Reports | December 26, 2007 17:00

[lang_nl]Interview met Garry Kasparov (deel 2)[/lang_nl][lang_en]Interview with Garry Kasparov (Part 2)[/lang_en]

[lang_nl]Zoals beloofd vandaag het tweede deel van het interview van schaakjournalist Gert Devreese met Garry Kasparov. Dit deel gaat over Kasparovs schaakcarri?ɬ®re, waarin vooral de matches tegen Karpov en Kramnik aan bod komen. Het is nog nergens eerder gepubliceerd. Veel leesplezier![/lang_nl][lang_en]As promised, today the second part of Gert Devreese's interview with Garry Kasparov. This part is about Kasparov's chess career and especially about the matches against Karpov and Kramnik. It hasn't been published anywhere before. Enjoy![/lang_en]


[lang_nl]Garry Kasparov over hoogtepunten uit zijn schaakcarri?ɬ®re
?¢‚ǨÀúEerste match tegen Karpov heeft me supersterke schaker gemaakt'

Hoe zijn schaakcarri?ɬ®re zou zijn verlopen als hij zijn eerste WK-match tegen Anatoly Karpov met 0-6 had verloren, Garry Kasparov wil er zoveel jaren later nog steeds niet aan denken. ?¢‚ǨÀúDat is de reden waarom ik nu hier voor u zit voor dit interview. Die eerste WK-match heeft gemaakt dat ik zulk een sterke schaker ben geworden als ik ben geworden. Ik overleefde in een totaal uitzichtloze situatie. Toch nog overleven na een 0-5 achterstand als sportman is een unieke ervaring, die je nooit meer vergeet. Het was bepalend voor de rest van mijn carri?ɬ®re.'

In uw eerste WK-match in 1984-85 tegen Anatoli Karpov, die vijf maanden duurde, zag het er op een bepaald moment dramatisch voor u uit: u stond 0-5 achter en had niet ?ɬ©?ɬ©n partij kunnen winnen. Heeft u toen nagedacht over een mogelijke 0-6 nederlaag en zou dat dat het einde van uw carri?ɬ®re hebben betekend nog voor ze echt was begonnen?

Kijk, het is ni?ɬ©t gebeurd. Het is toen geen 0-6 geworden. Misschien heeft het niet veel gescheeld. Hitler heeft ook heel dicht bij de verovering van Moskou gestaan in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Alleen is het hem uiteindelijk toch niet gelukt. Moet je dan piekeren over de gevolgen van wat had kunnen gebeuren, maar niet is gebeurd?

Wilde u daar toen het 0-5 stond gewoon niet over denken?

Ik zag 0-6 als een mogelijk hypothetisch resultaat, maar was daar niet zo mee bezig, gewoon omdat Karpov het op de een of ander manier niet voor elkaar kreeg een zesde partij te winnen. Misschien heb ik geluk gehad. Maar, in de wereldgeschiedenis bots je vele keren op situaties waar een kleine verandering dramatische gevolgen voor de hele wereld had kunnen hebben. Alleen zijn die kleine veranderingen toen niet gebeurd.

Dat het toen geen 0-6 werd, maar u terugkeerde tot 3-5, waarna de match werd stilgelegd en een jaar later een compleet nieuwe WK-match met Karpov volgde, betekende achteraf gezien de start van uw grandioze schaakcarri?ɬ®re.

Helemaal juist. Dat is de reden waarom ik nu hier voor u zit voor dit interview. Die eerste WK-match heeft gemaakt dat ik zulk een sterke schaker ben geworden als ik ben geworden. Toch nog overleven na een 0-5 achterstand als sportman is een unieke ervaring, die je nooit meer vergeet.

