Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, who became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 22. He is also a writer and a political activist. He grew up in the Soviet Union, the only child of engineer parents. He learned chess by watching his parents play as they worked out chess problems in the newspaper. As a five year old he was fascinated by the mysterious little pieces and the board with its 64 squares. Garry Kasparov's father died when he was seven and it was his mother who guided him on his chess career. As a player, he was nicknamed the Beast of Baku, because of his dynamic style at the chessboard. He became a grandmaster on his 17th birthday and went on to become the World Champion after beating Anatoly Karpov in a now-legendary series of games in the mid-1980s. He played high-profile matches against the IBM computer Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997. Since his retirement from competitive chess, he has written numerous books and become a high-profile political activist. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is the BBC halloo, I'm kirsty young welcome to desert on an discs where, every week I asked my guests to choose the eight tracks, the book and the luxury item that they want to take with them. If they were cast away on a desert island for rights reasons, the music on these podcast versions is shorter than in the original broadcast. You can find over two thousand more additions to listen to and download on a desert island discs website. My customary this
week is the russian chest champion writer and political activists garry Kasparov, widely acknowledged as the finest cleared of all time. His attacking maverick style saw him christened the boy of buckle, it's been a dozen years since he quit the professional game, but the depths of his strategic brilliance has ensured his ongoing, legendary stasis. There may mathematically speaking be as many possible chest. aims as the atoms in the visible universe, but even as a six year old that didn't seem to put him off. That was when he began playing feeling immediately. The chess was the ideal game for him by seventeen. He was a grand master going on just five years later to become the youngest ever world champion. He maintained that position for the next twenty years. Not content, however, with beating human
He also took a man's fight against the machine going head to head with a supercomputer, deep blue. He won the first encounter but lost the rematch more recently, his energies have been occupied with an altogether less cerebral and a good deal more risky pursuit. Decrying leadership of russian president vladimir Putin publicly denouncing what he calls his criminal regime and police state. He says if I looked back at my life by all: Please follow the same algorithm, trying to make the difference whether it said the chessboard or in the surroundings of the chessboard or in my ordinary life and sir welcome garry kasparov them when you say ordinary life. I think we can all agree first off that you haven't had much of an ordinary life, but I know what you mean from that comment and he retired from competitive chess properly, two thousand and five. Yet she miss winning winning
is not just moving the chest pieces. He just mentioned making the difference that sir one of the most valuable lessons from my childhood from my mother and very happy with my chest. Experience with knowledge of the game, helping me to meet this challenge in the sort of common man's perception of of what neat champions. Do we understand what athletes do a tennis player? So you know we can see. Is how does a championship chess player Prepare you know you you're, not in the Jim. You not with the nutrition, is what are you doing in preparation by the western world? I'm in the jail, Elsie physically wrote the strongest glove generations? That important was that a part of it was for me. It was very important because my star was very dynamic. It requires a lot of energy and that that's why I could stay on top of so long beating even next you there
asian, because I have plain to energy and physical strength to do through long torments chest torments. They used to be pretty long, so the typical wall jumbos match was ten weeks. So when I play carpal and big torments two weeks, you know up to twenty days and if you are engaged in his competition, it's not just making. The moves at the chess board is about preparation is about going so these moments of the game that just did you just played. So it's two weeks of almost twenty four seven chess trust me its north racking, and if you don't have enough strength, physical strength, you will never survive to the end of the competition. That's why I always dominated in the last year. Sounds because my younger opponents, they didn't, have to save energy. The same passion descend, determination. Let's go. I saw your music. Then Gary kasparov tell me about your first disc. A little bit about, listen and wise and born to snatch was no voice, distinctive and an reaches justice. Amazing,
but is also has a connection to one woman in my life and ninety seven to six one of my first coaches added lemme negated. He travelled abroad and he brought back a disk. That's it this fort every quarter and it had some What's the music, which was not available normally the soviet union and it had many a sonata thanks for me. Was just you know the warm the relation I actually had some difficult of selecting one of thongs, but then I decided strange than I because it's more romantic and is also one of the favourite thanks of my wife. Let's hear it, strangers in the night? stating lance wondering what
answer we'd be sharing love the die was the something in the something in your smile. That was frank, not and strangers in the night. You smile right across your face. No garry kasparov when you listen to that. You have a wonderful turn of is he once described the ibm computer, deep, blue as a ten minutes dollar alarm clock that made me laugh, what will your feelings about the whole enterprise in your first match, which was in ninety six against it, It was not the first time I met a computer, the chessboards. This was a forced on were machine met the world champion at the chess board on the
