By FRED WAITZKIN
Games and politics collide in this remarkable look inside the world of genius. At the center of Mortal Games is Garry Kasparov, the maverick world chess champion, as he prepares to defend his title in 1990 against his sworn enemy, Anatoly Karpov. This great match is more than a battle of chess opposites. While the two slash at each other in games both cracklingly cerebral and brutally physical, politics, bribes, and threats swirl around their moves, and it soon becomes apparent that this is a match neither side can afford to lose.
Games and politics collide in this remarkable look inside the world of genius by the author of Searching for Bobby Fischer. Fred Waitzkin established himself as the premier writer about the passionate, quirky world of the chess player with his first book, Searching for Bobby Fischer, which detailed the roller-coaster adventures of the author and his prodigy son in chess-land, and which is now the highly acclaimed motion picture. Now Waitzkin probes deeper, into the tumultuous world of true genius.
At the center of Mortal Games is Garry Kasparov, the maverick world chess champion, as he prepares to defend his title in 1990 against his sworn enemy, Anatoly Karpov.
Kasparov pronounced the name slowly, rolling the “r,” “K-a-r-r-r-p-o-v,” so that it dripped with disgust, as if the challenger, one of the great players in chess history, were something vile and foul smelling. “He is a creature of darkness,” Kasparov said with Miltonic distaste.
This great match is more than a battle of chess opposites. Kasparov is tireless in his efforts to bring down the “murderous” Gorbachev, whom he blames for the pogroms against the Armenians in his native Azerbaijan, while Karpov is the Soviets’ darling. While the two
Waitzkin, who obtained unprecedented access into Kasparov’s life, provides an astonishing portrait of a brilliant, volcanic man, now exuberant, now plunged into despair, as he performs the balancing act of his life. In the process, Waitzkin gives us a rare, intimate look at a game played at its highest level, filled with glorious flights of fancy and high-tension drama, and at the very human men and women who inhabit, expatriates, entrepreneurs
“Waitzkin captures better than anyone –including Kasparov himself in his own memoir the various sides of this elusive genius.”
“A compelling biography.”