Kasparov in 2007
|Full name||Garry Kimovich Kasparov|
13 April 1963 |
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
|World Champion||1985–93 (undisputed)
|FIDE rating||2812 (February 2016) [inactive]|
|Peak rating||2851 (July 1999, January 2000)|
|Peak ranking||No. 1 (January 1984)|
from Kasparov's interview for Ekho Moskvy, 13 September 2011
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Garry Kimovich Kasparov (Russian: Га́рри Ки́мович Каспа́ров, Russian pronunciation: [ˈɡarʲɪ ˈkʲiməvʲɪtɕ kɐˈsparəf]; born Garik Kimovich Weinstein, 13 April 1963) is a Russian (formerly Soviet) chess Grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked world No. 1 for 225 out of 228 months. His peak rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the highest recorded until being passed by Magnus Carlsen in 2013. Kasparov also holds records for consecutive professional tournament victories (15) and Chess Oscars (11).
Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at age 22 by defeating then-champion Anatoly Karpov. He held the official FIDE world title until 1993, when a dispute with FIDE led him to set up a rival organization, the Professional Chess Association. In 1997 he became the first world champion to lose a match to a computer under standard time controls, when he lost to the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in a highly publicized match. He continued to hold the "Classical" World Chess Championship until his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in 2000.
Kasparov announced his retirement from professional chess on 10 March 2005, after which he devoted his time to politics and writing. He formed the United Civil Front movement, and joined as a member of The Other Russia, a coalition opposing the administration and policies of Vladimir Putin. In 2008, he announced an intention to run as a candidate in the 2008 Russian presidential race, but failure to find a sufficiently large rental space to assemble the number of supporters that is legally required to endorse such a candidacy led him to withdraw. Kasparov blamed "official obstruction" for the lack of available space. Although he is widely regarded in the West as a symbol of opposition to Putin, he was barred from the presidential ballot. The political climate in Russia reportedly makes it difficult for opposition candidates to organize. He is currently chairman for the Human Rights Foundation and chairs its International Council. In 2014 he obtained Croatian citizenship.
- 1 Early career
- 2 Toward the top
- 3 1984 World Championship
- 4 World Champion
- 5 Break with and ejection from FIDE
- 6 Losing the title and aftermath
- 7 Retirement from chess
- 8 Head-to-head record versus selected grandmasters
- 9 Politics
- 9.1 Central committee member of Komsomol
- 9.2 Keeper of the Flame award
- 9.3 Democratic Party of Russia and Choice of Russia bloc
- 9.4 United Civil Front
- 9.5 The Other Russia
- 9.6 Saint Petersburg Dissenters' March
- 9.7 Arrest in Moscow and questioning by FSB
- 9.8 KGB general says Kasparov's life in danger
- 9.9 2007 presidential bid
- 9.10 "Putin must go"
- 9.11 Human Rights Foundation
- 9.12 Arrest and beating at Pussy Riot trial
- 9.13 Miscellaneous
- 9.14 Allegation of FSB non-disclosure of Boston marathon bombing suspects
- 9.15 On the Navalny trial
- 9.16 On the Syrian civil war
- 9.17 Croatia connections
- 9.18 Sochi Olympics
- 9.19 Access to website blocked
- 10 Chess ratings achievements
- 11 Playing style
- 12 Olympiads and other major team events
- 13 Other records
- 14 Books and other writings
- 15 Chess against computers
- 16 Books
- 17 See also
- 18 Notes
- 19 Further reading
- 20 External links
Kasparov was born Garik Kimovich Weinstein (Russian: Гарик Вайнштейн) in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR (now Azerbaijan), Soviet Union. His father, Kim Moiseyevich Weinstein, was Russian Jewish, and his mother, Klara Gasparian, was Armenian. Kasparov has described himself as a "self-appointed Christian", although "very indifferent".
Kasparov first began the serious study of chess after he came across a chess problem set up by his parents and proposed a solution. His father died of leukemia when Garry was seven years old. At the age of twelve, Garry adopted his mother's Armenian surname, Gasparian, modifying it to a more Russified version, Kasparov.
From age 7, Kasparov attended the Young Pioneer Palace in Baku and, at 10 began training at Mikhail Botvinnik's chess school under noted coach Vladimir Makogonov. Makogonov helped develop Kasparov's positional skills and taught him to play the Caro-Kann Defence and the Tartakower System of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Kasparov won the Soviet Junior Championship in Tbilisi in 1976, scoring 7 points of 9, at age 13. He repeated the feat the following year, winning with a score of 8½ of 9. He was being trained by Alexander Shakarov during this time.
In 1978, Kasparov participated in the Sokolsky Memorial tournament in Minsk. He had been invited as an exception but took first place and became a chess master. Kasparov has repeatedly said that this event was a turning point in his life, and that it convinced him to choose chess as his career. "I will remember the Sokolsky Memorial as long as I live", he wrote. He has also said that after the victory, he thought he had a very good shot at the World Championship.
He first qualified for the Soviet Chess Championship at age 15 in 1978, the youngest ever player at that level. He won the 64-player Swiss system tournament at Daugavpils on tiebreak over Igor V. Ivanov to capture the sole qualifying place.
Kasparov rose quickly through the World Chess Federation rankings. Starting with an oversight by the Russian Chess Federation, he participated in a grandmaster tournament in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (then part of Yugoslavia), in 1979 while still unrated (he was a replacement for Viktor Korchnoi who was originally invited but withdrew due to threat of boycott from the Soviets). Kasparov won this high-class tournament, emerging with a provisional rating of 2595, enough to catapult him to the top group of chess players (at the time, number 15 in the world)). The next year, 1980, he won the World Junior Chess Championship in Dortmund, West Germany. Later that year, he made his debut as second reserve for the Soviet Union at the Chess Olympiad at Valletta, Malta, and became a Grandmaster.
