World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency: garry kasparov

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Showing posts with label garry kasparov. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garry kasparov. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2013

Anand's five-time World Chess Champion Record Speaks for Itself: Garry Kasparov in Wall Street Journal

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 18, 2013
Here are excerpts from a Wall Street Journal short interview with legendary Grandmaster Garry Kasparov:

WSJ: What do you think about the World Chess Championship? Is it the most anticipated since the Fischer Spassky game in 1972?

Gary Kasparov : This is a great match and as you mentioned one of the most anticipated games in the Google-Facebook era. My match with Karpov was also one of the great ones since the Fischer match. This match could be the turning point for the game and bring it back into the spotlight. Magnus is a great talent and I hope he wins since I have trained him some years ago. However, Vishy is too experienced and motivated for this match, so it is going to be a challenge.

WSJ: What are your views on rise of chess in India especially in the city of Chennai?

Kasparov: I don’t have much experience in India and this is probably my third visit to the country. Chennai is my first chess experience in India and I am not surprised at the growth of chess here. Having a role model like Anand who is the World Champion is bound to get people more interested in the game. Besides that, from social media, I see that there is decent infrastructure to support the growth.

WSJ: What do you think about how the World Championship has been organized this time?

Kasparov: It seems to be more than decent and I hope to see more of it today. I hope these standards are replicated in future World Championships so as to have great events in the future.

WSJ: You have been an advocate of democracy in Russia. How do you feel being in the world’s largest democracy?

Kasparov: I do understand the diversity of issues in such a large democracy such as India. Considering the diverse challenges the country has faced, the country has been doing great in its progress. I hope that Indian democracy and India move forward in the years to come.

WSJ: You also have plans to run for FIDE president next year. How do you see India and Indian chess fitting into your campaign?

Kasparov: I am concentrating on my campaign and I hope by the end of next summer I become the FIDE president. I will be obligated to visit India much more since I see India as an integral part of my plans to promote chess globally. My goal is to make chess mainstream and make it part of education. The idea is to create a nexus between education, technology, social media and chess so as to promote chess globally, this would be my idea to transform FIDE.

WSJ: Lastly, do you think Anand is one of the legends of the game?

Kasparov: He has been a five-time World Champion and that record speaks for itself. I don’t need to speak anything about it, the records do.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Anand - Carlsen Match will become Exciting Soon, Even Heavyweight Boxing Starts Slow: Kasparov

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 11, 2013
Chennai World Chess Championship Chennai 2013 GM Interview: Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov has said the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Match will witness a close finish. 

Speaking to journalists at the Hyatt Regency, the former world chess champion said, "I am amazed by the publicity for the match and reminds me of my match with Anatoly Karpov and the Spassky-Fischer game. I hope Anand vs Carlsen match will be the revival of chess, it shows the importance of the title and is an amazing clash of generations."

Garry Kasparov reached Chennai with his wife Daria as a "chess tourist" and said even though he felt the 22-year-old Norwegian challenger has a slight edge, the experience of the 43-year-old defending champion Viswanathan Anand could come into play.

Kasparov said, "I have a very good relation with Carlsen and his team but my talk will be limited to wishing him good luck. I cannot hide the fact that my sympathies are with Carlsen, not because we have worked before but because I believe that the future belongs to the younger generation and Carlsen is half of Vishy's age."

"Having said that, World Championship is a highly unpredictable event and Vishy has plenty of experience and is on his home turf. The match will be very close and I would not share the optimism of many commentators saying Carlsen will have an easy job. There is no easy walk to World Championship."

Kasparov said, he didn't make much of the two draws so far. He said, the match would become exciting later on. "I wasn't critical because there is too much at stake. When you look at heavyweight boxing it very often starts slow." 

"It could be dramatic but normally they find to find a weakness but eventually it gets faster. Nobody wants to make a mistake or give the opponent an early lead. The match will become exciting," said Kasparov. (B&W With inputs from PTI)

Garry Kasparov Reaches Chennai as 'Chess Tourist'

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog
Chennai Anand vs Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013 Media Update: LiveMint has reported that legendary World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov has reached Chennai Monday evening without any welcome from the organisers of the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship. Kasparov has himself said that he is in Chennai as a "chess tourist". The legendary Grandmaster is accompanied by his wife Daria. 

Arundhati Ramanathan writes, "The 50-year-old legend did not get any attention from the organizers of the world championship match underway in Chennai when he arrived in the city on Monday for a two-day visit to cheer for Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian challenger to Viswanathan Anand’s world title. On Monday, Kasparov checked into Chennai’s Hyatt Regency hotel, where the match is being played, at around 5.20 pm, accompanied by his wife. No one except some hotel officials received him."

Legendary 13th World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov with wife Daria at Hotel Hyatt Regency in Chennai on Monday evening. -- Photo: PTI

In India, Fide vice-president DV Sundar is quoted as saying, Kasparov has come on his own, not at the invitation of the world chess federation, “Who are we to welcome or not welcome him?” he asked.

Kasparov will not be allowed to address the media at the venue of the world chess championship match, a key official said.

“I have been advised by the Indian chess federation that he should not be allowed to enter the media centre (from where Fide officials and the two players have been addressing press conferences),” Arvind Aaron, press officer for the Chennai 2013 world title match, said on Monday.

