13 responses to “Kasparov’s verdict on Carlsen’s withdrawal”

  1. I couldn’t resist checking the German original – both translators did a good job, there are just two nuances:
    – For the first question, “given his ability” is actually “with his development”. Maybe Kasparov meant to suggest that the candidates matches would be a good learning experience for Carlsen, even if he doesn’t win at this occasion. In other words: participating in the current cycle might increase his chances in the next cycle
    – On his coaching activities (5th question), “preparation before events” is actually “opening preparation” – no big surprise here … .

  2. Not surprised with Kasparov’s comment about Carlsen’s decision, and I think he’s right.

    I don’t like a lot of things about Kasparov, but his overall approach to work, struggle, fighting spirit in chess, I respect a lot. All that is a legacy of Botvinnik I suppose. Thanks for the great interview!

  3. Kasparov is spot on here. Carlsen has a luxury issue – life is too easy, he hasn’t suffered yet, he’s Norwegian so a citizen of one of the richest countries in the world…and he’s probably close to being financially independent. I would not be surprised if he leaves professional chess within the next 3 till 5 years.

  4. Excellent article, thanks as always for the translation! Sounds like Kasparov has firmly pegged Carlsen. A pity, but then players willing to work as hard as Kasparov and Fischer are quite rare. Even immense talents like Karpov, Capablanca, Tal, etc. weren’t willing to put in the time that Kasparov and Fischer did. Maybe Alekhine and Botvinnik (at times)?

    And I’d still bet that Kasparov could dominate again, with a year or two to get his playing form back into shape!

  5. Interesting for a couple of reasons.

    First, during the Karpov campaign, Garry sharply criticized the situation where the world elite are expected to kowtow to FIDE’s whims in situations like this current “cycle,” which Garry acknowledges is “unfair” and has been characterized all along by a particularly acute form of the organization’s typical mismanagement. Similarly, the two Ks specifically decried the fact that the current FIDE leadership is purposefully and progressively degrading the championship with the goal of precluding the emergence of an influential champion who might impinge on the FIDE leadership’s fiat.

    Second, I believe that Kasparov, when he was world number one in rating, at least twice refused to participate in FIDE ad hoc “championship” “cycles.” (This doesn’t count the time when he purposefully was abiding by the PCA/FIDE schism.) Perhaps the distinction is that putting up with crap early in your career — as Garry certainly had to, courtesy of both FIDE and the Soviet federation — is more necessary than doing so later in one’s career, when, based on his own example, one would assume that Garry would advocate that top players not tolerate any FIDE BS whatsoever.

    In short, it was no accident that there was widespread speculation that “Kasparov was behind the decision” by Magnus not participate. After all, that decision seems broadly consistent with Garry’s words and actions, recently and during the course of his career.

  6. I do not understand Calvin Amari’s post, guess it has to be interpreted given his track record as a Carlsen fan.

    It is easy, fashionable and often legitimate to criticize FIDE … . Yes, the current cycle was poorly organized, notably with regard to changes of venues – but the latest change, moving the candidates event from Baku to Kazan, merely corrects an earlier mistake, better late than never. But in what respect is the cycle unfair, unfair to whom? Is it unfair to Carlsen that he still had to prove himself in matches against others? Either he is as dominant as his fans claim, then it’s a mere formality. Or he isn’t as dominant, then it makes perfect sense that others (e.g. Kramnik and Aronian) get their chances.

    An ad hoc “cycle” would be, as some people suggested, to directly proceed with an Anand-Carlsen WCh match. This would be unfair to others, maybe even unfair to Carlsen himself: lingering questions would remain even after winning such a match!? It can be argued that Kramnik and Topalov had such privileges in the past, but this doesn’t justify current/future privileges for Carlsen … .

  7. It is hard to tell whether this comment comes from someone who just crawled out from under a rock and is understandably oblivious to what has been going on with respect to the this cycle. He says, “Yes, the current cycle was poorly organized, notably with regard to changes of venues.” Venues? That is an issue that doesn’t even rise to the top ten problems with the organization of the championship. He harps on the statement about the cycle being unfair, spinning all manner of illogical straw-man rebuttals to proposals that nobody ever has or ever would suggest. Did he perhaps notice the quotes around the word “unfair” in my original post? Kasparov – and he is hardly alone – plainly states in the interview: “He’s right when he criticizes the system, calling it unfair.” Perhaps Thomas would absurdly posit Kasparov’s unambiguous statement about the cycle’s unfairness and “chaotic” and deeply flawed organization “has to be interpreted given his track record as a Carlsen fan.”

