Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union 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 at the age of 22 as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985. 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 supercomputer 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. The world’s top-ranked player in his twentieth, Garry 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 Putin’s government. In 2012, Kasparov was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Vaclav Havel. His US-based non-profit Kasparov Chess Foundation promotes the teaching of chess in education systems around the world.
Garry has been a contributing editor to the Wall Street Journal since 1991 and he is a regular commentator on politics and human rights. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Oxford-Martin School with a focus on human-machine collaboration.
In 2017, Kasparov founded the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI), an American political organization promoting and defending liberal democracy in the U.S. and abroad. He serves as chairman of the group. Kasparov is also a Security Ambassador for the software company Avast.