Toward the top
As a teenager, Kasparov tied for first place in the USSR Chess Championship in 1981–82. His first win in a superclass-level international tournament was scored at Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1982. He earned a place in the 1982 Moscow Interzonal tournament, which he won, to qualify for the Candidates Tournament. At age 19, he was the youngest Candidate since Bobby Fischer, who was 15 when he qualified in 1958. At this stage, he was already the No. 2-rated player in the world, trailing only World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov on the January 1983 list.
Kasparov's first (quarter-final) Candidates match was against Alexander Beliavsky, whom he defeated 6–3 (four wins, one loss). Politics threatened Kasparov's semi-final against Viktor Korchnoi, which was scheduled to be played in Pasadena, California. Korchnoi had defected from the Soviet Union in 1976, and was at that time the strongest active non-Soviet player. Various political maneuvers prevented Kasparov from playing Korchnoi, and Kasparov forfeited the match. This was resolved by Korchnoi allowing the match to be replayed in London, along with the previously scheduled match between Vasily Smyslov and Zoltán Ribli. The Kasparov-Korchnoi match was put together on short notice by Raymond Keene. Kasparov lost the first game but won the match 7–4 (four wins, one loss).
In January 1984, Kasparov became the No. 1 ranked player in the world, with a FIDE rating of 2710. He became the youngest ever world No. 1, a record that lasted 12 years until being broken by Vladimir Kramnik in January 1996; the record is currently held by Magnus Carlsen, a former pupil of Kasparov.
Later in 1984, he won the Candidates' final 8½–4½ (four wins, no losses) against the resurgent former world champion Vasily Smyslov, at Vilnius, thus qualifying to play Anatoly Karpov for the World Championship. That year he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), as a member of which he was elected to the Central Committee of Komsomol in 1987.
1984 World Championship
The World Chess Championship 1984 match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov had many ups and downs, and a very controversial finish. Karpov started in very good form, and after nine games Kasparov was down 4–0 in a "first to six wins" match. Fellow players predicted he would be whitewashed 6–0 within 18 games.
In an unexpected turn of events, there followed a series of 17 successive draws, some relatively short, and others drawn in unsettled positions. Kasparov lost game 27, then fought back with another series of draws until game 32, his first-ever win against the World Champion. Another 14 successive draws followed, through game 46; the previous record length for a world title match had been 34 games, the match of José Raúl Capablanca vs. Alexander Alekhine in 1927.
Kasparov won games 47 and 48 to bring the scores to 5–3 in Karpov's favour. Then the match was ended without result by Florencio Campomanes, the President of Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), and a new match was announced to start a few months later. The termination was controversial, as both players stated that they preferred the match to continue. Announcing his decision at a press conference, Campomanes cited the health of the players, which had been strained by the length of the match.
The match became the first, and so far only, world championship match to be abandoned without result. Kasparov's relations with Campomanes and FIDE were greatly strained, and the feud between them finally came to a head in 1993 with Kasparov's complete break-away from FIDE.
The second Karpov-Kasparov match in 1985 was organized in Moscow as the best of 24 games where the first player to win 12½ points would claim the World Champion title. The scores from the terminated match would not carry over. But in the event of a 12–12 draw, the title would remain with Karpov. On 9 November 1985, Kasparov secured the title by a score of 13–11, winning the 24th game with Black, using a Sicilian defense. He was 22 years old at the time, making him the youngest ever World Champion, and breaking the record held by Mikhail Tal for over 20 years. Kasparov's win as Black in the 16th game has been recognized as one of the all-time masterpieces in chess history.
As part of the arrangements following the aborted 1984 match, Karpov had been granted (in the event of his defeat) a right to rematch. Another match took place in 1986, hosted jointly in London and Leningrad, with each city hosting 12 games. At one point in the match, Kasparov opened a three-point lead and looked well on his way to a decisive match victory. But Karpov fought back by winning three consecutive games to level the score late in the match. At this point, Kasparov dismissed one of his seconds, grandmaster Evgeny Vladimirov, accusing him of selling his opening preparation to the Karpov team (as described in Kasparov's autobiography Unlimited Challenge, chapter Stab in the Back). Kasparov scored one more win and kept his title by a final score of 12½–11½.
A fourth match for the world title took place in 1987 in Seville, as Karpov had qualified through the Candidates' Matches to again become the official challenger. This match was very close, with neither player holding more than a one-point lead at any time during the contest. Kasparov was down one full point at the time of the final game, and needed a win to draw the match and retain his title. A long tense game ensued in which Karpov blundered away a pawn just before the first time control, and Kasparov eventually won a long ending. Kasparov retained his title as the match was drawn by a score of 12–12. (All this meant that Kasparov had played Karpov four times in the period 1984–87, a statistic unprecedented in chess. Matches organized by FIDE had taken place every three years since 1948, and only Botvinnik had a right to a rematch before Karpov.)
A fifth match between Kasparov and Karpov was held in New York and Lyon in 1990, with each city hosting 12 games. Again, the result was a close one with Kasparov winning by a margin of 12½–11½. In their five world championship matches, Kasparov had 21 wins, 19 losses, and 104 draws in 144 games.
Break with and ejection from FIDE
With the World Champion title in hand, Kasparov began opposing FIDE. Beginning in 1986, he created the Grandmasters Association (GMA), an organization to represent professional chess players and give them more say in FIDE's activities. Kasparov assumed a leadership role. GMA's major achievement was in organizing a series of six World Cup tournaments for the world's top players. A somewhat uneasy relationship developed with FIDE, and a sort of truce was brokered by Bessel Kok, a Dutch businessman.
This stand-off lasted until 1993, by which time a new challenger had qualified through the Candidates cycle for Kasparov's next World Championship defense: Nigel Short, a British grandmaster who had defeated Anatoly Karpov in a qualifying match, and then Jan Timman in the finals held in early 1993. After a confusing and compressed bidding process produced lower financial estimates than expected, the world champion and his challenger decided to play outside FIDE's jurisdiction, under another organization created by Kasparov called the Professional Chess Association (PCA). This is where a great fracture occurred in the lineage of the FIDE version of the World Champions tradition.
In an interview in 2007, Kasparov called the break with FIDE the worst mistake of his career, as it hurt the game in the long run.
