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Connector of the day: Garry Kasparov

October 5th, 2009
03:48 PM ET

He is arguably the greatest chess player of all time. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/05/art.kasparov.afp.gi.jpg
caption="Kasparov is as passionate about politics as he is about chess."]

Currently engaged in a series of matches against longtime rival Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov's achievements as a chess player are unrivaled.

The youngest-ever world champion, he was the top rated player for almost 20 years consecutively.

Away from the game the Russian grandmaster is a writer and political activist who often finds himself at odds with the ruling party.

He stood, briefly and unsucessfully, as a candidate in the Russian presidential race in 2008.

One of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critics, his passion for politics is almost as all-consuming as his love of chess.

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. tom roberts

    Mr Kasparov..

    If you moved to America, would you be willing to challenge the political system there, since the US has the most corrupt and oppresssive government in the modern World?

    You would be more successfull if you took on the huge oil companies and weapon industry cindicates in the US and Europe..

    What would be your first step?
    Trash democracy for real tangible transparent freedom in the West?
    It could be a step for a grand master unless you are finenced by the masters of the west.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  2. Raul Assis

    I'm a long time fan of G. Kasparov. I wish he could reconsider his retirement and go back to competition. He should focus in what he does best: play chess.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  3. InKo

    Unfotunately Mr Garry Kasparov, Mr Putin is for the moment Russia best choice because as deficient as it is russian democracy at the moment Mr Putin can at least ofer stabity and temperate the mafia from teritories

    October 5, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  4. Mamiya Seven

    If I could challenge Mr. Kasparov, I will ask him: How could he fight the fire in California. Can he help his fellow friend Mr. Schwarzenegger? They are both have Russia gene right? Thank you.

    October 5, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  5. ghost geezer

    Hooray for Garry Kasparov. Today's Russia is easier to oppose
    than was the Soviet Union before glasnost. But it remains no
    picnic. I find Putin something of a throw back in that regard.

    But recent Stalin biographer Robert Service warns never to assess
    Russia from the front of whatever political system rules. In the
    rear office where decisions are made, Russia has always been
    to big, too multicultural to unite or to govern without what amounts
    to a police state. Whether it is Catherine the Great dealing with
    Pugachev or Stalin dealing with the Ukraine, that problem is the
    core of Russia's internal political nature to this day.

    October 6, 2009 at 12:04 am | Reply
  6. Georgiy Kolomichenko

    Kasparov is smart, and not corrupted. He is honest and fair. He would be the best candidate for Russian President position.

    October 6, 2009 at 12:29 am | Reply
  7. folkerP

    You thought you had planned all political steps but did you not miss a few moves?

    October 6, 2009 at 12:39 am | Reply
  8. Michael

    Dear Mr. Kasparov,

    In chess matches at the highest levels, given the fact that so many chess matches have been played over the centuries, is it fair to say that in the beginning and middle stages, it is very rare to have "new ground" created, and that only in the end stages will "new ground" be created? By "new ground", I mean that a series of moves have never been played before. If so, is chess at the very highest levels an academic study and memorization of moves in the beginning and middle stages, while true chess genius and creativity emerges in the end stages?

    October 6, 2009 at 2:09 am | Reply
  9. Andrei Kalinichev

    Dear Garry:

    Just like you I was born in Baku. Over the years I changed several countries. Currently I work in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with my permanent residence in Houston, Texas

    First time I saw you in Baku many years ago in the chess club inside the Officer's Club close to 26 Bakinskih Komissarov monument. I was studying in Moscow when you had your famous battle with Karpov. I am proud that I am from the same town as you. Baku always had a very special place in my heart.

    I would like to wish you many more wins in the future.

    Thank you,


    October 6, 2009 at 3:56 am | Reply
  10. Tyler Purviance

    Mr. Kasparaov,

    I'm an American and I used to live study and work in Moscow. Most Russians know you as a famous chess player but few seem to take you seriously as a political player. Russians appear to view you as an outsider, to put it most bluntly, most Russians don't consider you Russian at all, but an Azerbajani Jew. Your political importance in the eyes of Russians is arguably overstated by Western media, like CNN, what are you doing to win the hearts and minds of the Russian public and prove your "Russian" credentials with them? It does not appear to me that you can ever be considered a serious political player until you do this.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:44 am | Reply
  11. Lis

    Garry, leading country is somewhat different than moving the chess pieces. Do what you can do the best – play chess.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:02 am | Reply
  12. Infinityisreal

    Unfortunately, Chess has an entirely incompatible system of reasoning from Politics. In Chess, the cause and effect are entirely rational. In politics, the effects are often from causes that are entirely not your doing, which could be utterly frustrating for a chessplayer.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:03 am | Reply
  13. Peter

    Dear Gary,

    You are not only destined to be the greatest chess player of the world but you are also destine to become an agent of change in your beloved homeland more than what Gorbachev did.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:19 am | Reply
  14. MBehar

    Dear Garry,

    You are a fantastic role model for many children around the world, including my son.