“In my view, this is a PR (public relations) disaster for the Indian chess federation,” said an Indian Grandmaster, asking not to be named. “In the light of Kasparov’s plans to contest the Fide elections next year, the Indian chess federation got swayed by the political implications of his visit. But this isn’t any way to treat a player of his stature.”
“I am here as a chess tourist,” Kasparov said arriving at the hotel. “It’s a free country.”

When told that the organizers refuse to take note of his visit to Chennai, he said Fide was “concerned” that he could get a lot of media attention in India and that the Indian chess federation wasn’t backing him as Fide president.

The organizers should only make sure that nothing untoward happens during the visit that could “portray (him) in bad light,” Kasparov added.

It isn’t immediately known if the Tamil Nadu government, which is the principal sponsor of the world championship, endorses the Indian chess federation’s stand on Kasparov. Officials in the sports department said on Monday that they had not been briefed on the matter.

Kasparov, who retired from competitive chess is 2005, remains one of the most haloed players ever, having been the world champion for some 15 years till 2000. A part of his reign, though, was disputed because of his rift with Fide. He lost his title to fellow Russian Vladimir Kramnik, whom he tutored for a long time.

Though they passed up the opportunity to pay their respect to Kasparov, the organizers are bracing for a huge turnout of fans at Hyatt Regency hotel on Tuesday when the former world champion turns up to watch Carlsen play Anand in the third of their 12-game match.

Kasparov, who has inspired generations of players, still remains one of the most recalled chess icons anywhere in the world.

A human rights activist who takes interest in Russian politics, Kasparov has announced that he will contest for the president’s post in the Fide election next year. “Unlike with (Vladimir) Putin, at least we can be sure that the votes will be counted,” Kasparov said on Monday, when asked about his chances of winning.

Addressing the media last week, current president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov described Kasparov as a “worthy contestant”, even as he reiterated that he will contest again because heads of national chess federations want him to carry on.

Ilyumzhinov has led Fide since November 2005, having funded the sport since the early 1990s. He committed to bring in at least $10 million for tournaments and for promotion of chess if he is voted to lead the federation for another term.

Like another world chess champion Bobby Fischer before him, Kasparov has repeatedly rebelled against Fide, demanding more money for winning world championships and better television coverage of chess. In 1993, he broke out and founded the Professional Chess Association (PCA) to launch a rival world championship. 

The PCA collapsed after holding two world championships—in 1993 and 1995—after one of its key sponsors, chip maker Intel Corp., backed out. But the world championship remained divided for many years until Kramnik won a reunification match in 2006.

Asked why he wanted to contest the Fide election, Kasparov said the current leadership had “missed a lot of opportunities” and that he could bring about meaningful changes, but quickly added that he was in Chennai only to watch the match and wish Carlsen luck.

“I can guarantee that in the next 48 hours, I won’t be campaigning,” he said.
-- Arundhati Ramanathan/LiveMint

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chennai World Chess Championship 2013 vs Anand: Will Garry Kasparov help Magnus Carlsen?

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, November 10, 2013
The 13th World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov (50), is reaching Chennai, the venue of the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Champion, on Monday. Kasparov has already tweeted his schedule. The big question everyone wants to know is: Will Garry Kasparov help Magnus Carlsen?

The legendary Russian chess player has already declared his support for the young prodigy from Norway. Kasparov tutored Carlsen for a brief period earlier in the latter's career.

Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen in 2009. Photo (c) Chessbase

VG Nett - the online edition of Norway's most-read tabloid newspaper - 
quotes Magnus Carlsen's manager, Espen Agdestein as saying the Russian chess legend might have some role to play in the World Chess Championship. 

Agdestein was quoted as saying, "There is a possibility. We have been in contact, but I cannot say specifically whether there will be a co-operation or not." 

Agdestein said Kasparov has vast experience in World Chess Championships and his experience is valuable, so it would be silly not to take advantage of it. 

VG Nett continues with fantastic coverage of the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship and it's a pity we didn't enlist for Norwegian classes a few months back.  

Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen said at the post-game press conference, after Game 2 on Sunday, he would like to relax on the first rest day of the World Championship. News reports had said Magnus Carlsen would be spending World Championship rest days at Fisherman's Cove - a resort about an hour's drive from Chennai. 

However, VG Nett stated on Sunday, Magnus Carlsen would stay on at the Hyatt Regency for the first rest day of the Chennai World Chess Championship. 

Garry Kasparov Comments on Carlsen - Anand World Chess Championship Game 1

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog
Here are the comments by chess legend Garry Kasparov on Game one at the Carlsen - Anand World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai. These comments are via Kasparov's twitter account @Kasparov63. 

- Hello from Goa! Great event today at #THiNK2013. Looks like half of those in attendance were tweeting about. I will share some in a moment.
- First, a few brief comments on today's Carlsen-Anand game. Brief comments are fitting for such a brief game.

- I imagine Anand's 2..g6 was a surprise for Magnus, and 4..c6 as well. Then White has a big choice: to play c4 & sacrifice a pawn, or not.

- Sacrificing the pawn with c4 would not be a typical position for Magnus but Anand (& his second Leko) know those positions well.

- But without c4 by White Black gets a very solid position, even if he plays the Nbd2 I'd prefer to Carlsen's Nc3. Little danger for Black.