Kasparov and Short were ejected from FIDE, and played their well-sponsored match in London. Kasparov won convincingly by a score of 12½–7½. The match considerably raised the profile of chess in the UK, with an unprecedented level of coverage on Channel 4. Meanwhile, FIDE organized a World Championship match between Jan Timman (the defeated Candidates finalist) and former World Champion Karpov (a defeated Candidates semifinalist), which Karpov won.
FIDE removed Kasparov and Short from the FIDE rating lists. Thus, till this was in effect, there was a parallel rating list presented by PCA which featured all world top players, regardless of their relation to FIDE.
There were now two World Champions: PCA champion Kasparov, and FIDE champion Karpov. The title remained split for 13 years.
Kasparov defended his title in a 1995 match against Viswanathan Anand at the World Trade Center in New York City. Kasparov won the match by four wins to one, with thirteen draws. It was the last World Championship to be held under the auspices of the PCA, which collapsed when Intel, one of its major backers, withdrew its sponsorship in retaliation for Kasparov's choice to play a 1996 match against Deep Blue, which augmented the profile of IBM, one of Intel's chief rivals.
Kasparov tried to organize another World Championship match, under another organization, the World Chess Association (WCA) with Linares organizer Luis Rentero. Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik played a candidates match to decide the challenger, which Shirov won in a surprising upset. But when Rentero admitted that the funds required and promised had never materialized, the WCA collapsed.
This left Kasparov stranded, and yet another organization stepped in—BrainGames.com, headed by Raymond Keene. No match against Shirov was arranged, and talks with Anand collapsed, so a match was instead arranged against Kramnik.
During this period, Kasparov was approached by Oakham School in the United Kingdom, at the time the only school in the country with a full-time chess coach, and developed an interest in the use of chess in education. In 1997, Kasparov supported a scholarship programme at the school. Kasparov also won the Marca Leyenda trophy that year.
Losing the title and aftermath
The Kasparov-Kramnik match took place in London during the latter half of 2000. Kramnik had been a student of Kasparov's at the famous Botvinnik/Kasparov chess school in Russia, and had served on Kasparov's team for the 1995 match against Viswanathan Anand.
The better-prepared Kramnik won game 2 against Kasparov's Grünfeld Defence and achieved winning positions in Games 4 and 6, although Kasparov held the draw in both games. Kasparov made a critical error in Game 10 with the Nimzo-Indian Defence, which Kramnik exploited to win in 25 moves. As White, Kasparov could not crack the passive but solid Berlin Defence in the Ruy Lopez, and Kramnik successfully drew all his games as Black. Kramnik won the match 8½–6½. Kasparov became the first player to lose a world championship match without winning a game since Emanuel Lasker lost to José Raúl Capablanca in 1921.
After losing the title, Kasparov won a series of major tournaments, and remained the top rated player in the world, ahead of both Kramnik and the FIDE World Champions. In 2001 he refused an invitation to the 2002 Dortmund Candidates Tournament for the Classical title, claiming his results had earned him a rematch with Kramnik.
Kasparov and Karpov played a four-game match with rapid time controls over two days in December 2002 in New York City. Karpov surprised the experts and emerged victoriously, winning two games and drawing one.
Due to Kasparov's continuing strong results, and status as world No. 1 in much of the public eye, he was included in the so-called "Prague Agreement", masterminded by Yasser Seirawan and intended to reunite the two World Championships. Kasparov was to play a match against the FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov in September 2003. But this match was called off after Ponomariov refused to sign his contract for it without reservation. In its place, there were plans for a match against Rustam Kasimdzhanov, winner of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, to be held in January 2005 in the United Arab Emirates. These also fell through due to lack of funding. Plans to hold the match in Turkey instead came too late. Kasparov announced in January 2005 that he was tired of waiting for FIDE to organize a match and so had decided to stop all efforts to regain the World Championship title.
Retirement from chess
After winning the prestigious Linares tournament for the ninth time, Kasparov announced on 10 March 2005 that he would retire from serious competitive chess. He cited as the reason a lack of personal goals in the chess world (he commented when winning the Russian championship in 2004 that it had been the last major title he had never won outright) and expressed frustration at the failure to reunify the world championship.
Kasparov said he may play in some rapid chess events for fun, but intends to spend more time on his books, including both the My Great Predecessors series (see below) and a work on the links between decision-making in chess and in other areas of life, and will continue to involve himself in Russian politics, which he views as "headed down the wrong path".
Kasparov has been married three times: to Masha, with whom he had a daughter before divorcing; to Yulia, with whom he had a son before their 2005 divorce; and to Daria (Dasha), with whom he has two children.
On 22 August 2006, in his first public chess games since his retirement, Kasparov played in the Lichthof Chess Champions Tournament, a blitz event played at the time control of 5 minutes per side and 3 second increments per move. Kasparov tied for first with Anatoly Karpov, scoring 4½/6.
Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov played a 12-game match from 21–24 September 2009, in Valencia, Spain. It consisted of four rapid (or semi rapid) games, in which Kasparov won 3–1, and eight blitz games, in which Kasparov won 6–2, winning the match with total result 9–3. The event took place exactly 25 years after the two players' legendary encounter at World Chess Championship 1984.
Kasparov actively coached Magnus Carlsen for approximately one year beginning in February 2009. The collaboration remained secret until September 2009. Under Kasparov's tutelage, Carlsen in October 2009 became the youngest ever to achieve a FIDE rating higher than 2800, and rose from world number four to world number one. While the pair initially planned to work together throughout 2010, in March of that year it was announced that Carlsen had split from Kasparov and would no longer be using him as a trainer. According to an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Carlsen indicated that he would remain in contact and that he would continue to attend training sessions with Kasparov, but in fact no further training sessions were held and the cooperation gradually fizzled over the course of the spring.
In May 2010 it was revealed that Kasparov had aided Viswanathan Anand in preparation for the World Chess Championship 2010 against challenger Veselin Topalov. Anand won the match 6½–5½ to retain the title.
In January 2011, Kasparov began training the American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura. The first of several training sessions was held in New York just prior to Nakamura's participation in the Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. In December 2011, it was announced that the cooperation had come to an end.
