Great chess players, no difference with other mortals, often must solve complex ethical problems related to career, money, and even lifesaving. And in this respect chess talent doesn’t bring any advantages to its owner. Wise Emanuel Lasker in August 1935 made a startling decision: to move from England, where he saved himself from the Nazis of his native Germany, to Soviet Moscow. In 1937, Lasker managed to correct his terrible mistake and, leaving all his belongings in Moscow, slip away with his wife to America.
Thorny was the path of moral tests of Alexander Alekhine. In 1919, he was almost shot by Cheka in the Odessa. Alekhine was saved by one of the communist bosses, probably by Trotsky. After that, Alekhine joined the communist party, worked in the Comintern, and in 1920 managed to leave the USSR. In 1935, he sent greetings to Soviet chess players on Revolution day November 7, but in March 1941 he published in occupied Paris a series of vile anti-Semitic articles. During the war years, Alekhine got along perfectly with the Nazi authorities.
Mikhail Botvinnik was an ideological communist – he stated so even in perestroika years. He proclaimed his goal – to make the USSR happy with the title of "World Champion". This allowed Botvinnik in 1938 to throw out champion of the USSR Grigory Levenfish from the historic AURO-tournament – Levenfish was invited to play there, and to take his place. It was in interests of the motherland!
Anatoly Karpov managed to politicize chess completely during his world title matches against defector Viktor Korchnoi. The Soviet authorities then obliged the leading Soviet grandmasters, and even their colleagues from the socialist camp, to supply Karpov with their opening ideas. The Russian magazine Ogonek published the extensive materials devoted to publication of the book "KGB Plays Chess", which included along with my memoirs "Writing the letter Lamed" the papers of KGB-man Popov, where he reported that KGB created a whole brigade of KGB officers with special equipment to help Karpov to fight Korchnoi. Karpov, in turn, performed under the nickname Raul the KGB's intelligence missions. For example, before the start of the Moscow Olympics in 1980, he informed me through two of my friends from Amsterdam and Leningrad, that for our family, who already had been waiting for permission to leave USSR for a full year, it had been decided to give it. Protest actions of two recent champions of the USSR – myself and my wife – could spoil the Soviet sports celebration. 7 years later, after a month of daily demonstrations and arrests, we did get that promised exit visa.
Ingenious Baku boy Garik was preparing for a political fight with Karpov for the highest chess title from his childhood. At the age of 12, on the recommendation of his mentor Botvinnik, he changed his Jewish surname Weinstein to Kasparov; at the age of 20 he joined the CPSU. When party ideologues needed it, Garry refused to play candidate match for the World title against Korchnoi in Los Angeles. Only a miracle saved then his status as a contender.
During years of titanic confrontation with Karpov, which consisted of 5 World championship matches and blazed from 1984 to 1990, Garry gradually turned into a reflection of his opponent. If Karpov was supported by the old members of the Politburo, Kasparov had support from the new ones. Karpov was helped by a parapsychologist, Kasparov was too. Karpov was being helped by the KGB brigade, and a KGB lieutenant colonel, Litvinov, appeared in Kasparov's inner circle. The key moment of the confrontation between two great "K" came on February 15, 1985, when in their first match for the World Championship after 5 months of struggle, with a score of 5:3 in favor of Karpov with 40 draws, high-ranking patrons of Karpov decided to interrupt the match for three months in order to give the rest to "their guy." But Kasparov's patron Geydar Aliyev, who at that time took the second position in both the party and the government, happened to be more important: the interrupted match was declared completed without a winner, and a year later a new match was scheduled. Garry won it. To do this, he had to win before the political match.
After the end of their chess careers, the opponents' paths diverged. Karpov strengthened on a cozy place in the Russian hierarchy and got incredibly rich. Kasparov continued to fight in another sphere, choosing President Putin as his rival. It seems that the successful confrontation against Karpov and his mighty patrons instilled in the brilliant chess player a taste for political struggle.
Having created and destroyed several political associations and factions – I remember an internet photo of Kasparov arm in arm of the national Bolshevik Limonov, advancing on riot police. Garry lost that fight and moved to the United States. Here Garry continued his political activism. Somehow, his hatred of Putin turned to President Trump. It seems, like in chess, Garry chooses himself as the target the king of the enemy and looks for ways to declare him mate.[AG1]
The impression of a player trapped in the passion of the fight comes as you read Garry's article, "The demagogue and the Democrats: Trump spits in the face of American values…” published in NEW YORK DAILY NEWS on July 21. Garry's hatred of Trump is all-consuming. And the methods of denigrating the enemy he adopted from the Communist party, within which Kasparov managed to withstand so successfully against Karpov's political machine.