Dat was zonder twijfel veruit het belangrijkste moment uit mijn carri?ɬ®re. Het was zonder meer een mijlpaal. Het was bepalend voor de rest van mijn carri?ɬ®re. Het leerde me dat ik mijn lot in eigen handen had, dat ik de enorme mentale kracht had om nog terug te komen na een 0-5, op een moment dat ik maar een stap verwijderd was een totale catastrofe. Dat was misschien mijn beste prestatie ooit: ik overleefde in een totaal uitzichtloze situatie. Ik had ?ɬ©?ɬ©n kans op ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ hoeveel? In elk geval heel weinig. Door geen partijen meer te verliezen na de 0-5, redde ik eerst mijn waardigheid en uiteindelijk zelfs de match. En vergeet niet: ik was in '85 misschien nog niet zo sterk als Karpov, ik was wel al een van de beste schakers. Het zou niet echt logisch zijn geweest om met 0-6 van hem te verliezen, dat resultaat verdiende ik niet. Ik doorstond deze harde test en bleef vervolgens twintig jaar aan de schaaktop.

Is in die lange match WK-match de haat tussen u en Karpov tot stand gekomen?

Karpov is voor mij een symbool van een systeem, het onderdrukkende, totalitaire communistische systeem in de Sovjet-Unie toen. Hetzelfde systeem dat Poetin er nu op nahoudt. Karpov was zeker een van de beste schakers ooit, maar hij kwam ook mee aan de top omdat hij veel steun kreeg van het communistische regime. Ik had eigenlijk geen persoonlijke relatie met Karpov. Hij was het soort man dat mij totaal niet aanspreekt, hij wilde altijd deel uit maken van de macht. Mijn waardensysteem is compleet het tegenovergestelde van het zijne.

Karpov bestaat eigenlijk niet op zichzelf, Karpov alleen is niet meer dan een geraamte. Hij functioneert alleen als een deel van het systeem. Ik ben daarentegen een echte individualist. Karpov symboliseerde iets dat ik veracht, omdat het verkeerd was.

Karpov als persoon staat nergens voor. Ik leid mijn eigen leven, ik bouw een oppositie op tegen Poetin in Rusland, ik vecht voor iets. Misschien ben ik verkeerd, maar ik ben het wel die al die dingen doet. Je kunt me altijd bekritiseren, maar Garry Kasparov heeft in elke geval dingen gerealiseerd.

Een andere mijlpaal in uw schaakcarri?ɬ®re: Kasparov-Topalov 1999, de parel van Wijk aan Zee, een van de mooiste partijen uit de schaakgeschiedenis. Topalov zei dat hij tijdens die partij nog niet besefte dat jullie samen een kunstwerk aan het cre?ɬ´ren waren. En u?

Bij mij was dat anders. Ik voelde meteen toen ik aan die lange combinatie begon dat er iets heel bijzonders op het bord zou komen. Toen ik al die stukken begon te offeren, kwam er een gevoel van grote inspiratie over me heen, ongeveer wat Grote Schrijvers soms bij het schrijven ervaren. Omdat ik lang op voorhand al de eindstelling van de partij voor me zag, hoewel het helemaal niet mogelijk is de zettenreeks die naar de slotstelling leidde zolang op voorhand uit te rekenen. Maar toen ik die eindstelling zag, besefte ik: wam! Nu staat er iets te gebeuren. Ik kon vijftien zetten vooruitkijken, al speelde ik ?ɬ©?ɬ©n keer niet de beste zet waardoor ik nog sneller had kunnen winnen.

Bij Topalov was het anders, denk ik. Ik denk dat hij de eindpositie niet voor ogen heeft gehad, maar wel zag dat er zich een fraaie partij aan het ontwikkelen was. Voor zichzelf heeft hij besloten om mee te doen vanuit het idee "als ik verlies, verlies ik maar", maar tegelijk hoopte hij dat ik ergens een misrekening had gemaakt. Het was immers zo'n ongewone zettenreeks.

Ik beschouw het zelf als de indrukwekkendste partij die ik ooit speelde.

In de WK-match in 2000 verloor u uw wereldtitel tegen uw veel jongere landgenoot Vladimir Kramnik. Die haalde met zijn Berlijnse Verdediging de aanvalskracht uit uw spel weg door al vroeg tot dameruil over te gaan. Op geen enkel moment overweeg u echter om iets totaal anders te spelen, ook niet toen u twee partijen had verloren.

