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Chess Grand Master Kasparov to run against Putin? [View All]

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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-21-05 09:51 AM
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Chess Grand Master Kasparov to run against Putin?
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The man who would be king

For 20 years, Garry Kasparov remained virtually unbeaten on the chess board. Now he's planning his most audacious move ever - to topple Vladimir Putin. Andrew Anthony reports on the opening game of his political campaign

Sunday August 21, 2005
The Observer

Garry Kasparov is currently putting the finishing touches to a book with the provisional title How Life Imitates Chess. As he is almost certainly the greatest chess player in history, nobody can doubt his authority concerning the board game. But it's on the broader matter of life where questions of expertise might be raised. For while professional chess players may understand the black-and-white world of the chess board, they are not renowned for their competence in negotiating the grey uncertainties of everyday existence.
We think of Bobby Fischer, the paranoid anti-Semite raging at imagined enemies, or Paul Morphy, the 19th-century champion, found dead in his bath surrounded by women's shoes. We recall Wilhelm Steinitz, the Austrian who thought he was in electrical communication with God. Even 'normal' professionals, like our own Nigel Short and Jonathan Speelman, tend to betray curious eccentricities. Short speaks English as though it were a foreign language and Speelman looks, in his clothes and grooming, like a mad professor plotting to blow up the world.

It should be said in his defence that Kasparov, though a genius at the game, has never particularly looked the part. Whereas Anatoly Karpov, the man he beat to take the world title back in 1985, possessed the cadaverous pallor and puny physique of someone who had spent his life in airless rooms lifting nothing heavier than a wooden chess piece, Kasparov by contrast was all simian movements and saturnine stares. His opponents spoke of his physical presence as if he were an athlete or a boxer rather than what they were, chess nerds. He trained for big matches with a fitness regime and careful diet. Short referred to his 'weightlifter's energy' and that was before Kasparov crushed him in their 1993 World Championship match.

And while chess players tend by nature to be self-absorbed, distracted, reclusive, Kasparov was an extrovert with no interest in concealing his high opinion of himself. As he put it in his 1987 autobiography, Child of Change, he was 'not one to hide my light under a bushel'. In the book he described his triumphs with an undisguised pride bordering on glee. He quoted praise at length and gave short shrift to criticism. Dubbed by his rivals the 'Beast of Baku', he later outlined his relationship with his fellow chess professionals. 'Most of the other players hate me because I beat them regularly,' he explained. 'Most of them have a devastatingly bad record against me.'

Everything about Kasparov, including his impenetrably thick hair, seemed to speak of the indomitable. He produced moves that teams of grandmasters would take days to unravel. And for 20 years, give or take the occasional blip, he could not be beaten. Then, earlier this year, having won the prestigious Linares tournament in Spain, he announced his retirement. Not for him the obscurity or notoriety that his predecessors encountered after chess, not for him the struggle against dwindling powers and memory. Instead, Kasparov informed the world that he was ready for a whole new challenge. He was going into politics.,11913,1...
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