Kasparov Interacts With Fans: Reddit AMA
Garry Kasparov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Kasparov Interacts With Fans: Reddit AMA

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

On Tuesday, GM Garry Kasparov interacted with fans via a Reddit AMA. The 13th world champion answered questions about his favorite topics such as A.I., Russian politics, and, of course, chess.

A Reddit AMA ("Ask Me Anything") is an interactive Q&A session on Reddit, the social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of links or text posts. It's been seven years already when both GM Hikaru Nakamura (here) and GM Magnus Carlsen (here) did an AMA and yesterday it was Kasparov's turn.

Here's a selection of questions and answers. You can read the full AMA here.

ballthyrm: While you are well known for your fight against Deep Blue, I found Kasparov versus the World a lot more interesting. Do you think there is a lot of research and systems to be developed to allow humans to collaborate that way just as they did in this match against you?

Garry Kasparov (GK): Great question, and while the "wisdom of the crowds" isn't really so effective in expert systems like chess, it was a pioneering experiment in real life for crowdsourcing and combining human and machine thinking and coordination in real time.

Lukenzz: Hi Mr. Garry, I want to recall your match against Topalov in 1999. With all due respect, have you really predicted all the moves before capturing the rook on h8?

GK: Yes, I had to see the rook was hanging on h8 to play it. The moment I played 24.Rxd4 I visualized the position after 37.Rxd7 [Kasparov meant Black's 37...Rxd7 - PD]. Not every single move or variation between, of course, but that final key moment came to me like lightning.

For more on this, see The Greatest Chess Game Of All Time Explained - Kasparov vs. Topalov, 1999 by NM Sam Copeland!

wrapped_in_clingfilm: e4?

GK: ...c5!

BerimboloMaster: What do you think of the evolution of chess from 2000 to today? How do you think it’ll evolve in the future?

GK: Players get better, we understand more, it goes on forever. The game isn't going anywhere, it's more popular than ever, and people will always want to know who is the strongest human so machines aren't going to "kill" it or whatever. People still hold their breath when the 100m dash is run, or even the marathon. It's about human competition and spirit.

Cryptographer-Wooden: How did the USSR as a nation state-supported you through your rise in the chess world? Do you reckon that if you were born in another country you would have had the same success? Read your book How life imitates chess. Quality read.

GK: Thanks, it's a good book! The USSR considered chess a way to promote the superiority of the Communist system, and I benefited from that emphasis, as did every Soviet player. We had conditions for training and competition that were unmatched elsewhere. Mostly, though, it was that chess was everywhere and so the top talents were discovered and promoted efficiently. There's talent everywhere, but not opportunity.

Ms_Riley_Guprz: What is your opinion of Chess960 or other variations of the game? Which is your favorite, or which looks like the most promising for the future of chess?

GK: It's great, if I have trouble calling any variant an improvement on the real thing. I like openings and the rich history and work involved in researching improvements in the opening phase. It's a vital part of the game. But Chess960 is fun and fresh and a welcome addition to the chess world.

the_world_is_amazing: What was going through your head when you lost the match to Deep Blue? Were you excited that technology had advanced that much or were you more worried about what this could mean for the future?

If you watch the video of my resignation you don't need much imagination to know what was going through my head!

herpDerpSlerpaWerp: Do you think current era chess champions like Magnus have the staying power to match or exceed your time as champion for 20+ years?

GK: Highly unlikely, although Magnus clearly has the requisite talents of creativity and discipline. But elite chess keeps getting more competitive, with more players from more places, more events, as well as more distractions and opportunities. I was 42 and still ranked number one when I retired in 2005, feeling like I had no more to achieve in the chess world. 10 more years is a long time, but if Magnus stays hungry, and it is still making him happy, perhaps with the rise of a top challenger to keep him interested, he might. But the pace of change is his enemy so I'm skeptical.

Wevewonit6timeslad: Who is the nicest chess player you've met? Also, what is the best advice you can give to new chess players? Thanks

Nicest? Not something I paid much attention to in my playing days! But for friendly, I would pick out Mikhail Tal for sure. Today, Aronian always has a kind word and smile.

Best advice is to play. Many new players get obsessed with studying or reading about chess, which can be like reading books about dancing to become a good dancer. Players play!

Applescause27: Could you have beaten Bobby Fischer if both of you were in your prime at the time of the match? Do you think the world chess championship format should be changed so that it’s more about playing for the win rather than playing for the draw? Thanks, you absolute legend <3

No interview could be complete for years without this one! I don't like these "time machine" questions because chess evolves and players learn and improve, especially across several generations. Fischer was a titan, ahead of his peers like no other before or since, but still knew less about chess than elite teenagers today.

As for changing the World Championship format, I don't see how. I like matches as the best way to determine the champion, and you can't eliminate draws without changing the rules of the game.

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