Kasparov played two blitz exhibition matches in the autumn of 2011. The first, in September against French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, in Clichy (France), which Kasparov won 1½–½. The second was a longer match consisting of eight blitz games played on 9 October, against English grandmaster Nigel Short. Kasparov won again by a score of 4½–3½.
On April 25 and 26, 2015, Kasparov played a mini-match against Nigel Short. The match consisted of two rapid games and eight blitz games. Kasparov won the match decisively with a score of 8½–1½, winning all five games on the second day.
Candidate for FIDE presidency
On 7 October 2013 Kasparov announced his candidacy for World Chess Federation president during a reception in Tallinn, Estonia, where the 84th FIDE Congress took place. Kasparov's candidacy was supported by his former student, reigning World Chess Champion and FIDE #1 ranked player Magnus Carlsen.
Head-to-head record versus selected grandmasters
(Rapid, blitz and blindfold games not included; listed as +wins −losses =draws as of 2 May 2014.)
Players who have been undisputed World Champions in boldface
- Michael Adams +10-0=8
- Viswanathan Anand +15−5=31
- Murray Chandler +0−2=0
- Boris Gelfand +13−0=8
- Boris Gulko +1−3=3
- Vassily Ivanchuk +11−4=22
- Anatoly Karpov +28-21=129
- Victor Korchnoi +16−1=23
- Vladimir Kramnik +4−5=40
- Alexander Morozevich +3−0=4
- Alexei Shirov +15−0=14
- Nigel Short +28−2=26
- Peter Svidler +6−2=4
- Veselin Topalov +10−3=14
Central committee member of Komsomol
Kasparov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1984, which was mandatory at the time, and in 1987 was elected to the Central Committee of Komsomol. But in 1990 he left the party and together with his family fled from Baku to Moscow on a chartered plane when pogroms against Armenians in Baku took place forcing thousands of ethnic Armenians to flee Azerbaijan.
Keeper of the Flame award
In 1991, Kasparov received the Keeper of the Flame award from the Center for Security Policy for "propagation of democracy and the respect for individual rights throughout the world". In his acceptance speech Kasparov lauded the defeat of communism while also urging the United States to give no financial assistance to central Soviet leaders.
Democratic Party of Russia and Choice of Russia bloc
In May Kasparov took part in the creation of the Democratic Party of Russia, which at first was a liberal anti-communist party, later shifted to centrism. Kasparov was in June 1993 involved with the creation of the "Choice of Russia" bloc of parties and in 1996 took part in the election campaign of Boris Yeltsin. In 2001 he voiced his support for the Russian television channel NTV.
Unwitting board member of award organization
In April 2007, it was asserted that Kasparov was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a "non-profit, non-partisan national security organization [in Washington, DC] that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security". Kasparov confirmed this and added that he was removed shortly after he became aware of it. He noted that he did not know about the membership and suggested he was included in the board by accident because he received the 1991 Keeper of the Flame award from this organization. But Kasparov maintained his association with the leadership by giving speeches at think tanks such as the Hoover Institution.
United Civil Front
After his retirement from chess in 2005, Kasparov turned to politics and created the United Civil Front, a social movement whose main goal is to "work to preserve electoral democracy in Russia". He has vowed to "restore democracy" to Russia by restoring the rule of law.
The Other Russia
Kasparov was instrumental in setting up The Other Russia, a coalition which opposes Putin's government. The Other Russia has been boycotted by the leaders of Russia's mainstream opposition parties, Yabloko and Union of Rightist Forces due to its inclusion of nationalist and radical groups. Kasparov has criticized these groups as being secretly under the auspices of the Kremlin.
On 10 April 2005, Kasparov was in Moscow at a promotional event when he was struck over the head with a chessboard he had just signed. The assailant was reported to have said "I admired you as a chess player, but you gave that up for politics" immediately before the attack. Kasparov has been the subject of a number of other episodes since, including police brutality and allegedly the Russian secret service.
Saint Petersburg Dissenters' March
Kasparov helped organize the Saint Petersburg Dissenters' March on 3 March 2007 and The March of the Dissenters on 24 March 2007, both involving several thousand people rallying against Putin and Saint Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko's policies.
Arrest in Moscow and questioning by FSB
On 14 April 2007, Kasparov led a pro-democracy demonstration in Moscow. Soon after the demonstration's start, however, over 9,000 police descended on the group and seized almost everyone. Kasparov, who was briefly arrested by the Moscow police, was warned by the prosecution office on the eve of the march that anyone participating risked being detained. He was held for some 10 hours and then fined and released. He was later summoned by the FSB for violations of Russian anti-extremism laws.
KGB general says Kasparov's life in danger
Speaking about Kasparov, former KGB general Oleg Kalugin in 2007 remarked, "I do not talk in details—people who knew them are all dead now because they were vocal, they were open. I am quiet. There is only one man who is vocal and he may be in trouble: [former] world chess champion [Garry] Kasparov. He has been very outspoken in his attacks on Putin and I believe that he is probably next on the list."
2007 presidential bid
In October 2007, Kasparov announced his intention of standing for the Russian presidency as the candidate of the "Other Russia" coalition and vowed to fight for a "democratic and just Russia". Later that month he traveled to the United States, where he appeared on several popular television programs, which were hosted by Stephen Colbert, Wolf Blitzer, Bill Maher, and Chris Matthews.
Detention at rally
On 24 November 2007, Kasparov and other protesters were detained by police at an Other Russia rally in Moscow. 3,000 demonstrators arrived to protest the seemingly rigged elections, since most of the candidates would be running unopposed. Following an attempt by about 100 protesters to march through police lines to the electoral commission, which had barred Other Russia candidates from parliamentary elections, arrests were made. The Russian authorities stated a rally had been approved but not any marches, resulting in several detained demonstrators. He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and organizing an unauthorized protest and given a jail sentence of five days. Kasparov appealed the charges, citing that he had been following orders given by the police, although it was denied. He was released from jail on 29 November. Putin criticized Kasparov at the rally for his use of English when speaking rather than Russian.
