Review: Kasparov in Tilburg

Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, visited Tilburg University on March 21st. His public lecture ‘Timeless Values in a Shifting World’ was devoted to the current political situation in the world. Univers asked Evgeny Shapka, a Russian/Ukranian student,  to write a review.

This event surprised me a lot. Kasparov, a strong opponent of Vladimir Putin, gathered the full Aula hall. His lecture was more about the world than Russia. Also it was Kasparov’s fifth visit to Tilburg. He participated in the international Interpolis-chess tournaments in Tilburg in 1981, 1989, 1991 and 1997 and won three of them.

Two years ago Kasparov moved from Moscow to New York. At the beginning of his speech Garry described Europe as a birthplace of the modern world and expressed his worry about the threat from Muslim radicals and post-communist autocrats. From Kasparov’s point of view, the West should pay more attention to the protection of its values.

Kasparov believes that the fall of the Berlin wall did not mean uniting West and East. Post-soviet countries, as well as many other non-democratic countries, still have different values in politics. Human rights, respect to human life, independent media and free election are still out of the agenda in many parts of the world. Kasparov thinks that regular change of politicians in a governmental power is the most important characteristic of a democratic society. Who could guarantee that non-democratic China would not become an aggressor in the future, asked the former world chess champion.Kasparov explained how the West can create a strategy to protect its values. If you often change your strategy it means that you do not have a strategy at all. Kasparov believes that the Western world must defense itself literally and figuratively. There should be no compromise about principles, he said.

Dutch youngsters should be ready to be conscripted in the army


The Q&A session was very saturated. Answering about the Russia/Ukraine conflict, Kasparov compared this situation with the case of China and Taiwan. One country has a ‘dictatorial’ political system, the other country has a Western political system. Kasparov claims that Ukraine chose Western values and the West should remember about this fact.

Kasparov was asked why the Russian people are supporting president Putin? He compared the current situation in Russia with the situation in Germany in the 1930s. All the key media are under government control. Also Kasparov referred to his mother who still lives in Moscow and who never experienced such a strong anti-American propaganda before. It was less harsh even during the Cold War.

One of the students asked if Dutch youngsters should be ready to be conscripted in the army. Yes, Kasparov said. The European Union should improve its safety. It does not mean a participation in the war conflicts per se. But it’s an adequate reaction to the demonstration of strong military forces in the East.

Kasparov described his style in chess as attacking. His fifth visit to Tilburg was more about defense than attack. Anyway, Garry Kasparov was really straightforward in this discussion.


Written by Evgeny Shapka,  Ukranian/Russian Tias Student .

Photography also from Evgeny Shapka

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