Reports | November 20, 2007 20:51

[lang_nl]?¢‚ǨÀúKom, we gaan Kasparov interviewen?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢[/lang_nl][lang_en]"Let's go interview Kasparov"[/lang_en]

[lang_nl]'Wat kan ons het schelen, we g?ɬ°?ɬ°n gewoon. Niet geschoten is altijd mis.' Dit was genoeg om mederedacteur Arne gisteren rond een uur of vijf in de middag ervan te overtuigen dat hij mee moest. Mee in mijn dwaze, na?ɬØeve maar ook brutale en toch vooral leuke plan om af te reizen naar Lint, Belgi?ɬ´, en daar Garry Kasparov te gaan interviewen. Als we zouden vertellen dat we meteen in de auto waren gesprongen toen we hoorden van de simultaan, dat we helemaal uit het verre Amsterdam waren gekomen en dat we na allerlei omwegen eindelijk en net op tijd die televisiestudio in dat kleine Belgische plaatsje gevonden hadden, wie zou ons dan nog een interviewtje durven weigeren?[/lang_nl][lang_en]"What the heck, let's just go. If you don't try..." This was all I needed to convince co-editor Arne, yesterday around five in the afternoon, to join. Join my foolish, naive but also bold, and, above all, fun plan to travel to Lint, Belgium, to interview Gary Kasparov. If we would explain that we had immediately jumped into the car when we heard about the simul, that we came all the way from Amsterdam and after several detours we had found that television studio in that little Belgium town right in time, who on earth would refuse a small interview?[/lang_en]

[lang_nl]Kasparov doet zo nu en dan nog simultaans, waar hij een bedrag voor vangt waarvoor hij vroeger twee weken Corus speelde. (Campagne voeren en de wereld rondvliegen, met vaste bodyguards altijd in je buurt, kost immers een lieve duit.) Totaal 24 Belgische bedrijfsleiders, enkele prominenten en twee kinderen waren aangeschoven in een televisiestudio van het Eurocam Media Center in Lint, en werden allemaal ?ɬ©?ɬ©n voor ?ɬ©?ɬ©n in de pan gehakt. De simul was een promotiestunt van een Antwerps onlinerekruteringsplatform, dat zijn nieuwe website in de verf wilde zetten. Het bedrijf had alles uit de kast getrokken: het evenement werd integraal uitgezonden met maar liefst 28 HD-camera's en live uitgezonden op enkele Belgische commerci?ɬ´le kanalen, met commentaar van Nigel Short.

"No. I don't do chess interviews anymore." Dat was dus duidelijk. Kasparov was al een halfuur klaar met zijn simultaan, toen we de studio binnenkwamen. We vielen midden in de feestelijke receptie na afloop, waar de volledige top van de Belgische zakenwereld bijeen was en genoot van dure hapjes en drankjes en verrassend moderne popmuziek. Hij stond aan een tafeltje en moest voortdurend op de foto met gefortuneerde heren en dames. Nadat ik eerst voorzichtig Bessel Kok had gepolst, had ik daarna de stoute schoenen aangetrokken en The Boss zelf direct aangesproken.

"I only make a few exceptions but that's all for the next six months,?جø¬?? zo verduidelijkte de beste speler aller tijden, strak in het pak, zijn huidige pr-beleid in de schaakwereld. Hij is immers fulltime politicus nu. Juist dat had de doorslag gegeven om onze impulsieve actie door te zetten. Hoe vaak zou de kans zich nog voordoen om Kasparov te kunnen spreken of zelfs maar te zien? Op schaaktoernooien vertoont hij zich niet meer, en hoe het soms in de Russische politiek kan gaan, is algemeen bekend...

"By the way, five draws in Moscow today," probeerde ik. Maar het was geen poging om het ijs te breken ?¢ÀÜ‚Äô alleen om het gesprek gaande te houden. Zoals een tiener op een schoolfeest al zijn moed verzamelt om het leukste meisje van de klas aan te spreken en dan opeens met zijn mond vol tanden staat. Opeens was ik geen hoofdredacteur meer, maar schaakgroupie.

?¢ÀÜ‚Äô "Yes, I know, I've seen the games of the Tal Memorial before the simul."
?¢ÀÜ‚Äô "Aha, the last round must have started earlier."
?¢ÀÜ‚Äô "Yes, it started earlier. It was not that important, of course Kramnik had already won."

Iemand anders begon tegen Kasparov te praten. Hij draaide zich van me weg. Dat was het dan. Pas toen drong de keiharde realiteit tot ons door: Kasparov is de schaakwereld ontstegen. We hebben het geprobeerd, we waren dichtbij ?¢ÀÜ‚Äô maar tegelijkertijd zijn we nooit ook maar enigszins in de b?ɬ??ɬ?rt geweest.

Close, but no cigar.