    1. What is required for a young person to become a 2000+ player?

    2. What have you learned from chess that you have applied to politics?

    3. Russia is a leading chess nation. Why does Russia not lead in other areas?



    October 6, 2009 at 5:55 am | Reply
  15. Erik Carlquist

    Hello Garry,

    You are probably acutely aware of the differences between playing chess and making politics.

    How would you describe say the two main differences with respect to the mental attitude needed for success at the chess-board vs. in the world of politics ?

    October 6, 2009 at 6:05 am | Reply
  16. jugra

    are you able to make use of your chess skills in your everyday real lives activities such as making decisions, in politics, anticipating the response of your opponents etc

    October 6, 2009 at 7:39 am | Reply
  17. Diana

    In relation with your political carrear:
    Why have you chosen to be in the opposition while many others, including those sceptical about Mr Putin's plan and Mr Medvedev's authority, reckoned they could do more cooperating? Do you see opposition gaining political weight in the near future?
    What makes you most angry while thinking about Russia today? What makes you proud?
    Thank you

    October 6, 2009 at 8:23 am | Reply
  18. Alex G

    Great man, great chess player! But he is not for Russian politics. Putin’s Russia with its domination party is becoming more and more resemblance of Soviet Union. Mass media are under censorship, opposition parties are banned. However I wish Kasparov success in chess and politics!

    October 6, 2009 at 9:04 am | Reply
  19. Boris

    Garry Kimovich.

    I wish Your chess mastership make it posssible for You to outplay the present day Russian rulers which is not an easy task at all. Strong enemies require unconventional weaponry.
    God bless You and Your brave parntners in your deadly fight.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:02 am | Reply
  20. onder molla

    unfortunately he has no competitor on the chess and w/o competition he can not improve hisself

    October 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  21. Penelope

    Hello Garry –

    you are an inspiation to people that have the courage to believe in change.

    How has playing chess influenced the way your approach politics?

    Would you go as far as saying that bad politicians are likely to be bad chess players??

    October 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  22. Max

    To have russian face is necessary to get russian hearts. Kasparov is too complicated person. Stalin was Georgian if you don't know. Catherine the Great was from Europe. We want russian president.


    October 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  23. robert patel

    Hi Gary,
    Is Russia under Putin a 'Wolf in Sheep's clothing' given the number of unexplained deaths (esp. among journalists) and his own arrest?Is there any real freedom of political thought or is it just a mirage to appease the west?

    October 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  24. RWE

    Tyler Purviance at 4:44,

    Actually Kasparov's mother is an Armenian. Kasparov is the Russian form of Kasparyan. His father was Jewish (Weinstein) but he took his mother's name.

    During the anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku in 1990 he chartered a plane to rescue his relatives and friends.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  25. VIjay Sodhi


    In a game of chess. Do you follow a semi-set strategy, ie attack the centre, set up strong defensive position, or do you allow the game to develop at its pace, and you adapt your play to the game?

    October 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  26. VIjay Sodhi

    How important is your presence of mind in playing the game? In the really tough battles (deep blue for example) how did you maintain your fluidity of thinking?

    October 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  27. Lenard


    How does US and other western countries support you financially? Is it like monthly check or only when some important event is coming up.
    Is there at least one group inside Russia who support you with money?

    October 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  28. jess

    Hi Mr. Kasparov,

    My one regret has been that you did not get a fair shot at the World Championship after your unfortunate loss to Kramnik. Now, at last, you have a fair shot at the title since you can qualify by rating. Please take it & let us enjoy your sublime chess.


    October 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  29. zak06

    One point bothers me most:
    In your "political business" you rely heavily on the West.
    Do you really think that West "democracies"
    will do anything useful
    to Russia and Russian people?
    Thanks, Zak

    October 6, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  30. Henrik

    In light of Magnus Carlsen's run in China this last week, do you consider him to be the best chessplayer in the world already at 18 years of age?

    October 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  31. Dmitry

    In your opinion, what is common between the strategy of chess and strategy of politics?

    October 6, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  32. Simen S

    Hi Gary!

    To what extent do you feel your involvement as a trainer can be linked to the great success that Magnus Carlsen is currently having in the ongoing Grand Slam tournament in Nanjing? He's been playing the Najdorf, the Scotch and the Grünfeld... Has everything gone "according to plan" from your perspective?