Als je een besluit moet nemen in een schijnbaar hopeloze situatie, heb je tijd nodig om het probleem opnieuw te bekijken. Ik had die tijd tegen Kramnik gewoonweg niet. Ik was geshockeerd door mijn ondermaats presteren. Ik heb in de vijfde en zevende partij geprobeerd andere openingen op het bord te krijgen. En ik dacht ook dat ik goede idee?ɬ´n had om zijn Berliner aan te pakken. Ik wilde tonen dat ik ook op zijn terrein strijd kon leveren.

Maar u boekte geen vooruitgang.

Ik geef het toe, de hele tijd die Berliner spelen, was een vergissing van me. Ik heb in die match te veel fouten gemaakt in mijn voorbereiding.

En Kramniks secondantenteam was veel sterker dan het uwe. Dat heeft u onderschat.

[Gromt.] Het was niet alleen sterker, Het was ook tienmaal zo groot als het mijne. Dat is zeker waar. [Zinspeelt op het feit dat Kramnik niet alleen helpers ter plaatse had, maar bovendien geregeld telefonische hulp kreeg van enkele vrienden-topspelers.] Ik stel vast dat een heleboel topspelers Kramnik hielpen. Dat was bij mij niet zo.


Foto: Andrew Redington/ALLSPORT

Het is duidelijk dat ik in de voorbereiding van die match zware fouten heb gemaakt. Ik heb Kramnik onder meer onderschat. Ik had het jaar voordien getoond dat ik nog steeds de beste schaker was, dus moet ik wel fouten heb gemaakt. Ik heb daarvoor de prijs betaald. Kramnik mag dan al die hulp hebben gehad, als ik me zo grondig had voorbereid als voor mijn matches met Karpov vroeger, was het toch anders gelopen. Alleen heb ik dat n?ɬ?et gedaan.

Was Toiletgate schadelijk voor het imago van het topschaak?

Ik leef in een zeer gevaarlijke wereld. Er zijn de fysieke gevaren: mijn collega's en vrienden leven onder de constante druk van politie en KGB. Het kan me niet schelen wat topspelers als Kramnik en Topalov nu met de organisatie van het topschaak aanvangen. In mijn wereld staat er nu heel wat meer op het spel dan de kleinzielige ego-probleempjes van topschakers. Nu ga ik om met zaken van leven of dood: we vechten voor de toekomst van ons land tegenover een corrupt, onderdrukkend regime. Ik wil best nog mijn mening geven over schaakproblemen als men het me vraagt, maar dan alleen in mijn vrije tijd. Er staan nu veel belangrijker dingen op het spel.

Gert Devreese is schaakjournalist en schrijft voor De Standaard en Schaaknieuws.[/lang_nl][lang_en]Garry Kasparov on the highlights of his chess career
?¢‚ǨÀúFirst match against Karpov made me a super strong chess player'

How would Kasparov's chess career have developed if he had lost his first World Championship match against Anatoly Karpov with 6-0 ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú after all these years Garry Kasparov still doesn't like to think about it. "This is the reason I'm sitting here in front of you for this interview. That first WCC match made me the super strong chess player that I've become. I survived a completely hopeless situation. Being 5-0 down and still surviving is a unique experience for any sportsman, and something you'll never forget. It was decisive for the rest of my career."

In your first WCC match in 1984-85 against Anatoly Karpov, that lasted five months, it appeared hopeless for you at some point: you were 5-0 down and hadn't been able to win a single game. Did you ever consider the possibility of a 6-0 defeat and would it have meant the end of your career, before it had really started?

Well look, it did not happen. It didn't get to 0-6. Perhaps it was close. Hitler was also very close to conquering Moscow, during the second world war. But at the end he didn't succeed. Should you worry about the consequences, about what could have happened but did not happen?

Did you just decide to not think about it when the score was 0-5?

I saw a 0-6 score as a hypothetical result, but it wasn't really on my mind, simply because Karpov couldn't manage to win a sixth game. Maybe I was lucky. But in world history you come across many sitations where a small change could have had dramatic consequences for the whole world. But these small changes just didn't happen.

It didn't get to 0-6, but instead you came back to 3-5. Then the match was stopped and a year later a brand new match against Karpov followed. Precisely this scenario gave you the opportunity to start a glorious chess career.