Forced to quit campaign
On 12 December 2007, Kasparov announced that he had to withdraw his presidential candidacy due to inability to rent a meeting hall where at least 500 of his supporters could assemble. With the deadline expiring on that date, he explained it was impossible for him to run. Russian election laws required sufficient meeting hall space for assembling supporters. Kasparov's spokeswoman accused the government of using pressure to deter anyone from renting a hall for the gathering and said that the electoral commission had rejected a proposal that would have allowed for smaller gathering sizes rather than one large gathering at a meeting hall.
"Putin must go"
Kasparov was among the 34 first signatories and a key organizer of the online anti-Putin campaign "Putin must go", started on 10 March 2010. The campaign was begun by a coalition of opposition to Putin who regard his rule as lacking any rule of law. Within the text is a call to Russian law enforcement to ignore Putin's orders. By June of 2011 there were 90,000 signatures. While the identity of the petition author remained anonymous, there was wide speculation that it was indeed Kasparov.
Human Rights Foundation
Kasparov was named Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in 2011, succeeding the recently deceased author, activist, and former Czech president Václav Havel. On 31 January 2012 Kasparov hosted a meeting of opposition leaders planning a mass march on 4 February 2012, the third major opposition rally held since the disputed State Duma elections of December 2011. Among other opposition leaders attending were Alexey Navalny and Yevgenia Chirikova.
Arrest and beating at Pussy Riot trial
On 17 August 2012 Kasparov was arrested and beaten outside of the Moscow court while attending the verdict reading in the case involving the all-female punk band Pussy Riot. On 24 August he was cleared of charges that he took part in an unauthorized protest against the conviction of three members of Pussy Riot. Judge Yekaterina Veklich said there were "no grounds to believe the testimony of the police". He could still face criminal charges over a police officer's claims that the opposition leader bit his finger while he was being detained. He later thanked all the bloggers and reporters who provided video evidence that contradicted the testimony of the police.
Kasparov wrote in February 2013 that "fascism has come to Russia....Project Putin, just like the old Project Hitler, is but the fruit of a conspiracy by the ruling elite. Fascist rule was never the result of the free will of the people. It was always the fruit of a conspiracy by the ruling elites!"
In April 2013, Kasparov joined in an HRF condemnation of Kanye West for having performed for the leader of Kazakhstan in exchange for a $3 million paycheck, saying that West "has entertained a brutal killer and his entourage" and that his fee "came from the loot stolen from the Kazakhstan treasury."
Kasparov denied rumors in April 2013 that he planned to leave Russia for good. "I found these rumors to be deeply saddening and, moreover, surprising," he wrote. "I was unable to respond immediately because I was in such a state of shock that such an incredibly inaccurate statement, the likes of which is constantly distributed by the Kremlin’s propagandists, came this time from Ilya Yashin, a fellow member of the Opposition Coordination Council (KSO) and my former colleague from the Solidarity movement."
Kasparov was presented with the Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award, UN Watch's annual human-rights prize, in 2013. The organization praised him as "not only one of the world’s smartest men" but "also among its bravest."
Kasparov said at a press conference in June 2013 that if he returned to Russia he doubted he would be allowed to leave again, given Putin's ongoing crackdown against dissenters. "So for the time being," he said, "I refrain from returning to Russia." He explained shortly thereafter in an article for the Daily Beast that this had not been intended as "a declaration of leaving my home country, permanently or otherwise," but merely an expression of "the dark reality of the situation in Russia today, where nearly half the members of the opposition’s Coordinating Council are under criminal investigation on concocted charges." He noted that the Moscow prosecutor’s office was "opening an investigation that would limit my ability to travel," making it impossible for him to fulfill "professional speaking engagements" and hindering his "work for the nonprofit Kasparov Chess Foundation, which has centers in New York City, Brussels, and Johannesburg to promote chess in education."
Kasparov further wrote in his June 2013 Daily Beast article that the mass protests in Moscow 18 months earlier against fraudulent Russian elections had been "a proud moment for me." He recalled that after joining the opposition movement in March 2005, he had been criticized for seeking to unite "every anti-Putin element in the country to march together regardless of ideology." Therefore, the sight of "hundreds of flags representing every group from liberals to nationalists all marching together for 'Russia Without Putin' was the fulfillment of a dream." Yet most Russians, he lamented, had continued to "slumber" even as Putin had "taken off the flimsy mask of democracy to reveal himself in full as the would-be KGB dictator he has always been."
Kasparov responded with several sardonic Twitter postings to a September 2013 New York Times op-ed by Putin. "I hope Putin has taken adequate protections," he tweeted. "Now that he is a Russian journalist his life may be in grave danger!" Also: "Now we can expect NY Times op-eds by Mugabe on fair elections, Castro on free speech, & Kim Jong-un on prison reform. The Axis of Hypocrisy."
Allegation of FSB non-disclosure of Boston marathon bombing suspects
In a 12 May 2013, op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Kasparov questioned reports that the Russian security agency, the FSB, had fully cooperated with the FBI in the matter of the Boston bombers. He noted that the elder bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had reportedly met in Russia with two known jihadists who "were killed in Dagestan by the Russian military just days before Tamerlan left Russia for the U.S." Kasparov argued, "If no intelligence was sent from Moscow to Washington" about this meeting, "all this talk of FSB cooperation cannot be taken seriously." He further observed, "This would not be the first time Russian security forces seemed strangely impotent in the face of an impending terror attack," pointing out that in both the 2002 Moscow theater siege and the 2004 Beslan school attack, "there were FSB informants in both terror groups—yet the attacks went ahead unimpeded." Given this history, he wrote, "it is impossible to overlook that the Boston bombing took place just days after the U.S. Magnitsky List was published, creating the first serious external threat to the Putin power structure by penalizing Russian officials complicit in human-rights crimes." In sum, Putin's "dubious record on counterterrorism and its continued support of terror sponsors Iran and Syria mean only one thing: common ground zero."
