Garry Kasparov: "The Situation in Russia Doesn't Facilitate Intellectual Development"

Время публикации: 19.05.2012 18:51 | Последнее обновление: 20.05.2012 14:59

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Kasparov’s press conference at the Tretyakov Gallery, 18.05.2012

М.GLUKHOVSKY: Garry Kimovich, How did you evaluate the players before the match, and how do you evaluate them now, when half of the match is practically over?

G.KASPAROV: (after a long pause) I’ve already given the match maybe not very diplomatic, but a quite substantive evaluation before it has started. I think that in this case that shouldn’t sound offensive, it’s just statement of facts, but to my mind, this is the first time in the World Championship Match history, when the official match with the official Champion and official Challenger has no relevance to determining the world’s strongest player. (after translation into English). I haven’t been translated from Russian in English for a long time. Actually, that’s just a result of the problems that have been accumulating in the system of the World Championship matches for a long period of time. Nevertheless, the Word Championship matches are always characterized by a serious preparation and that’s why we expect new ideas which can change our understanding of contemporary chess. If comparing this match to the one which was held after I left chess, I mean Kramnik – Topalov, I think that this match is significantly inferior on content. 

М.GLUKHOVSKY: Now, when the first five games of the match have finished in draws, does that mean that the rivals’ forces are equal? Or maybe, from your point of view, one of them has just prepared better?

G.KASPAROV: It seems to me that both players show certain prudence, although the reasons for that may be different. If I’m not mistaken the last time Gelfand beat Anand in Classics was in Yalta, 1993? So, it’s quite obvious that playing against Anand, Gelfand tries to be as concentrated and conscious as it’s possible. As regards to Anand, I think that it’s rather obvious that he has lost this interest in the game which has always distinguished him in the past. When has he won the tournament for the last time? I just remember (I saw) his play in London in classics in December. The player of this level has a different attitude to the entering of the game. I have played against him a lot and I just saw this unusual difference in his attitude towards the process of playing.

М.GLUKHOVSKY: The same was in November in Moscow.

G.KASPAROV: So, I think this consciousness is natural, because Anand is afraid of losing, while Gelfand probably doesn’t believe in himself – that if who loses once, he wouldn’t be able to win back; and I think now will be another draw.

M.GLUKHOVSKY: Parallels can be drawn with the several matches. In the first place, your match against Anand, which started with 8 draws. Please, tell us, what does the player feel, when the games, one after another, especially in this kind of competition, are drawn. Does there appear a feeling that the conflict has to finish and it doesn’t actually matter how?

G.KASPAROV: Well, we drew first 8 games, which were followed by 5 decisive games out of 6. There also were cases when we didn’t want to continue the fight in the positions which gave some opportunities for that, I mean first 8 draws, but, nevertheless, I can mark out at least two games – the 6th and 8th – which were marked with a theoretical duels of a great importance; and the games I’ve played with Black - the modern Sheveningen variation was developed in them.

M.GLOKHOVSKY: But  isn’t there a psychological pressure?.. Or there’s just a wish of this situation to be resolved somehow?

G.KASPAROV: Along with the desire of the both players, there also are some psychological laws. A chance of a mistake increases with every game. Secondly, we played a 20-game match against Anand, while this match consists of only 12 games. That is a very important difference. The distance surely will raise the pressure, but still 8 draws out of 20 games is something completely different than 6 draws out of 12 games. 

M.GLUKHOVSKY: You have played more matches than anyone else in the history of chess - it seems that you’ve played 8 World Championship matches, haven’t you?

G.KASPAROV: No, Karpov has played more. He has also played against Korchnoi…

M.GLUKHOVSKY: Oh yes, Korchnoi, sorry. This is first match for Boris Gelfand. What is the difference between the first World Championship match and all the others?

G.KASPAROV: My first match was in 1984 and it was a very tough system for selecting the challenger. It was clear that this is a match against the World Champion, the real one. It was the main competition. Well, another thing is that it was a lengthy match for me, so I had an unlimited opportunity to gain more experience. I think the public has different opinion on these matches played today than on those played 30-40-50 years ago.

THE QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE: Mr. Kasparov, we’ve watched your match against Anand in 1995. What has changed in matches since then and how has chess changed with the appearance of computers since the time you’ve left chess until now?

G.KASPAROV: Our match in 1995 probably was a milestone for introducing computers into chess preparation. The famous Game 10, which I won by introducing a big novelty in one of the popular lines was the first experience when the primitive machine was used to check the calculations in order to feel more comfortable while sacrificing. I don’t see any significant change in trend in 2005-2012 it’s going in the same way. Computers are playing more and more aggressive role in preparation of the top players; moreover, I think that computers affect the way the young players look at the position and consider the decisions. I think that it’s somehow a subconscious process, because they’re used to look at the computer screen and unless you’re a very strong player, like Magnus Carlsen, it’s very hard to resist machine’s recommendations. 

THE QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE: Do you think that there’s a tendency of a high number of draws in the matches? And should this tendency left unchanged? Or maybe chess should be put in some restrictive rules as GM Sergei Shipov is recommending? What is your opinion?

