Soviet chess whiz Gata Kamsky, surfacing for the first time since gaining asylum last week, said he defected so he could train to take on Soviet chess titans Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.
Kamsky, 14, and his 42-year-old father, Rustam, said Monday that they had been plotting the defection for some time and had vowed while still in Leningrad to seek political asylum at a New York chess tournament last week."This is a golden time now. If I lost it, I never will bring it again," the wiry, bespectacled whiz-kid with the stubborn cowlick and short brown bangs said during an appearance at a Greenwich Village chess club.
The elder Kamsky, who coaches his son, said they had to make the move because bureaucrats in the Moscow "chess Mafia" stood in the boy's path, preferring their own young players even though state chess authorities in Leningrad supported his son's career.
"Now we get the freedom. Now my son can play in different cities in all of the world," he said.
In halting English, the 14-year-old boy wasted few words charting his course to the top of the hotly competitive international chess world and pointed to world champion Kasparov and Karpov - the title defender whom Kasparov beat in 1986 - as his ultimate targets.
"In chess there are only chess players. It will be very interesting to play them," he said.
The Kamskys emerged from hiding Monday to meet with reporters at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan, six days after contacting the FBI and requesting political asylum on March 28 - the final day of the New York International Open.
U.S. authorities have approved their application for asylum.
Kamsky said the boy's stepmother, Bella, concurred in the decision to defect but remains in Leningrad.