Introducing the “Kasparov Thesis”. -- Up until this morning my interests in the sociology of knowledge and in the history of chess have lived separate lives in my mind. But the very first thing I read in 2017 has changed all this. Here is the passage from Garry Kasparov’s MY GREAT PREDECESSORS (Part 1) that made me jump: “The best chess masters of every epoch have been closely linked with the values of the society in which they lived and worked. All the changes of a cultural, political and psychological background are reflected in the style and ideas of their play. This deep connection can be traced back a long time. Was it not logical that, in the era of the Renaissance, in the 15th-17th centuries, chess developed most rapidly in Spain and Italy? Was it an accident that the first maestro, who tried to create a theory of positional play, lived in the epoch of the Enlightenment and of the philosophy of rationalism – the great François-André Philidor (incidentally, a well-known composer and a friend of Diderot)? And remember the slogan that he proclaimed in the middle of the 18th century – ‘The pawns are the soul of chess!’ Do we not hear in this echoes of the coming Great French Revolution? Later, in the first half of the 19th century, in full accordance with geopolitical reality, chess was the arena for battles between the best players from England and France: McDonnell-La Bourdonnais, Staunton-Saint-Amant ... In the middle of the century the outstanding chess romantic Adolf Anderssen was the leading player. His style was that of reckless attacks on the king, with mind-boggling sacrifices, personifying the triumph of mind over matter (fully typical of an educated German, and not alien to the ideas of Hegel and Schopenhauer). We also remember the brilliant flight of the American super-genius Paul Morphy, who in a couple of years (1857-59) conquered both the New and the Old Worlds. He revealed a thunderous blend of pragmatism, aggression and accurate calculation to the world – qualities that enabled America to accomplish a powerful spurt in the second half of the 19th century.” … And he then goes on to argue his case for every chess world champion until Kramnik.