Kasparov meets Obama and... Karpov in September

PeterDoggers
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Kasparov meets Obama... and KarpovU.S. President Barack Obama visited Moscow this week to meet with Russian leaders Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, but also with the opposition, including Garry Kasparov. The former world champion is mainly active in politics these days, but in September he will play an exhibition match in Valencia against... Anatoli Karpov!

On Tuesday U.S. President Barack Obama met with representatives of the Russian opposition in Moscow. Amongst others he spoke with United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov, who presented Obama with a list of opposition figures who have been persecuted and killed recently, as well as a list of prisoners serving politically-motivated sentences in Russia. (Read Kasparov’s full statement here.)

The website of The Other Russia quotes Kasparov saying at a press-conference after the meeting: "The U.S. president is prepared to establish relations, not just between the White House and the Kremlin, but between the American people and the Russian people. In my address, I said that the situation with human rights has become worse since Dmitri Medvedev came to power. I turned over a brief list of the Russian opposition figures who have been arrested, assaulted or killed in recent years.”

Chessbase has a nice comparison of how the media in Russia covered the news. They point out that state controlled Russia Today ended their report with: "What exactly Kasparov and other opposition leaders talked about with Obama, remains a mystery," while the full statement was made available by The Other Russia.

Meanwhile (back to chess!) there is more news about Kasparov. The Spanish newspaper Marca is reporting that he will meet his old rival Anatoli Karpov in Valencia, September 21st-24th 2009 to play a 12-game (4 rapid and 8 blitz) match.

The exhibition match is part of the festivities of the Valencia Cuna del Ajedrez Moderno program: "Valencia, birthplace of modern chess". As was discovered recently, it was in Valencia where it was documented first that the queen may move to any square along the file, rank or diagonal on which it stands. The match between Karpov and Kasparov also commemorates the 25th anniversary of their first world championship match.

Kasparov (46) retired after the last round of the Linares tournament in 2005 when he was still the world's highest rated player. Karpov (58) is playing just a few tournaments a year, and at the moment he's one of the participants in San Sebastián.

The two faced each other behind the chess board for a total of more than five hundred hours in five world championship matches and many tournaments. It will be a historical encounter although it remains to be seen how much is left of the old rivalry; Karpov's attempt to visit Kasparov in jail in 2007 ironed out much of their animosity. But who isn't looking forward to their new match?
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