- I remember Anand played this in his 1994 NYC candidates match against Romanishin, who played c4 & drew one & lost one. Can be quite sharp.

- First games of big matches are often tentative. Both get a half point but it's great to start any event with an easy draw with black!

- Anand & I drew first 8 games of our 1995 world championship match. But then, boom! Next 4/5 were decisive & the match was basically over.

- So do not get too depressed with a slow start. Of my 7 world championship matches, 5 started with draw in first game.

The links to comments by Garry Kasparov are also in interviews with
BELIEVE MAGNUS: Chess legend Garry Kasparov (left) keeps Magnus Carlsen as the favorite in the World Chess Match
PHOTO: Junge, Heiko / NTB Scanpix

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Legendary Garry Kasparov goes Harry Potter-ish About Anand vs Carlsen: Won't be a Walkover for Carlsen...

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Garry Kasparov's opinion on Anand vs Carlsen World Chess Championship in Chennai: By the time you read this, there have already been more than 2.5 thousand shares on Facebook of Garry Kasparov's column in the Business Insider (Photos (c) Garry Kasparov). But, chess aside, we know what Kasparov has been reading lately! ;) Most often Garry Kasparov is misunderstood by the Indian media whenever he utters anything against Viswanathan Anand. However, seen in their most chess-logical context, can anyone even refute what Kasparov says?

Garry Kasparov: A Win For Carlsen In The Upcoming World Championship Match Will Be A Huge Win For The Chess World

Kasparov and Anand atop the World Trade Center prior to their 1995 World Championship match in New York City. Mayor Rudy Giuliani made the honorary first move. Kasparov won the match with 4 wins, 1 loss and 13 draws.
Garry Kasparov is the 13th World Chess Champion and was the world’s #1-ranked player for 20 years, until he retired in 2005.
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I am about to head to India, where I will first speak at the THiNK conference in Goa before heading to Chennai to visit the much-anticipated world championship match between defending champion Viswanathan Anand, playing in his native city, and young Norwegian challenger Magnus Carlsen.

I won’t be there for the first game of the match on the 9th, but will arrive for games three and four before heading further east with Ignatius Leong on my first tour of Asian chess federations as part of my campaign for the presidency of the international chess federation, FIDE.

I am very familiar with both players, for different reasons, and of course I could not miss this spectacle. Anand was one of my top rivals for what I could call the second half of my chess career if I break it into “Karpov” and “post-Karpov” eras. As the great Anatoly finally slowed, Anand was one of the leaders of the new generation to challenge me at top events like Linares, along with Ivanchuk and Kramnik, to name but two others.

Anand would not wait long before challenging me in a world championship match, in 1995. And everyone realized that despite that loss to me in New York he would be a powerful force for many years to come – although I doubt even Vishy imagined then it would be quite so long! Young tigers do not think decades ahead. When I retired in 2005, I reminded Anand that now he was the “old man” of the circuit, fighting off the kids like Carlsen who were born in the same decade Vishy and I faced off high atop the World Trade Center.


Garry Kasparov training Magnus Carlsen in Croatia in 2009

This is one of the most anticipated matches in recent history and it is no insult to Anand, whose credentials are beyond doubt, that most of the anticipation circles around the 22-year-old challenger.

Magnus Carlsen rocketed to the top of the rating list almost without pause, displaying a consistency and tenacity rare in a young player to accompany his limitless talent.

Many gifted youngsters play impressive games; it was Carlsen’s will to win that set him apart. And though I was not exactly looking for a job as a coach when we worked together for a year in 2009, how could I resist?

I am no bearded Dumbledore, but it was impossible not to see Magnus as a type of Harry Potter, a super-talent destined to become one the greatest and to leave a deep mark (a lightning bolt?) on our ancient game. Carlsen enters the match as the obvious favorite despite his inexperience simply based on how superior his chess performance of the past few years has been to that of Anand, who has declined from his peak in every observable way. Nor can history be ignored. Carlsen is exactly half Anand’s age and the new generation is rarely turned back.

But when I was asked at my Stanford appearance last Sunday if I thought the match would be a walkover for Carlsen, my answer was emphatically negative. Carlsen is the favorite because results and objective quality must matter, but it will not be easy and it is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which he loses the match. Anand has deep experience at every level and that carries with it practical preparation advantages as well as psychological preparedness. According to Anand, he has been working very hard for this match, harder than ever in his life.

And while the world champion has never given much attention to matters of chess history or his legacy, he must know that his entire career will gain an extraordinary new dimension should he defeat the Norwegian wunderkind against the odds. Plus, Anand is playing at home, and while this can create negative pressure it is also a very powerful motivational force. It is much harder to end a training session when you know the eyes of a billion Indians will be on you! And with deep preparation there is always the chance of a powerful surprise or two, and in such a short match (just 12 games), an early shock could tip the match.

Some have suggested my rooting loyalties should lie with my fellow “old man,” Anand, and not with the 22-year-old who broke my rating record and who will share my record as youngest world champion ever should he prevail in Chennai. But while I cannot say I feel joy when one of my records falls, a win for Carlsen will also be a win for the chess world. Changing of the guard, new blood, a fresh face – all these clichés are clichés for a reason. Magnus is a dynamic young man eager to promote the sport, to raise its profile along with his own, and who can inspire a new generation of chess kids (and chess sponsors!) around the world.

