Reports | August 27, 2009 20:05

More on Kasparov-Karpov in Valencia

Kasparov-Karpov in ValenciaOn July 8 we reported for the first time on the upcoming rapid and blitz match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, to be held September 21-24 in Valencia, Spain. In the mean time, we have booked our flights, and a promo video has been published by the organizers which provides more information on this exciting event.

Update: the official website is

On July 7th, the Spanish newspaper Marca broke the news that Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov will play an exhibition match in Valencia from September 21st to 24th, 2009. The exhibition match is part of the festivities of the Valencia Cuna del Ajedrez Moderno program: "Valencia, birthplace of modern chess".

As was discovered recently, it was in Valencia where it was documented first that the queen may move to any square along the file, rank or diagonal on which it stands. The match between Karpov and Kasparov also commemorates the 25th anniversary of their first world championship match, Moscow 1984.

As was revealed by Anatoly Karpov in a recent interview, the match will be part of a series of four matches (all rapid & blitz) remembering all matches they played in the 80s and 90s, and they will probably be held in the same cities: Moscow, Paris and New York.

In the mean time a promo video from the organizers in Valencia was published:


From the video we learn that in the year 1475, a period of economical and cultural wealth in Valencia, the three poets from Valencia Francesch de Castellvi, Narcis Vinyoles and Bernat Fenollar wrote the poem Scachs d'Amor, which is in fact a manuscript. It tells the story of the fight between Mars and Venus, and an "arbiter of honor" (Mercury). Influenced by the queen Isabella the Catholic, they created a new form of playing chess in honour of the queen, and this meant the birth of a new piece in chess: the Queen. On May 15th, 1495 for the first time a book was published with the rules of this new, modern way of playing chess which is still basically the same as how we play it today. We will return to this fascinating discovery in more detail in a separate article.

A bit more than five centuries later, the game of chess returns to its origin: Valencia. To celebrate this anniversary, two of the most important Russian grandmasters in the history of chess will meet at the chess board: Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.

In the morning of the first day, Monday, September 21st, there will be an official press conference with the players held in the Lonja de Valencia, a building that represents the medieval period of Valencia.

Kasparov-Karpov in Valencia

The Llotja de la Seda in Valencia is a late Gothic style civil building, built between 1482 and 1548, and one of the principal tourist attractions in the city. The UNESCO considered it as a World Heritage Site in 1996 since "the site is of outstanding universal value as it is a wholly exceptional example of a secular building in late Gothic style, which dramatically illustrates the power and wealth of one of the great Mediterranean mercantile cities."

In the afternoon there will be a welcoming festival in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a place that represents modern times and current Valencian activity. Both players will give simultaneous exhibitions.

Kasparov-Karpov in Valencia

The "City of the Arts and the Sciences" is a entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex and the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia. It's situated at the end of the old riverbed Turia. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project underwent the first stages of construction in July, 1996 and the finished "city" was inaugurated April 16, 1998 with the opening of L'Hemisfèric. The last great component of the City of the Arts and the Sciences, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, was presented in October 9, 2005, Valencian Community Day.

The next days, Tuesday and Wednesday September 22-23, the players will play four rapid games of 25 minutes + 5 seconds increment on the clock and on Thursday, September 24th they will play eight blitz games of 5 minutes + 2 seconds increment each. On Friday there will be a closing ceremony.

Both Arne and yours truly have already booked their flights and so the ChessVibes readers are sure of on-the-spot coverage from Valencia!


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


V's picture

When it's a queation of being in opposition to authorities, Russian ultranationalists paid by Kremlin reproach Kasparov for his Armenian roots, as if it is something shameful.
When the matter concerns sport, political correctness is being remembered and Armenian Kasparov becomes the most famous Russian GM :)))

T. Goto's picture

Kasparov adopted his mother's maiden name. His father's side was Jewish; Wasserstein, I remember.

Arne Moll's picture

Didn't you see it on the NOS news at the time, Thomas? Kasparov even rented a helicopter if I'm not mistaken. It was quite spectacular.

V's picture

Arne, yep he is Kasparian, and as far as i know from different sources he's being hated in Azerbaijan for his Armenian roots, cuz he emphasizes that he is a Russian citizen of Armenian origin and also for condemning severely in different interviews the Armenian pogroms in Azerbaijan, which he witnessed in 1990. He escaped then, thank goodness!

As for his last name - he changed it to a Russian version of Kasparian after his dad died, when he was a very little boy, although, as he mentioned, carrying an Armenian name was not the best idea living in a mostly Armenophobic country. So he was raised by the family of his mother. She taught him to play chess and devoted her life to his career - even now she's being his "manager" - her name is Clara - rather well-known person in Russia.

Hope i answered your questions.

