My wife says that I tend to single people out and I do admit this harmless fault, but then my wife should also admit that I single people out only with kind intent and what can be a kinder intent than love?
I singled Nikoloz Kwariani out with love as well and first found out about him during my first visit to New York, but I discovered the phenomenon of Kola Kwariani a few years ago, during my visit to Kutaisi. While I was visiting a sport museum created by Mr. Zurab Javakhadze, the latter gifted to me such book about Nikoloz Kwariani that I honestly was not able not to single him out.
How can I not single out an amazing man, born in Kutaisi, who had defeated the whole world in a way that he felt nothing but love towards the people he defeated! It can only be explained with enormous love that Kola Kwariani, after defeating his opponent, usually by sticking them to a mat or sawdust with their shoulders, completely sincerely offered part of his winning prize money to his opponents.
He also used to give away, with much happiness, a large amount of that money to poor Georgian emigrants, at first, in Russia, then in the European countries and after, in America, where he finally settled.
He was very young when he became a professional wrestler and started to wrestle in the circus that existed near the riverbank of Rioni in the Soviet Kutaisi, but no one in Kutaisi, Imereti and Georgia, not even in the world, was able to defeat Kola.
Nikoloz Kwariani’s truly unbelievable and truly magical strength was discovered in his childhood, but his superiority was not expressed only by his physique, but his mental abilities, to be more correct, by their amazing synthesis and he used this gift very well and rightly.
His whole life Kola was missing Georgia and especially native Kutaisi, though he knew with certainty that his sensitive heart and mind would not have been able to stand (under no circumstances) the Soviet regime and the Soviet Government would not have been able to stand a person with such heart and mind either, so he never went back.
When sorrow, tiredness and age caught up to him and he realized that he would not have been able to, like before, sustain himself and help others financially, he started playing chess for money and he loved chess so much so that for a while he was sustaining himself and helping others by playing chess. The great American director Stanley Kubrick got acquainted with this bright minded and hearted Georgian man while Kola was playing chess in the New York Central Park, where chess enthusiasts used to gather (just like they gather in Vake Park) and chess - Kubrick loved very much as well. Although, their first encounter didn’t continue with talks about chess, and Stanley Kubrick, as soon as he discovered standing Nikoloz Kwariani, offered him to play in his film.
Then, later, when they became friends, Mr. Stanley directly told (Mr. Kola) that he has never met anyone so strong and at the same time, so intelligent, and even spread his hands out (several times) in surprise…
Maybe the reason for his surprise was the letter about Nikoloz Kwariani, published in the “Chess Review” magazine, where he was regarded to as the only professional wrestler, who was also a professional chess player. Kubrick did not only shoot Kola in his famous film, but also the chess school established by Nikoloz Kwariani in America and despite the fact that there was considerable age difference between them, this difference did not hinder their friendship. Though, when Stanley Kubrick got acquainted with Kola Kwariani, the latter had already quit commercial wresting and was only taken with commercial chess and that is why the great American director hadn’t personally seen any of Nikoloz Kwariani’s matches, where after the Russian and European distinguished wrestlers, he was defeating the undefeated, most famous American champions and athletes one after the other (apparently he even joked that – he dragged the Russian giant Ilya Muromets around so hard that afterwards, defeating the American champion Ed Lewis was not hard for him at all). He wasn’t a professional wrestler anymore, but he kept his inhuman strength and force (and most importantly – passion for fighting) till the end and at the age of almost 80 years he had to be involved in that last and unequal fight, where more than ten scums were fighting against him (in one of New-York’s dark alleys) and when they still weren’t able to defeat him, they used knives to knock him down. The wounds (unfortunately) were serious and soon this great and kind Georgian legend passed away and the only thing he was able to leave behind for Georgia was his testament and according to his testament he (Mr. Kola Kwariani addressing Georgian people) asked to take his ashes to his homeland. He was aware that in the Soviet period bringing his corpse to Georgia from America was impossible, but in case of cremation, maybe someone (somehow) would have been able to bring the ashes, so that afterwards they scattered it in Rioni from any Kutaisi bridge. Apart from his testament, Nikoloz Kwariani wasn’t able to leave anything to anyone, because whatever he had won throughout the years, he instantly gave to other people and he gifted money to those who needed help, and he, himself (in the end) was left without a roof over his head and ended up in a retirement home not much time before he passed away. What he was most disappointed and heartbroken to leave behind – was the unique book collection and a library that he has been collecting his whole life (according to the memories of his friends) and creating, and, most importantly, he was constantly reading books and no one has ever seen him without a book. That is why Nikoloz Kwariani was the most outstanding man on earth and, of course, Mr. Kola was deserving of Manuchar Kachakhidze at least finding his grave in one of New York’s cemeteries after searching for several years.
I hope that at least now Kola Kwariani will return to his homeland Kutaisi…