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Phenomenon of Gata Kamsky .
geslДата: Пятница, 14.10.2011, 13:37 | Сообщение # 1
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Phenomenon of Gata Kamsky

The stunning rising of Gata Kamsky caused numerous questions discussions. Unfortunatly, public’s interest was dictated by two wide of (far from) chess facts: the Kamskys didn’t come back to USSR after tournament in New-York and, frankly speaking, not always simple and adequate behaviour of Kamsky’s father, Rustam Gatovich, during Gata’s playings.
More than a half publications about «vunderkind» from Leningrad had firstly thrown light on odious character of his father and only secondly about the reasons of his success.
So negative «promotion», of course, wasn’t usefull for serious analysis of a sociological and psychological phenomenon, which certainly was a duet of the father and son Kamsky.
The microcollective, which we can call only by a pronoun «We» is interesting for psychologists and sociologists.
As Sholom-Aleihem wrote: «Talent – such thing – or it is or it isn’t». Neertheless, speaking without «breaking borders» of talent’s divine origin, we should properly mention the great role, which in realization of human abilities play knowledges and impressions, received in childhood and early youth. And there are many aspects – relationship in the family, parents’s and close friend’s world outlook, motives of their behaviours – all things have influence on plastic and suscetible as a sponge child’s soul.
And, though, Gata can repeat Salieri’s from Pushkin’s drama worlds: “I early have rejected idle entertainments”, but only by analising investigation Leningrad's period of formation, can be possible to come nearer to the secret of his successes.
Well, quarter of the century ago Rustam Kamsky had arrived (come) to St-Petersburg with the unambiguous intention: his little Gata should win (=conque) the world.In what concret sphere of human activity it will occur – in ballet, music, maths or chess – was principal for the ambitious father.
In klassik literature, especially, in french, the motive of winning the world by young man from province was always popular and widespread. But Rustam wasn’t similar to Balxak’s hero Rastinyak. In difference from these unsophisticated young men, he has already passed severe school of a life and has collided with it’s «wolf’s laws».
The world around, which his son should win, was presented by him as cruel and perfidious. But Rustam presented himself like a lonely wolf, not from grandmothers’s fairy-tales, but closer to a wolf from Visotsky’s songs – pursued, but not persecuted, full of wishes and strength. And he had astonishing feature, characteristic for this pradators – selfless, ready to self-sacrifice, simultaneously gentle and «animal» love to his cub. R.Kipling described it so perfect!
After some hesitatious and doubts Rustam has resulted his son to the famous and well-known chess-school – Leningrad’s House (Palace) of pioneers.
Firstly Gata has got to the group of the serious trainer and skilled master, who after several lessons with young Kamsky was obviously dissappointed. But Rustam trusted in abilities of his son and in his «high mission». He shown Gata to the good children’s trainer V.G.Zak.
Experienced Zak somehow at once understood and made out in a small boy of the future outstanding chess «fighter».
We can’t but mention, that at this period Zak, probably, was the only one expert, who has believed in a reality of the father’s Dream.
When Gata had only second category (razryad), Vladimir Grigorievich proudly called him «my little grossmeister», what was surprising Zak’s colleagues.
Soon Kamsky made big progress. Well, he was giving to chess all his time. Chess became natural form of existence for him. It was quite corresponded to Rustam’s directions, who thought, that for keeping up good form Gata should participate in tournaments permanent (especially with strong and adult opponents) and certainly regularly take sport activities with big loadings.
In summer 1986 the Kamskys took part in his first Swiss system tournament in Estony. And in the small Baltic city a sensation happened: 12-years boy (he looked younger) with confidence won the serious tournament! This result was mention by Leningrad’s newspapers, people began to speak about Kamsky...The young chess player had amazing for his age capacity for work, diligence and persistence in defence – Gata knew that his father observes of each his move, and it didn’t allow him to relax.
In the course of time the increased feeling of responsibility developed by exacting, but loving father; has entered into Kamsky’s flesh and blood, in many respects (=aspects) defined his chess style.
Gata didn’t take a great interest in studying fashionable variants of beginnings. He prefered to transfer weight of struggle to the long, complicated and sometimes boring mittespile, where he often was better and stronger than his more skilled opponents. We can’t but mention, that this playing style wasn’t typical for pupils of the famous chess-school – there were popular open, active, tactical playing. It is enough to mention such names as B.Spassky, V.Korchnoy,V.Ceitlin, V.Faibisovich and later – L.Udasin, I.Levitina, A.Khalifman, V.Epishin...
And there were some mystery.
Konflict, which happened on the Youth championship of USSR in 1986, was forced Zak to separate his perspective student. Despite of nervous playings, Kamsky had finished this tournament with satisfactory result 6 of 11, but after the championship Gata remained without his trainer and mentor.
Just in that period I was given an opportunaty to acquaint with the Kamskys closer. In these years I had been a trainer of the USSR chess team. It now sounds great, but it was complicated and ungrateful post. You have to be still, reticent and should submit to your authorities (head coach was appointed by chess club’s director) and should have power to rule. It was complicated to me to be on this post, because my character is far from this characteristic. Moreover, surprising to myself I made enemies and wasn’t included into a staff of trainers, who could go on the tournaments abroad (devorced jew – bad representative of Soviet society!). The only one gladness of my official career was our collaboration with the most famous of my pupils Alexander Khalifman.
