Former Soviet President Mikhail Gobachev and former World Chess Champions Susan Polgar and Anatoly Karpov during a press conference at the Chess for Peace campaign in Lindsborg, Kansas.
Chess is a game of war but a peaceful war where no human lives are at stake. Susan Polgar is a mild mannered person and she always likes peaceful resolutions when conflicts arise. Therefore, when she was asked by Mikhail Korenman to take part in this Chess for Peace initiative with Anatoly Karpov and former President Mikhail Gorbachev, she jumped at this opportunity.
. What do the three have in common? Well, the former Soviet president is Anatoly Karpov's old friend, and he visited the Karpov Chess School in Lindsborg, Kansas, to help launch a worldwide campaign of promoting peace through chess. He also attended a match between Karpov and Susan Polgar.
The Event in Lindsborg, Kansas
The spectacular Chess for Peace parade started at 10 a.m. The parade was lead off by a state trooper vehicle. Anatoly and Susan were in the first car, following other dignitaries going down Main Street. Thousands of people were watching the Chess for Peace parade and thousands more were taking part in it. There was everything from floats, marching bands to other cool stuff. Everyone was so eager to meet the man of the century.
Shortly after Anatoly and Susan arrived at the stage, President Gorbachev arrived with his daughter Irina, his translator Pavel and the rest of his party to enjoy the parade. He really liked the chess parade and even said that he suggested to his daughter and members of his party to take part in the parade. Unfortunately, the secret service did not permit them to do so. Therefore, they had to enjoy watching the parade from the stage.
The conference hall was filled with TV and print media reporters. They asked President Gorbachev a variety of questions. One of them was how chess helped him become a great leader and another was does he really believe chess can help promote World Peace. He answered all questions with style, class and often with a sense of humor.
One of my most memorable moments of the entire event was during the press conference. President Gorbachev wanted to have some special Chess for Peace tea. He requested this in advance. But as he looked around, he only saw one cup. He offered Susan the tea. She told him that the tea was for him. He insisted on Susan having the tea. He did not take no for an answer. He then told her that he will prepare the tea for her just the way he likes it and he did. Anatoly smiled then told Susan that she was in a zugzwang position. She had no choice but to reluctantly accept the President’s generous offer.
Countless dignitaries came to the dinner to greet President Gorbachev, Anatoly and Susan. The city and state presented the President with gifts. One of the gifts was of course a signed copy of Susan’s book Breaking Through.
Thanks to about 100 state and local police officers and secret agents, Lindsborg was the safest place on the planet the weekend this event took place. On a last note, approximately 2,500 tickets were sold for the Clash of the Titans II match and the address by President Gorbachev. That is 2,500 tickets for a one day chess event! The $1,000 a plate fundraising dinner was also sold out in advance. A wonderful ending to a wonderful cause! Mikhail Korenman, the city of Lindsborg and the state of Kansas really did a fantastic job to pull off a historic event.
Links to various news sources about this event:
Chess for Peace – with Mikhail Gorbachev
Chess for Peace – with Karpov, Polgar and Gorbachev
Gorbachev Visits Lindsborg, Kansas
Chess for Peace story at Chessville