Win Rae Bareli before challenging for top: Kasparov reacts to Rahul Gandhi’s love for chess


New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s favourite chess player Garry Kasparov appears to have taken note of his fondness for the game and has an advice for him — “first win Rae Bareli before challenging for the top”.

The Russian legend, who retired from competitive chess in 2005, was responding to a post by a user on X on Friday.

Recently, the Congress posted a video of Gandhi playing chess on his mobile phone while on the Lok Sabha election campaign trail. In the video, Gandhi named Kasparov as his favourite chess player and drew parallels between the game and politics.

In the video, Gandhi described himself as the best chess player among politicians.

“Feel so relieved that @Kasparov63 and @vishy64theking retired early and didn’t have to face the greatest chess genius of our times,” said the X user, in a cheeky comment on Gandhi.

Kasparov, rather unusually, responded to the post.

“Traditional (sic) dictates that you should first win from Raebareli before challenging for the top,” wrote the 61-year-old, who is a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is based in Croatia after fleeing his country.

Gandhi named Kasparov as his favourite chess player in the video, saying he considered him a “non-linear thinker”.

“…once you get slightly better at it, the opponent’s pieces actually operate almost like your own,” he said, comparison between chess and politics.

Gandhi filed his nomination from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. He is also contesting from Wayanad in Kerala.

A former world number one and world champion, Kasparov became the youngest-ever undisputed world champion at the age of 22 in 1985 and is a political activist now.

The iconic player is a contemporary of Indian great Viswanathan Anand. Recently, when 17-year-old D Gukesh bettered Kasparov’s record of becoming the youngest challenger to the world title, he had put out a congratulatory post on X.

He had described Gukesh as “the Indian earthquake”.

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