Chess Grandmaster & Political Activist
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Born in Azerbaijan, in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-21 champion at 16. 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.
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.
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 the need for more dynamic and computer-connected methods of education in both the developing and developed worlds.
Innovation and technology have become centerpiece themes in Kasparov’s lectures and writings. Kasparov is a pioneering figure in computer chess, most famously for his two matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997. Since 2007, he has researched and collaborated with many high-tech luminaries and companies on human-machine cooperation, the economic consequences of tech stagnation, and the future of intelligent machines.
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’.
"His content during the SAP Forum event was amazing. He proved that he was a perfect match as a keynote for SAP." Erdem Aksakal, Director of Marketing, SAP
"Your presentation was just excellent. The best we have seen (...) Everybody was dangling about it also during the cocktail evening." Juraj Sembera, Chairman, Speakers s.r.o.