normal tune with conditions that was a real seven hours game and them if we are looking for the watershed moment in history, actually it's ninety nine, it's, not ninety. Ninety seven, because, though I won the match match of the six games, I once read: gibbs I lost one, but that was game one and the match, and basically, if you want to have a dispute with a milestone, that was the moment, because the rest from the scientific perspective was just a matter of it's like the writing on the wall. If machine could win one game, the rest could come one, you
made the two years later. Three years later, there was the biggest challenge. Ever I remember the cover of newsweek, the brains last stand no pressure after these match. I played a few other of computer matches again, not as publicized, and I did better done in these matters, but it's not something that no changed everything dramatically, because what we learned from that and that's why said, is as intelligent as alarm clock because, contrary to the experts stations of founding fathers of computer science, like alan turing, claude, shannon, norbert wiener. The machine that prevail in the game of chess was a brute force. Well, yes, let's just talk for a moment about that brute force this as you've described the brute force of computer calculation. How do you think it has changed the modern game in ways that somebody like now you can
I yes, but it's. What I can tell by learning from all these experiences is that, if we are dealing with a closed system in any game is a closed system, because we have the rules and it's quantifiable machines will do it better, because it's not about solving the game, it's about winning winning means prevailing over humans and even the best humans were doomed to make mistakes. It's just it's it's inevitable. Let's have some more music garry kasparov
tell me about the second piece we're going to hear to date. It was all back to my childhood either somehow the music just enchanted me, but then also connected to one of my favorite movies amadeus these flow. But it's this gulf of depth and strength and as a sign of genius and amadeus is, is a great story. Somehow I just I could make a projection to my life, because he that I could make moves. You know was the same easy flow and it's. This music reminds me of the patch of genius where he can just do simple things, but it ends up with a masterpiece. The
The The that was part of the first movement from Mozart, simply number forty performed by the berlin philharmonic conducted, thereby Herbert VON carry him. So Gary kasparov, you were born in baku in ninety six
three in inasmuch as I'm saving the deep south or the soviet union. So your dad. who was jewish. Your mom was armenian, I'm wondering what sort of parents it takes to make her grand master es champion. Tell me more about your parents are very vague members of my father. He died when I was seven and what was his What did he die was chemical engineer, sale and my mother was also engineer, so she worked in its an institution that tat build the equipment for oil industry when I was introducing you to day, I didn't know whether to say you were five when you started playing or you were six, you were run about five harm. Actually only knows him, he has no twitter to reported, so you were watching your parents try to solve a letter puzzle in the newspaper: yes, that certain most likely yes I was so fascinated by this mysterious peace, as you know, the little bored with the sixty four squares and my father immediately picked it up because every
woody on the side was somehow connected to music, so my grandfather was in charge of the progressing in philharmonic's in baku. My father also graduated glass violin my uncle. He is a composer and my father, just when he just realized that I was so engaged in game of chess that his last decision in his life was, he told my mother already he had leukemia, he knew he was dying. He said no music. He has a different kind of mind, sending the chest and he died of leukemia He would sit around thirty nine, a very young age to die and, as you said, you would only seven will you an only child and my mother. She made a big decisions, not remarry and sportsmen her life for some. I will talk about that in a moment, but I was interested to read and I'm interested to know if it's true that your father decided that he did not want you to see him and in the final vote
it s life. Yes, that's does what mama told it probably wanted me to remember him still being strong. Your physical, very strong, never had any and of sickness, so agenda, and I think that was the right decision. Mama, a recent, just you know, always connected to him, smiling being strong. carrying me just reading was me so its opposite, not good, in the dark moments of a dying man, we're coming back of course, but we need to fit in the music garry Kasparov. This third piece you chose and Chopin, tell me about why it's important to you. The revolution attitude makes me feel stronger. because it's it's like a challenge. It still just name revolution attitude. It's I hear the music of change, so does the you have to make the difference the the
the the the and was shook hands attitude opus. Ten number twelve perform, thereby vladimir ask noisy. You set an extraordinary thing. Just before the last piece of music, talk about your mother and you said that she decided that she, not me Mary and she decided that she would devote at her time in her energy, two million my chest. That's incredible that she didn't know yet chess look price,
