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Gary Kasparov

Kasparov, Gary (kəspärˈôf, –ŏf) [key], 1963–, Armenian chess player, b. Azerbaijan (then in the USSR) as Garri Kimovich Wainshtein. He became the world junior champion at the age of 16 and was International Chess Federation (FIDE) champion from 1985 to 1993. His first title match (Sept., 1984–Feb., 1985) against Anatoly Karpov was the longest in chess history. After 48 games, the psychological and physical strain on Karpov, who was leading but appeared likely to lose, caused chess authorities to end the match inconclusively amid controversy. Kasparov won a rematch six months later, becoming the youngest world champion ever. He defended his title against Karpov in 1986, 1987, and 1990.

In 1993 Kasparov broke with FIDE and formed the rival Professional Chess Association, becoming its champion. In 1996 he became the first world champion to lose to a computer in a game played with time controls, but he won the match. In 1997, however, the computer, IBM's "Deep Blue," defeated him in a rematch (see also artificial intelligence). In 2000, Kasparov lost a match and his widely recognized status as the world's best chess master to his onetime protégé, the 25-year-old Russian Vladimir Kramnik, but he subsequently was again regarded as the world's top player. A 2003 match with the chess program "Deep Junior" ended in a tie. One of the game's greatest players, Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005 and has since devoted himself to political activities related to promoting democracy in Russia. He became a candidate for the Russian presidency in 2007 but was barred from running because he had not been nominated by a registered political party; he subsequently withdrew, suggesting that attempts to meet the alternative requirements were frustrated by government interference. In 2008 he joined with other liberal opposition leaders to form the Solidarity party.

See his autobiography, World of Change (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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