Garry Kasparov is a man who dons many hats. Considered one of the best chess players to have ever played the game, he turned into a political activist after his retirement, and has since then resolutely opposed Vladimir Putin’s policies and administration. The second day of THiNK 2013 came to a close with the Russian Grandmaster speaking to Tarun Tejpal in a session titled ‘How Life Imitates Chess: The Grandmaster’s Battle for Russia’.
The man who fought artificial intelligence in a chess battle and came out on top, Kasparov believes that he always knew what he wanted in life. âI always concentrated on not just winning, but making a difference. And for that you need to beat the status quo.â Describing his love for the game as a âmatch made in heavenâ, Kasparov spoke about the brutal aspect of the game that is often hidden from the public eye. Since chess is a psychological warfare, Kasparov said the game often has an adverse effect on the mind: âBeing psychologically dominated by an opponent for days and weeks can be devastating for a player.â
Talking about his political aspirations and activism, Kasparov said he was shaken by the events that unfolded in his hometown of Baku – the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Armenians from Baku which killed a shocking number of people, which pushed him into a state of heightened political awareness. âI knew that I had the resources to evacuate my family which millions of other people didn’t. So I tried to play a certain role because I knew the World Champion in the Soviet Union was considered to be a sort of an intellectual hero.â
Aware of the fact that his battle against the âregimeâ is far from over, Kasparov said that it is not corruption that plagues Russia, but the nature of the system within that is the root cause of all the problems. âThe regime is like the Mafia – loyalty is the only criteria for success.â
Forever optimistic and looking for ways to âmake a differenceâ, KasparovÂ is now concentrating on using chess as a learning tool to educate children globally. âEducation is the biggest problem of our generation and we are going to lose the future if we don’t do something about it.â
By Kumar Saurabh