was put on sale at the London Chess Centre. Here's the full story...

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A few days ago Garry Kasparov travelled to London to do a number of things: (a) launch the UK Chess Week at the Art of Chess museum; (b) give a simultaneous exhibition for Belzberg Technologies, a Canadian financial software company run by chess-mad chairman and CEO, Sid Belzberg; and (c) do a promotional for his book "My Great Predecessors" at the London Chess Center, causing gridlock in London in the process. Here are some visual impressions of his visit, provided by John Henderson.

Kasparov giving Sid Belzberg a hand. The software manufacturer went on to give him a touch fight, holding his own in a Grunfeld, only to lose the thread of the game at a crucial juncture.

   

The next morning there was the book signing at The London Chess & Bridge Centre in Euston Road. At 9.30 am there was a large queue waiting patiently for the doors to open at ten. A beaming Malcolm Pein, owner of the Chess Centre, did not know what had hit him.

   
"As the doors opened, his staff was rushed off their feet just coping with the demand. In the shop, the scenes were almost like the publication of the latest Harry Potter book – though not so much J.K. Rawling, more like G.K. rolling in it – as the cash register and credit card machine both came under enormous strain." (John Henderson)

   
By the time Kasparov finally arrived at the shop at 10.30am, he was also stunned to see the queue was still well outside the shop and down to the bottom of the street! He fought his way through the cheering crowds and for the next two hours patiently autographed each copy, happily posing for photographs with each buyer. Even an hour into his two hour signing session, the queue was still reaching outside the shop!

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