Anand is a fantastic chessplayer who brings honor to the sport and to his nation with his skill and his boundless good nature. If he wins this match his high place on chess Olympus is assured. I am predicting a Carlsen victory because of his talent, his results, and the tides of chess history. I am rooting for a Carlsen victory because a new generation deserves a new champion. Most of all, I am hoping for big games, a hard fight, and a great boost for chess around the world as a legend and a legend in the making do battle in Chennai.

About the Author: Garry Kasparov is the 13th World Chess Champion and was the world’s #1-ranked player for 20 years, until he retired in 2005. He is the Chairman of the NY-based Human Rights Foundation and his Kasparov Chess Foundation works to support chess in education around the world. For more information, including his comments during the Anand- Carlsen match, see his official site, Facebook and Twitter

* All the posts on our site mentioning Garry Kasparov 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Memorable Anecdotes by Stewart Reuben: On Organising Major Chess Events

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Stewart Reuben (March, 1939) is a British chess player, organiser, arbiter and author. He has also been a professional poker player - one of Britain's foremost. Reuben has officiated at and/or organised a number of high-level chess events held in Britain and elsewhere, including the world chess championship, and was chief organiser of British Chess Championship Congresses for a number of years. 

Here is a special article by Stewart Reuben on the occasion of the Viswanathan Anand versus Magnus Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013. Enjoy.

Memorable Anecdotes by Stewart Reuben: On Organising Major Chess Events

Stewart Reuben is the only person you'll ever have heard of who has a life-sized statue of himself in his living room. He is the figure on the right. Photos (c) John Saunders (We must add for our readers, John Saunders is Associate Editor, CHESS Magazine, writer, photo-journalist, webmaster)

Memorable Anecdotes by Stewart Reuben: On Organising Major Chess Events

This is my Diamond Jubilee Year as a chess administrator. That is, I have been doing various jobs in chess for 60 years, since 1953 when I was 14 years old.

I was too sensible at 14 to attend the AGM of my adult chess club, Islington. It would have been really boring – or so I thought. Then the secretary of the club came to my huse and asked me to captain the Second Team in the Middlesex League, a county which is part of London. I was very flattered. Later, I realised that they had decided to run a second team in the league. Then they asked for volunteers and nobody was forthcoming. Somebody must have suggested, ‘What about that little kid Reuben?’ We lost to the first team in our first match, but finished ahead of them in the league by the end of the season. It took 49 years to replicate that success. Then I captained England II in the European Senior (over 60) Team Championship. Again we lost to the first team and again we finished ahead of them.

The same year I ran the school lunch-time chess club. I don’t remember how that came about. There were boys far older than me in the school and the activity was always very popular. A few years later we played a 100 board match against another London School and won 71½ - 28½. William Ellis School had just 600 pupils and our opponents ‘cheated’, fielding three teachers.. What is the equivalent Indian record? 

World Chess Champion Boris Spassky and Stewart Reuben in Gibraltar

I’ll concentrate for the remainder of the article mainly on major FIDE events as the World Championship is being held in Chennai a few days from now.

I was a tourist at the 1972 Spassky-Fischer Match in Reykjavik. The event had been arranged extremely well in Iceland, but they had failed to arrange for commentary in English. So they asked me to do it for one round. So, on 27 July 1972 I made my debut as a commentator.

World Championship 1972 Fischer – Spassky Game 8 

I had already explained that in this position Spassky had to look out for a standard combination. Then came 19…Nd7? (19…Qe5 was probably best and would have left White with just a small advantage.)
‘But I thought he couldn’t play that.’ I went through the continuation starting 20 Nd5 again. I asked the attentive audience, ‘Can anybody see a flaw in my analysis?’ 20 Nd5 Qxd2 21 Nxe7+ Kf8 22 Rxd2 Kxe7 23 Rxc4. The hall was silent. ‘Well. Spassky has blundered!’ I exclaimed. It takes chutzpah (a Jewish expression meaning nerve) for a 2200 player to say that about the World Champion.

Boris could have resigned after his 19th move blunder, but he played on for some time and I had to keep the audience entertained. Someone suggested that we look again at the position before the blunder; after all I had two demonstration boards. But I had to tell the audience that was impossible. I only had one complete set as people had stolen pieces as souvenirs.

The following round the organisers got Bent Larsen, then World Number 3, to do the commentary. My career in this field was temporarily at an end.

In 1975, I organised The Evening Standard London Chess Fortnight. I introduced commentary there, for the first time in Britain I believe. There was a whole roster of people who undertook this task. But, at the start of each round, there would often be an audience of just one. I would start things off and hand over when more people arrived. Again that takes chutzpah.

During the tournament I had a bet with my friend, David Levy, for $200 whether there would be an English Grandmaster within the next three years. We bet in dollars because there was so much inflation in Britain at that time. The following February I was on holiday in Tenerife with my friend Richard Beville. We were debating whether to buy an English newspaper. Then I saw a headline and exclaimed, ‘I’ve won $200!’ After getting a norm in the Evening Standard event in August, Tony Miles had achieved his second and last GM norm in the USSR in February. The then Secretary of the British Chess Federation has asked Tony to send him a telegram if he got his title – the first for a Briton. Tony did so and it read, ‘A telegram’. 

