I do not follow professional basketball anymore, but of course remember Michael Jordan, the best to every play (sorry, LeBron). Imagine being the 2nd best player in the league – and thus, the 2nd best player in the world – during the time of Jordan’s dominance. No matter your accomplishments, you would always be compared to the greatest, and usually come up short. Perhaps it is telling that I couldn’t tell you who the 2nd best player was…
The chess world of the mid-80s and through the 90s was the era of Kasparov. No one could come close to his brilliance on the board – except for Karpov. If Kasparov chose instead to focus on checkers, we’d likely be calling Karpov the greatest player of his time.
Now it is 2013, and while Kasparov has recently put his hat in the ring to run the dysfunctional FIDE, he gave up tournament chess almost a decade ago (to tackle the dysfunctional Russian political scene). Karpov on the other hand, while not nearly as active as in the past, still hits the clock and competes against strong players in big events. Although ‘competes’ is an understatement in this case.
There is a rapid event going on in France, named after Karpov, that he is currently leading – at the age of 62, and against a field containing 2 2700 super GMs (Ivanchuk and Bacrot). An amazing accomplishment.
If the NBA renamed the All-Star game the Michael Jordan invitational, do you think Michael Jordan could compete and win the MVP of the event?