Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, 13th World Chess Champion, writer, politician and human rights activist. He is widely considered the greatest chess player that ever lived.
In 2005, Kasparov announced his retirement from competitive chess after 21 years as the No.1 ranked player in the world to devote his time to politics and writing.
Born in Azerbaijan, in 1963, Garry Kasparov was a child chess prodigy who started playing as a five year old and qualified as an International Chess Master at the age of 16. In 1985, aged just 22, he became the youngest ever World Champion. He defended his title five times, including a legendary series of matches against arch-rival Anatoly Karpov.
He successfully defended his title more than any other champion in modern times 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 (AI) artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.
Garry Kasparov's outspoken nature didn't 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 and became a prominent voice for democracy and individual rights. Then, in his 20th year as the world's top-ranked player, he abruptly retired from competitive chess in 2005 to join the vanguard of the Russian pro-democracy movement.
He founded the United Civil Front and organised the Marches of Dissent to protest the repressive policies of Vladimir Putin. In 2012, Garry Kasparov was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Vaclav Havel. In 2013, he led the Iranian online voting initiative 'We Choose' using a Russian-built e-democracy platform.
The US-based Kasparov Chess Foundation non-profit promotes the teaching of chess in education systems around the world. In addition to chess, Garry Kasparov consults for banks and companies entering the Russian market. He is author of several books and is seen as a role model in Russia. Time and again Garry's prognostications and opinions have been proven correct on everything from the brief duration of the 1991 coup against Gorbachev to Putin's ambitions against Ukraine.
His outlook is sought by investor groups, universities, and think tanks around the world. For old media and new, from the Sunday shows to his popular Twitter (110K+) and Facebook (130K+), Garry Kasparov has become the go‐to source for unflinching candour and remarkable accuracy on Russia.
His status as a legendary world chess champion only enhance Garry Kasparov's appeal as a contributor and guest, and chess and human rights are hardly his only claims to fame. His profound writing and dynamic lectures on strategy and decision‐making have become touchstones in the business and technology communities, cited by everyone from MIT artificial intelligence professors to Credit Suisse analyst reports, and luminaries like Maria Bartiromo and Peter Thiel.
In the past several years alone has delivered keynote speeches and seminars for IBM, Google, Facebook, Oxford Martin, The Cato Institute, General Electric, and the World Business Forum.
Garry Kasparov speaks frequently to business audiences around the world on innovation, strategy, decision making and peak mental performance. In 2013, he was named a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Oxford-Martin School.
His book How Life Imitates Chess on decision-making is available in over 20 languages.