After over five years in Suffern, we’ve been informed that none other than Anatoly Karpov is an avid reader of our chess blog! Even more surprising, he recently contacted us to find out how he could help us boost our membership.
We explained to him that unlike other clubs in the tri-state area, we do not have deep pockets and would be unable to provide him with an appearance fee, first class airline travel, a chauffeured limousine, or even a bag of pretzels.
We told him we could provide our undying gratitude, a number of players willing to participate in a simul, and a rapt audience to listen to a chess lecture. Or if that’s not possible, we offered to wash his car for him and have club members on call to work as his full-time butler the next time he’s in town.
Luckily, the former world champion has a big heart and after discussions with his seconds (and thirds) we were told that he would find a way to help us out once he has some spare time. Why? Because he wants to do for Suffern what he did for Lindsborg, Kansas! (you know – the site of the Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess).
As one might imagine, Anatoly has a busy schedule, he just got back from Australia after participating in the Just Owners of Koalas Event. He told us that there are many events in Russia (and Crimea) that allow club players to build their ratings, for example the Just Orphaned Kamchatkan’s Extravaganza.
He was very kind and gregarious and provided insight into the way a Grandmaster thinks by offering the following advice that is applicable to both novices and experts:
- Always remember to bring two pencils to every match, just in case one breaks
- Prepare for your opponents as if your life depended on it
- Remember to move your knights first, unless you have a really good reason to do otherwise
- Invest in good chess software, or find a good expert player for chess lessons
- Losing isn’t so bad, it’s better than a poke in the eye, or a horde of Cossacks
- Follow your heart, it will show you the right path
- Only attack after efficiently evaluating an advantageous position, or if you just need to get home early
- Often prepare for defense, sometimes an opponent may surprise you
- Love your enemies, they don’t mean to be mean (they were just born that way)
Unfortunately, in the end, we couldn’t work out terms for a simul or a personal appearance. So, instead Anatoly agreed to observe one of our tournaments and give a virtual lecture via Skype. However, because his schedule is so busy, he has agreed to do the broadcast on June 31st of 2015. He might also have a double-booked appointment to visit the Russian space station, but he has assured us that he can do the Skype lecture from orbit if necessary.
What a great guy!
(oh, and happy April Fool’s day!)