I organised my first British Championships in 1981 and continued to do so until 1997. I was also involved in its organisation in 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2013. Vaidyanathan Ravikumar, at that time Asian Junior Champion had asked to play in the Championship in 1980, but was turned down as his rating wasn’t high enough. He contacted me in 1981 and I phoned the President of the BCF asking whether we should let him in. We decided to do so and Ravi was a pioneer as the first Indian player in modern times to play in the British (Of course Sultan Khan had previously won it three times.) 

Later Indians used to come for the whole summer, to the British, the Lloyds Bank Masters (which I also organised) and the Benedictine International. I first met Viswanathan Anand when he was 13. I am very proud of the fact that I did a little to help Indian chess develop to the great powerhouse that it is today. In 1987 I even arranged a short match in London that Vishy won 2.5-1.5 against Jonthan Levitt.

Unfortunately the British became overwhelmed by the number of Indians. In 2003 there were over 100 and since then the event is open only to players from the British Isles. But we still see Ravi at the British and this year he did coaching and commentary. 
In 1982, I introduced earphone commentary at the Phillips & Drew/GLC Kings. This enables people to watch the games and hear analysis. One has to be very careful not to tell too many jokes. Of course I pioneered this development myself. 

In 1983, we organised the Acorn Computer World Chess Championship Semi-Finals in London. This featured the matches Kasparov – Korchnoi and Smyslov – Ribli. We arranged the whole event at very short notice, but nonetheless with considerable panache. The Opening Ceremony was held at 11 Downing Street; that is where the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) lives. But Florencio Campomanes, then FIDE President and I noticed they had got the drawing of lots ceremony wrong. Of course we said nothing, except to each other. 

I had asked the director of Acorn why they were sponsoring the match. He answered, ‘What do you want to know that for?’ It turned out later that their shares were being floated on the stock exchange at that time. Of course they wanted positive publicity during that period. I realised the company wasn’t going to last. Virtually all the money for the event went through my bank account as they only had two signatories for their accounts and simply signed a cheque to me for each tranche of money. How it was all ever audited, I have no idea. Indeed, it wasn’t long afterwards that they had to be rescued with a take-over. I did like a term the Managing Director coined at the Closing Ceremony. This was ‘a concentration of chess players’. Years later, I devised another one, ‘an argument of arbiters’.

The event took place just before Christmas. In those days matches were open-ended. If one had been drawn, there would have been a playoff lasting several days. GM Dr John Nunn calculated it was about 3/1 against that happening. This would have taken us through Christmas – and the hotel where the event was staged was closing down for the period. ‘What’s going to happen?’ I asked. The manager said, ‘Then we’ll keep the hotel open’. I strongly believe good organisation is in the pre-preparation. See the problems in advance and prepare to avoid them.

With matches it is not unusual for some games to be very short. It was also possible to take a time out. So we devised events such as Exhibition Games, Any Questions sessions and chess film shows to keep the paying spectators reasonably happy.

In 1984 we organised the London Docklands USSR v Rest of the World Match at just five days’ notice. The event took place in June, the busiest time of year for London hotels. Ray Keene asked me to find a hotel to put about 40 people. After about 50 phone calls I found one that had space because it had only just reopened. But they need confirmation and a deposit before 5 pm. I had to contact Ray, but had no idea where he was. Remember, that was before the days of mobile phones. Two phone calls later, I had him on the line and everything was arranged. But some of the accommodation was so cramped it seemed the bed was bigger than the room.
I phoned the public relations company and heard the person to whom I was speaking call across the room. ‘I’ve got somebody on the line who knows something about this event’. At the Opening Ceremony the then President of the British Chess Federation said, ‘I don’t know why anybody would want to come here.’ Of course that was the whole point of the exercise. The London Dockland Area was in the whole process of being redeveloped. I apologised to the director of the development corporation. ‘We could take him out and shoot him’. ‘No, no need, he said, ‘Just attach a cement bucket to his legs and throw him off the dock.’ 10 TV stations attended the event from all over the world. The LDCC said this was the first time they had ever received positive publicity and they supported several other chess events in the next couple of years. 

I said that next time they would ask us to organise the Olympiad at one days’ notice. One of my members of staff, Jill Triggs, said, ‘Oh no, Stewart; we’ll need at least three days to get it right’.

In 1986, we organised the first half, 12 games, of the Greater London Council World Championship match between Kasparov and Karpov. The second half was held in Leningrad (now St Petersburg). This time there was ample time for advance planning. But I had a major problem. I was also in charge of The British Championships which were due to start the same day in Southampton. I telephoned my predecessor Gerry Walsh and explained the situation. He immediately said the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me. ‘Just ask, I’ll do whatever you need.’ So he acted as onsite manager of the British and I visited the event whenever possible. This resulted in my having three bedrooms for the first two weeks, one at home, one in Southampton and one in the Park Lane Hotel where the World Championship was taking place. I just looked it up and only eight Indians played in the British and Ladies Championships in 1986. The juniors had yet to discover the lure of playing in the age group events.

As usual the event was covered by the national BBC TV station. A few weeks before the event, I was telephoned by a researcher for commercial TV. They were interested in also doing programmes. Ray and I met him at the hotel. ‘We would like to do 45 minute programmes the following day and be the first to announce the results.’ I responded immediately, ‘Give us a million pounds and we’ll think how that can be achieved.’ Ray chipped in, ’45 minutes it too long; chess gets boring. You should have 25 minute programmes as soon after play finishes as possible. That way the first announcement about the results will be made on your own news programme.’ 

