ECONOMY

Kasparov in Athens to mix business with chess

Russia’s chess legend Garry Kasparov has arrived in Greece as a main speaker at the 3rd Sales Convention, organized by Depend Ltd. Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion in 1985 at the age of 22, and retained the title unofficially until 2000, when he was defeated by Vladimir Kramnik. But for many chess enthusiasts, Kasparov remains the best chess player in world history. The legend surrounding his name has helped him publish a number of books and deliver lectures combining chess and business. He is also widely known for being the first world chess champion to lose a match to a computer, when he was defeated by Deep Blue in 1997. His matches against computers were viewed by an estimated 300 million people. Kasparov announced his retirement from professional chess in 2005, choosing to devote his time to politics and writing. He was a candidate for the 2008 Russian presidential race, but later withdrew. At the 3rd Sales Convention on May 29, at Ktima Pentelikon, the Russian legend is to speak on «Strategy Lessons from Chess,» in which the leading chess figure combines successful strategic chess moves with business strategy. What is the aim of your trip to Greece? I have been invited by a Greek marketing company, Depend Ltd, to deliver a lecture at the 3rd Sales Convention it organizes. I travel to many countries giving similar lectures for various companies. Are there any common qualities shared by a chess player and a businessman? Do you believe that chess skills can help someone become a better businessman? Business is very much like chess, as it requires discipline, the ability to think deeply and the use of strategy. In chess, one must study; in business, accordingly, one ought to analyze and prepare for his/her next moves. In chess, like in business, one has to have a strong work ethics. You can also add intuition, psychology, self-confidence, and the list may go on and on. What sort of inspiration could a businessman draw from chess? I wouldn’t call it inspiration. I would rather focus on the ability for strategic thinking, implementation of plans and analyzing personal decision-making. If you don’t follow these in chess, you will be beaten. In business, the reasons for success and failure are not as clear and require intensive study. Many young Russians have grown up playing chess and migrated to the West but not all of them became champions; however, many succeeded in the business realm. Of course, one cannot argue that a chess background lies behind such a successful course, but it surely helps, and in any case it is not harmful. Do you see yourself as a better politician, chess player or businessman? Whether you visit Argentina’s northernmost tip or an Indonesian island, my name is tightly linked with chess. Based on this experience, I could still reply to you that I am a better chess player. But even though this may change in the next decade, it is rather unlikely that I could achieve more in any other path of life than what I have in chess. In 2007, you published a book titled «How Life Imitates Chess.» Some critics say that you have made a fortune as a chess player. Are they right? Yes, of course they are. I have been a professional chess player and one among thousands of chess players expecting to be rewarded for their talent. Owing to my chess success, my wins in tournaments and world championships, I had the luck to be asked to deliver speeches, to promote products, as well as to write pieces for newspapers and magazines. It is exactly the same with many political figures, for example former US President Bill Clinton or General Colin Powell, who travel the world giving speeches. Leading figures in some areas often have the ability to transplant their methods and inspire other people involved in other fields. Nevertheless, I still love chess and the chess community. I take part in charity events, I write articles and books, while my non-profit foundation promotes chess in schools in the USA and Israel.