MADRID — Chess legend Garry Kasparov said his re-match with old foe Anatoli Karpov in Spain which begins Monday would focus attention again on the game 25 years after the two masters’ first battle.
“The duel will put chess in the spotlight once again, as it did 25 years ago,” Kasparov, 46, told the Spanish daily El Pais.
Both players, considered among the greatest masters of the game, were still capable of playing “high-quality chess”, he added.
The September 21-25 match in Valencia comes a quarter of a century after the players’ epic world championship duel in Moscow, which dragged on five months before it was called off with no winner.
The new match will have 12 games — four semi-rapid and eight rapid — with Kasparov and Karpov, 58, facing off under the watch of Dutch chess arbiter Geurt Gijssen, the Valencia regional government said.
The match officially gets under way Monday with both players facing local personalities, but the real action begins Tuesday when Kasparov and Karpov play their first match of the series.
Kasparov acknowledged that the match will not carry the same suspense as the 1984 Moscow showdown, when he was challenging then world champion Karpov.
The game was halted by chess authorities who cited health grounds though both players said they wanted to continue.
Kasparov also called for the promotion of chess saying the game could have an “outstanding” social role “in schools, as a prevention for Alzheimer’s.”
“But good ideas aren’t enough, they have to be financed, organised, and promoted,” Kasparov urged.
Karpov echoed this view, telling El Pais: “I am convinced that chess is going to have growing importance as a social tool.”
Kasparov, now a Russian opposition politician, was only 21 and Karpov 33 at the 1984 match.
Kasparov later defeated Karpov narrowly. He won the world championship in 1985 and defended his title the following year. The last time he played Karpov was in 1990 when he narrowly won.