He thanked us and went off. Ray exclaimed, ‘Well, that’s blown chess on commercial TV for another 10 years!’ But a few weeks later Ray telephoned me and said the director had rang back and wanted 25 minute programmes shown the same evening. I would have said, ‘Like we suggested.’ But Ray, much more of a salesman than me, just said what a wonderful idea. It was a real breakthrough that chess started being shown on commercial TV. Apart from 26 programmes they did on the World Championship; they also did about 100 more on other events.

London mounted a real chess festival in 1986. ‘Chess, The Musical’ had its premier then. ‘I’m the arbiter, I know the score, from square one, I’ll be watching all 64. I’m the arbiter, I know best. Don’t push me, I’m unimpressed.’ When I met Sir Tim Rice shortly after the album was released I asked him, ‘You’ve written this song about an arbiter who is abrasive, dogmatic and self- opinionated. Is that me?’ He responded immediately, ‘Of course it’s you Stewart. You’re the only arbiter I’ve ever met.’ Truth to tell, it was more about Florencio Campomanes, then FIDE President. 

A film called ‘Dangerous Moves’ opened in London and went on to win the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film. The subject matter was a fictitious World Chess Championship match. There was an exhibition of chess sets at the British Museum. We set up a stall at Waterloo Station where commuters could play chess. 

We were given permission to have chess activity in Green Park, just across the road from the hotel. The evening before it all started a Black and White disco was held at a major nightclub; I was able to introduce the person who played the arbiter in the show to no fewer than 7 international arbiters. The event and drawing of lots ceremony was conducted by the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher; the caviar reception had several sponsors, but primarily Duncan Lawrie, and was organised by the person who was then in charge of the Edinburgh Tattoo. We also ran the Commonwealth Championship and the Lloyds Bank Masters while the main event was on, but in a different hotel. David Eustace, who has made a welcome return to chess administration, was my deputy at the Lloyds Bank Masters when I was busy with the World Championship.
There are always problems with a large event. Anatoly Karpov came to inspect the setup, quite separately from Gary Kasparov. He was extremely scathing about the arrangements made for the retirement rooms during play. There were a large number of people at that meeting. I asked them all to be quiet, while I thought. I asked the hotel manager whether we could build such rooms to the left of the playing hall. He agreed and another problem was solved. 
Of course, I arranged for a roster of illustrious grandmasters to do the commentary. But the hall wasn’t large enough to cope with the numbers. So we hired another hall and hired more commentators. The numbers for these events tends to build up during it due to the publicity. Two commentary rooms still wasn’t enough and there were no more rooms available. So I took an audience of about 200 people into the park and conducted impromptu commentary there. Why me? Well, I had one great advantage, my voice is very penetrating and there was no microphone. But why, oh why did I get landed with game 9, the most boring of the match? 
There was a separate box in the gallery for the earphone commentators. When I found time, I sometimes wandered in and chatted. One game had the strong players perplexed. They asked my view and I made a suggestion. It was the move actually played. 

We registered approximately 700 members of the press in the five weeks of the event. Nowadays people don’t bother. They can view the event on the internet. At Karpov’s opening press conference he insisted on speaking through an interpreter. The media needed a soundbite and were becoming very agitated. At its end I asked the chairman whether I could ask a question. It was the most anodyne I could think of. ‘What can Mr Karpov say about playing again in London?’ Of course he responded flatteringly and in English. Several members of the press came and thanked me. 
Karpov asked me how the Save & Prosper Best Game Prize of £10,000 was going to be presented. I told him in gold. ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ ‘What do you mean? It’s going to be given in gold.’ 

At the closing ceremony, Lord Callaghan, the immediate previous prime minister, made the presentation in gold sovereigns. It was just as well there was an even number of coins; they shared the prize for their draw in Game 11. Gary wanted to dance at the closing party with the female representative of Save & Prosper. He tossed the small bag of coins to his mother and off he went. Later I went to Leningrad as a guest of the Soviet government for the second half of the match. Jill Triggs said a book could have been written about organising 1986. 

Later in 1986 Annette and Ray Keene were at a cocktail party. Annette was chatting to Kevin Packenham. ‘We may be interested in sponsoring chess’. ‘Come and meet my husband’, Annette exclaimed. Thus Foreign and Colonial started a six year sponsorship of Hastings, the longest running international tournament in the world. Whether that was sparked off by the earlier events in London that year, I don’t know. Ray and I became members of the committee and I have been involved in the organisation ever since. Lord Callaghan came to the closing dinners a couple of times. He knew his job and told the sponsor, no longer Kevin, what good value it was. 

Nigel Short qualified to play for the World Championship title against Kasparov in 1993, winning matches against Karpov and Timman along the way. I arranged a small party to celebrate his triumph. Although he was in London, he refused an invitation. This boded ill, but I didn’t know in what way. Later that week I visited Manchester to inspect a possible venue. Then everything fell apart. Gary and Nigel refused to play the match under FIDE’s auspices. 

Eventually it was sponsored by The Times newspaper and held in London. In my opinion, had they turned to me and everybody asked me to unravel the mess, the event would have been held in Manchester, sponsored both by Manchester Airport and The Times. The players would have made more money, it would have cost The Times much less money and Northern chess still smarts about the event being taken away from them. Also the mess caused by the schism with FIDE wasn’t cleared up that century, indeed not until Vishy became the undisputed World Champion.

