Klara Shagenovna Kasparova (1937-2020) passed away yesterday
at the age of 83. Klara, who was a successful engineer before she devoted
herself full-time to her son’s career, accompanied Garry Kasparov to almost all
his major chess tournaments. The 13th World Chess Champion described her as, “my
role model, my greatest champion, my wise counsel, and the strongest person I
will ever know”.
Garry Kasparov shared the sad news that his mother had
passed away on December 25th.
interview in 2000 Klara talked about how one spring Sunday she was
discussing a chess problem at breakfast with her husband Kim when 5-year-old Garry
suddenly explained to them that they needed to promote a pawn to a knight and
not a queen. “You know chess?” asked Kim in surprise, since they hadn’t taught
their son chess at all. Within a month Garry was able to beat his mother, and
chess would soon provide solace, since Garry’s father Kim died of leukaemia
when the future World Champion was just 7 years old.
Garry was left alone with his mother, whose surname Kasparov
he would later adopt.
Although Klara had built a successful career as an
engineer and research scientist she gave it up in 1981 when it became clear
that the teenage Garry Kasparov had the potential to reach the very top of the
chess world. From that moment onwards Klara was an inseparable part of Garry’s
career, accompanying him to all his major events.
The main thing is that I can be frank with her as with
no-one else. At critical moments you hear a voice which you’ve got used to
trusting over long years. Each of us needs someone we can trust, tell everything
to without holding back, calling things by their proper names. And then, more
often than not, you understand yourself how you should act. My mother jokes
that she absorbs my stress.
Klara lived her last years in Moscow, with her son’s
political exile meaning they were unable to meet as often as before. She still took part in Russian chess life.
Everyone at chess24 would like to express our deep condolences to Garry
Kasparov and all Klara’s friends and family. May she rest in peace.