Many who are fans of the great Garry Kasparov, were so excited when they heard that he will make a comeback, although a brief one, in rapid and blitz, in St. Louis. But after 18 games (with 9 more to go today), it is clear that he struggled badly in faster time format, against some opponents who are much younger, faster, better, and hungrier.
In fact, a number of the players he is facing either were not born or were novice chess players when he ruled the chess world. Some of the games were hard to watch. Some of the blunders are inexplicable. But this is what happens when age catches up with you. No one is immune to this.
Even Magnus Carlsen chimed in with this tweet: “Brutal… when the clock is down and heart rate is up, common sense goes out the window”
This comeback by Kasparov reminds me of the last fights of the late legendary Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, Mr. “Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee.” He lost his final two fights – an 11th-round retirement against Larry Holmes in 1980 (the only time Ali was stopped in 61 fights) and a 10-round unanimous decision against Trevor Berbick in 1981. He should have retired for good after winning his 1978 rematch with Leon Spinks to become the only man to regain the heavyweight title twice.
This is the Muhammad Ali I choose to remember
And not this one
I hope the younger generations will not remember Garry Kasparov for these 27 games, but for some of the spectacular wins and tournament victories in his prime. He is arguably one of the greatest world champions ever. But, unfortunately, no one can defeat Father Time. All I can say is he is brave to take on some of the top young talents today who are young enough to be his kids.
And this is the Garry Kasparov I choose to remember
And not this one
(some of the photos by Eric Rosen)