missing, but it was just about some. So as that's that's what a big decision it apparent, what do you make of that? The fact that she decided that it would be you and only you that would be the focus of her adult. Existence ass, an extraordinary decision is an decision and that's why I always feel close to her itself. Stuff I am now because, since two thousand thirteenth over two thousand sitting over five years, I believe outside russia for obvious reasons, because the russia before before me one way ticket as long as his days in power and she still in moscow. We talk every day. There are few rules I don't dare to break is when my plane takes all four lance. I must color goods four in the morning in Moscow midnight whatever the time and she's eighty now she actually made some other important decisions, because she prevented me from just getting into these big chest too early. I should just try to so the limit disengagement to make sure that when
me challenges, I will be mature enough. So from early days she was like a top manager of the team. Was she tough? Was she your protector There was a big moment a load about later, when I played, and until the carpet the force match and in nineteen eighty four and its at the beginning was a total disaster. I lost four gazed out of forty nine and add the winner had to take six game, so carpal so close to it's a big triumph and the aids my game just it was it looked bleak. So just I I couldn't actually find the right algorithm. So it's somehow I fail to show what was my real strength and dab some of my coaches, they have been influenced by the outsiders, and they tried to talk to my mother to convince me to give up so basically do stop playing, and just you know, to resign to avoid the total disaster, because losing seeks to nothing would be too painful, and she said, I know, has to go through every six areas. If these issues
to lose the match so badly. Let's see what happens with him, because this is the only way to temper his character somewhere, music garry kasparov, but this we're going to listen to your fourth. Why features? this one. This is sir from phantom of the upper limits, I'm not afraid to be accused of being a populist bit. It's also as very important personal note to me. It's a first, a musical show. I wish was my wife, so two thousand three in new york now always like, oh so, our family music, because our daughter, somehow I that she picked it up and she she has been trying to played, and now she can do it's scary and solve this suspense and every time I hear Justino brings me back to this great moments of animal life. If we have to choose sort of musical model for family, there were found.
You were too if the phantom of the opera, composed by andrew lloyd, webber and performed by members of the original london cast recording at garry kasparov at the time when you started traveling the world because of your chess, you would, when Harold sorted what struck you.
About the west as a youngster. I can hardly describe my feelings when I was chosen to represent soviet union in the world chambers around the sixteen. I was thirteen in ninety seventy six. Of course they did let my mother to trowels me They didn't now because it's family and the rules were very strict because the family could stay until you had to have a reason to come home yeah. Exactly absolutely that's, that's that's the the comments which you thought I was the only person in just devil, my school, probably my street, maybe my district in baku who travelled to the capitalist conflict. I could see that life was different. It's the soda! much of this consumer abundance, but more of just it's different air freedom. So lesson, something the people behave differently that sexual. What I want, I just instinctively. I picked it up: some
dolly had jus frazier, you had anatoly cut off and he because you know your matches between each other became legend I want you just for a moment to take me to winning again him in the world championship into the particular day and moment what was going on up, not in playing the move. but in your emotions at the moment of winning, is very high to squeeze arising in just in few words, because the title of well just jump in the soviet union and was more than just a wall. Champ was something actually many people who supported me ass. They said at the moment that Gary kasparov has won the game and won the title and begin dual jumpin and carbon loss. They realise that the whole system may one day collapse because explain mechanism, because,
carpet was he became so close to the establishment of its knowledge closed established with a part of these two have yet. The fact is that he was received by brezhnev and He got only wars and it was the system and I was not a rebel, so I just play by the rules. I didn't want to be seen, as somebody has challenged the system, but He was a russian. Well, jumble doll, the system. We see body top officials, including little bread himself and I was half armenian. Have jews from baku do enjoying support of local part officials, who gave me some protection to organise preparation and not to be deprived of coaches and said the hell that I needed to challenge carpet, still. It was, if I wouldn't say David and goliath, but it's there and I didn't feel it's so distinctly as many other people, all the people because I heard it and only many years late. I just realized it. It's mom.
with the revelation carp have lost, maybe the whole system. God knows. Maybe the whole system could one day go bust. Let's take a break for some music garry Kasparov. Tell me about your next one at this. Is your fifth: connected to these matches it, sir vladimir risky, this song, I'm not shortly patients, great capricious horses, but let's a wild horses. Is that it's it's it's a combinations, while horses capricious horses are unpaid horses well that's the, but it's about the challenge so that, under eye for the first three matches corporal the forty eight gauge the force match the unlimited match. Eighty forty five then second match at twenty four games and another twenty four games. Nineteen, eighty six before each game. I listened to the song because it's just eat it charge me was energy and m. Even when I was losing so badly. I still could get some some hope that is its the.
