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Original Issue

Q+A Garry Kasparov

The 41-year-old grandmaster just released Garry Kasparov on Fischer, the fourth of a six-volume series on chess greats.

SI: What prompted you to write this series?

Kasparov: It's not the history of the game or the story of the world champions, but more of a development of ideas in chess. It's presenting the bank of chess ideas that has been accumulated over centuries. The best way to do that is to look at the accomplishments of the greatest players; they were pioneering the new concepts.

SI: Why has chess seen its popularity wane in recent years?

Kasparov: I think chess suffered terrible losses when Bobby Fischer left the stage, and now the story of Fischer is doing even more disservice to the game because I don't think he's an encouraging example for parents to send their kids to play chess. The glimpse of hope now is the Internet. That is the only advantage chess has over other sports. On the Internet you can play chess, teach chess and follow the games.

SI: You've written for The Wall Street Journal on Russian politics for years. Is politics in your future?

Kasparov: It's hard to give a good answer--and trust me, not giving a good answer doesn't mean I'm a good politician (laughs). I'm not very good with details, and I would not be a powerful force in the parliament negotiating deals. What I am good at is presenting the big picture. I feel that at certain moments, at revolutionary moments, I could be a great help for my country and the world.

SI: Are you satisfied with where your game is now?

Kasparov: My problem is to find determination to fight. I have won everything that I could have imagined. I don't think anyone else has had 20 years of domination in one sport. I'm quite happy that I'm still capable of fighting the young turks, many half my age. And not only fighting them but beating them.

--Richard Deitsch