Monday, November 13, 2006

Web Archive: Chess Slavers

I was browsing Michael Goeller's list of Chess Blogs and got attracted with this description: "The Yermo Diary by GM Alex Yermolinski - This is really a brave and challenging GM blog that sticks a few fingers in the eye of the chess establishment and tells it like it is. I am glad that the chess archive exists to preserve things like this.". The Diary is preserved in Web Archive. Here is a quote from Chess Slavers:

"...I remember, in the 1980's every strong young player who got drafted to the Army would serve his duty in Karpov's training camps. Ivanchuk, Khalifman - you name them - were forced to work and produce results that later went to Karpov's cache of opening secrets. Karpov himself didn't even have to be there... . Soon Garry realized that in order to beat Karpov he had to do the same - off he went with the team of his own. Timoschenko, Vladimirov, Chekhov, later Dorfman, what made all these people, strong GMs at the time, sell themselves out? Some got lured by offers of money and tournament invitations, some operated under a wrong assumption that they will benefit as chessplayers from working with the greats. Like if plantation slaves would grow to become Schwartzeneggers.... Slave work kills, and our K's triumphantly marched over dead bodies. The author of these words considers himself lucky. I managed to avoid conscription to either camp, I must have been not good enough for them to notice.

Why am I recalling this? Just want to remind you what it took to made Kasparov and Karpov great. All this was happening at the times when Alex Wojtkiewicz had to hide from authorities after having been indicted for refusal to join the Army ( eventually he gave himself in and did time in prison ). Many years have passed since then, and our heroes have given a tremendous effort to re-write history. They are on CNN now, our freedom fighters turned chess businessmen. Ex-Champ Boris Spassky still calls them Party Crocodiles, however ( his press-conference in St.Petersburg published by "64-Chess Review" last year). I wouldn't go that far, times have changed, and there's no reason to live in the past. That's the present what bothers me..."

Read the entire article


Anonymous said...

karpov and kasparov employing "slaves" is part of the normal team process. lawyers have their battery of assistant lawyers to do researches just like in a few goodmen of cruise, army generals have their share of "slaves" - the colonels, majors, and down to the riflemen, to achieve victory. why even a president of a nation does have his secretaries of defense, finance, etc etc etc. and even steven spielberg has his share of "slaves".

Milan Lee said...

Well it's not the same. Yermo was talking about young soviet masters who were forced to work for Karpov/Kasparov upon joining the (obligatory) army. It's not to be mixed with political/security structure or business.

Kasparov was often reffered to as "the greatest player in the history". How can we be sure where team analysis ends and Kasparov starts playing? How many of his brilliant wins were brought from kitchen instead over the board?