Kamsky was entrusted with me. That time Rustam and Gata were living in a huge kommunal flat. It was a slum, like from Dostoevsky’s stories. Kamsky’s character was created in everyday communals fightings, which for western people sounds like farce and fable.
Their first visit to me impressed. Gata darted off (run fast) to the book-case with chess literature, especially, to the first publications of «New in chess» magazine. He had asked few questions and then for hours was absorbed in books. It was amazing picture! As though this literature had hypnotised him.
By the way, those, who compared Kamsky to Zweig’s hero Mirco Chentovich were mistaken: despite of permanent compititions, Gata was one of the best student in his class, he enjoyed maths and eglish. He stood out from his coevals by erudition and knowledges. But his nain employment, of course, was chess.
And soon his fanatic work gave great result: 12-years Kamsky won golden medal of USSR championship!
After this sensation appeared a question: who will represent our country on the world championship between boys-16 in Insburg – more skilled A.Shirov from Riga or Gata Kamsky, who formally won this right.
Chess federation of USSR decided to conduct (to organise) special match between Kamsky and Shirov. They were should to play 6 games in Klaypid in February 1987.M.Ceitlin and I were invited to be Gata’s trainers on this match.
Details of tiresome trip, which included seven hours bus journey on snow-covered roads and our run with suitcases in ice-covered footpaths of the Klaipid’s park (we had only ten minutes) was remained without mention.
Because of rhe reasons,independent from him, Gata got in a severe time trouble (zeitnot) before the beginning of the game, he had no possibility not only to eat, but even to change clothes.
He lost this game. But there was no panic in our kommand. We rested hopes on the Grunfeld Defence, in which my colleague on this match Ceitlin and I both were very successful. But, to our surprise, in the second game Gata applied a novelty, which we hadn’t even discussed!
The direction of chess federatiom was in a temper. Reprimand was declared to me. And at the same time it was intrusted to me to prepare Gata to the world championship.
For the new generations of chessplayers all these stories with orders, reprimands and following them explanotary notes, are strange and not clear. Now, fortunatly, everyone can travel and play all over the world, but for us, who was born during Stalin’s epoch, grew in severe constraints of only official invitations to the tournaments, of the check-commissions and recomendations of kommunistic party, all it was perceived still seriously enough, but with some scepticism, of course.
Well, firstly we should coordinate the plan of Gata’s preparation to the world championship with federation. In Moscow considered, that Kamsky need an interval to relax, but his father continued to insist on Gata’s permanent participation in tournaments. So, Rustam wrote an ultimative letter to the USSR sport komitet. It caused (evoked) discontent and irritation in Moscow and in Leningrad. Federation even didn’t know what to answer and how to react!
In this time Championship of Leningrad started. Many famous and strong chessplayers of our city took part in this tournament (only V.Salov and A.Khalifman were ubsent – they were playing in Minsk).
Gata’s participation, of course, attracted spector’s attention. He played good, but before last but one tour lost his game (I think that preponderance of his opponent, V.Osnos, was firstly morally). This shock couldn’t stand even Kamsky’s great nervous system. Last games he lost...
Apparantly, psyhological and physical load of last months was unbearable for 12-years boy. He was tired and needed to relax, but for two weeks, which he had till the beginning of World
Championship, he also should finished his school year...
Soon Rustam Kamsky got answer on his letter from sport komitet. USSR chess federation agreed to kommand to the championship me as personal trainer and Rustam Kamsky with Gata. But, on the other hand, federation forbided Gata to play in the other (selection) tournament, because “it can harm his health».
I will not write about «epopee» and difficulties, which were obligatory in USSR for abroad trip. It is enough to say, that our documents had been lost in Sport Komitet. Fortunatly, director of Leningrad’s chess federation A.V.Solomatin helped us.
On the eve of flight to Insburg (where I’ll remind, took place World Championship) we visited administration of our city. There we were wished good luck and were told, that in Insburg we would be under the official kommunistic ideological guidance of A.Gipslis.
Gipslis was clever and ironical, so he wasn’t good kandidate for a post of ideological guidance, because of it, it was alwaya big pleasure to communicate with him. When our plane had flied up, he smoked.His neighbour – a woman from USSR made him reproof:
- How You can smoke in the plane?!
- Sorry, madam, but we are already in the free world! – answered Gipslis.
Of cource, Gata wasn’t interested in this problems and talks. He played blitz-chess with Alice Gallyamova during the whole road. By the way, in Insburg Gallyamova won her first gold medal. But for Gata this tournament was complicated examination. He played persistently, but without interest. His opponents now well-known: M.Adams, J.Lautier, L.van Veli, H.Stefansson...
I remember, that when Kamsky had lost very important game, he was sitting by chess board and crying for a long time. And in his tears were so many emotionals: sorrow of his defeat, losted illusions, fear of his father’s malice...
In a free day of this tournament was my Birthday. Thanks to attention of Shamkovich, Kamsky and Gallyamova it was really memorable celebration in the Insburg’s mountains.
But, unfortunatly, it soon got over, and sad coming back with complicated explanation in our chess federation and Sport Komitet was waiting for us...

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