Kasparov Sounds Off About Anand Vs Gelfand

  • SonofPearl
  • on 5/20/12, 7:23 AM.

Garry Kasparov visited the World Chess Championship match between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand in Moscow on Friday, and gave some typically blunt opinions in a press conference.

Selected questions from the media and answers from Kasparov are below.

A fuller version is available at the official match website, along with the video of the full press conference (in a mixture of Russian and English).


Q. You have long known both players, Anand and Gelfand. You played a world championship match with Anand. What was your assessment of this match before it started and what do you think now that it has started?


A. It is the first time in history that an official world championship match has nothing to do with the title of the world’s best player. This is because of the problems that have piled up in the competition system. But a world championship match is always preceded by thorough preparation by its participants and we can expect some serious ideas to emerge from it. But content-wise, the match is inferior to all those played since I left professional chess.


Q. Five games and five draws. Does it mean equal strength or is it just that one of the rivals is better prepared?


A. Obviously, both players are cautious. Understandably, playing against Anand, Gelfand is trying to concentrate and take care. Anand has obviously lost interest in the game, this being something for which he has always been noted. Anand is afraid to lose and Gelfand does not believe that, if he loses, he will be able to get back into the match.


Q. Do you believe that, after a string of draws, one of them should win? Like it happened in your match with Vishy after eight draws?


A. In addition to the players’ wishes, there is the law of big numbers: the probability that a mistake will be made and someone wins grows with each game. The fact that they are to play 12 games will tend to increase tension.


Q. How different is the first world championship match from all the others?


A. When I played my first match, it was in 1984. The selection process was rigorous and it was clear that it was a game against a world champion. Today, these matches are different from those played 30, 40 or 50 years ago, even in the public’s perception. Even a match of 24 games has its opening, middlegame and endgame. Here the opening might move quickly into the endgame. It would be proper to compare this match with those played recently.


Q. What would you say to playing a match against one of the competitors, Anand and Gelfand?


A. I think every professional understands that even a chess player of my class cannot just sit down and play at top level. It is not so much about your proficiency in opening; it is just that your head no longer works in the algorithm that is needed for battling successfully throughout a seven-hour game. I might still do relatively well at blitz, after a bit of preparation, but playing serious classical chess is out of the question. Besides, I am happy with the score I have with both participants. I never lost a single game to Gelfand and won nine in classic chess, and I remember exactly my score with Anand: 15 to 3.

12416 reads 52 comments
7 votes


  • 3 years ago

    IM imarjunv

    That's not my point. It is impractical to compare someone by basing on his his "previous" playing strength.

    Let's say Kasparov had a plus score against 13 yr-old Carlsen, and speculating on that record, could he boast that he is stronger than the Carlsen of today? That would be simply rediculous.

  • 4 years ago


    nothing to say just look how the game oves

  • 4 years ago


    wait hold on, you are saying anand would crush kasparov? well maybe now. but as the article says, the score between the two is 15-3 with kasparov in favor.

  • 4 years ago

    IM imarjunv

    I do respect Kasparov, but I have to disagree with what he says, and his horrible personality and his lack of sports-man spirit, which was shown in his 1995 match against Vishy, where he used his body language and other psychological measures like bashing the clock, and slamming the door to intimidate him.

    Vishy had to go through the tedious process of playing the candidates match (and even got eliminated many times) to even get a shot at the World Championship, so its only fair that the other players also play by the same rules.

    Kasparov was great, but he would surely get owned by current players like Anand, Aronian, Kramik, Topalov or Carlsen, and he admitted this fact himself.

    I can easily recall him making "history" against Kramnik, by being the only one to lose a World Championship without being able to win a single game, and retiring with a "farewell" present (defeat) from Topalov, who laters surpasses Kasparov's rating of 2812 himself.

    Like Nakamura puts it "He (Kasparov) is a great chess player, but talent-wise, there are other players who are better than him".

    If Mr.Kasparov wants attention so bad, then there is no one holding him from getting back from retirement and getting beaten again.

  • 4 years ago


    By the way, chess is a European game.

    The Indians might have invented it, but Europe perfected it.

  • 4 years ago


    Russia is barely European. 77% of it is in Asia.

    The only reason the rest is considered European is because the Russians have always tried to establish a European connection.

    They are trying to be European.

    The further you move away from Moscow, the more you notice the Asian influence.

  • 4 years ago


    kasparov is no doubt a legendry player infact i luv his game very much but i dont buy wat he says abt other player . a legend of a game shows some aggroance no doubt he played well but that does not underrate the other player  .He perfers a Russian Chess Champion on top of the world. Let us understand that there has never been a chess world champion outside of European heritage ever. That has changed with Anand. This game is not much of popular in india as people r crazy abt cricket but still anand shows hw one men dedication can changed the russian domitable in chess

    some good player like carlsen is there too .Anand is a  man with such a high integrity that his conduct and  behaviour in the match and after the match is greater enough then winning any game against kasprov

  • 4 years ago


    kaspy being kaspy. He's observation is not inaccurate

  • 4 years ago


    No one has a positive score against Kasparov? Please! Boris Gulko owned him.

