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Garry Kasparov has opinions about competitive gaming.

On a trip to the World Youth Mindsports Fair in Seoul, South Korea, one of the greatest chess grandmasters of all time weighed in on this new-fangled thing we call eSports.

It was fitting that Seoul provoked eSports pontifications from Garry Kasparov. Even there—a city known as the Mecca of eSports—Kasparov sees a day when Chess and Go surpass current eSports stalwarts League of Legends and StarCraft.

In fact, he sees a time limit on League’s popularity. If that sounds crazy, consider that StarCraft: Brood War once attracted hundreds of thousands of people to fill arenas. Now, the game has faded.

Did better “slightly better graphics” kill Brood War? There’s an argument to be made that StarCraft 2, which admittedly has way more polygons on screen, killed Brood War. If that’s the case, a multimillion dollar marketing machine from Blizzard killed the original king of eSports and graphics were only a small part of that death.

Barring an unlikely popular sequel to chess, that’s something the game of kings never has to worry about.

What will kill League of Legends?

Any eSports die-hard getting offended really ought to try chess. It’s a beautiful game. Even if your eSport of choice has beauty too, it’s hard to deny the awesome power of a game that’s attracted competitors for a millenium.

But Kasparov isn’t being disrespectful toward eSports or even other board games.

Kasparov doesn't have anything gainst games per se. He’s credited as a designer on Kasparov Chessmate. In fact, he’s looking into a new one now.

If you need more proof that Kasparov isn’t ignorant of the world of eSports, remember that he recognized and met Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen years ago in an airport when Schenkhuizen was the greatest Warcraft 3 player in the world.  The two talked games as the cameras rolled. Kasparov’s recognition of Grubby was likely aided by the fact that Kasparov’s son is a Warcraft “expert" (according to Kasparov himself), among many other video games.

After the tweets, Kasparov engaged in a friendly back and forth with his followers.

As eSports matures, it will be interesting to see what happens as great minds from games like chess weigh in on the new competitive frontier. In the meantime, Kasparov will keep learning.

Yes, Koreans are the best. That’s eSports lesson #1, Garry.

Photo via AceKindred/Flickr

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