Garry Kasparov was the World Chess Champion in 1985 – 1993, competing first for the Soviet Union and later for Russia. From 1984 to his retirement from professional chess in 2005, he was the top player in the FIDE ranking system. His peak rating was 2851, which he reached in 1999. Until 2013 when it was surpassed by Magnus Carlsen, this was the highest rating for any chess player.
Garik Kimovich Weinstein was born in Azerbaijan in 1963, when Azerbaijan was a part of the Soviet Union. Later, his name was changed to Garry Kimovich Kasparov.
Kasparov had an Armenian mother and a Jewish Russian father. For himself, he eventually selected the Christian faith.
Kasparov´s father died from cancer while Kasparov was still a child, and around the same time the boy began going to the Young Pioneer Palace for extracurricular activities – including chess.
Eventually, Kasparov was accepted into a specialized chess school where he received training from Vladimir Makogonov.
Kasparov won the Soviet Junior Championship at the age of 13, followed by a victory in the Sokolsky Memorial Tournament two years later. He was now firmly on the path to becoming a professional chess player.
In 1984, Kasparov became the top ranked player in the FIDE ranking system, breaking the record for youngest player ever to attain this position.
1984 was also the year when Kasparov played the World Chess Championship match against the reigning champion Anatoly Karpov (born 1951). The match became very long, and was ultimately cut after 48 games. The match was scheduled to continue a few months into the future, but this never happened. This is so far the only World Chess Championship title match that has been abandoned without result.
Views on female chess players
“In the past, I have said that there is real chess and women’s chess. Some people don’t like to hear this, but chess does not fit women properly. It’s a fight, you know? A big fight. It’s not for women. Sorry. She’s helpless if she has men’s opposition. I think this is a very simple logic. It’s the logic of a fighter, a professional fighter. Women are weaker fighters.” – Garry Kasparov
After losing a game to Judit Polgár in 2002, Kasparov softened his stance somewhat, acknowledging that ”a female world champion is, at least theoretically, possible”.
Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005, but continued to make sporadic appearances at exhibitions and tournaments. He did for instance participate in the 2017 St. Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament to raise money for charity chess projects in Africa.
Kasparov is today an outspoken critic of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. In 2008, he announced his intention to run as a candidate in that year´s Russian presidential race, but later withdrew. In 2013, he publicly spoke out about having migrated from Russia due to fears of political persecution. He received Croatian citizenship in 2014.
Kasparov is currently chairman of the Human Rights Foundation founded by Thor Halvorssen Mendoza.