Klara Shagenovna Kasparova (1937-2020)

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  • Klara Shagenovna Kasparova (1937-2020)

    Klara Shagenovna Kasparova (1937-2020)

    December 26, 2020

    From the FIDE site:


    It is with great sadness that we must share the sad news of the passing of Klara Shagenovna Kasparova (March 19, 1937 - December 25, 2020), mother of the 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov.

    Klara was, however, much more than a mother to Garry: she was a long-life mentor, who played a pivotal role in his career and development as one of the greatest champions in the world of sports.

    To begin with, Garry learned the game by observing Klara and her husband, the late Kim Weinstein, solving chess puzzles from the newspapers. When it became obvious that ‘Garik’ was a very gifted kid, part of his family wanted him to study music, but it was Klara who pointed him in the direction of becoming a chess player. And in 1981 she quit her job for good, to devote herself completely to the task of helping Kasparov to become World Champion. From then on, she combined the roles of a team leader, sports manager, press attaché, and doctor.

    Kasparov himself broke the news with a moving message on his Twitter account: “With great sorrow, I share the news of the passing of my mother, Klara Shagenovna Kasparova. My role model, my greatest champion, my wise counsel, and the strongest person I will ever know. I love you, Mama.”

    Klara’s love and determination were an inspiration to anyone who had the chance to see the formidable duo that she made with her son.

    The International Chess Federation would like to extend its deepest condolences to Garry and his family during this difficult time.

    From chess24.com


    In an 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.

    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.

  • #2
    Klara Shagenovna Kasparova (1937-2020)

    January 7, 2021

    Her obituary has appeared in The Times


    This may be behind a paywall.

    An excerpt:

    Klara Shagenovna Kasparova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1937. The eldest of three sisters, both her parents were Armenians from the steppes of Karabakh. Her father was a Communist Party zealot who named her after the German Communist leader Clara Zetkin. Her less ideologically inclined mother called her Aida, the name by which she was known by everyone in the family. She was 14 before she discovered that her legal name was Klara and Kasparov later named his younger daughter Aida in his mother’s honour.

    Growing up she recalled fierce family arguments about Stalin and the Communist Party but remained indifferent to politics. She was bright and was accepted as one of the few female students at Baku’s recently opened engineering school. In 1960 she married Kim Weinstein, a Jewish chemical engineer. Both loved classical music and one of their first dates was a concert in Baku by the American pianist Van Cliburn, who had just won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

    The marriage across ethnic partitions between a Jew and an Armenian was at the time unusual but, according to her son, entirely typical of an independently minded woman for whom “personal qualities were everything, not ideology or ethnicity”.

    Their son Garry was born in 1963. By then she was in charge of a ten-strong laboratory designing oil-drilling equipment. She might have risen even higher in the world of Soviet engineering, but for her stubborn refusal to become a member of the Communist Party.

    Her husband died of leukaemia when Garry was seven. She felt it would be a betrayal to remarry, which meant Kasparov was raised in modest circumstances. “Like single mothers everywhere throughout history, she simply worked twice as hard,” her son said.

    Klara Kasparova, mentor, was born on March 19, 1937. She died of Covid-19 on December 25, 2020, aged 83