New York the Epicenter of Elo for Karpov 2010 Fundraiser
By Mig Greengard   
May 21, 2010
Magnus Carlsen, Anatoly Karpov, Richard Conn and Garry Kasparov

For one night in New York City, the Trump SoHo Hotel became the epicenter of Elo as world #1 Magnus Carlsen joined legendary former world champions Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov at a gala party to raise funds for Karpov’s bid for the FIDE presidency. Like any good part-time chess journalist, my first question about attending was, “is there free food?” When an affirmative answer returned, I discarded the rest of my questions and marked May 17 on my calendar.
As it turned out, there was barely enough time to sample the prime rib and pasta with cremini mushrooms, what with all the chess VIPs and action going on. There was even some chess! Kasparov, who trained Carlsen last year, faced off against the Norwegian star in a pair of consultation games in which they alternated moves with the two amateurs who won the honor in an auction. Other auctions were held for the right to be obliterated by Carlsen and Kasparov in a mini blitz simul. Was that IM Dean Ippolito taking on Carlsen? It was, and yes, the crowd actually was chanting, “Dean! Dean! Dean!” at one point. It didn’t help.
Anatoly Karpov, Maurice Ashley, Magnus Carlsen and Garry Kasparov

Of course it was also a night for politics. American attorney Richard A. Conn Jr. is a member of Karpov’s ticket as Deputy President and he, Karpov, and Kasparov delivered brief speeches about why the chess world needs a change after 15 years of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. GM Maurice Ashley was the master of ceremonies as only he can be and he whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Well, into as much of a frenzy as a party full Wall Street types can be whipped without using the words “collateralized debt obligation.” Kasparov reminded everyone that 20 years earlier, he and Karpov had been adversaries in NYC in their fifth world championship match, but now they were back on the same side for the good of chess.
Anatoly Karpov and Richard Conn

Candidate Karpov’s own statement was proof of two things. One, that he is very serious about this fight and about changing the chess world. He makes a solid case that he has the experience and the team to drag FIDE into the modern world. Two, that if he wins it won’t be on the strength of Obamaesque speechmaking charisma; his soft voice quieted the room. “We will put chess back on the map,” was his theme, referring to the increasingly goat-infested venues Ilyumzhinov has scrambled to find for FIDE events due to an inability to attract or work with commercial sponsors. Magnus Carlsen evaded speech-making duties but added, “there are more people in this room tonight than are attending the FIDE Grand Prix tournament in Astrakhan right now. … in any round. … Well, in all the rounds combined.” Painful but true.
Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen engaged in consultation games

A full report will be coming soon to Chess Life, and many more photos and even some of the games will be available here at CLO. So you’ll just have to wait to hear what Magnus Carlsen considered the highlight of his first visit to New York and what he thought of the Topalov-Anand match – and his chances of being Anand’s next challenger.