Meeting the "Michael Jordan" of Chess
Okay, so I have to admit that I don’t really know much about Michael Jordan other than he was an amazing basketball player and that he was the star of the movie “Space Jam” (I liked that movie!!). I don’t think I have ever gotten to see him play in a real game, but my mom tells me about how good he was and how he was cut from his high school basketball team (I feel sorry for that coach) and how he worked every day for hours after that to improve his game and become the player that he eventually became. Many consider him to be the best basketball player to ever play the game. My mom loves to tell me stories about people who faced adversity or were told that they couldn’t do something and how they did it anyway through lots of hard work (don’t even get her started about Abraham Lincoln—she is the president of his fan club!).
Now imagine if you were this little kid basketball player who is pretty good (if he does say so himself) and you received an invitation to come learn from Michael Jordan himself for two days out on the court studying with the master!!! Can you imagine the excitement level? Now imagine if instead of a basketball player, you were a kid chess player (not going to say "little" in this example—hey, I am 12 and though to you I may be little, to me I am pushing teenager), and you had received a personal invitation to come learn from the person many believe to be the best chess player of all time, GM Garry Kasparov!!! Just to meet “the Legend” is amazing enough, but to have him analyze your games and have the chance to ask him questions…NOW THAT IS EXCITEMENT LEVEL TO THE MAX!! It doesn’t get bigger than this!!
I leave in 3 days!!!!!!!
We don’t know who else is going to be there or what it is going to be like….basically we know nothing other than I am suppose to bring “4-6 annotated games played in the last few months and be ready to present it to Kasparov for his analysis and reviews” and that it is going to be held at the New York Athletic Club in the heart of Manhattan. My openings coach, IM Sam Shankland, has been to this before. His advice was not to be afraid to give analysis and take part in the discussions, but when Kasparov is talking, “shut up and listen”. That is pretty good advice!!
Here is what we have been able to find out about it:
This is an article about Kasparov's Curriculum in Chess Life Online which you can read here: http://main.uschess.org/content/view/9152/519/.
Also, an interview on Chess Life Online about "Fostering American Talent" which can be viewed here: http://main.uschess.org/content/view/9206/520/.
Additionally, FM Daniel Naroditsky has mentioned working with Garry Kasparov here in his interview with Jennifer Shahade about his book "Mastering Positional Chess": http://main.uschess.org/content/view/10234/576/.
Maybe Daniel can give me some advice about what to expect! Or, maybe he is going to be there. That would be cool!
One of the things that is absolutely crazy to me is that when we tell people (not necessarily chess people) that I am going to work with GM Garry Kasparov they look at us with blank stares like, “Is that good? Who is that?”
Who is that?? Who is that?? Only the greatest chess player of all time!!!!
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I am going to ask him. Hopefully, this will not be the only time I am invited to work with him, but it is the first time and I definitely want to take advantage of all his knowledge about the game. So, here is the question for today:
If you could ask Garry Kasparov one question, what would it be?