People Garry Kasparov
Senior Visiting Fellow, Oxford Martin School
Senior Visiting Fellow
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. 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 elected to the Coordinating Council of the united opposition movement. In the same year, he was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Vaclav Havel. In June, 2013, Kasparov led the Iranian online voting initiative “We Choose” using a Russian-built edemocracy platform.
The US-based Kasparov Chess Foundation non-profit promotes the teaching of chess in education systems around the world. Now in over 3500 US schools, KCF recently launched centers in Europe and Africa with South America soon to come. Garry and his wife Daria travel frequently to promote the proven benefits of chess in education and will be touring Africa extensively in 2013.
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. 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”. More information is available at kasparov.com.