A pity Chennai did not roll out the red carpet for Kasparov

Why did Anand not care to even meet the chess legend? Or did he?

To me, Bobby Fischer is the greatest player chess has ever seen. This is more than because one of his spectacular wins in 1956 is still considered the “game of the century”. He was only 13 years old when he came up with a masterly queen sacrifice against a then formidable player early in the game leading to a win in 40+ moves. That was visualising a win several moves ahead with a major piece sacrifice and following it up precisely for a sensational win!

About 26 years later, in 1972, he toppled reigning champion Boris Spassky to wrest the world title from the Russian. Fischer revolutionised chess with his genius and tantrums at the championship that popularised the game the world over.

Fischer did not defend his crown after that and gave up competitive chess. What a huge loss it was to the game! He died in Iceland in 2008 after he was made to run by the U.S. from country to country for defying sanctions/embargo and playing in Yugoslavia for a rematch against Spassky that he won. By then he had given up his American citizenship, well before his death as an Icelander.

All-Time Greats: I doubt anyone comes close to Fischer. But I would say Garry Kasparov is next best in terms of all-time chess greats.

Kasparov recently chose to visit Chennai for the world chess championship match between V Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen.

Unfortunately, instead of giving him a hero’s welcome he was given the cold shoulder and even made to feel unwanted in the city for political reasons. Team Anand did not even want him to be given a place in the first two rows at the venue.

Why did Chennai fail to roll out the red carpet for Kasparov? Why did Anand not even deem it fit to meet the chess legend visiting the city he hails from? There has been some friction between the two after Kasparov had said two years ago that Anand appeared to have lost his motivation to win. I did not find anything wrong in Kasparov’s statement as I too had thought Anand was of late trying to play too safe and losing games in the process.

But we do not even have to go into it. Kasparov, who has left Chennai after a three-day stay there, ought to have been received with open arms in Chennai leaving aside all petty politics!

 Joslin Vethakumar


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