The Times had some very ambitious ideas about the match and I was in charge of the special events. Most of this came to nothing as the receipts from ticket sales was disappointing, so that the event lost money and most non-essential events were cancelled. I was asked by poker players what the betting was on the match. I said there were no odds, Kasparov was going to win. Unfortunately Nigel lost the first game on time in the superior position, possibly confused by the flag fall on the Garde clock. Remember this was before digital clocks became popular. He then went ½ to 3½ behind and the event thereafter lacked sporting credibility. He did recover and carried the match to Gary who won 12½-7½. Indeed, unlike most World Championship matches, all the games are worth playing through.
But two TV stations again carried the match and it was held in the magnificent, refurbished Savoy Theatre. Why Ray allowed the first broadcast on commercial TV to be right at the start of each game and then to last an hour, I don’t know. It was boring, just as he had predicted in 1986. Of course they should have started the programme at least one hour after the game commenced. 

Interestingly enough, I was Chief Arbiter at the Commonwealth Championship in Mumbai. A TV station wanted to broadcast the whole round live. Fortunately they were dissuaded from this foolhardy idea. I have always presumed the viewing figures in 1993 were disappointing, because that was basically the end of chess events being televised in Britain. But I did get to do some earphone commentary, keeping intact my record from 1972. There was no room suitable for good live discussion of the games with an audience. I had asked about what would happen if the match finished prematurely. I was assured they would play four exhibition games. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Instead they played a number of rapidplay games; a consultation game and a player won a competition to play a blitz game against Nigel. 
Some of the TV programmes broadcast from 1981 to 1993 can be purchased from amazon or Impala. 

Then, 2000 saw the Brain Games World Championship between Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik. It was held at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith in London. Again that wasn’t a FIDE event and there were no TV programmes. I did the first texting commentary on the games. People could phone a telephone number and get the moves of the game and some, if they wanted commentary, that was a different number. It is possible this is the only time this has been done. Nobody ever said to me that they accessed my messages so it was a bit like writing a message, putting it into a bottle and casting it into the sea. Unfortunately Gary played very insipidly and it wasn’t an exciting match. 

In 2002, I received a phone call from Franco Ostuni, general manager of the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar. They were interested in organising a chess tournament at their hotel. I asked why. It is always very important to get that clear; otherwise you won’t provide a sponsor with a good service. He told me they wanted to make more use of their facilities in the off-season. I told him the most suitable event would be a master Swiss. He had never seen a chess tournament in operation so he came to Hastings to get an idea of what goes on. I went to the hotel to inspect it and, the first, rather small, event started in January 2003. Now it is recognised as the strongest open tournament in the world. But that is down to Brian Callaghan, proprietor of the Caleta, not me. It is he who has raised the money. 

Spot Stewart Reuben!

Last year I was deputy arbiter for the FIDE Grand Prix in September in London. There were no problems, but being an arbiter is not my forte – although I have been an international arbiter since 1976. Three Grandmasters asked me how I was going to stay awake during the games and, yes, this is a problem!  I am an organiser, commentator, writer, player as well as being an arbiter. 

(c) Stewart Reuben, November 2013

(Chess Magazine Black & White thanks the writer for this special article written on the occasion of the World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen) Please send comments to

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kasparov wants Carlsen to Win. Karpov has no Clear Preference. Kramnik thinks Anand can Win

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 4, 2013

World Champions Three: Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Anatoly Karpov - all of Russia, but of course: Photo:

World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: Kasparov backs Magnus Carlsen; Karpov neutral and Vladimir Kramnik think Viswanathan Anand can win provided he does certain things. Here's the verdict of the Big Ks by Rakesh Rao for The Hindu.

“For the greatest part of my life, I’ve been fighting the three Ks — Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik — I have played no fewer than a hundred games with them” — Viswanathan Anand on Moscow Radio in 2009

With less than a week to go for the World chess championship match, fans in over 150 countries have reasons to pick their favourite — champion Viswanathan Anand or World No.1 Magnus Carlsen. Going by form and rating, the majority surely favours the Norwegian.

For now, leave out the lesser mortals.

Here is what some of the Russian greats — Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov and Vladimir Kramnik — who know more about playing for the World title than most, have to say about the clash.

Kasparov wants Carlsen to win. Karpov has no clear preference. Kramnik thinks Anand can win provided he does a few things right.

Kasparov, who helped Anand during the 2010 World championship match against Veselin Topalov, attracted the champion’s ire for being openly critical of him during the 2012 title-clash against Gelfand in Moscow. Since then, Kasparov has offered to help Carlsen to prepare against Anand.

Last month, Carlsen declared that he would be happy to get help from the man under whom he had trained in 2009.

The 22-year-old is 95 points ahead of Anand on the world rating list, but Kasparov has a word of caution.

“There is no such thing as an easy win against the World champion. I think Vishy will be quite happy that he is the underdog. He’s got huge experience. As we saw (in the Candidates tournament in London in March-April) there are problems (for Carlsen), there are still clear problems. The match is for Magnus to lose, clearly, but it’s a 12-game match, and whatever you’ve got from the first nine games, may not count.

