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Before anyone else posts it; yes, we need another one of these threads. The 3 dozen or so already out there are simply not enough.
Like a lot of folks, I used to believe that Kasparov was the greatest player of all time. After all, when he hit the scene, it was a revolution in the chess world. He stayed on top for 20 years, holding the world championship title for 15. When computer programs started to play better and better chess, Kasparov was the one that everyone wanted to stand up and fight back. His contributions to chess on and off the board are astronomical, and he would appear in the top 5 list of any rational human being with even the slightest knowledge of chess. He has been my idol for years, and still is to this day.
However... after watching the new documentary about Fischer and reading Endgame, his new biography, a few months ago, my perspective has changed somewhat. Is there really a solid argument that Kasparov was the better player? Fischer's many acheivements including winning the US Champion title at 14, winning 20 straight games (including destroying Taimanov and Larsen 6-0 in the candidates matches), and doing it all as an American against a Soviet-dominated system seems to be more of a feat than anything Kasparov's ever done. And his claims that he learned by himself are, for the most part, valid. Yes, he learned from other people's games, but he didn't have access to anywhere near the resources that the Soviets had in terms of teachers. This is a man who spent so much time playing chess that he never even learned basic social graces. Kasparov inarguably did not have that level of dedication. Plus, you throw in the fact that Fischer's IQ was about 40 points higher, and at least for me, I'm convinced that Fischer was considerably better.
I believe that the reason why Fischer is undervalued as a chess player is because he simply didn't play in tournaments and championships as often as Kasparov. But the fact that Kasparov did more great things than Fischer does not make him a better player; it is possible (although improbably) this day in age for someone to become the greatest player of all time without ever playing a single rated game.
I believe that the reason why Fischer is undervalued as a chess player is because he simply didn't play in tournaments and championships as often as Kasparov. But the fact that Kasparov did more great things than Fischer does not make him a better player
Since the two didn't play each other, the only way we have to judge who was the better player is to compare their achievements, and for me 20+ years of excellence at the highest level far and away trumps Fischer's stop-start-stop career...there's just not enough data
Nobody undervalues Fischer as a chess player. If anything, people undervalue Kasparov...his rise was no less mercurial than Fischer's, and once at the top he proved he had what it took to stay there
Also, there's some Korean guy with an IQ over 200. Is he a better chess player than both Kasparov and Fischer?
I have my doubts about that IQ thing, at least I'd like to see some serious source.
The greatest passing starting quarterback in NFL history may well of have been Greg Cook. His numbers are amazing. He averaged over 17 yards per completion, number two on that list is Otto Graham at 9 yards. His adjusted net yards per attempt tops everyone but Philiph Rivers.
But most people have never heard of him. He started for one year, suffered a dislocated shoulder, and never played again.
He'll never be more than a sidebar note in football history.
Fischer's career lacks the longevity of top level play to really put him in a serious discussion of "greatest." He was undoubtably one of the strongest players of all time, perhaps the strongest. But greatness includes an ability to remain at the top not merely the ability to get there once.
Kasparov not only held a title for far longer, he gave back to the world of chess, traveling abroad 7 months of the year to personify the game of chess... Kasparov has got to be the greater chess master. Fischer was a madman, a genius, but gave nothing back to chess, he simply took and took and took... it's no contest, I have to give it to Kasparov.
Wow! What amazing, fresh insights! I never thought we'd have fresh perspective on such a dried-up old turd of a question, but, well, wow!
Kasparov was a well rounded human being. He had a family, a daughter in one marriage, and a son in another, he's a chess grandmaster, a husband, a father, and he had a strong confidence in himself, perhaps he is arrogant, a bit vain, he had aspirations in computers, in politics, etc... he really felt he could make a difference. And he gave back to chess, he lived and breathed chess and supported the community.
That's the difference between Kasparov and Fischer. They are like night and day. Fischer was anti establishment, and Kasparov was a team player, a social animal to Fischer's recluse and madness.
Fischer may be more of a genius than Kasparov, but he was unstable, and he died and life most tragic.
Kasparov is still out there, supporting chess, the new generation, giving back, and that means a lot.
Fischer was a madman, a genius, but gave nothing back to chess, he simply took and took and took... it's no contest, I have to give it to Kasparov.
While Kasparov gave much more to chess, the claim that Fischer gave nothing is blatantly untrue. He made it possible for chess players in the US to make a decent living, and elsewhere, too. The Soviets were able to do it because they were government funded, but Fischer's demand for higher prize money is what allowed it elsewhere.
As for the IQ thing, my point was that Fischer studied much more AND had a higher IQ, which would imply that he probably retained more information and learned faster than Kasparov. I was not implying that chess skill and IQ are directly proportional.
Finally, I understand and concede that Kasparov accomplished more (as I mentioned in my original post). My intended discussion topic is strictly on who was the better player.
Ah okay, strictly as a player, I'd say Fischer was a better chess player. When kasparov was playing 23 people at once he beat them all, but later on he had a whole team of people helping him. He had a huge amount of resources at his disposal that Fischer simply did not.
Fischer also destroyed all the Russians in '72, I don't think Kasparov could have pulled out those kinds of numbers, 7-0, 6-0 against those grandmasters. That's unheard of.
fischer is great not kasparov............
fischer is chess god!!!
im not really good enough to even compare those 2. this is like comparing different cell phones, they all have different high-points and low-points, but you can never tell which is better.
I once flew from Moscow, (Russia) to JFK, New York. Kasparov was in the same plane, but in the First Class. After the flight, I approached him and shook his hand. For me as a chess player, it was a great moment. I've read all the posts above. Everybody is right (and wrong at the same time). Discussion by itself is very interesting - both are geniouses. And the reason why the author picked those two in particular to compare is because - both of them are extraodinary not just players, but also human beings. I will not express my opinion on the topic. I am too amateur to do this. Thanks.
Indeed, when you quote someone out of context it can be funny.
How on earth is that out of context? He left in the "plus."
Which means absolutely nothing.
I've never heard of Greg Cook---did he play for Minnesota---if he did that might explain why I never heard of him.
Did he become a world class player while he was still in high school? Fischer did !
Did he shut out some of the elite teams in the playoffs---Fischer did !
Did he lead his team to the Super Bowl and fall two touchdowns behind and make a marvelous comeback to win the title---Fischer did !
Which is why everyone has heard of Fischer and no one has heard of Greg Cook!
fischer was a genius kasparov wasnt, thats why i believe kasparov was better.
I think what he's trying to say is that Fischer had more "natural ability" to work with and that Kasparov, in a sense, overcame the odds