Garry Kasparov Plays in Mass Exhibition Match in Zagreb

Total Croatia News

Croatian chess enthusiasts and celebrities play against the former world champion.

Not far from the city centre, in the Crystal Hall of the Westin Hotel, 21 chess boards, 21 challengers and one opponent, the Lionel Messi of chess – Garry Kasparov. At the end of another simultaneous exhibition match, the former world chess champion was signing autographs to his fans just like Lionel Messi, reports Večernji List on December 31, 2017.

The exhibition match marked the 15th anniversary of the Kasparov Chess Foundation and brought together many well-known personalities from the world of politics, showbiz and sports. One of the competitors was Croatian Olympian rower Damir Martin, who was among the first to be eliminated.

“I have to admit I was nervous before the match. I did not prepare for this. Last time I played chess was 20 years ago with my grandfather, and I think I have stayed at the level of a seven-year-old boy. My match lasted for about the same time as a rowing race, no more than seven minutes,” says Damir.

“Chess is good for the development of children, especially their mental abilities. Everything is based on tactics, precision, concentration. I think the kids should be involved in chess, it is good for them, and it is a pleasure to see them so interested in chess,” says Damir, a winner of a silver medal at the Olympic Games.

There were several children playing against Kasparov, and one of them was 9-year-old Petra Mardešić, who started playing chess two years ago. “I started playing with her, she liked it, and so we enrolled her in a chess school. She is now attending the competition, and she has also participated in the Youth Games,” says Petra’s father Toni.

And, in the end, when everyone else had already resigned, the last man standing was a boy from Denmark, nine-year-old John Christopher Christensen. “He has four brothers and a sister, and we played chess at home. Since he was better than all of us, we went to the local chess club. They tested him there. I did not understand anything, but he solved all the problems immediately, and after a month he won his first tournament,” says John’s father. They came to the match in Zagreb almost by chance. “Am I happy to be here? Of course! What my son is doing is pure happiness,” he concludes.

Translated from Večernji List.


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