Every week at the club, one of our members asks me when I think former World Champion Garry Kasparov will turn up dead like the many Russian journalists we are hearing about in the news. I hope that never comes to pass, though he is surely risking a great deal. The New York Times has a good story in today's paper titled "Kasparov, Building Opposition to Putin One Square at a Time" (more permanently available in the International Herald Tribune). Kasparov reveals that since the famous incident where he was attacked with a chessboard, he now travels with bodyguards to ward off similar crazy people. But he has a realist's (some might say "fatalist's") view of his chances of surviving an assassin's attack. As he says in the Times piece: "If the state goes after you, there’s no stopping them.”
A student of Botvinnik's, Kasparov has approached chess as he approaches life, with as much objectivity as he can muster. As he says: "I am absolutely objective ... I think we can lose badly, because the regime is still very powerful, but the only beauty of our situation is that we don't have much choice." I continue to be impressed. So long as the regime does not sweep the pieces from the board in anger to end the game, I think Kasparov has the best chance of anyone to win it.