Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17.
He came to international fame as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985 at the age of 22. He defended his title five times, including a legendary series of matches against arch-rival Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s rating record in 1990 and his own peak rating record remained unbroken until 2013. His famous matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.
Kasparov’s outspoken nature did not endear him to the Soviet authorities, giving him an early taste of opposition politics. From 1989-91 he was outspoken in opposition to the Soviet system and he became a prominent voice for democracy and individual rights. It was still a shock when Kasparov, then in his 20th year as the world’s top-ranked player, abruptly retired from competitive chess in 2005 to join the vanguard of the Russian pro-democracy movement. He founded the United Civil Front and organized the Marches of Dissent to protest the repressive policies of Vladimir Putin. In 2012, Kasparov was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Vaclav Havel. In 2013, Kasparov led the Iranian online voting initiative “We Choose” using a Russian-built e-democracy platform.
The US-based Kasparov Chess Foundation non-profit promotes the teaching of chess in education systems around the world. Now in thousands of schools, KCF has centers in Europe, Africa, and Asia with Latin America and the Middle East soon to come. Garry and his wife Daria travel frequently to promote the proven benefits of chess in education and toured Africa extensively in 2013-14. In October, 2013, Kasparov launched his campaign for the presidency of FIDE, the international chess federation with 178 member federations. The election will be held in August 2014.
Mr. Kasparov has been a contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal since 1991 and is a frequent commentator on politics and human rights. He speaks frequently to business audiences around the world on innovation, strategy, and peak mental performance. In 2013 he was named a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Oxford-Martin School. Kasparov’s book “How Life Imitates Chess” on decision-making is available in over 20 languages. He is the author of two acclaimed series of chess books, “My Great Predecessors” and “Modern Chess”.
Visit the official website of Garry Kasparov.