    October 6, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  33. Ilya Zak

    Dear Mr. Kasparov,
    You are doing very important job for Russia. You are doing exactly the same thing as Dmitriy Sacharov was doing. Like him, most Russians don't like you, some are not even aware of you in politics. Regardless if you ever become an elected state official of some importance, you name will be remembered by Russians not only for you chess games, but also for your political activis. Exactly same was as Dmitriy Sacharov is remembered. Not everything lost for Russia while people like you are still standing.

    October 6, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  34. Marco Pirosu

    Hello Garry,

    I bought and read your book "How Life Imitates Chess"., in which you describe the relation between chess and real life.
    I'd like to ask you what are the causes of the outcome of your marriage and of your political activity.
    I mean, how do you explain the difference in achievements between your chess career and your sentimental and political life? Do you still believe what you have written in the book or do you think life has too many uncontrollable factors that don't allow complex planning?

    October 6, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  35. Question

    Hi Mr. Kasparov,

    Have you ever pre-arranged games, by losing on purpose?

    Thank you for your honest answer.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  36. Angelovzky

    Mr. Kasparov, I want to thank You for those wonderfull games of chess you played during your chess carrer. Now is time to overthrow Putin´s corrupted policies and gang fellows, Robert "Bobby" James Fischer was recognized, late but true, as one influencial "lonesome" star in weakening and overthrowing the late Soviet Regime, I hope and wish You do your part too in present Russia, no matter how long it will take you. Keep persevering, patience will pay.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Reply

    G. Kasparov, you are the gratest! Hope you can do something for you coutry by being president.

    October 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  38. Ryan

    Is it possible for Carlsen to acheive more than you did in and for chess? If so, how would it make you feel if he did and what would he have to do?

    October 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  39. Jesus Zaragoza

    Hi from Barcelona, Spain,

    do you see in current computer chess software anything like creativity – something alike real artificial inteligence (outside and above the expert's knowledge)? Or is it more like well designed software that makes a lot of math very quickly and simulates an almost unbeatable player?

    Thanks, and keep up the good work.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  40. Michael

    Dear Mr. Kasparov,

    I teach Critical Thinking (logic) and Philosophy, and used to be a very avid chess player!

    Do you think it is correct to say that politics can be described as a "game" in the way chess is a "game"? Obviously, there are differences, but what are the similarities, philosophically, i mean? I wonder how game theory would apply to situations in politics as well.

    Thank you and I admire you very much!


    October 6, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  41. Alexander Stalev

    Mr. Kasparov, i respect you for your fight fo freedom and democracy, HERE, IN RUSSIA 🙂 , still wonder – how much the C.I.A. agent's salary is ? Is it just a citizenship of U.S. or some serious money after all ?

    Thanks, and best regardz 🙂

    October 7, 2009 at 12:11 am | Reply
  42. Nikko

    Hi Garry,

    Question on personal level,
    Which one of these nationalities do you associate yourself with? Do you say you are Russian or Armenian or Jewish or Azeri?


    October 7, 2009 at 12:28 am | Reply
  43. Ivanhoe

    We tend to make celebrities out of those who demonstrate great mental and physical agility - not undeservedly - but less frequently do we pay more than fleeting attention to those who apply their gifts well to solve the great problems of the day. Where does the glamour of wisdom fall short of the glamour of intelligence and strength? How do we persuade people to want not only to be the best at something, but also to do the best with it? Do we need another reality show?

    October 7, 2009 at 1:07 am | Reply
  44. Aschiuta

    It will be nice to change something in the world (democracy and human rights) like you did for chess, but i guess it is harder.
    Good luck.

    October 7, 2009 at 1:25 am | Reply
  45. karl2m

    Dear Mr Kasparov,
    have you never felt that applying your great talents to science or technology would have been more useful?Isn't chess sterile? Did you never feel like you missed an opportunity to make an important contribution to society by persuing more applicable ways to use your great talents? I'm not talking politics here, even though i admire your bravery, but i'm talking about the sciences only.
    Thank you,

    October 7, 2009 at 2:22 am | Reply
  46. Andrei I

    Is chess addictive? If it is, shouldn't it be banned from school?

    October 7, 2009 at 3:37 am | Reply
  47. Raj

    Hi Garry,
    I am huge chess fan and a avid political observer. First of all congrats for a win against Karpov. Though there was not much "hype", we chess fans followed in online. Wondering if you PLEASE consider coming back to competitive chess to give these young kids a "whopping".. kids like Larsen, Anand etc. You belong at the highest level ie: the traditional 2hr time limit game.
    Stay safe while politiking...

    October 7, 2009 at 3:55 am | Reply
  48. peter

    Do you consider yourself a Russian patriot?

