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How Life Imitates Chess Gary Kasparov

How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom 

Author:  G. Kasparov
Date: 25 Mar 2011.

"How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom " 

288 pages | File type: PDF | 8,3 mb 

Readers' reviews: Chessplayers who have a life outside chess often draw analogies between the game and life. And who better to do this than a man who reached the apex of the game and stayed there for two decades? Granted, his experience of *real life* is somewhat limited but he frequently utters insightful things. 

For example, on p.47, he cites Churchill on how courage holds everything together. How often have we seen otherwise talented players collapse in promising positions because they lacked the courage of their convictions? To give another example, he argues that players should seek the positions that play to their strengths how often have we seen strong players stumble because they got into the types of postions for which they were ill-suited? To give yet another example, how intuition doesn't operate in a vacuum but is a function of knowledge and experience. 

And to give yet one more, how each person has to arrive at a very personal understanding of the game (or life) for himself, and draw up a very personal plan of improvement. None of this is new to experienced chess players but it's still very interesting to see Kasparov give his own twist, and back it up with examples both personal and historical. In a nutshell, he argues that when humans play chess, the whole personality is involved: courage (which glues everything together), intuition, strategic drift, judgement, and calculation, and that to hone and integrate all these qualities into what we should call "character" requires introspection. I found the book a rewarding read. 

After holding the world chess title for longer than anyone in modern history, Garry Kasparov tries his hand at a book that strays from the chess board and ventures into the world beyond - business, political, military, etc. It is a worthy effort that not only does not embarrass Kasparov, it exhibits him as a person of rare intellectual range. An even better - albeit shorter and pithier book - along the same lines is Bruce Pandolfini's "Every Move Must Have a Purpose: Strategies from Chess for Business and Life." Garry Kasparov cuts against the grain of many (most??) top-flight chess players dwelling in the insular and all-absorbing world of chess. Many top players seem one-dimensional, monochromatic; others seem to be uber-geeks, social cripples or wacked out psychos like the legendary nut case Bobby Fisher. By contrast, Kasparov shows a rare intellectual range that transcends the chessboard and probes into the expanse of history and business. With his interest and activism in Russian politics, Kasparov has a vision of himself that goes beyond merely being the world chess champion for an unprecedented span of time. 

He offers insightful lessons from his chess career so that, even if you know nothing about chess, readers can benefit and profit from his book. If you are a chess fan or player, there is also much here for enjoyment. Chief among these are the inside stories of key games from Kasparov's career, including his multiple titanic struggles with Anatoly Karpov. Mercifully for the non-chess fan, the book is devoid of the algebraic gibberish (3. Nxc3 !!) that populates many chess books. What with Kasparov's new career as a politician opposing Vladimir Putin, one hopes that he already has his life insurance in place and that his security retinue is equipped with Geiger counters and food-tasters. 

Actuarial tables may not be needed to assess shorter life expectancies for opponents of Putin. This book by Garry Kasparov opens up his insights to the world beyond chess and exposes him as a thoughtful man whose talents go beyond the 64 black and white squares of the chessboard. 

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