Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gary Kasparov: Nowhere Man

I enjoyed the commentary from former players Maurice Ashley and Jennifer Shahade during the recent US Championship. I did not, though, care for the format. I see nothing wrong with a six or eight player double round robin, which would take about the same amount of time.
The most interesting comment came from former chessplayer Gary Kasparov. What I heard was simply unbelievable, even for Kasparov. He stuck his foot in his mouth so far it wound-up coming out of his ass! During banter with Mr Ashley concerning the St Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center he said, "It's now definitely the capitol of US chess. It's much better than being somewhere in the middle of nowhere Tennessee." You simply have to hear what comes next. Please go to to hear the response from the crowd. To his credit, Mr Ashley responded with a "Whoa, whoa...Boy, taking a knock at the folks in Tennessee." Kasparov then inserts his other foot in his mouth as far as it will go by saying, "No, no, no...I'm talking about the place where US Federation had to move from New York."
I did not hear it in real time, so the first time I heard it was on the Chessbase site. I could, therefore, listen to it again, and did, for I could not believe what I had heard. Kasparov is talking about the wonderful city of Crossville, in the great state of Tennessee. I have been there many times previously and can tell you that it is a wonderful place with some of the most genteel, friendly and amicable people one can encounter anywhere.
Although I am not from the great state of Tennessee, I am from a neighboring state of the South, the great state of Georgia. The good people of Tennessee are like my family. That's what it means to be a Southern american. I take umbrage at what this insensitive cretin has said about the good people of Crossville. If I feel this way, I cannot imagine how the people of Crossville muct feel. At the very least the cretin Kasparov owes the people of Crossville an apology.
Upon reflection I had to consider the source. Consider this from Mark Weeks excellent blog, Chess for All Ages ( in his entry of 03 May 2011, titled, Me, Myself, and I: On vacations I always take along two books to read: one chess book and one non-chess book. For my most recent vacation, I selected Kasparov's 'How Life Imitates Chess'. Whether or not you've read the book, here's a pop quiz for you. The book is about (select one):-

a) Kasparov
b) Life
c) Chess
d) All of the above
Before I read the book, and based on a few reviews around the time it was published, I would have guessed (b), it's about life. Going by the author & title, many people would choose (d), it's about all of the above. In fact, the correct answer is (a), it's about Kasparov, i.e. Kasparov's favorite word is 'I', with 'me', 'my', and 'mine' as runners-up.

One also has to consider the fact that the man has no integrity. He showed his lack of it when he cheated GM Judith Polgar. He released his hand from a piece then, upon realizing it was a losing move, quickly replaced his grip and made another move. The film clearly showed his fingers away from the piece. EVERY chessplayer knows when he has released his grip. Kasparov had a choice to make and he decided that cheating would be better than losing to Judith Polgar. Contrast that with the reaction of World Champion Bobby Fischer when he was absently mindedly fingering his rook pawn, thinking it was a pawn that had already been taken. He moved the rook pawn, causing him to lose the game! He may have lost the game, but he retained his integrity. His opponent said after the game that he would not have called Bobby on it if he had not moved the rook pawn because he realized what Bobby was doing with the pawn. For some unknown reason people continue to speculate about who was the stronger player, Bobby Fischer or Gary Kasparov. It is obvious who was the better person. As far as the stronger player is concerned, the only way to judge a player is by where they stood in relation to his peers. Contrast Kasparov's record againt Anatoly Karpov with Bobby's record leading up to the world championship match with World Champion Boris Spassky, and with the result of that match and anyone would have to conclude that Kasparov is lacking. If he was better than Karpov, it was not by much.
The only thing Kasparov will be remembered for is losing to a computer program and making an ass out of himself when he did. As far as I, and many others, am concerned, Kasparov took a dive when he lost to the computer program.
In the final analysis, no matter where Gary Kasparov goes he will always be nowhere, man.


Anonymous said...

I like what you wrote. The comparison between Kasparov and Fischer is nice. Too often, Fischer is on the bad end of comparisons. Not this time!

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