  • 4 years ago


    note how he makes a point to distinguish between blitz and serious classical chess. they are two completely different things. blitz/bullet doesn't carry with it all the intellectual rigor that comes with classical chess. most people don't seem to fully realize this and impart upon internet blitz and bullet the same significance as they do classical chess when they ought not too. the masses have many misconceptions when it comes to chess. they just hear the word "chess" and automatically settle upon a certain number of stereotypical ideas/notions, some true, some half true, some completely false.

  • 4 years ago


    Yeah !  Kasparov is right in what he says !! He is not an arrogant man as some think of him...What a player he was !  I do not think there was any player with a positive record against Kasparov....Only Kramnik had an excellent record against him  (just one point less than Gary's score).

  • 4 years ago


    Kasparov says what HE thinks is true. He doesn't really care what others may think. He is so legendary that, no matter what he says, he will always be interviewed.

  • 4 years ago


    nothing to say just look how the games end.

  • 4 years ago


    It's politics, I guess. Now that he entered that world he became far from people, auto-praising himself, arrogant, ignorant, and when he talks most of the people start to don't give a damn. Like all politicians, lol!

  • 4 years ago


    I shouldn't have used the analogy with snake-oil salesman, which insinuates some sinister motive.  That was a bad choice of words.  Still, I'm a bit surprised at how defensive people are getting trying to explain how what he said wasn't wrong.  So, he made a mathematical misstatement.  Big deal.  He's just a great chess player, not a god.

  • 4 years ago



    That's exactly my point.  He was discussing a human issue ("tension tends to increase means mistakes become more costly with less games to repair them, players become more tired increasing mistakes"), not a mathematical one.  It would be like saying, "In addition to the players’ wishes, there is also Newton's 3rd Law, which says what goes around, comes around."  It might be clear what he intended to say, but he also said something else irrelevant and wrong.

  • 4 years ago


    We can only hope that the future of chess will bring back longer matches and hope that the world chess championship will never infiltrated by round robins.

  • 4 years ago


    ModularGroupGamma i understand you want to talk about one of your favourite subjects but after that sentence comes what he means " he fact that they are to play 12 games will tend to increase tension." that tension tends to increase means misstakes become more costly with less games to repair them, players become more tired increasing misstakes.

  • 4 years ago

    FM gauranga

    Yes a change in format would be good. Maybe a double round robin of the Top 10 players or something like that. That could produce tournaments that will be remembered for a long time, like some of the old classics. How the participants get chosen will of course always be a subject of debate, e.g., by rating or some qualification tournaments or a combination of both. The champion would find it harder to retain his title, but what's wrong with that?

  • 4 years ago


    sheardp and Cavatine,

    There are two ways to read Kasparov's statement "the probability that a mistake will be made and someone wins grows with each game":

    1.  As the number of games increases, the cumulative probability of at least one mistake among all the games grows.  This is true, however if this is what he meant, then he should not have said "law of large numbers", because it has absolutely nothing to do with the law of large numbers.  It's much more basic than that.  (If p = prob. of mistake in a game, then over n games, cum. prob. of at least one mistake = 1 - (1 - p)^n, which has limit 1 as n goes to infinity.)

    2.  As the number of games increases, the conditional probability of a mistake in the next game, given no mistakes have occurred, grows.  This is the gambler's fallacy, and it is false.  Under the assumptions of the law of large numbers (IID trials) the conditional prob. in fact remains the same for each game.  That's what independence means.

    So, either he said something trivially true but which has nothing to do with the law of large numbers, or he said something false.  Take your pick.

    "Game 7 can have a greater probability of a bad mistake than game 1 because of the pressure, so I think he wasn't wrong in saying that."

    But this would be a violation of IID trials (independence) and law of large numbers doesn't apply in that case.

    Read the question Kasparov was answering:

    "Do you believe that, after a string of draws, one of them should win? Like it happened in your match with Vishy after eight draws?"

    The question is definitely oriented toward a conditional probability interpretation.  Myself, I don't think chess games in a match are independent trials, because these are human beings operating under emotion and other variety of issues.  So, quoting LLN is kind of ridiculous.

    "Since Kasparov is a great chess hero I think people should not quibble too much with his number statement."

    I believe Kasparov intended meaning #2.  In that case, he's reiterating a common mathematical misconception to the public.  As a professional mathematician, I take interest in this, just as a doctor would take interest if a snake-oil salesman were reiterating medical misconceptions.

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