That's correct. That's the reason I'm sitting in front of you for this interview. That first WCC match made me the super strong chess player that I've become. Being 5-0 down and still surviving is a unique experience for any sportsman, and something you'll never forget. It was surely the most important moment in my career and it determined the rest of my chess life.

It taught me that I had control over destiny, that I possessed the enourmous mental strength to make a comeback after being 0-5 down, at the moment I was only one step away from total disaster. That was perhaps my best achievement ever: surviving a totally hopeless situation. I had a chance of one to?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ how much? Surely very little. By not losing anymore after 0-5, I saved my dignity and eventually even the match.

And don't forget that in '85 I was perhaps not yet as strong as Karpov, but I was one of the best chess players. It wouldn't have been very logical to lose 6-0 against him, this result I didn't deserve. I survived this tough test and then I stayed at the top for twenty years.

Was the hatred between you and Karpov created during this long match?

To me, Karpov is a symbol for a system, the suppressive, totalitair communist Soviet system of that time. The same system Putin is now keeping alive. Karpov surely was one of the best chess players ever, but he was also helped by the communist regime to stay at the top.

I actually did not have a personal relationship with Karpov. He was the sort of man that's really not interesting to me, he always wanted to be part of power. My system of values is completely different from his.

Karpov doesn't really exist by himself, Karpov alone isn't more than a carcass. He only functions when being part of the system. I, for my part, am a true individualist. Karpov symbolizes something I detest, because it was wrong.

Karpov, as a person, doesn't represent anything. I'm leading my own life, I'm building up opposition against Putin in Russia, I'm fighting for something. Maybe it's wrong, but at least I'm the one doing something. You can criticize me, but in any case Garry Kasparov has created something.

Another milestone in your career: Kasparov-Topalov 1999, the Pearl of Wijk aan Zee, one of the most beautiful games of chess history. Topalov has said that during the game he didn't realize yet that the two of you were creating a masterpiece. How about you?

For me that was different. Immediately when I went for that long combination I realized something very special would come onto the board. When I started to sacrifice all those pieces, the sort of feeling of large inspiration came over me, something that Big Writers sometimes experience when they are writing. Because I had seen the final position of the game far in advance, although it's is not possible at all to calculate in advance that long line that leads to the final position. But when I saw that position, I realised: Wham! Now something is about to happen. I could see forward fifteen moves, although at one point I didn't play the strongest move and I could have won quicker.

I think it was different for Topalov. I think he hadn't seen the final position in advance, but he did see a great game was developing. He then just decided to join, with the idea "when I lose, I lose", although he hoped I had miscalculated somewhere. Because it was such an unusual series of moves. I consider it the most impressive game I ever played.

In the world championship match in 2000, against your young compatriot Vladimir Kramnik, you lost the world title. With his Berlin Defence he removed the attacking potential from your play by forcing an early queen exchange. But you never considered to play something different, even after you had lost two games.

When you need to make a decision in a situation that appears to be hopeless, you need time to look at the problem again. I simply didn't have that time against Kramnik. I was shocked by my play, which was below my level. In the fifth and seventh game I tried to get different openings on the board. And I did think I had some good ideas to approach his Berlin. I wanted to prove I could also fight on his territory.

But you didn't make any progress.

I admit, playing that Berlin all the time was a mistake. In that match I made too many mistakes in my preparation.

And Kramnik's team of seconds was much stronger than yours. You underestimated this.

[Grumbling.] It wasn't just stronger. It was also ten times bigger as mine. That's certainly true. [Referring to the fact that Kramnik not only had helpers in London, but also regularly received help from friends - top chess players - by phone.] I know a lot of top players were helping Kramnik. For me, this wasn't the case.


Photo: Andrew Redington/ALLSPORT

It's clear I made many mistakes in my preparation. For one thing, I underestimated Kramnik. In the year before, I had proven that I still was the best player in the world, so I must have made mistakes. And I paid the price. OK, Kramnik might have received a lot of help, but if I had prepared like I did for my matches against Karpov, it would have gone differently. But I didn't.

