Very few chess players are household names, perhaps only Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov in my time. In terms of records as he was world champion for 20 years, Kasparov might be regarded as the greater player but Fischer, odd that he indubitably was, broke the hegemony of Soviet chess.
Kasparov is also known for losing a series of 6 games to the Deep Blue computer of IBM hailed at the time as the triumph of the computer brain. He has recently written a book titled Deep Thought in which he explains his 1997 defeat.
Certainly there did not appear to be a level playing field as the computer team had access to Kasparov’s games but not vice versa. Further the Russian grandmaster did not comprehend how seriously the IBM team were taking the event. Someone once said “You asked me to review the book, not read it” so I won’t go any further as I have yet to read the work.
I have read other of Kasparov’s books both on chess and thought. He is a rabid critic of Putin and in much the same way that Pablo Picasso became a more famous Spaniard than Franco, whom he despised, Kasparov is the recruiting sergeant for the anti Putineers.
This is another reason why I prefer him to Fischer who took up with some dodgy types in Serbia, became an anti Semite and lost his marbles.
And now a word on my games.
I have had two games against superior opposition. I thought both players would do the honorable thing and resign but neither did. Perhaps as there was a time restriction of 3 days per move they thought I might lose on time. I had to play carefully for fear of a careless turn letting them back into the game. One resigned yesterday but the other released a potentially deadly attack which I would have to sacrifice a castle to block.
It is difficult to explain the beauty and appeal of chess. Most people give it up after school, it’s not featured on the tv, has a small dedicated column tucked away in the broadsheets and at superannuated social meeting places like a cruise, bridge is the more popular.
Yet for me to pore over a move is amongst the most satisfying way of spending my time.