In Box

Epiphanies: Garry Kasparov

I was asked at the press conference after a tournament I won in 1997 or 1998, ‘What else is left for you in the world of chess?’ And I said that I have a son, who was born in 1996, and I want him to see his father win a big chess tournament. At the ...

I was asked at the press conference after a tournament I won in 1997 or 1998, 'What else is left for you in the world of chess?' And I said that I have a son, who was born in 1996, and I want him to see his father win a big chess tournament. At the end of 2004, I played the Russian national championship. [My son] was already 8, and I won very convincingly. At the closing ceremony, I got my gold medal and put it around his neck. And that was it.

For many Russians, millions and millions of them, 1991 was a disaster. Not that they had any illusions about the Soviet Union, but they wanted change, they wanted democracy, they wanted freedom, they wanted better lives, and instead they got a lot of horsesh*t.

I became gradually, not even angry, but ashamed at the events in my country. I recognized that I had a very tough choice: fight this regime or leave my country. Because seeing this bunch of criminals destroying the future of my country and doing nothing, I couldn’t bear it.

I was asked at the press conference after a tournament I won in 1997 or 1998, ‘What else is left for you in the world of chess?’ And I said that I have a son, who was born in 1996, and I want him to see his father win a big chess tournament. At the end of 2004, I played the Russian national championship. [My son] was already 8, and I won very convincingly. At the closing ceremony, I got my gold medal and put it around his neck. And that was it.

For many Russians, millions and millions of them, 1991 was a disaster. Not that they had any illusions about the Soviet Union, but they wanted change, they wanted democracy, they wanted freedom, they wanted better lives, and instead they got a lot of horsesh*t.

I became gradually, not even angry, but ashamed at the events in my country. I recognized that I had a very tough choice: fight this regime or leave my country. Because seeing this bunch of criminals destroying the future of my country and doing nothing, I couldn’t bear it.

The final moment that shaped this decision was the Beslan [school massacre]. After I saw the tragedy at Beslan, I recognized that it was coldblooded murder, premeditated by Putin and his gang. The fact that the Kremlin, with no hesitation, ordered to burn down the school with kids and women — for me, that was the final call.

You should not be mistaken by the nice suits, the jets, the luxury yachts. [Putin and the oligarchs] are different and they will always hate you. The question is whether they will mix this hate with fear or with contempt. So far, the latter.

[The opposition in Russia] has no long-term strategy. We are struggling to survive day to day.

I remember one of the guards followed me to the roof [of the jail] where I was walking, and he asked me, ‘How is it that a man of great glory like you has ended up in jail?’ And I said, ‘In Russia, people are in jail for two things: for murder or for truth.’

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