Has Toiletgate damaged the image of chess?

I live in a very dangerous world. You have the physical dangers: my colleagues and friends are constantly living under the pressure of the police and the KGB. I don't care what top players like Kramnik and Topalov are doing with the organisation of top chess right now. In my world we're running much higher risks than those pathetic little ego problems of top chess players. I'm now dealing with matters of life and death: we fight for the future of our country against a corrupt, suppressive regime. Sure, I want to give my opinion about chess issues if people ask me, but only in my spare time. Much more important things are on the agenda now.

The Belgian Chess journalist Gert Devreese writes for De Standaard and Schaaknieuws.[/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.

Chess.com

Comments

Philipp Somrowsky's picture

The things Kasparov has said here about his former rivals are nothing but a shame.

Paul's picture

What a pitty Kasparov (as(s) a human being is nothing compared to what he has achieved on te board. I think people like Poetin and Karpov really enjoyed the way he expressed himself in 2007!

arne's picture

Again, I get the impression that all the stress is affecting Kasparov's way of thinking. He was never a subtle philosopher, but in this interview he's really pushing it. It's a pity to see him talk about Karpov this way; I complete agree with the previous commenter that he almost seems to deny that Karpov is a human being. I almost wonder if this is literally what he said, or if it's some kind of interpretation error from the interviewer. I seem to remember Kasparov got along fine with Karpov these days: what happened in between?

teimour's picture

off topic: acirce, have you left icc?

acirce's picture

What makes you think Kasparov is trying to make Russia more democratic, David? That he says so?

Val?ɬ©ria's picture

What he achieved on board reminds his character, unprincipled.
He is a great chess player who had boycotted Salov for three years in tournaments, by way of example...
Val?ɬ©ria.

Nils's picture

Kasparov always won games because of extensive preparation work!

His actual playing skills were always beneath the really great players! Deep inside he knows this fact. Having lost severeal times to masters like Petrosian and Spassky when they where since long "over the hill".
Both players however (Spassky, Petrosian) I consider better PLAYERS(!) than Kasparov.

Kasparov had only one thing going for him. Preparing and memorising opening lines and attacking themes.

No creativity, just recalling memory.

Against Fischer he would indeed have been crushed!

David's picture

?جª¬øI believe that right now Kasparov is well far from the world of chess and his thought is absorbed in the politics. ?جª¬øHe mixes a chess adversary like Karpov with his political fight, when Karpov is a sportsman and not a politician, and he should not be judged for nothing that wasn't the practice of chess.
On the other hand, Kasparov attempts to change a country like Russia, and he attempts to make it more democratic. I admire that even if he is not polite when speaking.

Paul's picture

Kasparov certainly got carried away here with his comments on Karpov.

I agree there the way Kasparov sticks to his frame of reference just for the sake of the narrative is eerily similar to George Bush's simple mindedness . His battle against Putin is a throwback to the days he took on Karpov who was the Communist system personified.

He certainly had high praise for Karpov in the past. I remember Kasparov being asked by a journalist if he had mended his relation with Karpov because they were doing post mortem analysis. Kasparov said there was no one else he could discuss Chess with at this level.

He uses Karpov as a pedestal but disregard him as a non entity in the same sentence. I wondered what they talked about when Karpov visited him in jail.

Christos (Greece)'s picture

About his match with Kramnik he complains that Kramnik had a bigger team of seconds! This is simply ridiculous. "if I had prepared like I did for my matches against Karpov, it would have gone differently". Well, it was his duty as a professional to prepare as well as he could, and if he didn't he can't blame Kramnik for being "too well" prepared.

But the truth is that he was simply owned by Kramnik and he couldn't win a single game against him (even though he DID prepare properly).

Xtra's picture

Eric, with those areguments you just make yourself sound silly. Kasparov is certainly a big ego and follows the roads that he thinks is (supremely) right, and I dont agree with many of his values, but he certainly is a fighter and though probably not all he did in the chess world was for the best what he is doing now is sliiiightly different than the puny politics of a little game. so yes he values himself quite highly, but he also has claims supported by arguments, which you on the other hand do not.