G.KASPAROV: Since I’ve started to participate in the World Championship matches, we saw quite significant changes in the regulations, including time control and the length of the event. I remember that when the idea was thrown to play 2 hours game, instead of 2.5 hours game - that was like a real revolution; and I remember neither Karpov nor I were very pleased of that. And then we were moving towards the cancelation of adjourning the games, it was very natural because there were computers, but still that was a very revolutionary change from the Botvinnik type World Championship match. I think that certain regulations that are being imposed in some events, I mean the Sofia Rules – those are also a part of a natural process that keep up the tension in the game; or in the tournaments we may talk about three points for a win, which I think is a bit excessive, because then the results may be absolutely unbalanced; but still the idea is gaining support.  And of course the most radical solutions are to introduce some form of Fischer random chess to kill the opening. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually some kind of this reform will be introduced. From my perspective, from all those 960 positions which can take place in Fischer random chess, most of them - 95% - are absolutely ridiculous. But there is a number of positions that are quite playable and I wouldn’t mind if one position would be selected for a tournament in order for the players to have time for preparation. I wouldn’t rush with such a dramatic change because we know that even the matches at highest level can be very attractive. Recently we saw the 6-game match Kramnik – Aronian and it was a huge contribution to chess. And it was also very exciting.

K.ZANGALIS: Garry Kimovich you have always been a very venture player; now you’re sitting here and maybe on some subconscious level you’d like to be at the other side of the wall? And if you’d be there in your current form playing against one of those players, many journalists claim that you could even win.

G.KASPAROV: The answer on the first question is no. I’m quite happy of where I’m right now. As regards to the second question, I think that there’s a very big difference in understanding of the situation by the amateurs and the professional players. I think that any professional understands that even for the player of my level it’s impossible just to sit and play a top level match. And that’s not even the question of the opening preparation, but it’s more that the mind doesn’t work in the way you can fight in a 7-hour game. I’d probably be able to play blitz at top level, and that’s with some preparation, but classical chess – it’s practically impossible. Besides I’m quite happy with the historical score against both players and I don’t want to spoil it. I haven’t lost against Gelfand and made 9 draws, while the score against Anand definitely is 15-3. 

THE QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE: I represent Telegraph India and I’m a bit disappointed by your statement on Mr. Anand. There are two things; firstly, Mr. Anand is playing very successfully and he was also successful in the last match. So, isn’t it ironic that at the day when you visit the match, Mr. Anand chose to sacrifice his pawn playing Black? 

G.KASPAROV: I think that as an Indian chess fan you should be disappointed not with my statement but the state of Anand’s chess. As for the big pressure on Vishy for playing World Championship matches I can remind of Karpov and myself playing more matches in a shorter period of time and that didn’t prevent us from staying #1 and #2. I’m a bit confused by the nature of the question, because I’m asked about my objective evaluation and the fact that somebody doesn’t like it, means no disrespect. As for today’s game… Actually the number of pawns is already equal; and this pawn sacrifice wasn’t the result of a complicated middlegame fight, but a home preparation.

I.ROGERS: After your 2000 match against Kramnik he said that at some point you should have stopped blaming the preparation and just start playing chess, do you think this is a tactic that Anand should be doing since Gelfand’s preparation seems so prop solid?

G.KASPAROV: In 2000 I faced a quite revolutionary approach, namely, in Berlin wall. We know that Kramnik actually has opened a new chapter in the modern theory. I think that now it’s probably the most popular opening among the players of the highest level. Just name anybody from top 10 who has never played Berlin. Maybe only Radjabov. I guess Gelfand’s preparation is sufficient but I don’t see anything revolutionary. You know, playing Grunfeld and Sveshnikov, I mean…it doesn’t strike me… it’s not pushing chess to new horizons; maybe there’s something, you know, we could see in the main line, but so far it’s not striking me as something new in history.

In general, if you look at the history record, Vishy is a better player. And the fact that Gelfand couldn’t win a single game against him in maybe 20 years only proves this fact, the fact that no one can deny. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be making any predictions now. 

THE QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE: You’ve just said that the situation in Russia doesn’t contribute to the development of intellectual disciplines. What did you mean? Does the situation became worse than it was in Soviet times?

G.KASPAROV: Much worse.

THE QUESTION: What has happened? Could you explain, please?

G.KASPAROV: I wasn’t planning to touch the ground which hasn’t direct connection to chess, not to disappoint the organizers, but a worthy answer requires that I stop using only chess terms. It’s quite obvious that the current regime in Russia is suspicious of any kind of intellectual activity on its territory. The fact that today Russia has faced the biggest wave of emigration since 1917 and most of the emigrants are young, energetic people is the best indication of the perspectives for young people in Russia. You don’t need any special intellectual abilities to manage a “pipe”. You know, a famous saying, which is ascribed to Alexander III, says that Russia has only two allies – the army and the fleet. Putin’s Russia also has only two allies – oil and gas.

M.GLUKHOVSKY: This match is held in a museum and it’s not a secret that all the organizers and sponsors of the event have this idea of boosting chess economics by cooperation with the museums and in general art institutions. What do you think of this approach?

G.KASPAROV: If we look at this problem from a broader scale, I think this is perhaps a right way of developing chess in a contemporary world – the broader scale including education and culture as two key elements of the future development of modern chess. And I think that changing the structure of social priorities should help chess to find its place on a joint of cultural and educational programmes which are very interesting for society.


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