Today’s Illustration: Winter Is Coming!

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Who: Gary Kasparov, world champion Chess Grandmaster

Where: During an interview by Bill Kristol over Kasparov’s book, “Winter I Coming”

What: An interview revolving around the United States, Obama, Russia, and  Vladimir Putin in light of Kasparov’s book.

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[Full PDF Transcript Link]

[ Transcribed Interview Clip]

KRISTOL: Welcome back to CONVERSATIONS, I’m Bill Kristol, and I’m thrilled to be joined today by Garry Kasparov – Kasparov, sorry, my Russian is not very good – great chess champion, democratic activist, and thoughtful and perceptive analyst, also, of Russian politics and American politics and world politics.

So last time we ended with – that was a happy ending – but the world doesn’t always, doesn’t stop with happy endings. History did not end.

KASPAROV: Always goes in seasons. That’s why I called my last book Winter Is Comingto warn people we are entering another dangerous period.

KRISTOL: It’s a wonderful book, and I want to get to that, and I want to talk about what’s happened in the last 25 years.

One of the most striking things – you mention this in your book, and you’ve written this elsewhere also – talking about Vladimir Putin, and you say, well, people say – it’s often said he plays chess, he’s very clever, and we in the West are just playing checkers. You say that’s bad analogy, that’s not the right way to think about Putin.

KASPAROV: It is really bad, and I was almost annoyed hearing that Putin plays chess.

KRISTOL: This is not just because you play chess, right?

KASPAROV: And Obama or other leaders of the free world they play checkers. I thought I had to defend the integrity of my game because chess is not a game for dictators for numerous reasons. One, it’s transparent. It’s all information hundred percent available so you know exactly what you have, you know exactly what your opponent has. You don’t know what he or she is thinking, but you definitely know what kind of resources your opponent can use to hurt you, to damage your position.

Also, chess is very much a strategic game so you have to think long-term. Dictators don’t think long-term. Dictators, especially who are in power for so long as Putin is, they have to work on the survival mode. Because it’s all about today, maybe tomorrow morning. Everything that helps us survive is good. Because the moment the dictator thinks long-term, he’ll definitely miss guys from his own entourage hitting him in his own back.

The game that defines dictators much better is poker because it’s about bluffs. It doesn’t matter whether you have a strong hand or weak hand. You can have a weak hand, but if you’re comfortable bluffing, raising stakes, and if you can read your opponent.

And let’s not forget Putin is not a military dictator. He’s not the military general, he’s a KGB guy. And we have to give him credit, he’s quite a shrewd KGB guy who can read his opponent. He proved it many times dealing with Bush 43, with other foreign leaders, that he could actually find a way of building communication and getting what he wanted.

And playing poker means that you have to read your opponent, and today, Putin knows that no matter what kind of hand he has, the opposition – whether it’s Obama or European leaders – they’ll fold the cards. Syria was a classical example – this moment of Obama’s infamous “redline,” what Putin had? A pair of 5. But he acted as if he had a royal flush. And Obama, he went with a full house and just folded the cards.

So it’s very important to understand that this is the dictators always operate short-term, and democracies must operate long-term because it’s not about one individual who’s currently running the country, whether it’s president or prime minister. It’s about the success of the country. It’s about the success of the system. It’s about pressing, you know, all advantages and their strategic, lasting institutions that could make the difference even when the president or prime minister is no longer in the office.

Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • temptation
  • sin
  • Satan
  • overcoming
  • the antichrist
  • opposition
  • trials

. . . . . 

Sermonic Example:

[include whatever material you find useful]

Gary Kasparov, Chessmaster and political commentator on Russia, during an interview about his new book, Winter is Coming, says this about dictators, like Vladimir Putin . . . . .

[World] leaders of the free world they play checkers. . . . chess is not a game for dictators for numerous reasons.

Then  Kasparov gives two reasons for drawing the contrast between checkers and chess . . . .

  1. [Chess is] “transparent. It’s all information hundred percent available so you know exactly what you have, you know exactly what your opponent has. You don’t know what he or she is thinking, but you definitely know what kind of resources your opponent can use to hurt you, to damage your position.”

  2. “Also . . . .
    “chess is very much a strategic game so you have to think long-term. Dictators don’t think long-term.
    Dictators, especially who are in power for so long as Putin is, they have to work on the survival mode. Because it’s all about today, maybe tomorrow morning. Everything that helps us survive is good. Because the moment the dictator thinks long-term, he’ll definitely miss guys from his own entourage hitting him in his own back.”

    Now, my point has nothing to do with political analysis.  I’ll leave that to men like Kasparov.  However, his analysis is thought-provoking when it comes to a well-practiced, angelic dictator — Lucifer.  He plays checkers, not chess.  In fact, a better analogy is “poker.”

Kasparov makes that point when he says . . .

“The game that defines dictators much better is poker because it’s about bluffs. It doesn’t matter whether you have a strong hand or a weak hand. You can have a weak hand, but if you’re comfortable bluffing, raising stakes, and if you can read your opponent.”

Satan is always about “bluffs” because he never holds the winning hand when it comes to God’s people!  He always holds a weak hand, but raises the stakes and hopes that he has read his opponents correctly and that he will fold!

Turn to Exodus and let’s see how Satan continually bluffs, using the world leader of his day, the Pharaoh, along with the court magicians. . . . .



Other Information & Links:

https://conversationswithbillkristol.org/transcript/garry-kasparov-ii-transcript/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_Kasparov

https://www.thedailybeast.com/garry-kasparov-hey-bernie-dont-lecture-me-about-socialism-i-lived-through-it

https://www.jordanharbinger.com/garry-kasparov-deep-thinking-for-disordered-times/

What We Discuss with Garry Kasparov:

  • The part chess played in promoting Soviet Russian ideology during the Cold War.
  • What it takes to become a chess champion now compared to 50 years ago and why Garry considers the game “one of the most aggressive forces of psychological warfare.”
  • What can and can’t be applied from chess to politics and decision making.
  • What Garry knows from experience about authoritarian governments and why we need to be vigilant against them now more than ever.
  • Is our civilization poised for progress or ruin now that supercomputers can beat superhumans at tournament-level chess?
  • And so much more…”

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