Publisher: Batsford, 2005, Pages: 315, Paperback

Garry Kasparov has dominated the world of competitive chess for longer than any world champion. The period 1993-1998 represents one of the richest phases in his career. With the announcement of his retirement, it is only appropriate that the games should now be appreciated in the greatest depth possible. Earlier games are analyzed with computer assistance for the first time - sometimes revealing blemishes in existing analysis - showing the richness of thought and the supreme versatility of the player many consider to be the greatest of all time.

Particular emphasis is placed on evaluations of the openings chosen and statistics on the champion's record against his most fiercely competitive rivals.

The author, International Master Tibor Károlyi, who played against Kasparov as a World Junior, gives an appreciation of an undoubted genius - this is an unashamed celebration of dynamism, diligence, desire and fighting chess.

•A celebration of one of the greatest chess players ever, on the eve of his retirement
•In-depth analysis of some of the best games of his career
•Author is an International Master who has played against Kasparov
•Suitable for club players
When chess pundits attempt the daunting task of naming the greatest players of all time, there are currently only two candidates who stand a chance of claiming the ultimate accolade. Garry Kasparov is one of them.

In many sports, the greatest player is not necessarily the one with the best competitive record. Muhammad Ali lost a couple of fights and was floored on a few occasions, most notably by Henry Cooper. A few boxers have a better record than the former Cassius Clay, and yet Ali is considered the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. There are many who think that Garry Kasparov was the greatest in chess. Others consider that Robert Fischer at his best was slightly the more dominant player. There will always be a debate as to which of these two was greater. What is indisputable is that Kasparov completed the most successful competitive career ever, as he was undoubtedly the best player in the world for the longest period of time, Garry gained the title of World Champion from Karpov in 1985. He was ranked world number one for two decades - a record that is probably unparalleled in any other sport. Moreover, not only was his level of performance impressive, his style of play too was as aggressive and entertaining as could be imagined.

When this book was completed and only the editing remained, we heard the sad news that Kasparov had announced his retirement. There would be no more masterpieces over the board, at least in regular games.

He had already produced such a rich collection of games that it was indeed a privilege and a challenge to review

them in detail. They are well known to the public, and many in fact have been analysed before. However, no anthology has yet been published dealing with the same period as the present book. There have been many books written about many great players, but this one attempts to go into a degree of detail that very few have attempted before. Collectively, the games provide a new and interesting picture of the Champion who becomes the successor to his 'Great Predecessors'.

This book covers Garry's career frorn 1993 to 1998. These were some of his most inventive years. In the new millennium he still produced a number of astonishing games, but not with quite the same frequency as in the period marked by the matches against Short and Anand, and by super-tournaments such as Linares and Wijk aan Zee. A second volume, covering 1999-2005, is also nearing completion.

Whereas in 1993 computer chess programs were relatively weak, it is interesting now to place some of Garry's positions under the combined scrutiny of human and computer. Most of his own analyses, published at the time when the games were played, were documented with the aid of symbols and accepted conventions, but written text offers a more accessible elucidation of his art.

The book is very much a chess book. Kasparov's political and chess-political activities are not discussed. Nor will there be any attempt to deal with his personal life, although those topics too would have been captivating. On the Internet you can discover Garry's opinions on the Roman Empire, but while such matters are enlightening, they are not relevant to this book. Incidentally, if you search for Garry's name on the Internet, most of the available sites relate to his computer matches. This is a little sad, as the chess community ought to remember him for his splendid games and results in human tournaments, not his less appealing computer chess activities. The gems he produced should be treasures on permanent display.

In the process of compiling our analyses, many things came as a surprise. Here are two examples. First, Garry's predilection for play on the flanks, notably along the h-file, had not been recognized before. Secondly, while Fischer's amazing run of victories is well known, Kasparov's own best undefeated sequence of 63 games (from round 10 at Wijk aan Zee 1999, to the second game of the Kramnik match) has been less well documented!

These and other surprises led to some fundamental changes in our approach to the material. After working on a shortish list of 40 games, we realized we had already written enough to fill one book. Batsford kindly agreed to extend their commitment to two volumes. I then altered the scope of the work by providing almost game-by-game descriptions of Garry's tournament performances during this phase of his career. This provides a more realistic impression of the environment and the sporting factors that are involved.

One important topic emerged more clearly during the process of study and writing. It concerned the necessity for professional players to protect and even hide the fruits of long hours of opening preparation. Chess has its own vaults of highly confidential and secret material. One wonders what new surprises might have emerged from these vaults if Garry had not decided to retire. Will anyone else become a beneficiary of this treasure trove?

We hope to have avoided one pitfall. Kasparov is a chess giant, and the various elements of his play are very hard to judge objectively. Yet we have not tried to elevate his status gratuitously. We cannot make him into a larger figure than he is in reality.

The T in this book refers to Tibor Karolyi, the chief author and also a junior chess trainer. Earlier I spent a dozen years as a professional player travelling to tournaments and spending considerable time with other chessplayers, but mainly with those from England and the Soviet Union. Garry was a participant in some of those early tournaments - indeed he was an opponent in one game played some twenty-five years ago. This contact with the chess world has made it possible to share some relevant experiences. The culture, including chess culture, of my native Hungary appears to lie somewhere in between its English and Russian counterparts.

The co-author, Nick Apiin, has no such professional connections with chess, but as a long-standing enthusiast and periodically a manager of junior and senior chess teams travelling from Singapore, he feels a close attachment to the game. For him, the study of Kasparov's games was one thing that helped him in his efforts to stay on terms with a fast improving twelve-year-old son! It so happens that the twenty-year period of Garry's dominance coincides with the duration of Nick's permanent resid-ence in Singapore.

For a short while I was faced with a dilemma: whether or not to contact Garry personally about the book. Naturally a time will come when he documents his own perceptions of the games, and the resulting anthology will doubtless have a unique approach. In the end, no contact was made with him. It is clear from experience that it is not in the personal interest of the top players to have someone else analysing their games. From their viewpoint it is unfortunate that they have no copyright on their masterpieces like music composers. They no doubt feel that when it comes to analysing a chess career, it is better for the material to remain in their own domain. On a related note, it would be surprising to hear that all the living World Champions were delighted at Garry writing books about hem. If a player is active, a highly detailed book might provide useful information and ammunition for his rivals, saving them energy in the discovery of ideas and tactical nuances. Garry may not fully appreciate some of the observations in our book, even though their purpopse is to explain and celebrate his magnificent play. Hopefully, as he loves chess, he will be happy about the result and agree that his games deserve searching and sometimes critical scrutiny. He must know that there is so much to learn from him. Our general attitude is that controversial opinions and even misjudgements in analysis can stimulate future commentators and make positive contributions to our understanding and enjoyment of chess.

Significantly, Garry's games remind me of the work of the great Russian painter Surikov. In particular, Surikov's masterpiece

The Boyarin Morozova
creates the same intense impression of exceptional artistic value and power as Kasparov's magic art. His games reveal the touch of the chess genius and will remain in your consciousness for the rest of your life. Do not miss this experience - but remember, sometimes you may think you are dreaming!

Kasparov\'s Fighting Chess 1993-1998