Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 5589
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:51 am

I was just curious about this, since it came up recently in connection with the ECF/ECU/FIDE/Azmai/everybody controversy. What happened to the video of Kasparov taking his hand off the piece against Judit Polgar? I couldn't find it on YouTube.

Of course the game was back in 1994, which is before the period when most things in chess and elsewhere can be expected to be found on the internet, and longer still before the period when ordinary members of the public became accustomed to recording and downloading video material. Still, given the importance of the incident, it's surprising that it can't apparently be found. So what happened to it?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

John McKenna
Posts: 3347
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by John McKenna » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:11 am

Could it be remotely possible that Stewart Reuben took a copy and then wiped all the othes?
Who owns the original masterpiece, I wonder.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

User avatar
Christopher Kreuzer
Posts: 7018
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:34 am
Location: London

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:20 am

It was filmed by a Spanish TV crew according to most reports. Find a report that names the Spanish TV company and you might be able to track down the original footage. Good luck!

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 5589
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:50 am

Yes, that had occurred to me, as had the intrinsic unlikelihood of that approach bringing results...
Last edited by JustinHorton on Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 17305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:56 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:It was filmed by a Spanish TV crew according to most reports. Find a report that names the Spanish TV company and you might be able to track down the original footage. Good luck!
Here's the contemporary report by Mark Crowther on rec.games.chess

https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en# ... Q_TRC17XoJ

It was that long ago, that it pre-dates the start of TWIC or even Kirsan becoming FIDE President.
Mark Crowther (1994) wrote:The Madrid company that is filming the event will show the video to journalists today. It is asking 150 million pasetas for the rights to the film! (about 80,000 pounds)
What happened according to Kasparov was that he picked up a Knight, moved it to a square, spotted at the last second that it was a blunder and moved it to another square. According to Polgar and apparently the video evidence, he released the piece momentarily. Instant replay isn't part of the Laws of Chess, so if Judit had raised the issue during the game, it would have been down to what the arbiter thought he saw as to whether he would have insisted that Kasparov played the original move. From the context, it was presumably part of time scramble blitzing. Admittedly someone appearing to play a Knight in one direction and then going in the opposite is of itself off-putting.

Contemporary sources using Google also suggest that they avoided playing in the same tournaments for some years after.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 5589
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:18 am

Roger de Coverly quotingMark Crowther from 1994 wrote:The Madrid company that is filming the event will show the video to journalists today. It is asking 150 million pesetas for the rights to the film! (about 80,000 pounds)
Slightly beyond my means, that. Still, I wonder if they still have it?
Roger de Coverly wrote:According to Polgar and apparently the video evidence, he released the piece momentarily.
I think we know very well when we have released a piece. I also think Kasparov knew this very well.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 5589
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:25 am

(Still, my main point here is the footage. Its possible existence does seem to me to be one of the more frustrating mysteries in chess history.)
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

David Sedgwick
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:58 pm

JustinHorton wrote:I think we know very well when we have released a piece. I also think Kasparov knew this very well.
I disagree 100% with that.

Every arbiter from time to time has to rule that a move has to stand when a player has momentarily taken his /her hand off a piece and then sought to retract the move. Some of the players are cheats. The majority simply don't think they've let go.

There was a big dispute at the 1990 Lloyds Bank Masters when Player A was convinced that his opponent Player B had released a piece and B didn't think he had. The arbiter wasn't sure.

More recently, but probably still eight to ten years ago now, I had a similar situation in one of my own games. I was in the act of releasing the piece, realised that the move I was playing lost immediately, and snatched it back.

I asked my opponent "Did I release that?" He replied "I'm not sure." I remain completely unsure to this day.

Fortunately, it didn't matter in that instance. I retracted the move which I may or may not have made and substituted a superior move: Resigns.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 5589
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:39 pm

Fair point, David, but I think one could respond that "I don't know" might not be considered an adequate excuse for somebody who was, after all, the longstanding world champion in the sport. Within the laws of the game, perhaps: within any code of professional ethics, perhaps not.

Additionally, whether or not it was convincing (I.e. whether he could reasonably have thought that) might depend on a viewing of the footage. did his hand clearly leve the peicee? Did it not? iI's the sort of thing you'd like to make up your own mind about.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Paul McKeown
Posts: 3198
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:01 pm
Location: Hayes (Middx)
Contact:

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by Paul McKeown » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:41 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:Fortunately, it didn't matter in that instance. I retracted the move which I may or may not have made and substituted a superior move: Resigns.
David, if the forum software allowed one to recommend a post, I would certainly recommend yours! Admitting the possibility that one may have done something incorrect and willing to rectify it: such honesty deserves recognition.

David Sedgwick
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:43 pm

JustinHorton wrote:Additionally, whether or not it was convincing (I.e. whether he could reasonably have thought that) might depend on a viewing of the footage. did his hand clearly leve the peicee? Did it not? iI's the sort of thing you'd like to make up your own mind about.
The arbiter was watching at the time. Either he wasn't sure himself, or he bottled it. I accept that both scenarios are possible.

Stephen Saunders
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:35 pm

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by Stephen Saunders » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:12 pm

There's a section about the incident in New in Chess 1994 no 3, which is dedicated to the Linares tournament. It seems that Judit Polgar was the only person who actually saw Kasparov release the knight; the watching arbiter thought he didn't, and only changed his mind after viewing the footage. It states that Kasparov himself asked for the video to be shown, so I'm inclined to agree with David Sedgwick; in the time scramble he wasn't entirely sure himself what he'd done.

Judit and Kasparov didn't play each other again until just over two years later, at the 1996 Dos Hermanas tournament. They did in fact both play in two PCA/Intel rapid tournaments after Linares in 1994, but those were knockout tournaments and Judit was knocked out by Kramnik both times. I doubt there was a serious boycott going on, on either side. There was a plethora of strong tournaments in 1994-1996.

Incidentally Crowther's statement that 36...Nc5 37.Bc6 would have won is probably incorrect; more likely it would have turned Kasparov's won position into a draw.

David Sedgwick
Posts: 3102
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:10 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:
David Sedgwick wrote:Fortunately, it didn't matter in that instance. I retracted the move which I may or may not have made and substituted a superior move: Resigns.
David, if the forum software allowed one to recommend a post, I would certainly recommend yours! Admitting the possibility that one may have done something incorrect and willing to rectify it: such honesty deserves recognition.
Paul, I've only just noticed your post.

Thank you, but your praise is undeserved.

I resigned because it was the best available move in the position, not for any other reason.

Had my opponent indicated that he thought that I'd released the piece, I would have accepted that without question. When he said that he too was unsure, I didn't feel under any obligation other than to make a move with the piece in question.

Which, of course, I didn't do.

ben.graff
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:53 pm

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by ben.graff » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:20 pm

I read somewhere (frustratingly I can't remember where) that an expert in these things measured the length of time that Kasparov had his hand off the Knight for. Apparently, it was so short a fraction that it's possible a human might not have been able to register it. Not totally conclusive (and of course it was long enough for Judit to see it.) However, it does show why this is a difficult one in which all parties could well have been acting in good faith.

Barry Sandercock
Posts: 1329
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:52 am

Re: Whatever happened to the Polgar-Kasparov footage?

Post by Barry Sandercock » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:41 am

Plenty of information on this, if you Google "Sicilian Defense Polgar vs Kasparov-touch move "

Post Reply