Garry Kasparov - The Mercurial Chess Titan





Garry Kasparov (b. 13 April 1963) is a Russian Grandmaster. He is regarded by many in the chess world as the greatest player of all time. Originally born in Baku, Azerbaijan, Kasparov spent much of his formative years in Russia as he rose to the top of chess.

Kasparov's meteoric rise began in the early 1970s when he showed great promise in Mikhail Botvinnik's chess school. He qualified for the Soviet Championship at 18. Later he would become the youngest ever World Champion at 22 with victory over Anatoly Karpov. He would set records for the longest ever stretch at World #1 and the highest ever ELO rating at 2851.

He was also no stranger to controversy. He set up a rival World Championship following a dramatic split from FIDE. This fissure in world chess would endure for 13 years before a reunification match between Kramnik and Topalov merged them back together.

He is now retired from top-level professional chess but still participates in simuls, exhibitions and blitz events from time to time. You can enter your own articles or annotated games on Kasparov.


Young Garry




Garry Kasparov was a strong chess player at an early age.

Garry Kasparov was a strong chess player at an early age

Garry Kasparov was born on April 13 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan. His name was originally Garik Kimovich Weinstein. His mother was Armenian and his father was Jewish. His parents taught him how to play chess and he became serious about it from a young age.

When he was 7 he began to study chess at the Young Pioneer Palace in Baku. At 10 he had progressed so well that he won a place in Mikhail Botvinnik's chess school. He lost his father to illness while still a young boy. He took his mother's surname Gasparyan and when he moved to Moscow this became Kasparov.

After winning the Soviet Junior Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1976 and the Sokolsky Memorial Tournament in Minsk, Belarus in 1978, Kasparov knew he would have a huge future in chess.


Early Career




Garry Kasparov won the World Junior Championship in Dortmund in 1980.

Garry Kasparov won the World Junior Championship in Dortmund in 1980

Victory in the Sokolsky Memorial had given Kasparov the title of master but better was yet to come. He got lucky when the Russian Chess Federation accidentally invited him to a GM event in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1979. He was still unrated by FIDE at this time.


He took advantage and how. He won the tournament and gained the provisional rating of 2595, suddenly making him the World #15. He built on this winning the World Junior Chess Championship in Dortmund in 1980.


He followed that success up with his debut as second reserve for the Soviet Union at the Chess Olympiad in Valletta, Malta. He became a GM at this event.


Domestic Honors




Garry Kasparov quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in chess.

Garry Kasparov quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in chess

Kasparov took joint 1st prize in the USSR Chess Championship in 1981. He repeated the feat a year later. He was still only 19. He got his first outright win at the very top level in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1982.


He had now qualified for the Moscow Interzonal Tournament in 1982. He won it to become the youngest qualifier for a Candidate's Tournament since Bobby Fischer.


He was now the World #2 chess player. Only the World Champion Anatoly Karpov was ranked above him. He needed to win the Candidate's Tournament to get a shot at Karpov's title.


Kasparov the Candidate




Garry Kasparov won the Candidates Tournament at the first attempt.

Garry Kasparov won the Candidates Tournament at the first attempt

Kasparov was drawn to play Alexander Beliavsky in the quarterfinals of the Candidate's Tournament of 1983. He overcame the Ukrainian, winning 4-1 with 4 draws.

He was to play against Viktor Korchnoi in the semi-final. There were complications however as Korchnoi had defected from the USSR. The political wrangling between Korchnoi and the Soviets meant that Kasparov could not play the match and had to forfeit. Korchnoi eventually agreed to reschedule at short notice and the match went ahead. Kasparov won it 4-1 with 6 draws.

Vasily Smyslov who had been World Champion a quarter of a century earlier was rolling back the years and had also reached the final. But there was to be no fairy tale return to glory for Smyslov. Kasparov crushed him 4-0 among 9 draws to set up a World Championship clash against Karpov.


Kasparov vs Karpov




Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov fought an epic 6 year battle for supremacy in the chess world.

Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov fought an epic 6 year battle for supremacy in the chess world

Neither of them knew it but Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov were about to enter into a six year war for the World Championship. It would be the defining rivalry probably for both of their careers.


All of the matches they played would be very close, extremely tense, with the issue in doubt right up to the very last game. The level of chess played would be as high as the world had ever seen.


They would play 5 World Championship matches in total over the Kasparov-Karpov series. At the end of 144 games throughout the five matches, Kasparov would win 21 games, Karpov would win 19 and there would be 104 draws.


Marathon Match and Series




Garry Kasparov came out on top in the struggle against Karpov but only just

Garry Kasparov came out on top in the struggle against Karpov but only just

The first one took place in 1984 with the first player to win six games to take the title. Karpov built up a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead after 9 games and later even led 5-0, apparently destined for an easy defense. But Kasparov fought hard and brought it back to 5-3 mixed in with 40 draws!. Karpov couldn't close out the match. A rematch was set for the Autumn of 1985.

FIDE returned to the old 24 game format to avoid a repeat of the Marathon Match. Kasparov won a close encounter in '85, clinching the win in the last game, 5-3 with 16 draws. He had three further successful World Championship defenses against Karpov. 5-4, 15 draws in London (1986). 4-4, 16 draws in Seville (as champion, Kasparov retained the title) (1987). 4-3, 17 draws in New York and Lyon (1990).









Split From FIDE




Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993.

Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993

In 1993 Kasparov broke away from FIDE accusing the organization of corruption and a lack of professionalism. Along with Nigel Short he set up a rival body, the PCA (Professional Chess Association).

Kasparov beat Short 6-1 with 13 draws to become the first PCA champion. In response FIDE stripped Kasparov of the FIDE title, organizing a decider between the former champion Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman. Karpov won the match to take the FIDE title.

Kasparov next played Vishy Anand at the World Trade Center, NYC in 1995 for the PCA World Championship. Kasparov won 4-1 with 13 draws. When the PCA went bust Kasparov set up the World Chess Council. The holder of this title like the holder of the PCA title before it would be known as the Classical World Chess Champion.


Kasparov vs Deep Blue




In 1997 a chess computer, Deep Blue, made history by beating a reigning human World Chess Champion.

In 1997 a chess computer, Deep Blue, made history by beating a reigning human World Chess Champion in a match. Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov 3.5 - 2.5

For many years the GMs had dismissed chess computers haughtily, claiming that a computer would never be able to beat a top chess player. By the late 1980s, the top chess computers, Hitech and ChipTest, were able to run their searches deep enough and fast enough to beat top chess GMs. The chess world was stunned in 1989 when the unthinkable finally happened.

Hitech beat GM Arnold Denker and Chiptest's machine, Deep Thought beat serial World Championship Candidate GM Bent Larsen. Man vs Computer events were held regularly during the 90s with teams of top human players defending humanity's honor against the machines. The humans were winning at first. However slowly but surely the pendulum swung towards the computers.

The big question on everyone's lips was if or when a computer would or could ever win a match against a reigning World Champion. Kasparov smashed Deep Thought 3-1 with 2 draws in Philidelphia in 1996. A year later, Deep Thought, since renamed Deep Blue, turned the tables on Kasparov, winning 2-1 with 3 draws in New York.


Kasparov vs Kramnik




Vladimir Kramnik took the Classical World Championship from Garry Kasparov.

Vladimir Kramnik took the Classical World Championship from Garry Kasparov

Vladimir Kramnik challenged Kasparov for the Classical World Championship in 2000 in London. Kasparov had coached Kramnik some years previously in Mikhail Botvinnik's famous chess school. Kramnik had also helped Kasparov to prepare for his title defense against Anand in 1995.

Kramnik's style is solid and defensive. He gives nothing away and pounces on errors. In 2000 Kasparov found him an impossible opponent to deal with. As White he played his favored Ruy Lopez Opening but Kramnik neutralized it repeatedly with the Berlin Defense, managing to draw every game as Black.