Who is just one step away from this statue challenge? If you survive one day, you'll prevail, don't ever river, but her elbows, do you pass our model bug yeah? Can you So why are you guys go you the guy you Margo near you start. Don't when you am, I refer you to this bloody me ever sorts gay and contemplated near here. I did. I said and circulated louis I got a little nearer and anyway, it means untamed or capricious uses wild. Yes, wild horses em in january of nineteen. Ninety, a very important thing happened subversion. It was the result of ethnic violence between the armenians and the sba journeys, and you,
your family. As I understand it, were forced to flee. What do you is that accurate? First of all that you were forced to flee, because that's what I read will do the forced to flee. So you chose to don't do this programme? So this is the armenia's will wipe out front from the sea, because we don't know how many probably few hundred have been killed, in the tens of thousands hatcher at their will simply expelled. So we we had to leave, the town was so it was a very tough woman because I had no plan saloon beaucoup, but I knew there was no choice and I had to take as many people as Ecwid was me. So we just moved to Moscow. It's not. Strictly democratic, but it is a relatively stable place now. Do you ever go back as a budget? Now he said not democratic and stable. It's a dictator, stable and it was not democratic. Oh yes, it's a family dictatorship and I've. I've known pension of just going there, because I was just born there organise a den of a day. It's I wish
I could go there. One day I could take my family extra to show the place where it was born. Yes, but the city is not is not just stones, though, for instance, armenian cemetery has been desecrated so that the buy follows is is, is the jewish cemetery still there, so we're just in is in good shape. I saw the pictures, so what's does this to some people brother to me after Jerusalem, but in baku in two thousand sixteen, so they just there when just to see the place where I was born now, with its a store of the other woman close there and of course no mention that I was born, become, does My answer to you know we're just it's not but adjusted sir. They will probably three people with Wolfgang will born baku. Roster porridge landau the nobel prize winner and myself, the first you of course properly reflected in history town, and I am though there because I mean I'm fine. So just as you fight that would message me, there's a lot of people still remember.
That's why I was born and what I did for my native town, because now exorbitant origins well of the leading chests powers- and I started with me- was my ascension and my rice, the top. So that's a kind of cultural legacy. Then that you get it. I will yes exactly. I believe I will visit the place one day, because I am the skull of history, all dictators, they're doomed and this dictatorship will not last forever and when we see a different to political landscape, I'm sure I'll take a trip down cells sets more music and we are all now you're six peace. Tell me about this. Kaliko spoke: it's she'll energy, its blood boiling, no special, connection to my family, my professional life, but it makes me feel more the and
the the the the that was the prelude from bees
This common perform their by the berlin philharmonic conducted by sir Simon rattle, so garry kasparov since retiring, then from the professional game you ve used your platform. A world renowned to draw attention to two what you believe the failings of the regime the russian president himself or vladimir Putin. Your straightforward accusations, then just to to sum it up is that it is a criminal regime and it is a police state. In essence, would that be fair? It was fair. Now it's much was it and it's one man dictatorship. It was a police state. Years ago and then I've been shouting kinda desert deserts, trying to bring attention to the fact that too
regime was under way of tory into open dictatorship that would go after other countries. That's what happened was other dictators. They destroyed opposition in their own countries. There weren't we in charge in total control, but eventually they all need new targets to justify their endless staying power, and I knew that scrutiny would go elsewhere, force to the neighbouring countries, former soviet republics, eventually he would defy the biggest the most powerful countries and wealth, and that's why what's happened during? U s elections and many elections in europe and all these now renaud facts of a russian interference has been predicted. I don't want to. I am tired sake. I told you so, and I just I want one day to be proven wrong. You are, of course, no longer living in russia. You live now in exile in new york, with your wife and family, but for many years you did put yourself literally.