(and of course he was in the same party as karpov, how the heck would you NOT be in that party at that time and try to compete with chess in russia? seriously...the level of some people's comments here is just so low...)

Eric from France's picture

In Kasparov's mind, life is very simple: he is right and the others are wrong.
Yesterday Karpov was a communist and was wrong. Kasparov was a member of the same Party, but he was right.
In the 1990's, the FIDE was wrong and Kasparov tried to destroy it for he was right.
Today Putin is wrong. So Kasparov got a mission, because he is right... Who's next ?
And how can he speak with this kind of words about Karpov ? A shame. This guy was a chess giant, now he became a human and political dwarf.
.

Bas's picture

He fights for free elections, against a corrupt regime

Awesome!

I admire him :-)

Moro's picture

Kasparov has been of course one of the best players of the World but his presonality and his politics in and out of chess have been very harmful to others and to the Chess and Russian world.

Christos (Greece)'s picture

Wow he really is the biggest egoist of all time

Val?ɬ©ria's picture

Again the same speech.
Will be Karpov the next target of Kasparov shot?
It is ridiculous all he said here.
Kasparov was a communist member at Soviet Union. He studied with Botvinnik, a communist teacher, at a communist school, and now blame all this?
What he did before? He not lived there only. He received the best too.
At first match against Karpov, it was Botvinnik who helped him from the disaster giving him a valuable help.
After he expressed his gratitude at Chess Olympiad, Moscow 1994:
- If Botvinnik wants to watch any game, he will pay for it, as everybody.
Said he. Great invitation... This shows a lot about he...
Karpov?Ǭ¥s blunder at that match was to allow to extend like happened.
He was 12 years older then Kasparov, not good for a long match...
Val?ɬ©ria.

steven's picture

He seems almost to deny the fact Karpov is a human being !
His description of Karpov is hatred in its purest form.
How dare you, you hypocrit liar, to speak with contempt about the egos's of top chess players while your ego was and is bigger than all the ego's of the active chess players combined.

Dr. W.J. Berghorn, FRG's picture

Even chessplayers as Kasparov should leave the public "battlefield" after finishing a professional chesscareer! One should not mix the "battlefields"! :-)

joe justice's picture

What a preposterous way to talk about Karpov. Kasparov
did benefit from the communist regime including countless favors from Aliev the former president of Azerbaijan.

Gerrit Visser's picture

In zijn schaak loopbaan is Kasparov een winner gebleken. In de politiek is hij een loser.

Andrey Wlasow's picture

I wonder if Garry will ever realize that his rivalty with the soviet system in general and with Karpov in particular has affected (mostly negatively) his own personality?!

Philipp Somrowsky's picture

Hi James Beerbower

you are courageous enough to choose Kasparov's side in a forum that is largely opposed to the man and his views. Not bad. But tell me, what difference does it make whether Kasparov criticizes Karpov as a man or as a symbol. Either way, his words seem to be an (undeserved) insult. You may of course think differently about this.
I agree with you when it comes to seeing the positive in Kasparov. But as far as I can see these positive aspects go back to his achievements as a chess player and as an author of chess books. His political projects, just as his comments on Karpov, Kramnik, or Topalov seem to be polemic, overly aggressive, and narcissistic.

James Beerbower's picture

Hi,

maybe I'm misinterpreting Kasparov but it seems most of his comments about Karpov are about Karpov as a symbol. As a symbol he criticizes Karpov bitterly while Karpov the "person" is criticized only because he never (according to Kasparov) tried to be more than use the system.

The natural question is "should Karpov have tried to do more than he did to change the Soviet Union?" Did he have a responsibility to do so? Spassky said his mind and ended in exile. Maybe Spassky's ego drove him to it -- perhaps he thought that he couldn't be touched. Does that really matter? Should Karpov have done something similar? Mind you, I myself know far too little about Karpov's life so far to judge it!

Clearly Kasparov fears Russia is slipping back into unbridled tyranny. Many of us would be more comfortable if he was the perfect gentleman and only tried to see the good in other people ... but considering the stakes I'm willing to try to see the good in Kasparov.

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