Kasparov wrote in July 2013 about the trial in Kirov of fellow opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who had been convicted "on concocted embezzlement charges," only to see the prosecutor, surprisingly, ask for his release the next day pending appeal. "The judicial process and the democratic process in Russia," wrote Kasparov, "are both elaborate mockeries created to distract the citizenry at home and to help Western leaders avoid confronting the awkward fact that Russia has returned to a police state." Still, Kasparov felt that whatever had caused the Kirov prosecutor's about-face, "my optimism tells me it was a positive sign. After more than 13 years of predictable repression under Putin, anything different is good."
On the Syrian civil war
Kasparov wrote in Time Magazine on 18 September 2013 that he considered the "chess metaphors thrown around during the world’s response to the civil war in Syria" to be "trite" and rejected what he called "all the nonsense about 'Putin is playing chess and Obama is playing checkers,' or tic-tac-toe or whatever." Putin, argued Kasparov, "did not have to outplay or outthink anyone. He and Bashar Assad won by forfeit when President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and the rest of the so-called leaders of the free world walked away from the table." There is, he lamented, "a new game at the negotiating table where Putin and Assad set the rules and will run the show under the protection of the U.N." Kasparov said in September 2013 that Russia was now a dictatorship. In the same month he told an interviewer that "Obama going to Russia now is dead wrong, morally and politically," because Putin's regime "is behind Assad."
Kasparov maintains a summer home in the Croatian city of Makarska. In early February 2014, Kasparov applied for citizenship by naturalisation in Croatia, adding that he was finding it increasingly difficult to live in Russia. According to an article in The Guardian, Kasparov is "widely perceived" as having been a vocal supporter of Croatian independence during the early 1990s. On 28 February 2014, his application for naturalisation was approved, and he is now a Croatian passport holder.
Kasparov spoke out several times about Putin's antigay laws and the proposed Sochi Olympics boycott. He explained in August 2013 that he had opposed Russia’s bid from the outset, since hosting the Olympics would "allow Vladimir Putin’s cronies to embezzle hundreds of millions of dollars" and "lend prestige to Putin’s authoritarian regime." Kasparov added that Putin's anti-gay law was "only the most recent encroachment on the freedom of speech and association of Russia’s citizens," which the international community had largely ignored. Instead of supporting a games boycott, which would "unfairly punish athletes," Kasparov called for athletes and others to "transform Putin’s self-congratulatory pet project into a spotlight that exposes his authoritarian rule for the entire world to see." In September, Kasparov expanded on his remarks, saying that "forcing athletes to play a political role against their will is not fair" and that politicians should not "hide behind athletes." Instead of boycotting Sochi, he suggested, politicians should refuse to attend the games and the public should "put pressure on the sponsors and the media." Coca-Cola, for example, could put "a rainbow flag on each Coca-Cola can" and NBC could "do interviews with Russian gay activists or with Russian political activists." Kasparov also emphasized that although he was "still a Russian citizen," he had "good reason to be concerned about my ability to leave Russia if I returned to Moscow."
Access to website blocked
Kasparov's website was blocked by the Russian federative regulator, Roskomnadzor, at the behest of the public prosecutor, allegedly due to Kasparov's opinions of the Crimean crisis. Kasparov's block was made in unison with several other notable Russian sites that were accused of inciting public outrage. Reportedly, several of the blocked sites received an affidavit noting their violations. However, Kasparov stated that his site had received no such notice of violations after its block.
Chess ratings achievements
- Kasparov holds the record for the longest time as the No. 1 rated player in the world—from 1986 to 2005 (Vladimir Kramnik shared the No. 1 ranking with him once, in the January 1996 FIDE rating list). He was also briefly ejected from the list following his split from FIDE in 1993, but during that time he headed the rating list of the rival PCA. At the time of his retirement, he was still ranked No. 1 in the world, with a rating of 2812. His rating has fallen inactive since the January 2006 rating list.
- In January 1990 Kasparov achieved the (then) highest FIDE rating ever, passing 2800 and breaking Bobby Fischer's old record of 2785. On the July 1999 and January 2000 FIDE rating lists Kasparov reached a 2851 Elo rating, at that time the highest rating ever achieved. He held that record for the highest rating ever achieved until Magnus Carlsen attained a new record high rating of 2861 in January, 2013.
- There was a time in the early 1990s when Kasparov was over 2800 and the only person in the 2700s was Anatoly Karpov.
- According to the unofficial Chessmetrics calculations, Kasparov was the highest rated player in the world continuously from February 1985 until October 2004. He also holds the highest all-time average rating over a 2 (2877) to 20 (2856) year period and is second to only Bobby Fischer's (2881 vs 2879) over a one-year period.
Kasparov's style of play has been compared by many to Alekhine's. Kasparov himself has described his style as being influenced chiefly by Alekhine, Tal and Fischer. Kramnik has opined that "[Kasparov's] capacity for study is second to none", and said "There is nothing in chess he has been unable to deal with." Carlsen, whom Kasparov coached from 2009 to 2010, said of Kasparov, "I've never seen someone with such a feel for dynamics in complex positions." Kasparov was known for his extensive opening preparation and aggressive play in the opening.
Olympiads and other major team events
Kasparov played in a total of eight Chess Olympiads. He represented the Soviet Union four times and Russia four times, following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. In his 1980 Olympiad debut, he became, at age 17, the youngest player to represent the Soviet Union or Russia at that level, a record which was broken by Vladimir Kramnik in 1992. In 82 games, he has scored (+50 −3 =29), for 78.7% and won a total of 19 medals, including team gold medals all eight times he competed. For the 1994 Moscow Olympiad, he had a significant organizational role, in helping to put together the event on short notice, after Thessaloniki canceled its offer to host, a few weeks before the scheduled dates. Kasparov's detailed Olympiad record follows:
- Valletta 1980, USSR 2nd reserve, 9½/12 (+8 −1 =3), team gold, board bronze;
- Lucerne 1982, USSR 2nd board, 8½/11 (+6 −0 =5), team gold, board bronze;
- Dubai 1986, USSR 1st board, 8½/11 (+7 −1 =3), team gold, board gold, performance gold;
- Thessaloniki 1988, USSR 1st board, 8½/10 (+7 −0 =3), team gold, board gold, performance gold;
- Manila 1992, Russia board 1, 8½/10 (+7 −0 =3), team gold, board gold, performance silver;
- Moscow 1994, Russia board 1, 6½/10 (+4 −1 =5), team gold;
- Yerevan 1996, Russia board 1, 7/9 (+5 −0 =4), team gold, board gold, performance silver;
- Bled 2002, Russia board 1, 7½/9 (+6 −0 =3), team gold, board gold.
