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Kasparov talks to New Yorker Crowd Print E-mail
Jennifer's Blog
By Jennifer Shahade   
October 9, 2006
On Saturday, October 8 New Yorker editor David Remnick interviewed Garry Kasparov on Russian politics, chess and Garry's career. The talk began on a sad note, as Garry had just been notified about the gruesome death of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

About 500 people attended. I was surprised at how few chessplayers I recognized there. I saw Kasparov's pregnant wife, Daria and Mig Greengard of chessninja. Also attending were IM Irina Krush, GM Pascal Charbonneau and FM Dr.Lew Eisen.

Because of the literary and political interests of the audience, the talk revolved around Russian politics. Garry criticized rampant racism against Georgians and other people from Southern regions in Russia. A swarthy Azerbaijaini himself, Garry said that as a famous chessplayer, he has not experienced racism personally. If the racism is as bad as he describes, it's hard to believe that it won't affect his political career at all.

When asked which candidate he was behind: "In Russia, we're not trying to win an election. We're trying to have an election."

David Remnick with Garry Kasparov. Photo JS.

Garry was charismatic and quick in his interview as well as the Q+A after. One guy asked, "Aren't chessplayers dorky?" Garry said, "Statistically, the concept of chess as a crowd of nerds is not supported." Then Gza and J-Lo emerged from the crowd to support his statement with a chess rap with love song melody. Sorry you missed it.

On the Topalov-Kramnik fiasco, Garry was surprisingly neutral. He couldn't resist cracking a few jokes such as his quip "Out of the first five games, the fifth was the most exciting," or when he mused that getting the details of the bathroom dispute in the papers might result in much needed corporate sponsorship for chess- from a plumbing company. Kasparov criticized Kramnik for not playing the 5th round game. Korchnoi and Karpov on the other hand, claim on chessbase that they'd go further than Kramnik, and skip out on the whole match.

Kasparov praised organizers for creating a "glass wall" that separated Topalov and Kramnik from trainers and press. He emphasized that such elite players would not need a long computer generated variation to cheat. A simple hand or facial signal from a trainer(via a computer), to "attack", or to "go for it", could easily tip the match decisively.

Kasparov described the quality of play during the first half of the match as "lousy," but getting better. At the time of the New Yorker talk, the score was 5:4 in Topalov's favor and Kasparov predicted a dominating victory for the aggressive Bulgarian.

U.S. Chess League Update

Last week, the New York Knights lost to the San Francisco Mechanics in a match that went down to the wire. We lost rather quickly on board 4 (Privman-Pinto), and drew two interesting games on boards 2 (Krush-Bhat) and 3(Preuss-Molner). 1st board GM Pascal Charbonneau had a winning endgame, but IM Josh Friedel played tenaciously and held the draw:


Now San Francisco is leading the league 5.5/6.

The other surprise of the week (Yes, San Fran, it was a surprise to lose to you!), was Baltimore's victory over the undefeated Boston Blitz. Spearheading this was Bruci Lopez's quick and devastating win over Steven Winer.


On Wednesday, New York plays the Carolina Cobras. I'm on board 4 against Craig Jones. I'll be sure to update you with tales of either woe or victory!