    In short, the portions of my post that Thomas takes crooked aim at come directly from the present Kasparov interview. As far as the real point of my original post, that, notwithstanding the present interview, Carlsen’s decision is to a considerable degree consistent with Kasparov’s past words and actions, I see no disagreement.

  8. I quite agree, mishanp. I didn’t believe that Kasparov was behind the decision for a number of reasons. I did, however, appreciate why it was that many did assume that Garry was behind the decision. As noted, the widespread view simply was testament to the fact that Magnus’s decision was consistent with what many expected Garry’s opinion to be, based on his words and actions. Your observation about the irony at play here is well taken.

    Incidentally, while the circumstances were somewhat unique, there were certainly times when even Garry would not accept the concept of FIDE champion privileges. Part of the problem in discussing the championship in the era of FIDE’s current leadership is that one is prone to conflate our historical associations of the candidate cycle with a very different reality of today. In an era where FIDE mints as many world champions in one six-year period as there were in the first 60 years of the title, it is necessary to change our perspective.

    Finally, I should note that, every time I see anything from Garry criticizing Magnus, I still get the sense that he very much cares about Magnus doing well. The fact that Garry wants the current world number one to work and fight more hardly suggests hostility, nor does Garry’s expressed view that he would be disappointed if Magnus does not reach his full potential and surpass some of what Garry achieved. This attitude is a credit to our greatest world champion.

  9. @Calvin: I don’t understand your aggressive tone, does it offend you to be considered a Carlsen fan? To me it doesn’t matter that the remarks about the cycle being unfair were Kasparov’s (you obviously agree with Garry), my question stands: what exactly was or is unfair about this cycle? If it refers to privileges for the defending champion, it isn’t unique to the current cycle – one could rather call it “tradition”, and mishanp is certainly right that Kasparov wouldn’t have abandoned champion’s privileges as long as he was champion himself.

    The suggestion that the cycle should be abandoned in favor of an Anand-Carlsen match was rather widespread in chess forums, just one example I could find back:
    “Anyway, what would I prefer? I would prefer this whole crazy thing to just stop. Perhaps the whole cycle should simply be terminated. … Let Carlsen and Anand play a match and let’s just see after that. I don’t think other players have much rights actually. OK Aronian won the Grand Prix, but it was a weird project from the start, and with the cancellations it’s just not credible anymore. Time to move on.”
    This was Arne Moll on Chessvibes – I respect and like him as a chess journalist but disagree with him in the given case.
    http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/topalov-on-candidates-matches-i-wont-play-in-russia/ (comment July 26th 13:09)

    “I still get the sense that he [Kasparov] very much cares about Magnus doing well.”
    Maybe he genuinely does, my impression is that Kasparov cares about himself – I interpret his remarks as: I take partial credit for Carlsen’s successes, but his less impressive results (Olympiad, Bilbao, also – see the above interview – his shaky play in London) are his own fault. So, even though he won’t coach Carlsen again, he might comment on his future successes: “Magnus finally grew up and listens to my parental advice …”.

  10. “Either he is as dominant as his fans claim, then it’s a mere formality.”

    Kasparov had 1.5-2.5 against Korchnoi after four games, and Fischer-Petrosian was 2-2. I’ve never heard a single Carlsen fan claim that he’s so dominant that winning four game matches against top opposition would be a mere formality. The minimatch system is very unpredictable, as shown by players like Kasimdzhanov and Khalifman winning the FIDE title ahead of much stronger players, and by the score in Kasparov-Korchnoi after four games.

  11. It does not offend me to be considered a Carlsen fan. I am, just as I am a fan of Anand, Kasparov, Kramnik, Karpov, Aronian, Kamsky, Shirov, and literally scores of others including a some who are nearly 300 rating points below Magnus. Heaven knows what conclusions you will draw from this. I for one can’t pretend to follow most of your argumention.

  12. the problem is that you assume that it is argumentation as opposed to senseless blather.

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