As Black Kasparov fought hard but made a couple of errors along the way. Kramnik picked up wins in Games 2 and 10 to win 2-0 with 13 draws. Garry Kasparov was no longer a World Champion of any description.


Final Chess Years




Garry Kasparov playing Veselin Topalov in his last appearance in top level professional chess.

Garry Kasparov playing Veselin Topalov in his last appearance in top level professional chess

Between 2000-05 Garry Kasparov was still the leading chess player in the world despite holding neither of the two existing World Championships. He won a string of world class tournaments against elite fields which included Classical Champion Kramnik and the various FIDE Champions during that period.

Kasparov, Kramnik and other leading chess players together with the various bodies met to hammer out a deal. This deal became known as the Prague Agreement. Kramnik would play Peter Leko for the Classical Championship. Kasparov would play the FIDE Champion Ruslan Ponomariov with the two winners facing off for the undisputed FIDE World Chess Championship.

Kasparov's matches against the FIDE champions never materialized. At this point Kasparov told FIDE he was no longer interested in trying to regain the World Championship. He retired from professional chess in 2005 while still one of the very best players around. He had won the Russian Championship outright for the first time the previous year and decided he had achieved everything there was to achieve.


Legacy of Kasparov




Garry Kasparov has left a rich legacy in chess.

Fancy a game with the legendary Garry Kasparov?

In every sport or discipline there is a Some Say club. A Some Say club is by it's very nature very small. It contains literally only a handful of members.

Some say Paul Morphy was the greatest chess player ever, some say Jose Raul Capablanca. Some say Bobby Fischer and some say Garry Kasparov. Maybe if they had lived in the 19th or 20th Centuries Philidor and La Bourdonnais would have been in the Some Say Club. With the advances in theory and chess resources you feel that Philidor in particular most certainly would have. Kasparov is in the Some Say Club without doubt.

You can see in his most famous games what wonderful chess Kasparov played. Quite apart from that he produced what practically became a library on chess. His best known literary contribution is My Great Predecessors, a five volume series of books on previous World Champions with Kasparov's annotations on some their most interesting games.


Share Your Garry Kasparov Anecdotes and Games

The problem with biographies is you must concentrate on breadth and can never go as deep as you would like. You can mention the major events in someone's life but can't allow yourself to indulge in intricate detail. Garry Kasparov is regarded by many as the strongest chess player in the history of the game. Away from chess he has also made his presence felt in politics and literature. There must be countless anecdotes and interesting accounts of different episodes and incidents throughout his days. Some of these accounts give us an insight into what kind of man he was, what made him tick. Or if you prefer you could annotate one of his games, reflecting his genius over the board. Do you know of an interesting story or game from his life? Share Your Garry Kasparov Anecdotes or Games With Us.

Garry Kasparov Anecdotes and Games Left by other Lapocites

Click below to see Garry Kasparov Anecdotes and games by other Lapocites...

Decent Man Kasparov Goes Global Not rated yet
Turning fifty in 2012, Garry Kasporov has already moved beyond his birthplace in Baku Azerbaijan (Russia) into world renown. From a young age he studied …

Kasparov Berlin Wall Not rated yet
Garry Kasparov is one of the most renowned Chess players of all the times and the most important thing is that he stated playing chess from his young age. …

Man Vs Machine Not rated yet
This remarkable game was played between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue, designed by IBM. This game is one of the First Chess Matches of a Human against …

Click here to write your own.

Moving On






It's hard to imagine chess without Garry Kasparov. For many years throughout the 1980s and 90s and into the 21st Century he has been the face of chess. When one individual gains such dominance over their peers they leave a stunning legacy behind.

He will also be remembered for his infamous split with FIDE. Frictions between players and governing bodies are inevitable, no matter what sport. Kasparov himself later expressed regret that things went so far. In the end though he will always be remembered most for the amazing chess he played.

Kasparov was also a prolific chess writer. His My Great Predecessors series was among his most famous. Following the Kasparov era, chess is as strong as ever as his great successors can testify.


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