    October 7, 2009 at 4:21 am | Reply
  49. Ngwachi Chikoya

    Garry its worth trying, but be ready to learn that sometimes one is not not an expert in every thing – you may prove aflop !! incase be ready to rebuild your reputation!!

    October 7, 2009 at 4:50 am | Reply
  50. Musamala

    Hi Mr. Kasparov,
    What does it take to be a chess world champion?

    October 7, 2009 at 5:37 am | Reply
  51. Parameshwaran

    Dear Garry, your one of the most courageous man who enter politics after being very successful at chess, without you chess fans are suffering, but the most important thing is your goal to make a Good democratic russia. Never lookback till your goals achieved since there is none to match you at chess still yet. you had given enough at chess.We Salute you for considering politics to service for the welfare of people. Good luck.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:37 am | Reply
  52. Torsten


    Chess has set rules for each piece. It is played move by move.
    In a confined, exactly defined space.

    To which extend does the chess-trained mind-set support you
    in your real world strategy and decision making – where there
    are no set rules, where there are open, undefined spaces and
    where all actions occur simultaneously?



    October 7, 2009 at 5:50 am | Reply
  53. Mustafa Acer

    Hello Mr. Kasparov,

    Here are my questions:

    – What do you think about chess boxing? Do you like the sport? Would you try if you were given the opportunity?

    – Will there be any rematch between you and computers? I would like to see a rematch and I'd like to hear your comments on how computers might have changed in more than a decade.

    – 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 3.b3 Nd7 4.Bb2 e6 5.Bg2 Ngf6 6.O-O c6 7.d3 Bd6
    8.Nbd2 O-O 9.h3 Bh5 10.e3 h6 11.Qe1 Qa5 12.a3 Bc7 13.Nh4 g5
    14.Nhf3 e5 15.e4 Rfe8 16.Nh2 Qb6 – ?

    Thank you!

    October 7, 2009 at 6:33 am | Reply
  54. Bogdan

    Hello Garry,

    Do you consider that we will ever see the return of those days when chess was a gambit and attack game with lots of development done and little regard for material advantage?


    October 7, 2009 at 6:33 am | Reply

    Tavarish Kasparov!
    Do you recognize KOSOVA as a sovereign state?

    October 7, 2009 at 6:40 am | Reply
  56. Rajesh Ahuja

    Definitely a great chess player, I am just thinking wouldn't that have been wonderful if you have focused all your energy towards game and be inspiration for world rather than muddling in politics witch will make you compromise with your character afterall politics is a dirty game. all in all I want to say you could utilize your name and achievements for greater cause of humility, like working for UN or any other international Body , I think this will be much more meaningful and namefull rather that going for political seat witch is always at risk. What do you say Sir.

    October 7, 2009 at 7:10 am | Reply
  57. Randy

    Will Magnus Carlsen be as good as your are?

    October 7, 2009 at 7:16 am | Reply
  58. Basile

    Hello Mr Kasparov,

    Your victory against Karpov was no surprise for me, nor for anyone who play chess.

    I wonder how many time you will need to make Magnus the next world champion.

    Keep the good job !

    Basile from Belgium

    October 7, 2009 at 7:23 am | Reply
  59. asif

    hello garry,
    hope u are fine and in good health and mood,i lke chess game very much,my questions are,
    1.how u maintain your brain health to play this very dry game,means what u eat,exercise?
    2.at what age little kids should start to play this game to improve their memories is there any significance?
    3.when i play chess with my dad i become nervious even if i am winning,so how to overcome that?
    4.as this game need more time to play,so what time duration u can suggest for kids/childerns to play atleast how many times in a week,as this answer will help all parents who want that their sons and daughters to play this wonderful game?
    5.also give any tip to improve memory.
    thank u very much sir gerry.

    October 7, 2009 at 7:42 am | Reply
  60. Yohannes (Brisbane, Australia)

    Dear Gary,

    I have always admired people who use their brain to its maximum potential. Through your successive achievments in Chess, and excellence in the game, you've shown to the world your ability to use your brain not only to plan and excute series of moves, but also undesrtand and liquidate the move of your opponets. Why was it that you were unable to use the same approach in your current political move in Russia? Was it because their steps were so complex to plan a liquidation "procedure" before hand or is it because the rule of Chess cannot be easily translated to politics, where the players are many and the "board" is not entirely flat for everyone. Do you think, a successful chess player like you are, would stand a chance in a country where the ground rule in politics is as neat as in Chess?

    October 7, 2009 at 8:41 am | Reply
  61. Roux

    Bravo Kasparov !

    October 7, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  62. Robert Atlas

    Your engagement with Russian politics is admirable. Can you hope to accomplish yet more to address the problems of humanity as a global statesman?

    October 12, 2009 at 2:43 am | Reply

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