Thomas's picture

Related from a New York Times article (October 7, 1990):
" Kasparov, who is of Armenian descent, had not trained seriously for a year, since he, along with 60 friends and members of his family, was forced to flee his home near Baku, in the beleaguered Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, during the rioting between Armenian and Azerbaijani factions. Since then, he has shuttled between Moscow, where he feels unhappy and homeless (even while revered by the Soviet population as a national treasure), and the major Western cities where he has been promoting chess and fanning the political fires at home with open criticism of the Communist system. "

sporty's picture

So Chessdom confirmed yesterday they are going to Valencia, Chessvibes are going to Valencia, all Spanish TV's going to valencia.... and will go more south to the beach and watch online.

Thomas's picture

Yes, I may have seen it on the news back then, though not on NOS (I only moved to the Netherlands in 1998 ...). Of course many other ethnic (half-)Armenians in Baku were less fortunate at the time, they didn't have the money to rent a helicopter ... .
Anyway, this completes Kasparov's biography, in Wikipedia's "balanced" words:
"Garry Kasparov ... born Garry Kimovich Weinstein, on 13 April 1963, in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union; now Azerbaijan) is a Soviet / Russian-Armenian former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist."

Wikipedia later states that Garry modified his mother's surname to a more Russified version, which also seems to follow Azerbaijani patterns: Azerbaijan has Radjabov, Gashimov and Mamedyarov; Armenia has Aronian, Akopian and Sargissian .... .

V's picture

Thomas, let me disagree There are a lot of Armenians in Russia with the same Russified -ov, and this has nothing to do with the "Azerbaijani patterns". For example the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov is also Armenian but he is from Georgia. Or a well-known director/producer Shakhnazarov, he was born in Moscow... and many many others. One can explain this with a discrimanatory restrictions for national minorities in Soviet times. Well, maybe it is the case for those Armenians, who specifically lived in Azerbaijan.
As for Azerbaijanis - they really tended to have -ov endings for the most part. Maybe because they had problems of self-identification, as far as before Stalin regime there was no such a nation (?!?).

Peter Doggers's picture

Just found out that the official website is

me's picture

"Duh. Do you guys even read other comments?"

I would, if I could see it! Eventhough now it looks like you made your comment 1h 40min before me, it WASN'T VISIBLE when I posted mine. T.Goto's comment was the last that was displayed at the time of my posting.

Menno's picture


Arne Moll's picture

Duh. Do you guys even read other comments?

Thomas's picture

@V: I won't argue with you, you seem to know much more than I do about Russian and ex-Soviet names ... . My name knowledge is essentially limited to chess for both Armenia and Azerbaijan, but includes at least politics for Russia.

Russia has Karpov, Shirov (he is ethnic Russian) and Gorbachov, but also - to name a few - Kramnik, Svidler, Yeltzin and Putin.
Azerbaijan has lots of "-ovs", next on the ELO list are Guseinov and 2* Mamedov. For Armenia, the highest-rated player whose name doesn't end with -ian or -yan is Sergey Galdunts, #29 on their ELO list ... .

So fact is that Kasparov changed his (mother's) name, but based on my limited evidence given above it seems unclear whether he "russified" or "azerbaijanified" it ... .

pk's picture

@arne moll: Kasparov was born and raised in Azerbaijan, but his mother was Armenian, not Azeri (source: Wikipedia)

Arne Moll's picture

@pk, that would imply his mother's original name is Kasparian, the same as the great endgame composer. I didn't know this, thanks!

Arne Moll's picture

@V, I suppose you mean Azerbaijan roots?
@T. Goto, if you turn water into wine as easily as you turn wine into water, you've got a great future ahead of you!

me's picture

"Wasserstein, I remember."

Well,... you don't remeber correctly.

T. Goto's picture

Oh, sorry for my failing memory. I don't mind getting old, except this difficulty with memorization. Arne, by the way, I really liked you comment! Wein and Wasser... That's really good! Sorry for the confusion over my memory, everyone.

Martin Matthiesen's picture

The french part of the 1990 WCC match was played in Lyon, not Paris.

Peter Doggers's picture

Aha yes. (Though Karpov did say Paris the interview.)

salmen's picture

hi please give me a lien to watch the match on ligne .

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks Luca, I've corrected the dates. Meanwhile I found a detailed program here. No idea how to enter the simul.

Luca's picture

Seems to me that days are wrong on the description of events
21st Sept is a Monday, In order to watch all events one should fly in on Sunday 20th and leave on Friday 25th.
Nontheless I found no site selling tickets or explaining how to take part in the simuls.

Does anyone know more on this?


bruce b's picture

Wow, hope they play in New York. I went to game 3 in 1990 where Kasparov sac'd the queen. Two moves before, the commentators calmly stated, "Kasparov cannot play Nc6 because he loses the queen". When Kasparov played the move, there was yelling, screaming, and I think Edmar Mednis almost fell out of his chair. It was a great game. Went to game 5 too, which was exciting.

It's a great event to see, wouldn't miss it for the world.

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