Landelijke pers is afgekomen op de persconferentie 's morgens


Garry Kasparov en Bessel Kok op de persconferentie


De simul werd gehouden in een televisiestudio


The Boss aan het werk


Commentaar van Nigel Short


Op weg naar 26-0


De twee jongste deelnemers


Vips konden het allemaal volgen via een groot scherm


Garry speelt het spelletje mee en contrentreert zich nog eens goed

Deze foto's gemaakt door Jan Lagrain van De Schaakfabriek. Meer foto's vind je hier en zijn verslag vind je hier.[/lang_nl][lang_en]Kasparov still gives simulteaneous displays every now and then, for which he receives a fee that used to be the complete budget of the Corus organizers to get him to Wijk aan Zee. (Campaigning and flying around the world, always with some bodyguards nearby, does cost a fair bit). A total of 24 Belgian CEO's, some VIPs and two kids had taken a seat in the televisie studios of the Eurocam Media Center in Lint, and were slaughtered one by one. The simul was a promotional stunt of an online recruitment platform from Antwerp, that wanted to put their new website on the map. The company hadn't been modest in their organizational budget: the event was broadcast live, from start to finish, with no less than 28 HD-cameras and the commentator was Nigel Short.

"No. I don't do chess interviews anymore." OK, that was pretty clear. Kasparov had finished his simul half an hour before, when we had entered the studio. We had bumped into the cheerful closing reception, where everone important in Belgian business had gathered and was enjoying some expensive snacks, drinks and surprisingly modern pop music. He was standing next to a table and had to have his picture taken all the time, together with wealthy ladies and gentlemen. After I had cautiously tried with Bessel Kok first, I plucked up my courage and started a conversation with The Boss himself.

"I only make a few exceptions but that's all for the next six months." The best player of all times, impeccably dressed, clarified his current PR policy in the chess world. After all, he is a fulltime politican. But exactly that had made us decide to persist in our impulsive act. What would be the chance that we would be able to speak with, or even see Kasparov again? He doesn't visit chess tournaments anymore, and it's widely known how things can go in Russian politics...

"By the way, five draws in Moscow today,?" I tried. But it wasn't an attempt to break the ice ?¢ÀÜ‚Äô only to continue the conversation. Like a teenager at a school party, who musters up his courage to address the lovelyest girl in class, and then finds himself tongue-tied. Suddenly I wasn't an editor-in-chief anymore, I was a chess groupie.

?¢ÀÜ‚Äô "Yes, I know, I've seen the games of the Tal Memorial before the simul."
?¢ÀÜ‚Äô "Aha, the last round must have started earlier."
?¢ÀÜ‚Äô "Yes, it started earlier. It was not that important, of course Kramnik had already won."

Somebody else started talking to Kasparov. He turned away from me. That was it. Only then did we realise how stone-hard reality turned out to be: Kasparov has become too big for the chess world. We were at a deserted industrial zone, in the suburbs of Antwerp, 200 kilometers from home. We've tried, we were close ?¢ÀÜ‚Äô but at the same time we were never anywhere n?ɬ©?ɬ°r.

Close, but no cigar.


National press attend the press conference in the morning.


Garry Kasparov and Bessel Kok at the press conference


The simul was held in a television studio


The Boss at work


Commentary by Nigel Short


On his way to 26-0


The two youngest participants


VIPs could follow everything on a huge screen


Garry plays along, and "concentrates" deeply

Photos by Jan Lagrain of De Schaakfabriek. More photos here and his report here.[/lang_en]

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

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Comments

Philipp Somrowsky's picture

It's a bit strange. Kasparov comes to play chess, he's got "chess people" (Kok&Short) at his side but he doesn't want to do chess interviews any more... Hello???!!!
But taking a look at his opponents you have to admit that all this isn't about chess. Kasparov, Mr. Moneymaker, beats up a few woodpushers and two kids (did they cry?) to finance his bodyguards and his lifelong pal Nigel. I greatly admire him as a chess player but I certainly don't need this arrogant nonsense.

Don Brooks's picture

I hope you felt it was worth the adventure. I would have loved the freedom to try as you did. Unlike the previous poster I love to read anything Kasparov. With his goals in life he has to carefully plan every aspect of his life. His focus now is no less necessary than it was as a chess player.

Very few sportsmen are able to leave on top and never come back to the game they love. Michael Jordan couldn't walk away. Kaspy has. I admire that.

David's picture

Not the easiest guy to interview, specially if you approach him when he is unaware.

But believe me that he can be the most charming person when he is in the mood, or simply when he is relaxed.... what sadly doesn't happen too often! He is extremely hyperactive and his mind is always working on something.

Anyway thanks for trying and I hope you enjoyed the trip.

Regards,
David

Jan's picture

Never mind. You got Kramnik

Z's picture

I was there... Garu signed my chessbord and I made some pictures with him. :-)

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