Kramnik Now Master of Chess World
Associated Press Writer
(AP) - The chess world's young and
reticent new king, Vladimir Kramnik,
bears little resemblance to his
brooding, egocentric countryman Garry
Kasparov, whose crown he seized this
What they have in common, of course, is their supreme talent, which 25-year-old Kramnik cultivated as a former apprentice of the 37-year-old Kasparov.
toppled his one-time mentor Thursday
with a draw. It was the 13th draw in
15 games, but Kramnik had won two
games. With only one more game in the
match, Kasparov cannot catch up.
Newly crowned, Kramnik seemed eclipsed by the 15-year champion. The world was still more focused on what might be wrong with Kasparov than on the unerring play of Kramnik.
Before Thursday's game, American master Michael Greengard, who runs Kasparov's Web site, said he was tired of being asked about Kasparov's problems.
``I just tell everyone that aliens have stolen his brain and are going to transplant it into Elvis's body somewhere near Neptune,'' he said.
In an interview on Russia's ORT television Friday, Kramnik said Kasparov was not at his best.
``I succeeded in achieving, let us say, the right psychological mood and my chess preparation was correct, and this was very unpleasant for my opponent and so he played below his potential,'' Kramnik said.
``I am glad I succeeded in beating Kasparov,'' he said. ''... I had dreamed about becoming world champion.''
Chess fans - and Kasparov himself - have been warning for years that the Russian prodigy would someday fulfill that dream.
son of a sculptor and a musician, was
born and grew up in the Russian city
of Tuapse, on the Black Sea coast.
By the time he was 4 he was playing chess. He captured the attention of master players when he won Tuapse's adult chess tournament at age 7. Two years later he claimed his first regional Junior Championship title.
At 16, Kramnik achieved the rank of grandmaster. He exploded onto the world chess scene at the 1992 Chess Olympics in Manila, putting in a brilliant performance that helped secure a gold medal for the Russian team.
Chess masters describe Kramnik's game as a potent combination of aggressiveness and control, but the young champion criticized himself in his autobiographical book ``Kramnik: My Life and Games'' as lacking the instincts of ``a cold killer on the chess board.''
6-foot-4-inch Kramnik allowed himself
to be bullied by the smaller Kasparov
during a match in 1996, according to
the book, and was so shaken afterward
that he announced he no longer had any
interest in chess.
Yet over the years, only Kramnik has equaled Kasparov in head-to-head play. The two had faced each other 23 times before the 2000 World Championship, battling to draws 17 times and winning three matches apiece.
With the championship now his, Kramnik faces perhaps a much greater task - filling the shoes of a man whose name has become synonymous with the game.
lanky and bespectacled Kramnik
displays none of the polish of
Kasparov, a handsome and confident man
with a fondness for finely tailored
Kramnik already has his own Web site and he has further excited the chess world with the possibility of unifying the world chess title. The title has been split since Kasparov broke away from FIDE, the World Chess Federation, in 1993 and helped form the now-defunct Professional Chess Association.
Kramnik avoided specific comment on the issue Friday, saying he was still savoring his victory.
``I would like to do something to change the chess world for the better somehow. And one must think over very carefully how to do this,'' he said.
adopted an annual knockout tournament
last year that was won by Russian
grandmaster Alexander Khalifman. This
year's event is scheduled for late
November in New Delhi with the finals
in Tehran at year's end.
While Kasparov staunchly ruled out a match against the FIDE champion, Kramnik has left the possibility tantalizingly open.
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