Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov shows flashes of past glory but comeback falls short

Former 15-time world champion took on much younger generation at the Rapid and Blitz tournament, but won only a few games and finished eighth out of the 10 players in St Louis

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 11:08am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 12:34pm

Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov concluded his keenly awaited comeback after ending a week of games in which he showed flashes of his legendary prowess but ended up eighth out of 10 players.

The 54-year-old 15-time world champion temporarily came out of 12 years of retirement to take on a much younger generation of masters at the Rapid and Blitz tournament in St Louis, Missouri.

In this format featuring faster-paced chess than in traditional games, Kasparov played inconsistently.

He won just a few games against the other nine players, who included four of the world’s top 10, in a tournament won by Levon Aronian of Armenia.

After retiring from chess in 2005, Kasparov turned to politics and joined the opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In his peak he was known as “the Beast of Baku” – a reference to the capital of his native Azerbaijan – because of his very aggressive playing style focusing on wins over settling for a draw.

Experts predicted the Russian would face stiff competition from the younger stars, especially after more than a decade away from the pro chess circuit.

“I expected a better performance from Kasparov,” French grandmaster Sylvain Ravot said.

Ravot said Kasparov actually dominated a number of games, but played too slowly through much of the tournament.

“The explanation for that is his lack of confidence,” said Ravot.