(2014, with updates)
Information is wanted on Garry Kasparov’s belief in, or espousal of, the theory of New Chronology (Fomenko). As in the case of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Aliens, our interest is solely in first-hand statements, i.e. remarks by Kasparov himself, in the original Russian or English.
From Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore):
‘In a multiple-volume work History: Fiction or Science? Anatoly T. Fomenko, one of the key proponents of New Chronology, acknowledged Kasparov’s support several times. Two examples come from Volume 1 (published in 2003), in the introductory essay “History of New Chronology” by Fomenko and Gleb V. Nosovsky:
Kasparov’s involvement in this fringe theory has seldom been mentioned in the Western press.
In an article entitled “King Arthur was really a Russian, say Slavs” on page 21 of the Daily Telegraph, 19 April 2001 Marcus Warren, a Moscow-based reporter, wrote:
“The school [New Chronology] has also secured the energetic support of Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster.”
Warren quoted Kasparov’s own words:
“‘I consider myself to be part of a team. It’s quite a big group and it’s expanding’, said Kasparov, who is fronting a television series on the inconsistencies of traditional chronology.”
On 24 April 2001 Warren wrote a follow-up article for the Telegraph giving more particulars regarding Kasparov and New Chronology and with several quotes.
Internet searches offer some clues for further research. On 23 August 2010 Timothy Taylor posted on his website the transcript of a 2001 interview (“originally published in Saturday Night online, 2001”) in which he spoke at length with Kasparov about New Chronology.
An essay by Kasparov, “Mathematics of the Past” , in which he espoused his theories on history, has circulated on the Internet. For some years it was available at www.new-tradition.org, an outlet used by New Chronology supporters which now seems defunct, but the full text of the essay is easily found elsewhere on-line.
Many mainstream academic papers and serious books dealing with the emergence and impact of such fringe theories in post-1990 Russia mention that Kasparov became one of Fomenko’s most prominent supporters. For instance, on page 83 of Russia in Search of Itself (Baltimore, 2004) James H. Billington, a prestigious American academic, specializing in Russian culture, and the 13th Librarian of the US Congress, wrote:
“All of this [the New Chronology theories] might have been quietly blown away in the wind tunnels of academia had not the popular chess hero Garry Kasparov lustily taken up the cause of the new chronology in the mass circulation journal Ogonek. Insisting that ‘whoever controls the past, controls the future’, Kasparov accused the Germanophile Romanov dynasty of destroying the records of Russia’s harmonious links with its Eastern neighbors and inventing insulting names for all their enemies.”
For Kasparov’s words “whoever controls the past, controls the future”, on pages 184-185 Billington cited as his source an article by Kasparov, “Istoriia s geografiei”, in the 21/22 and 23 issues of Ogonek, published in 2001. Perhaps C.N. readers with access to Russian archives will be able to supply those articles in full, as well as footage or transcripts of any media appearances by Kasparov’s which are relevant to this topic.’
Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Komi, Russian Federation) draws attention to Kasparov’s Foreword on pages 10-28 of Введение в Новую Хронологию. Какой сейчас век? by G.V. Nosovsky and A.T. Fomenko (Moscow, 2001).
Below we offer a translation of two passages which show Kasparov’s overall view of the theory of New Chronology. They come from, respectively, pages 9-10 and 28 of the Foreword, which is dated 1999:
‘About a year and a half ago I came across a few books by A.T. Fomenko and G.V. Nosovsky, mathematicians at the Moscow State University. It turned out that for more than 20 years a group of professional mathematicians, led by the academician A.T. Fomenko, had been working in depth on issues concerning chronology and that some interesting results had been achieved. These books explained many things to me, and put many things in their proper place. The critical analysis in the books is exceptionally solid, provides an immense amount of valuable material and is worth studying and discussing. At the same time, the hypotheses and reconstructions put forward by the authors can be challenged in some respects. It is clear that a conclusive reconstruction of actual historical events is very difficult to set out, and this aspect of their work will always be open to criticism. Nevertheless, in the light of studies already published it cannot be denied that the chronology of “ancient” history accepted today has revealed very serious inconsistencies which it is absolutely impossible to ignore.’
‘Respected historians who regard history as a clearly reported record of the life of mankind will undoubtedly reject with indignation any proposal to seek refuge within the virtual hypostasis of history. In that case, they are welcome to join in the discussion. The revolutionary concept of world history created by A.T. Fomenko, G.V. Nosovsky and their colleagues will need to be refuted in a thorough scientific debate based on solid arguments, without recourse to the much-loved accusations of charlatanism and incompetence.’
Kevin O’Connell (Mouret, France) draws attention to a kasparov.ru page which includes the following question and answer:
‘Garry Kimovich, I saw a television programme in which you supported the theories of Mr Fomenko. It would be interesting to know your estimate, as a professional chessplayer (nobody would challenge that), of how many thousands of years old the game of chess is (beginning with chaturanga). Does its age, six thousand years according to the most common theory, fit in with the chronology set out by Fomenko? And how are you going to run the State if your views on history are so original? Will you give Rus’ the previous name Horde? – Mikhail Evgenievich Levashov (Moscow).
I do not advocate Fomenko and Nosovsky’s theory. However, as a man with an analytical mind-set who is used to analysing all the information that I receive, I am very sceptical about the constructions and findings of official history. I believe that Fomenko and Nosovsky have rightly pointed out numerous inconsistencies and gaps in the official concept. Instead of pursuing their work by asking questions and dismantling schemes which are often mythological, they have put forward a new theory, which unfortunately is subject to the same problems. Because it is clear that today we still lack the information needed to create another, alternative concept. And that is why the main attacks on Fomenko and Nosovsky’s work are not related to the critical aspects of their work but, rather, to what is put forward today as its positive outlook.’
Olimpiu G. Urcan notes some remarkable statements by Kasparov in a 2000 documentary about him by Joël Calmettes, from approximately 45’00” to 52’00”.
Addition on 14 January 2019: replacement link.
Addition on 19 May 2021:
Olimpiu G. Urcan informs us that in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on 18 May 2021 Kasparov answered a question about New Chronology:
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Copyright: Edward Winter. All rights reserved.