Garry Kasparov: biography
Garry Kasparov is the “great and terrible” chess player who is called the top player of the chess world. He is the eightfold winner of Chess Olympiad, 13th world chess champion, elevenfold chess Oscar-winner. In 2005, he left the professional sport for politics and became the leader of the opposition coalition “The Other Russia” whose aim was to restore democracy in the country. Today, the great chess player is a vigorous oppositionist accusing the Russian authorities of the illegal annexation of Crimea and participation in the violent conflict in Donbass.
Childhood and Youth
Garry Kimovich Kasparov was born on April 13, 1963, in the capital of Azerbaijan into the intelligentsia family. The nationality of the chess player was often the subject of argument in the Soviet society and sporting circles. Kasparov is Jewish through his father and Armenian through his mother. Kim Moiseevich and Klara Shagenova, the grandmaster’s parents, belonged to the elite group of the Baku society.
The would-be chess king’s parents worked as engineers and were fond of chess – that is why the chess genius’s interest in this sport began from the early age. Since 5, the young Garry started learning the game with a professional trainer.
In his childhood, the future champion spent his free time playing chess in which he found the meaning of his life – young Kasparov was not interested in toys or street. He was obsessed with chess, books, and newspapers. At 12, the young prodigy became the champion of USSR among juniors; at 17, he became the master of sports. At the same time, the young man finished school with a gold medal and entered Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University, Foreign Languages department, where he was enrolled after one examination with the A grade.
In 1980, the star chess player became the chess king of the world and grandmaster which became the turning point in the great player’s career. His mother, who devoted herself to her only son and his career after her husband’s death in 1970, became his professional trainer. Klara Shagenovna (officially Aida) went with Garry to different countries of the world, took care of domestic issues, and became his main adviser and assistant. At that period, the woman decided to change not only the nationality of her son but also his second name – since then, the Jewish chess player Weinstein became the Armenian Kasparov.
Garry Kasparov’s professional sports career is rich in victories and awards. For 13 years, the greatest chess player was the leader of the prestigious Elo rating system with 28000 points. Due to his numerous victories in the world championships, he took his place in the rating of the best professionals.
In 1990, after mass executions of the Armenians, Garry Kasparov had to leave Baku for Moscow. In 1993, he decided to leave FIDE and establish “Professional Chess Association.” Since then, the world chess champion title was separated, but it did not prevent “the great and terrible” from consolidating his position at the chess Olympus throne.
In 1996, the world chess champion created the virtual chess club “Kasparov’s club” which became popular on the Internet. In 1999, Garry Kasparov defeated all users of the global network in the match organized by Microsoft. More than 3 million people watched the rigorous and exciting game of the chess king and chess amateurs that lasted for 4 months. It is the best index throughout the whole history of the virtual chess sport.
In 2005, Garry Kasparov announced he was leaving professional sports for politics since he had achieved everything he wanted in chess. The grandmaster marked that the Russian politics had many colonels and generals but little intellect, so he decided to help his motherland and contribute to the development of Russia with his strategic thinking abilities. Despite this, in the chess world, the genius sportsman is perceived as a person with fantasy, original ideas, and accurate calculation skills; he is also called professional who wondered his fans with the results of his game and unique solutions.
Garry Kasparov vs Deep Blue
In 1996, the American corporation IBM suggested Garry Kasparov play against the chess supercomputer Deep Blue. Its creators claimed the program could evaluate up to 200 million positions per second and make right moves.
The first match was won by the grandmaster by a score of 4:2 – he got outplayed in the first game. Kasparov’s defeat was the first case when a computer won against a human being.
In 1997, the second match took place. The game was extremely interesting: at some point, the chess player was in a difficult situation and sacrificed a pawn. Thinking about the 37th move, Deep Blue spent 15 minutes although it usually took it only three minutes. However, after the 45th move, the Russian chess player resigned.
Kasparov did not come to terms with the defeat and demanded to provide the log-file of the match, but IBM refused to show the necessary documents. In the grandmaster’s opinion, in some cases, human involvement took place, and the computer acquired external aid because the program was playing intermittently, sometimes choosing the moves uncharacteristic of the device.
The world champion
Having defeated Anatoly Karpov in 1985, Kasparov became the 13th champion in the chess history. The match which took place in Moscow would be later called the picture of the enchanting game.
Kasparov managed to win the first game with the rare position of the white in Nimzo-Indian Defence. In his turn, Kaprov took the lead as he won the 4th and 5th games, but the next 5 games were a draw. The turning point happened in the 16th game where Kasparov used the gambit and won a dramatic victory.
Garry Kasparov managed to become the youngest world champion at the age of 22 years, 6 months, and 27 days. In 2013, the world championship was won by a Norwegian chess player Magnus Carlsen who was also younger than 23, yet he was a few months older than the Russian.
Garry Kasparov vs Anatoly Karpov
Since 1994, Garry Kasparov was competing Anatoly Karpov who had become his main rival in the world chess. In 6 years, “Two Ks,” as they were called, had 5 world championship matches and played 144 games in which the chess king managed to beat the opponent and prove his superiority. These games are remembered by the fans today.
