‘Computers, chess, and geo-political poker’ – Six times world chess champion and human rights activist, Garry Kasparov, told a sell-out audience at JW3 in Hampstead on December 9th, that Russian president Vladimir Putin is more dangerous than Adolf Hitler.
Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and a chess Grandmaster, was interviewing Kasparov.
This was the fourth conversation in the Alan Howard Foundation/JW3 Speaker Series, and Rogoff began by asking Kasparov questions about his chess career, his promotion of the game in schools and how computers had become too hard for chess players to beat.
Despite the rapid development in computers’ calculating abilities, humans still had one big advantage said Kasparov – intuition.“To raise the quality of decisions you need a small part of human intuition,”he said, “Machines and humans are much more powerful than machines alone.”
Most discussion focused on politics with Kasparov likening today’s relations between Putin and the West with those of Hitler and the West in the 1930s. He compared Russia’s annexation of Crimea with Germany’s Anschluss of Austria, and said more land grabs by Putin were possible if President Obama and the West did not stop him.
“Playing with Putin on the geo-political board is more like poker not chess, because Putin does not care about rules, but he’s very good at bluffing,” said Kasparov, “He can always win by having a weak hand. He has the pair of sixes, but acts like he has a royal flush. Obama has a full house and flushes it down the toilet.”
Kasparov believed Russia’s economic problems were weakening Putin, and that he would lose power eventually.
“Putin will die a criminal,” said Kasparov, “The bad news is we don’t know when and how it happens, but the good news is, he doesn’t know either.”