Garry complains: "I came (to USA) to seek a better life for my family in a country where I would not be persecuted for my ethnic or religious heritage, or for my political views", but "with the rise of Donald Trump and his supporters, those protections are under attack”. I wonder which of his ethnic heritage he feels are being "threatened" by — Armenian or Jewish? Garry continue: “Trump’s latest attacks on “The Squad” of four Democratic legislators, all women of color, are as outrageous and racist as they clearly and intentionally are, are best seen as a continuation of his assault on everything that makes America great. He’s ticking them off a checklist: the free press, welcoming immigrants, defending human rights, the rule of law, free trade and standing up to dictators”; "he (Tramp) has an animal instinct for inspiring fear and outrage in his supporters and in his opposition. “The other” always has a prominent role to play in this theater of hate, whether it’s gays, Jews, people of color, or women in headscarves”.
We see Garry has fully mastered the gentleman set of American leftists’ cliché: homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism. It doesn't matter that there is no shred of truth in his accusations. Garry adopted methods of public assassination from the party to which he belonged in the USSR: political accusations are made — and a victim cannot be washed away.
Philippic of Kasparov against Trump in defense of the “The Squad” of four "colored women" (two of them, however, quite white) is absurd. No one " ticked off " the “The Squad” from the "free press" (the four do not leave the TV screens), from the "welcome to immigrants" (only one of them is an immigrant), or deprived them of the protection of their human rights and the rule of law. They are free to trade and to resist dictators. All these accusations by Garry are false.
Trump did not offend gays or Jews. Moreover, he is the most pro-Israeli President of the United States in the history of Israel. The "woman in headscarf", mentioned by Garry, is apparently congressman Omar, who has earned the president's condemnation by comparing the U.S. army to Al Qaeda, for her anti-Semitism, for support of the anti-Israel BDS movement, for outspoken hatred of America. It wasn't Trump who spoke about her as a racist, but The Speaker of Congress Pelosi, who explained Omar's shameful views by the culture she had brought from her native country. But you can be a Somali woman and a decent person, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of the status of women in Islam.
Garry accuses: “Trump’s racism is no surprise. He campaigned promising to block Muslims from entering the U.S. and on building a wall on the border with one of America’s largest trading partners”. But it was not racism, it was a common sense. Islam is not a race. The restriction of emigration to the United States for residents of the most odious Muslim countries, which outraged Garry, is due to danger of terrorism that these immigrants bring with them to their new countries. Jewish targets are especially popular among Islamic terrorists. I understand that Garry hasn't been Weinstein for a long time. But he also left his native Azerbaijan because of the pogrom that Muslims staged against the Armenians. And in Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century, the Armenian genocide was carried out by Muslims.
In the second part of the article, Garry suggests that Democrats must reject all those views that, in solidarity with the "four women of color," he defended in the first part. Reason: these views are the way to a defeat in the elections. At the same time Garry sees no advantage in American democracy over the Russian:"We know what Trump is, and what he’d like to be. I’ve seen his like before, as Putin twisted the fragile Russian democracy into a police state in his own KGB image”. Garry assumes that Trump uses dirty tricks: “So when protesters take down the U.S. flag at an ICE facility in Colorado and replace it with a Mexican flag, they may as well be on Trump’s payroll and making a campaign commercial for him". "Especially when the media goes along with him”, warns Kasparov. Supports? The same absurdity as previous ones: a Harvard University study found that 91% of American media content about Trump is negative. Kasparov's attack on "corrupt American democracy" has a sign of the atavism of his distant Soviet upbringing.
Garry calls for urgent actions to save American democracy from Trump. What kind? By organizing the coup! There is no more democratic way to defend democracy than to organize a coup!
But here's the trouble: "Speaker Pelosi... steadfastly declines to use the powers of her office to pursue them. Instead of introducing articles of impeachment — the only real check on a corrupt president’s power — the Democratic leadership is squabbling with its leftist wing about it”. That is the same four "colored women" views of whom seem to be so impressive to the great chess player. Let me remind you that the attempt to replay the results of the elections through impeachment without a proven violation of the law by the president is nothing more than an attempt to coup.
However, Garry understands the vanity of fuss with a coup: "The feckless GOP-controlled Senate won’t convict Trump ". There is a last resort, but here Garry is in despair too: “This is the nightmare that the Democratic leadership has decided isn’t worth fighting against tooth and nail, preferring to wait out the 550 days until the end of Trump’s term”.
What does "tooth and nail" mean? It seems that the champion is seeing armed groups of Democrats — antifa and "Black Lives Matter", occupying, as Lenin taught, "bridges, train stations, telegraph" and even storming the White House.
In general, Kasparov's fears seem reasonable: in the 2020 election, Democrats will likely meet a terrible defeat, and Garry will face another four years of worry about his "ethnic or religious heritage" under a Trump presidency.