Kasparov made his international teams debut for the USSR at age 16 in the 1980 European Team Championship and played for Russia in the 1992 edition of that championship. He won a total of five medals. His detailed Euroteams record, from, follows.
- Skara 1980, USSR 2nd reserve, 5½/6 (+5 −0 =1), team gold, board gold;
- Debrecen 1992, Russia board 1, 6/8 (+4 −0 =4), team gold, board gold, performance silver.
Kasparov also represented the USSR once in Youth Olympiad competition, but the detailed data at Olimpbase is incomplete; the Chessmetrics Garry Kasparov player file has his individual score from that event.
- Graz 1981, USSR board 1, 9/10 (+8 −0 =2), team gold.
Kasparov holds the record for most consecutive professional tournament victories, placing first or equal first in 15 individual tournaments from 1981 to 1990. The streak was broken by Vasily Ivanchuk at Linares 1991, where Kasparov placed 2nd, half a point behind him. The details of this record winning streak follow:
- Frunze 1981, USSR Championship, 12½/17, tie for 1st;
- Bugojno 1982, 9½/13, 1st;
- Moscow 1982, Interzonal, 10/13, 1st;
- Nikšić 1983, 11/14, 1st;
- Brussels OHRA 1986, 7½/10, 1st;
- Brussels SWIFT 1987, 8½/11, tie for 1st;
- Amsterdam Optiebeurs 1988, 9/12, 1st;
- Belfort (World Cup) 1988, 11½/15, 1st;
- Moscow 1988, USSR Championship, 11½/17, tie for 1st;
- Reykjavík (World Cup) 1988, 11/17, 1st;
- Barcelona (World Cup) 1989, 11/16, tie for 1st;
- Skellefteå (World Cup) 1989, 9½/15, tie for 1st;
- Tilburg 1989, 12/14, 1st;
- Belgrade (Investbank) 1989, 9½/11, 1st;
- Linares 1990, 8/11, 1st.
Kasparov won the Chess Oscar a record eleven times.
Books and other writings
Kasparov has written books on chess. He published a controversial autobiography when still in his early 20s, originally titled Child of Change, later retitled Unlimited Challenge. This book was subsequently updated several times after he became World Champion. Its content is mainly literary, with a small chess component of key unannotated games. He published an annotated games collection in 1985: Fighting Chess: My Games and Career and this book has also been updated several times in further editions. He also wrote a book annotating the games from his World Chess Championship 1985 victory, World Chess Championship Match: Moscow, 1985.
He has annotated his own games extensively for the Yugoslav Chess Informant series and for other chess publications. In 1982, he co-authored Batsford Chess Openings with British grandmaster Raymond Keene and this book was an enormous seller. It was updated into a second edition in 1989. He also co-authored two opening books with his trainer Alexander Nikitin in the 1980s for British publisher Batsford—on the Classical Variation of the Caro-Kann Defence and on the Scheveningen Variation of the Sicilian Defence. Kasparov has also contributed extensively to the five-volume openings series Encyclopedia of Chess Openings.
In 2000, Kasparov co-authored Kasparov Against the World: The Story of the Greatest Online Challenge with grandmaster Daniel King. The 202-page book analyzes the 1999 Kasparov versus the World game, and holds the record for the longest analysis devoted to a single chess game.
My Great Predecessors series
In 2003, the first volume of his five-volume work Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors was published. This volume, which deals with the world chess champions Wilhelm Steinitz, Emanuel Lasker, José Raúl Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, and some of their strong contemporaries, has received lavish praise from some reviewers (including Nigel Short), while attracting criticism from others for historical inaccuracies and analysis of games directly copied from unattributed sources. Through suggestions on the book's website, most of these shortcomings were corrected in following editions and translations. Despite this, the first volume won the British Chess Federation's Book of the Year award in 2003. Volume two, covering Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov and Mikhail Tal appeared later in 2003. Volume three, covering Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky appeared in early 2004. In December 2004, Kasparov released volume four, which covers Samuel Reshevsky, Miguel Najdorf, and Bent Larsen (none of these three were World Champions), but focuses primarily on Bobby Fischer. The fifth volume, devoted to the chess careers of World Champion Anatoly Karpov and challenger Viktor Korchnoi, was published in March 2006.
Modern Chess series
His book Revolution in the 70s (published in March 2007) covers "the openings revolution of the 1970s–1980s" and is the first book in a new series called "Modern Chess Series", which intends to cover his matches with Karpov and selected games. The book "Revolution in the 70s" concerns the revolution in opening theory that was witnessed in that decade. Such systems as the controversial (at the time) "Hedgehog" opening plan of passively developing the pieces no further than the first three ranks are examined in great detail. Kasparov also analyzes some of the most notable games played in that period. In a section at the end of the book, top opening theoreticians provide their own "take" on the progress made in opening theory in the 1980s.
Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov series
Kasparov is publishing three volumes of his games.
Other post-retirement writing
In 2007 he wrote How Life Imitates Chess, an examination of the parallels between decision-making in chess and in the business world.
In 2008 Kasparov published a sympathetic obituary for Bobby Fischer, writing: "I am often asked if I ever met or played Bobby Fischer. The answer is no, I never had that opportunity. But even though he saw me as a member of the evil chess establishment that he felt had robbed and cheated him, I am sorry I never had a chance to thank him personally for what he did for our sport."
He is the chief advisor for the book publisher Everyman Chess.
Kasparov works closely with Mig Greengard and his comments can often be found on Greengard's blog (apparently no longer active).