The beginning of the great chess rivalry epoch is September 1984 when the world championship match between then-champion Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, the winner among the candidates, took place. That match became the longest in the world’s history – the meeting lasted for 48 games. Kaprov was considered the unofficial winner of the match.
1985 became the lucky year of Kasparov. The match in the capital of the Soviet Union finished with Garry Kimovich’s victory.
After that, the Soviet chess players met three times officially. The rematch in 1986 in London and Leningrad became triumphal for Kasparov.
In 1987, the masters had another game in Seville. The rivalry was tense because Karpov was winning by a single point. However, Kasparov did his best to even the score. It helped him remain the world champion.
In 1990, Kasparov continued his winning movements. The matches in New York and Lyon ended with the chess player’s victory: 12,5: 11,5.
After the series of champion opposition, the chess players had many games together – in official and unofficial tournaments, not in the context of the championship matches.
Having left the professional sport, the great chess player established and led the opposition movement “United Civil Front” whose activity was aimed at countermeasures against the Russian authorities. That is how Kasparov’s political biography began. He clamored against the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s politics and organized numerous Dissenters' Marches, for which he was repeatedly arrested by the police.
In 2008, Kasparov established the opposition democratic movement “Solidarity” and began to work on protest meetings organizations claiming Putin’s resignation. Because the chess player’s ideas were not supported or highlighted by mass media, he failed to become the member of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council – in elections, Alexei Navalny had more votes and won.
In 2013, Garry Kasparov stated he was not going back to Russia and continued fighting against “the Kremlin crimes” internationally. In March 2014, Kasparov’s website where the illegal work and mass actions were encouraged was blocked by Roskomnadzor.
After the events in Ukraine, Garry Kasparov started supporting the new Kiev authorities openly and blamed Russia for the illegal annexation of Crimea and participation in the violent conflict in Donbass. With all that, the chess player appeals to the West to put more pressure on Putin; he believes the sanctions against Russian Federation are adequate and rational. In 2014, the opposition politician visited Kiev and had simultaneous games with volunteers and Ukrainian militarists to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In 2015, Kasparov published the book “Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped” in which he represented his views on the problems of the modern Russian and the geopolitical place of the country. He also criticized the Russian leader’s actions. The opposition member emphasized the role of Ronald Reagan who was the US President in 1981-1989 and appreciated the American’s merits in “The Empire of Evil” destruction.
Garry Kasparov’s personal life is no less exciting than his sports career and social and political activities. The chess king has been married three times.
In 1989, the guide-translator from “Inturist” Maria Arapova became Kasparov’s first wife. Just like the world chess champion’s mother, she devoted her life to her husband. In 1992m the daughter Polina was born, but the couple soon divorced at the initiative of Garry Kimovich. Now Maria and Polina live in America.
For the second time, the chess player married the student Julia Vovk. In 1996, Kasparov’s second wife gave birth to the son Vadim. In 9 years, the second marriage also fell apart.
After the divorce, the chess player was engaged in the romantic relationship again. Now, the socialite Darya Tarasova, who is 20 years younger than Kasparov, is his partner. In 2005, Garry Kimovich married Darya; they have a daughter Aida named after the chess player’s mother. In July 2015, Darya gave birth to the son Nikolai.
Except for official relationships, Garry Kasparov was close to the theater and movie actress Marina Neyolova who gave birth to the daughter Nika. As per the mother request, the chess king refused to recognize her, even though the girl looks exactly like him. Today, the actress and her daughter live in California.
In 2017, the former world chess champion continued to take part in political processes. Kasparov’s interesting publications and thoughts can be found on Twitter where the politician shares significant news, photos, and events happening in the Russian society.
The opposition member criticizes the authorities in relation to particular solutions, and his position associated with the westernized developmental vector remains the same. Kasparov believes that “Russia should come back to the European family of peoples.”
The Russian users often criticized Kasparov for his statements about Russia. As the politician believes, the country is to face the catastrophe because the “process of putting the imperial virus into the Russian society” has begun, and it means that Europeanization is threatened, and the perspectives are dire. As the politician believes, if the situation is not changed, no country development may be expected: without the technological support of the Western countries, Russia has always been a loser.
Kasparov, his wife Darya, and his children live mostly in Croatia, where he has a house in the resort town Makarska. The chess player also has estate property in St. Petersburg, Moscow, New Jersey, and New York. Lectures, chess master classes, and literary work are the main sources of Kasparov’s income.
Today, Garry Kasparov tries to contribute to the development of chess in Russia. Since 2002, the ex-champion and Kasparov’s Chess Fund host activities to introduce chess as the subject in educational systems of the world. In 2017, a special program intended for French-speaking countries was created. For the past 15 years, Kasparov created a network to collaborate with thousands of schools in North America, Europe, and Asia.
In Kasparov’s opinion, the 50-year-old methodology is the main problem of the modern school. The legendary chess player believes that the principles of the material handling should be changed and the programs created 50 years ago should be revised:
“If a person living in the 1960s came to 2017, they would be confused. Today, everything has changed, and only education remained the same. Young people are encouraged to have their own business, work in teams, and show initiative. Simultaneously, this process is still characterized by one-sided relationships between students and teachers. Chess is the means to bring students to the competition field where there is no hierarchy except for the playing field.”