On the front line of process. He sat short spells heat and they are in prison for taking part in demonstrations. What do you see you rule, no, as from the outside, to try to get what you believe to blow justice for the heads of eight linger country? It's very important to explain an unfortunate have to repeated time and again, the true nature of put his regime just stop using wart elections stop pointing out at a poles, because you never know what people think, because many of them have this genetic fear off expressing their views. They were born in the soviet union and speaking openly by the kgb dictator, it's just goes against their life experience and also, if you have one restaurant in town So we got one these vicious popular. Do you
worry yourself and of for your own safety. I mean, of course, famously people who make enemies of Vladimir Putin come today. Sticky ends. We only have to think of the journalists along yeah so long, a very long list of journalists whose vision of those who left russia, like my great friend and ally, late, boris nemtsov, who actually advised me to leave the country, but it's tragic that he was so pure, so proud, and so he felt so tough and as a former deputy prime minister the yeltsin many believed yeltsin's potential successor and they stay there and he was murdered just in front of kremlin. There were two thousand fifteen It is a long line of people who have made their essence have openly criticised and be something other than this down in india, I imagine you not drinking tea at an anonymous. I don't trade drink tea with strangers. My live in new york, ny officers said list of countries. I wouldn't visit to make sure that I'm I'm not running too much risk, but
you asking me about my safety safe. Yes, would it help at the end of the day? It's the only good answer. Would it help I do what I believe is right. I will keep doing that. I'm here talking to her in the in studio, london, I live in new york, so I travel mostly in the free world. There's too many people in russia who are the front line and They have no protection at all. So look, I think, I'm the only one who can help by just talking about pushes regime. And explaining that d. The keys to the freedom of my country are here in the banks. and in financial institutions that are keeping and investing this enormous forces of put his cronies and engine codified in the music a spot of. So let us go then to your seven's peace. Just tell me about this choice. Was it in your list going back to our political discussion, I would recommend people to read my reports on good father. If they want to know more about, puts him and
it's one of my favorite movies. I I The and
most of the Gaza from the original film sancho composed banana router and conducted by carlo sabena. Deeply with your kids are the interest in ngos, No, let's see, the little one to dwell the kids there interesting eleven elder daughter she expressed some interest bitter. I really have to take this criticism so from my wife that I didn't enough to actually encourage her to do more? She knows how to play legs a gay mitchell: he's borges in reading and music. That would you like to have a little chess champion. Would you want that life? Whether one of you believe if we believe the laws of genetics, I have to work their kids, because not always the next generations. So you be a pride grandfather. Suggestion I may be us with europe,
and clearly of many facets and many talents, but I don't know how good you are at the practical stuff of life, and you know that I am about to cast you away on a desert island. Will you be able to survive your practical purse? No, I'm not! very practical person, but I'm a survivor, so I will have learned so as the If you saw me there, so I will. I will get I'll do my best to learn how to stay life. Tell me about your eighth disc. Then your final one. Why have you chosen this few reasons? One of them was that it's not exactly the desert island, but this is the about survival. It's more economy, anymore, economy, and this this music is that could feel is the connection was move itself I have chosen the main theme from the professional, the movie nineteen eighty one was bellman go, don't mix was not enough.
Before the loan. I think it's the best belmont the movie, just it was great characters and it's feels so contemporary. But this is one of the movies, not typical, where you don't have a headband, but it's about the main character are doing everything perfectly and still dying at the end because he went against the system, but you could be truly ass by his determination to do what he thought was right. The the the chemo, composed by a more cunning
it's time now, as I do with every castaway garry kasparov for me, to give you some books, I give everybody or the bible and the complete works of shakespeare to take to this little island and they get to choose one other book to take with those two. What is good. I must among the woggle bug I've as good as easy, a cricket and a luxury to telescope. Double use. I could do what the stars and as its I was wanting to true to spend time, never had enough time and its soon the desert, hours isn t in the south are solvency, so there's plenty of stars there to watch and also you can use it just looking for potentially for for sheep, ok for the practical, he's. That's your business and I'm gonna pretend you didn't tell me that, but for the stars we will set further, but that's what they get. It says I'm trying to the practical who does? It also has a practice you. I can't blame you for that. You chose nate discs today. If the seas which threaten
wash them away, which one would you run to save, above all others martyred. It's yours, Gary kasparov. Thank you very much for letting us see your desert island excludes wedding. The I hope you enjoyed this edition of desert island discs with garry Kasparov. You will find more interviews with sports stars, scientists, musicians and artists and more at bbc dot, co dot. Uk slash desert island discs the
This is the BBC hi, I'm Oriana dylan, and I just wanted to let you know about another pull cost that I think you might like. It's called seriously and twice a week we bring you incredible. Documentaries from BBC radio, for we like to say that seriously interesting stories told a little sideways from politics to fashion arts, to current affairs. I'm sure there will be something that takes you fancy so join me, they're, just such were seriously and your favorite podcast up
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.