“He (Carlsen) has to work on a lot — (on) psychological preparation. His opening preparation should be more precise. Anand is an expert. Those who say that Magnus will win easily are doing him a great disservice.

“It’s all or nothing, and that’s a big challenge. The psychological pressure will just keep growing, and he will have to learn how to cope with it.”

Karpov, another former world champion, has a different take.

“Taking into account historic parallels, I would perhaps support Anand because I have defeated him in the matches twice.

“Although I’ve not been competing (laughs) for the crown for 10 years, it is still pleasant when the guy who sits on the throne has been defeated by you twice. From a self-importance point of view — although it’s not the time to talk about my significance — it’s somehow pleasant.

“I think the appearance of Magnus is a good sign for the progress of chess.

If he becomes the world champion it will give a tremendous boost to the development of chess, especially in European countries. That’s why from the point of view of the future of chess, I would like Carlsen to win.”

Kramnik, who was the only man to beat Kasparov in a World championship match (in 2000) before suffering his only defeat in match-play to Anand in 2008, asserts the champion is not badly placed.

“I believe Anand definitely has his chances. It is absolutely realistic. The only problem, I think, Anand faces is that he — this is just my opinion — is somewhat intimidated by Carlsen. He is scared of him, I would say.

“Anand should relax and not be afraid of Magnus. If Anand manages to prepare himself this way, then the chances will be equal.

If not, then his chances will be very (poor). If he manages to hold the pressure of Magnus for (the first) six games, then Anand will become a favourite in my eyes.”

For all Grandmaster verdics on the Viswanathan Anand versus Magnus Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013 check this collection of posts on our site.

World Chess Championships: Role of Seconds

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog

As the final countdown to the World Chess Championship clash between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen begins, the chess fraternity is abuzz with speculation on who is working with whom as seconds.

But what do the ‘seconds’ do?

For decades now, creating a good team for preparation of an important match is considered as important as the match itself. World champion Anand learned this through immense experience he got while playing matches at different levels.

Anand first played a world championship candidates match in 1990s and has since then worked with many experts.

His seconds have included players like Swedish Grandmaster Ferdinand Hellers, who doesn’t play competitive chess anymore, and Uzbek Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who won the FIDE world championship in 2004.

Garry Kasparov of Russia had one of the best teams in 1980s and till much later as the Russian kept coming out with one opening idea after another stunning his opponents with awesome ease for over two decades.

In 1995, Kasparov defeated Anand in game 10, arguably the turning point of the match through a very famous piece of research work that led to a winning endgame with the Russian spending just three minutes on the clock.

Apparently, this had tremendous impact as Anand was no match in the second half of that match despite leading after game nine.

The role of the seconds is to bring out new ideas, work on them in detail till they are worthy enough to be usable.

It is clear that a lot of work and huge assistance from the computer engines is required for such a job and ironically 95 per cent of the work done remains unseen during the match.

It’s that deep research paper that doesn’t see the light of the day in its entirety and comes out only in patches, when the situation presents itself.

One of the great ideas that Anand produced against Wang Hao of China during the Tata Steel Chess tournament of 2012 was worked out during the champion’s preparation for the match against Russian Vladimir Kramnik at Bonn in 2008.

There have been countless such instances in case of all top players.

The men behind the scene have a lot to attend to not only during the preparation of the match but also when it’s on as they have to be battle-ready to attend to many new facts.

For example, if Carlsen plays something in game one that he has never played before or which the team did not expect him to play, they have to get down to business and start working on it and have a solution ready when the next game arrives.

The champions do not like to divulge information about the people they work as the guess work becomes easier.

If Anand is seen working with the expert of an opening system, it is likely that he wants to play that particular opening very soon.

For the match against Carlsen, Anand has retained the services of his two trusted men the bespectacled Bengal Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland while Sandipan Chanda is the new man in.

There is likely to be a fourth second about whom no information is available as yet. Kasimdzhanov had informed long back he won’t be assisting Anand this time.

Carlsen, on the other hand, has been totally mum on the issue. He was seen playing and sharing jokes with France’s Laurent Fressinet so it is assumed he is one of the team members while Jon Ludvig Hammer, his friend and compatriot will most likely be there.

Speculation is also rife about the presence of Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia who was seen working with Carlsen during some events in the past.

The Carlsen-camp has been expectedly quiet about the team as this might give the opposition camp an idea of what to expect. Much would be revealed when Carlsen lands in Chennai on Monday evening. -- PTI

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Carlsen vs Anand World Chess Championship 2013: Garry Kasparov Tweets India Visit Schedule

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, November 3, 2013

  1. The match begins Nov 9. Schedule here: . The schedule for THiNK in Goa is here: Great event.
  2. Before the match starts I'll post on Facebook about my thoughts on Anand-Carlsen. I'm only a retiree but I do know both of them well!
  3. Silicon Valley - NYC - Goa will be quite a trip even for me. This is why I usually answer "on a plane" when asked where I reside now.
  4. I'm participating at the THiNK conference in Goa (Nov 8-10) then at Anand-Carlsen match 11-12 in Chennai. Speaking at Stanford U tomorrow.
  5. . Thank you! I am looking forward to returning to India both for a business speaking engagement and as just another chess fan.
  6. Namastē! RT : Like I tweeted a while ago, will be in Chennai for , now confirmed for 11th & 12th!

* A chess discussion without Kasparov is never complete: Indian chess fraternity