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Kasparov is our kind of Russian. He's young, he's impulsive, he's got some joie de vivre. His playing style features swashbuckling, unorthodox leaps. In person he is bouncy, sturdy, athletic-looking. He has been described as apolitical, and when, in 1983, the Russians refused to accept Pasadena as the site of the semifinal round of the elimination tournament leading up to this title match, it was speculated (though perhaps not by anyone who had ever spent Saturday night in Pasadena) that the Soviets feared Kasparov would use the opportunity to jump to the West. He was even born with a good American name: Gary Weinstein. His late father was Jewish and his mother is Armenian. He and his mother changed their name to Kasparov when he was 16, probably because of Soviet anti-Semitism and anti-Armenianism.
Even if he is a bit of a mama's boy—hey, so was Elvis—you have to root for Kasparov. And he is getting his popondopolo kicked. If the Russians negotiate arms agreements the way Karpov plays chess—and that is what Kremlinologists will tell you—then our negotiation team had better practice screwing their navels to the ground. Doesn't sound like any Star Wars stuff, or any other kind of bold, imaginative proposal, is going to work against the Russians.
I have a source. I cannot be sure that he is who or what he says he is. According to him, he is "a shadowy figure in a gray area of middle ground between East and West, one who enjoys excellent contacts with Politburo officials and who clearly speaks with a certain authority, because otherwise why haven't they poked me with a poisoned umbrella tip yet? But don't use my name."
"Then how will people know that I didn't just make you up?" I asked him.
"In America I believe you have a saying: 'Don't trust the Russians.' "
"In Russia, too, there is a saying: 'An American may say he doesn't believe in you, but can you count on whether he means it?' "
"Don't look at me. It's an old Russian saying. Though some say it originated with your Yogi Berra."