Garry Kasparov appeared on the Saint Louis Chess Club's broadcast during the 12th round of the Candidates, and gave some interesting views on the tournament and the performances.
Speaking to hosts Yasser Seirawan and Dorsa Derakhshani, Kasparov didn't hold back. He started by congratulating Nepomniachtchi with victory, since he considers Nepo getting half a point in the next rounds pretty much certain.
Having predicted Ding and Caruana as the favourites before the event, the legend admitted he underestimated the Russian.
"The mistake I made, and I think many others, was that I underestimated the preparation normally done for a World Championship match. Actually I can kick myself in the head and say "Wow, how could I make that mistake!".
"The same thing happend to Vishy. He lost the match to Magnus, then he won the Candidates. The amount of work that is being done for the WCh match could serve as very viable ammunition for the next event."
"I have to apologise for being an idiot, not anticipating the preparation for the World Championship match and forgetting the preparation that Vishy did 8 years ago."
The full interview by Saint Louis Chess Club:
Kasparov also got into Magnus Carlsen potentially not playing another title match, making it clear he is not buying it, echoing Vladimir Kramnik's prediction that the Norwegian "will play against any opponent."
"I think it's a very, very big if. From Magnus' statements, actually not statements, noises, that he may consider not playing if it's not Alireza Firouzja... that's what he said. To finally decide not to play... it's a long, long distance. Now with Nepo 99% the next opponent, let's check if Magnus is serious. That's exactly what he meant, "Now I am tired, I want something new." Let's see what happens."
Yasser Seirawan noted that Kasparov has played more World Championship games than anybody and that he invested a lot of time in preparation. The 13th World Champion pointed out some significant differences compared to today.
"Let's not mislead our viewers now. I played matches in the 80s and 90s. First match was Karpov, 48 games. Then it was 24 games each. We played matches for 10 weeks, not counting unlimited matches. With Nigel Short, it was a bit shorter because I won it early, but it was still a long match. And the last one I played with Kramnik was still 15 games. Long matches, the schedule was tighter, the time control was longer. So you're right, it was very exhausting. Now they play shorter matches, but the amount of preparation they do before the match is huge. Now consider computers and how many seconds and associates are working with them. You are talking about tons of work, libraries being created. And only a tiny bit of that can be used."
"I understand that Magnus, using his experiences, and he has played as many matches as I did and modern matches, probably succeeded in cutting Nepo's preparation to a minimum. That means Nepo had so much left."
Kasparov says he thinks Fabiano Caruana's 9th round game against Nepomniachtchi had a decisive effect on his tournament, with Fabi scoring 0.5 out of 4 in rounds 8 to 11.
Alireza Firouzja drew criticism from several top players, among them Judit Polgar, over his 268-game online bullet marathon over five hours from past midnight until 6 am.
Unsurprisingly, Kasparov was not overly enthusiastic about the move and shook his head when told about the amount of games.
"Playing bullet chess is not a good idea, period, if you’re preparing for the Candidates. Playing it during the tournament is even much worse. And playing it after a loss trying to recover your pride, your honour, to massage your ego, it’s triple bad. It's not surprising. It's probably how Nepo crushed him the next day."
Garry Kasparov didn't hold back when talking to Yasser Seirawan, Dorsa Derakshani and Alejandro Ramirez on Saint Louis Chess Club's broadcast. | photo: Saint Louis Chess Club
He added that he thought Firouzja overestimated his chances in the event.
"Somehow it reminds me of Bobby Fischer in 1962, in Curaçao. Though I would say Fischer in 1962 was, looking at the ranking, probably higher than Firouzja today. Again, it's very subjective. Fischer already won the Interzonal and played the Candidates early."
Kasparov says he wouldn't be as critical as Kramnik on the quality of play in this year's Candidates.
"You can always point out mistakes. Now it's easy because you have computers and easily point out, "mistake, mistake, mistake!". I wouldn't be so harsh on them. They have been working really hard, all the players, and coming out with new ideas. You can see that the tournament definitely shows us that even in famous openings you can come up with new ideas."
Asked whether he thinks a second World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi would be a better one, he says:
"I still think Magnus is the clear favourite in the match, but I think somehow Nepo might have a better psychological start because he already played Magnus, and we know Magnus is... not tired, but I think he’s bored with too many matches. And seeing Nepo again might lower his enthusiasm in preparation and for playing."
He added about Nepomniachtchi:
"Winning the second Candidates, especially in the style that we saw in Madrid, definitely makes Nepo a very formidable opponent for Magnus, no matter what Magnus thinks about it. If Magnus plays, and I can hardly believe he will not, we’ll probably see a tougher match."
The Candidates Tournament continues today with the 13th round after the rest day. Don't miss all the action on chess24!