Doesn't seem a minute since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it...


Kasparov is taking on Putin.

In the end, it can be said that Kasparov has defeated all of his intellectual adversaries but one: Vladimir Putin. And now, Kasparov is making his move against the Russian president.

Announcing his retirement from chess recently, the 42-year-old master declared that his new vocation is politics and vowed to take on the increasingly autocratic power structure ruling Russia. He wants Putin to step down in 2008, as the constitution mandates, and a democratically elected ruler to take his place.

Not that the fight will be fair, of course. It does, however, make for an interesting discussion on the value of two very different facets of understanding strategy. Apart from his dictatorial intentions, Putin is clearly a skilled manipulator of personal and political incentives. Kasparov, on the other hand, drew a tie from a machine that could calculate 50 billion moves in three minutes.

"I felt that I could use my resources, to apply my philosophy, my strategic vision in my native country, because it's such a crucial, decisive moment in history, and I felt my presence could make some difference," said Kasparov, who claims that he has been banned from state-owned television because of the threat he poses to the government.


He is finishing work on a book, scheduled for publication in 2006, titled How Life Imitates Chess. In it, he asserts that the sharp reasoning and brilliant intuition that guide a chess player's moves are the same elements that determine all effective decision-making.

One wonders how abstract the book's discussion will be: must we simply be cognizant of potential reactions by "opponents" and choose our moves according to their most likely response, or is it that a lifelong devotion to a single subject and dogged review of a narrow set of potential rivals in the pursuit of refining individual-specific assumptions (priors) for better evaluation during competition is what's called for to make "effective" decision making? It's certainly not the case that Kasparov confronted Deep Blue restorting to only a Maclom Gladwell-style style game. Likewise Putin has spent his career deep within the system of Soviet/Russian machinations. While both are supreme strategists, it seems the specificity of their fields would make it hard to compare abilities between the two. And considering that it's Kasparov moving onto Putin's turf, I don't hold out much hope for the chess genius.

(Via Political Wire.)


Don't you know that when you play at this level there's no ordinary venue?

It's always Iceland, or the Philippines, or Hastings, or- or this place.


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This page contains a single entry by published on May 23, 2005 1:57 PM.

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