Widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time, Garry Kasparov was the youngest World Chess Champion in history, claiming the title at age 22. He was the undisputed champion for nearly 8 years, and held the world #1 ranking for a record 255 consecutive months. He retired from competitive chess in 2005, and over the course of his career he has written dozens of books on the game. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1963, and is publically opposed to Vladimir Putin’s leadership in Russia. He has stated that he is committed to restoring democracy to his home country.

Kasparov would without question be an enlightening speaker – not only is he one of the most brilliant minds of his time, but he also has the unique perspective of growing up in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Along with his unique story as a chess master, his political actions and support make Kasparov a great, and also different, candidate to speak at Bucknell. While the game of chess itself is not as widely played and enjoyed by our generation, as college students we can still appreciate his brilliance. Combined with his unique position to discuss Russian politics, I believe students would jump at a chance to listen to Kasparov talk.

http://www.theotherrussia.org/

http://www.kasparov.com/

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4 responses »

  1. jhw026 says:

    It sounds like Kasparov could provide some really interesting insights into relations between the US and Russia during the 80’s and 90’s. I know that chess, particularly during the time of Bobby Fischer, was extremely entwined in the relation between these two nations, but I think what would be particularly interesting about Kasparov as a speaker would be the fact that he was a leader in the communist party and then defected to join and help build a democratic party. I think hearing his experience and reasoning in this area would be my main interest with this speaker.

  2. clairemccardell says:

    I agree that Garry Kasparov would be a very interesting speaker to have at Bucknell’s campus due to his life experiences growing up in Soviet Russia and his remarkable skill as a chess player. It seems that excelling at the game of chess also sharpens other skills such as logic and problem solving, and it would be interesting to learn how Kasparov can apply these skills to daily life. Furthermore, it would be very insightful to hear about a first-hand perspective of growing up in the Soviet Union, especially from an individual who openly opposes its leader; I’d be curious to know if he still has family in Russia and what their perspectives are. Garry Kasparov would be an ideal speaker for Bucknell as he has developed an amazing skill, and also has had a unique upbringing in Soviet Russia.

  3. ts036 says:

    I completely agree with Jeff on the fact that he would be able to provide an interesting view on the Cold War from an outsiders perspective. Most importantly I think this could be a way to appreciate and recognize Kasparov for his amazing human intellect, at a time when technology dominates the social media. Even if you are not a chess player, the thought process that occurs behind every move will truly astound any individual. I am sure not too many people get the opportunity to play the computer, Deep Blue, when they become a professional. A speaker like him, would truly leave a significant impact on the Bucknell community.

  4. Mike M says:

    I agree that Kasparov would provide a very interesting perspective on Russia and the Cold War since he grew up in Russia during that period. Since he is in favor of bringing democracy to Russia, he clearly follows Russian politics and cares about what happens in his country. It would also be interesting to see how he applies his logical thought processes as a chess player to his political beliefs.

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