08 December 2011

Ask Kasparov

A couple of months ago, the Internet Chess Club (ICC) invited chess fans to ask Kasparov questions via its Facebook page.

Ask Kasparov - the verdict is in! We asked for questions for us to put to Garry Kasparov, and ICC was overwhelmed by your response! There was many interesting questions to be asked of the former world champion - so many that we decided we would extend the winners to 9 instead of 5. Later in the week, we will publish Kasparov's answers, but for now, find below a list of the winner's and their question.

You can find the questions on another ICC Facebook page, Album: Wall Photos. The interview took place just after a blitz match between Kasparov and Short during the 2011 edition of Your Next Move in Belgium. I don't think the interview was ever transcribed to print, but a video recording is available on the ICC at 25:30 into ICC ChessFM presents GM Alexei Yermolinsky's Game Of the Day - Kasparov - Short Match. The recording is at times hard to follow because of background noise, but it is classic Kasparov. Here are some of the highlights, abridged and paraphrased.

Q: Any plans to come out of retirement? A: No. • Q: Current goals? A: Introducing chess in educational systems around the world.

Q: Best game you played and lost? A: Game 18, 1986 London/Leningrad match with Karpov, spoiled by three blunders just before time control. • Q: Best game played very well? A: Games 24 & 16 in 1985 match with Karpov; 1999 game with Topalov; 1983 game with Portisch; mentions new book 'Garry Kasparov's Chess Career'. • Q: Most memorable tournament? A: Linares 1992 & 1993, Wijk aan Zee 1999.

Q: How to improve the image of chess? A: Just tell the facts: played all over the world, used as an educational tool, used for advertising purposes, used in movies. Don't do it like FIDE leadership, e.g. through association with aliens.

Q: Impact of chess software? A: Players have more and more of a geometrical mentality; look at positions the way computers do. People rely too much on engines; 'most players are following computer lines'. Vast amount of information available now.

Q: Will new time format for the championships or chess960 or advanced chess concepts help to promote the image of chess? A: 'I think we could definitely experiment within the same rules. The devastating thing is just trying to change the basic rules, like changing the moves or trying to change the game outcome, like eliminating draws.'

Q: How will Internet affect clubs? A: 'Physical contact is still very important.' Comes back to the teaching aspect.

Q: What is the right method of teaching chess to 4-6 years old children? A: 'I'm a chess player, not a professional teacher.' Talks about linking chess to the cultural icons that attract young children.

Q: Still active in Russian politics? A: Yes.

I'll cover Kasparov's comments on chess960 on my blog for that subject (see the sidebar).

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