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Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov Quotes

Quotes by and about Garry Kasparov

(Continued from his main entry on the site.)

Kasparov: "Today we have very few, if any, visionaries. There are too many managers."

Kasparov: "Comparing the capacity of computers to the capacity of the human brain, I've often wondered, where does our success come from? The answer is synthesis, the ability to combine creativity and calculation ... into a [greater] whole."

Kasparov: "One does not succeed by sticking to convention."

Kasparov: "Without a goal [maneuvering is] aimless. You might be a master tactician, but you'll have no sense of strategy."

Kasparov: "[People] quickly discard apparently outlandish ideas and solutions. ... The failure to think creatively is as much self-imposed as it is imposed by ... our jobs and our lives."

Kasparov: "[Up until] I first played for the chess world championship ... everything had come easily for me. Winning had simply become the natural state of things."

Kasparov: "[In chess] I was too aggressive due to overconfidence."

Kasparov: "[Chess moves that have] an extra charge of fantasy can startle your competition into making mistakes."

Kasparov: "Tactics involve calculations that can tax the human brain, but when you boil them down, they are actually the simplest part of chess and are almost trivial compared to strategy."

Kasparov: "The Cold War was based on ideas, like them or not. Putin's only idea can be concentrated into the motto 'Let's steal together.'"

Kasparov: "Fantasy isn't something you can turn on with the flip of a switch. The key is to indulge it as often as you can to encourage the habit, to allow your unconventional side to flourish. Everyone develops his own device for prompting his muse. The goal is for it to become continuous and unconscious, so your fantasy is always active. It's not about being an inventor, with an occasional flash of creativity, but about being innovative in your decision-making all the time."

Kasparov: "From my old chess training routines to my sleeping patterns, I confess to being a creature of habit, so it requires considerable effort for me to [do change how I do things]. At the board I always tried to let my mind wander, to occasionally ignore the fog of variations and take a mental stab in the dark. In a competitive situation such moves - today we might call them thinking outside the box - have the added benefit of often coming as a complete surprise to your opponent. The time he has spent thinking on your move has mostly been wasted, and the landscape of the game has changed. It's more than playing a good move, an objectively strong move. Moves with an extra charge of fantasy can startle your competition into making mistakes."

Kasparov: "A frequently changed strategy is the same as no strategy. Change can be essential, but it should only be made with careful consideration and just cause. Losing can persuade you to change what doesn't need to be changed, and winning can convince you everything is fine even if you are on the brink of disaster. If you are quick to blame faulty strategy and change it all the time, you don't really have any strategy at all. Only when the environment shifts radically should you consider a change in fundamentals. ... Avoid change for the sake of change."

Kasparov: "Military history is full of examples of commanders who got carried away by the action on the battlefield and forgot about strategy."

Kasparov: "When your opponent complicates things, there is a strong temptation to look for a refutation of his idea, to pick up the gauntlet, to rise to the challenge. Of course this is exactly what he wants and why such distractions must be resisted. If you have already decided on a good strategy, why drop it for something that suits your opponent? Avoiding this trap requires extraordinarily strong self-control."

Kasparov: "Sticking with a plan when you are winning sounds simple, but it's easy to become overconfident and get caught up in events. Long-term success is impossible if you let your heat-of-the-moment reactions trump careful planning."

Kasparov: "In the competitive chess world I had clear standards for success and failure. That meant it was relatively easy to determine what worked and what did not. Trial and error led me to establish and refine my successful routines. When I had a poor result, I knew it was time to reexamine these things, both in my chess and in my day-to-day life. Without obvious benchmarks for success and failure it is even more important to have a constant process of reevaluation."

Kasparov: "This is the essential element that cannot be measured by any analysis or device, and I believe it's at the heart of success in all things: the power of intuition and the ability to harness and use it like a master."

Kasparov: "Enormous self-belief, intuition, the ability to take a risk at a critical moment and go in for a very dangerous play with counter-chances for the opponent - it is precisely these qualities that distinguish great players."

Kasparov: "You can't overestimate the importance of psychology in chess, and as much as some players try to downplay it, I believe that winning requires a constant and strong psychology not just at the board but in every aspect of your life."

Kasparov: "My love of dynamic complications often led me to avoid simplicity when perhaps it was the wisest choice."

Kasparov: "I coached Magnus Carlsen for a year, in 2009, and I was amazed at how quickly he could correctly evaluate a position ... seemingly without any calculation at all. My own style required tremendous energy and labor ... working through deep variations looking for the truth in each position."

Magnus Carlsen: "I learnt an enormous amount [from Kasparov's coaching] but there came a point where I found there was too much stress. It was no fun any more. Outside of the chessboard I avoid conflict, so I thought this wasn't worth it."

Hikaru Nakamura: "One thing with Garry, and I think it is due in a large part to his Soviet training, he'll never quite understand that you have to be able to criticize constructively. When you have someone who is always on your case and it's never good enough no matter how you win a game, it just brings you down, you lose confidence. And as a chess player you have to be confident, you have to believe in yourself."

Anatoly Karpov: "Kasparov and I have nothing in common. For me chess was the end, for him it has merely been the means."

Anatoly Karpov: "He's unprincipled."

The Guardian: "He believes he can ... plot a new course in Russia, replacing emotion ... with logic and rational analysis."

The Guardian: "[He has a] feared personal database, containing many potent opening novelties which [he] never got the chance to use in his own games."