A Decade Without The Genius

Время публикации: 13.03.2015 06:03 | Последнее обновление: 13.03.2015 06:08

In March 2005, Garry Kasparov retired from competitive chess

Ten years ago, in March 2005, the Linares supertournament saw a game Topalov - Kasparov. After its finish, the 13th World Champion announced his retirement from chess.

Garry was playing that game having already won the tournament. 'I hoped I could do better in my last game, but unfortunately the last two games were very difficult for me, to play under such pressure, because I knew it was the end of a career which I could be proud of', he admitted later. 'After I beat Adams (in round 12 - CN) I was unable to press against Anand, and in this final game against Topalov I lost all my sense of danger'.

The audience, however, wasn't aware of that background. Chess fans couldn't understand why Kasparov would miss a relatively simple draw in a pawn ending which he has voluntarily entered being a pawn down.

TOPALOV - KASPAROV (Linares 2005, round 14)

The wrong 27.h2-h4? (instead of the winning 27.Kg4!) gave a chance to Garry which, however, went unnoticed by him:
27...g6? Correct is 27...h6!, and if 28.b4 b5 29.Kg4 (29.Kf4 g5+!) then 29...g6, and White cannot break the fortress.
28.b4 b5 29.Kf4! h6 30.Kg4. Now it's the same position as in the previous annotation, but Black is to move. Meanwhile, there are no good moves. If 30...Kf7 then 31.h5! Kf6 32.hxg6 Kxg6 33.Kf4 Kf6 34.g4 a6 35.a3, etc. Kasparov resigned. 1-0

'Of course, during the game I didn't know it was going to be his last game', Topalov said some time later. 'I knew that there were rumours, and he was saying that he was going to retire, but, you know, speaking is one thing, and announcing it officially is another thing. I feel very happy to win against Kasparov - but it's a pity that the real chess giant is stopping to play. In the next 5 or even 10 years, the top chess will probably be led by Vishy, Kramnik, Leko, or, let's say, me, but we are not the players of his kind. I don't believe that in the near future a player like him will appear on the chess scene, that someone will have the results Kasparov had'.

* * *

Some people hoped Kasparov would come back, while the others were even sure about it. However, a few years later even the most optimistic persons have realized that returning to the same incredible playing level would be an impossible task even for a genius, as he was already over 40 and chess kept getting younger at a rapid pace.

Meanwhile, Kasparov was firm in his initial intention to help his motherland - not as a sportsman, but already as a politician. It was during Putin's second presidential term. The Kursk submarine story, Nord-Ost, Beslan have already happened, nearly all independent mass-media have been cleaned up, Khodorkovsky has been imprisoned for apparently political reasons. Less and less opportunities were remaining, more and more problems were arising for the 'non-system' (that is, uncontrolled by the government) opposition which Kasparov decided to join in.

In 2007, Karpov visited Kasparov in prison. In 2010, Kasparov was helping Karpov in his run for FIDE Presidency against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Four years later, Kasparov ran for FIDE President himself, but Karpov, who was already one of State Duma Deputies, in fact supported Ilyumzhinov. So, the attempt to come back to chess, even if as a functioner, has failed. For the time being, at least.

In summer 2012, Garry Kasparov was arrested, beaten and humiliated during his interview near the Khamovniki court building. Half-a-year later, he decided not to be back to Russia.


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