In October of 2015, Kasparov published a book titled Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. The book describes, in Kasparov's opinion, the growing need for the west to oppose Putin sooner, rather than appeasing him and postponing the eventual confrontation. In his book Kasparov compares Putin to the character Tywin Lannister from the popular HBO series Game of Thrones television series due to their supposed similar style of rule.
Chess against computers
32 simultaneous computers, 1985
Kasparov played against thirty-two different chess computers in Hamburg, winning all games, but with some difficulty.
Deep Thought, 1989
Deep Blue, 1996
In February 1996, IBM's chess computer Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in one game using normal time controls, in Deep Blue - Kasparov, 1996, Game 1. Kasparov gained three wins and two draws and won the match 4–2.
Deep Blue, 1997
In May 1997, an updated version of Deep Blue defeated Kasparov 3½–2½ in a highly publicized six-game match. The match was even after five games but Kasparov lost quickly in Game 6. This was the first time a computer had ever defeated a world champion in match play. A documentary film was made about this famous matchup entitled Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine.
Kasparov claimed that several factors weighed against him in this match. In particular, he was denied access to Deep Blue's recent games, in contrast to the computer's team, which could study hundreds of Kasparov's.
After the loss Kasparov said that he sometimes saw deep intelligence and creativity in the machine's moves, suggesting that during the second game, human chess players, in contravention of the rules, intervened. IBM denied that it cheated, saying the only human intervention occurred between games. The rules provided for the developers to modify the program between games, an opportunity they said they used to shore up weaknesses in the computer's play revealed during the course of the match. Kasparov requested printouts of the machine's log files but IBM refused, although the company later published the logs on the Internet. Although Kasparov wanted another rematch, IBM declined and ended their Deep Blue program.
Deep Junior, 2003
In January 2003, he engaged in a six-game classical time control match with a $1 million prize fund which was billed as the FIDE "Man vs. Machine" World Championship, against Deep Junior. The engine evaluated three million positions per second. After one win each and three draws, it was all up to the final game. After reaching a decent position Kasparov offered a draw, which was soon accepted by the Deep Junior team. Asked why he offered the draw, Kasparov said he feared making a blunder. Originally planned as an annual event, the match was not repeated.
Deep Junior was the first machine to beat Kasparov with black and at a standard time control.
X3D Fritz, 2003
In November 2003, he engaged in a four-game match against the computer program X3D Fritz, using a virtual board, 3D glasses and a speech recognition system. After two draws and one win apiece, the X3D Man–Machine match ended in a draw. Kasparov received $175,000 for the result and took home the golden trophy. Kasparov continued to criticize the blunder in the second game that cost him a crucial point. He felt that he had outplayed the machine overall and played well. "I only made one mistake but unfortunately that one mistake lost the game."
- Kasparov Teaches Chess (1984–85, Sport in the USSR Magazine; 1986, First Collier Books)
- The Test of Time (Russian Chess) (1986, Pergamon Pr)
- World Chess Championship Match: Moscow, 1985 (1986, Everyman Chess)
- Child of Change: An Autobiography (1987, Hutchinson)
- London–Leningrad Championship Games (1987, Everyman Chess)
- Unlimited Challenge (1990, Grove Pr)
- The Sicilian Scheveningen (1991, B.T. Batsford Ltd)
- The Queen's Indian Defence: Kasparov System (1991, B.T. Batsford Ltd)
- Kasparov Versus Karpov, 1990 (1991, Everyman Chess)
- Kasparov on the King's Indian (1993, B.T. Batsford Ltd)
- Garry Kasparov's Chess Challenge (1996, Everyman Chess)
- Lessons in Chess (1997, Everyman Chess)
- Kasparov Against the World: The Story of the Greatest Online Challenge (2000, Kasparov Chess Online)
- My Great Predecessors Part I (2003, Everyman Chess)
- My Great Predecessors Part II (2003, Everyman Chess)
- Checkmate!: My First Chess Book (2004, Everyman Mindsports)
- My Great Predecessors Part III (2004, Everyman Chess)
- My Great Predecessors Part IV (2004, Everyman Chess)
- My Great Predecessors Part V (2006, Everyman Chess)
- How Life Imitates Chess (2007, William Heinemann Ltd.)
- Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess, Part I: Revolution in the 70s (2007, Everyman Chess)
- Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess, Part II: Kasparov vs Karpov 1975–1985 (2008, Everyman Chess)
- Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess, Part III: Kasparov vs Karpov 1986–1987 (2009, Everyman Chess)
- Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess, Part IV: Kasparov vs Karpov 1988–2009 (2010, Everyman Chess)
- Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, part I (2011, Everyman Chess)
- Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, part II (2013, Everyman Chess)
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- The Blueprint: Reviving Innovation, Rediscovering Risk, and Rescuing the Free Market (2013, W. W. Norton & Co)
- Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped (2015, Public Affairs)
- Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, part I, 2011, ISBN 978-1-85744-672-2, pp. 16–17
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'In any democratic country Gorbachev would have resigned by now... Mr. Kasparov, who fled from Baku last Thursday, told the French television. He is unable to resolve the nationality problem, and should assume responsibility for what has happened, he said. Mr. Kasparov fled from Baku to Moscow on a chartered plane.
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The 'homosexual propaganda' law is only the most recent encroachment on the freedom of speech and association of Russia’s citizens. Yet, the European Union and other governments have largely ignored the fact that Russia has signed various international conventions that categorically forbid this sort of discrimination. In the face of silent complicity by governments, it is up to artists, activists, and individuals like us to speak up against Putin’s human rights abuses.
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- Official website
- Garry Kasparov player profile and games at Chessgames.com
- Garry Kasparov at DMOZ
- Garry Kasparov, "Man of the Year?", OpinionJournal, 23 December 2007
- Edward Winter, List of Books About Fischer and Kasparov
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|FIDE World Chess Champion
|Classical World Chess Champion
|Russian Chess Champion
|World No. 1
1 January 1984 – 30 June 1985
1 January 1986 – 31 December 1995
1 July 1996 – 31 March 2006