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Garry Kimovich Kasparov – The Champion for 15 years

Garry Kimovich Kasparov – The Champion for 15 years

It was April 13 1963. The location: Baku, Azerbaijan (then a part of USSR). A son was born to Kim Moiseyevich Weinstein, a Jew, and Klara Shagenovna Kasparova, an Armenian. The name he was christened with was Garik Kimovich Weinstein. However, he changed this name to the one that actually made chess a world-famous sport, well sought after by punters holding original accounts at all the major bookmakers: Garry Kasparov.

He began nurturing his brilliance at the age of 7 at the Young Pioneer Palace, to join the same school as the grandmaster he was to replace as the World Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik’s, at the age of 10. However, he had a different tutor than Anatoly Karpov: Vladimir Makogonov. Through this tutelage, he won his first title as Soviet Junior Champion at 13. He successfully defended the title the next year after changing his coach to Alexander Shakarov.

1978: The year it all started

At the Sokolsky Memorial tournament in Minsk, he participated as an exception. He won, received the title of master, and according to his own statements, it was the turning point of his career. The accomplishment was followed by winning the tournament at Daugavpils after a tiebreaker with Igor Ivanov. It was this victory that allowed him to clinch the only qualifying opportunity for the Soviet Chess Championship.

1979 and 1980 marked his ascension to the rank of grandmaster. Firstly, through an oversight that allowed him to participate in a tournament in Banja Luka, despite the fact that he was still unrated (replaced Victor Korchnoi). Secondly, after winning the title of World Junior Chess Champion, and thirdly, after being included as second reserve of the Soviet Union at the Olympiad held in Valletta.

1985: The dominance begins

A lot has been written about the first encounter between Karpov and Kasparov in 1984. The match would determine the World Champion. After 5 months, 48 games and a 5-3 score in favor of Karpov, the president of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), decided that the match should be terminated due to the strained health of both players. It still remains the only match to have ever been terminated in this manner.

However, in the repeat confrontation next year, the rules for the winner changed, a limit of 24 games was set and in case of a 12-12 draw, Karpov would retain the title. The date was November 9 1985. Kasparov won the final game using Sicilian defense, the score become 13-11 in his favor, and at the age of 22, he became the youngest-ever World Chess Champion. Game 16 of this series has been characterized as an all-time masterpiece.

The Grandmasters Association

Dissatisfied with the way FIDE was handling professional chess players, he formed GMA in 1986 in an attempt to give those players a revised role in the federation’s activities. The critical point was reached in 1993 when Kasparov was to defend his title against Nigel Short. Because the financial arrangements did not meet expectations, the contenders decided to hold their match outside the jurisdiction of the FIDE.

The Russian won with a score of 12½-7½, the match was televised and the image of chess gained unprecedented levels. However, the federation decided to expel them both and hold a separate competition between Timman and Karpov to declare their own champion. Until 2000 there were 2 World Champions. Kasparov defended all challenges to his domination until the match with Kramnik.

Later, Kasparov would say that the separation was a grave mistake as it hurt the sport altogether.

Retirement, politics, and Croatia

In 2005 he retired as a competitive chess player citing that he had lost interest in the endeavor. He limited himself to playing only speed chess and coaching the now world Champion Magnus Carlsen who actually now holds the record of holding the title the longest. He came back briefly in 2017 for a tournament where all the proceeds were to be given for the promotion of chess in Africa.

Politically, he is probably the greatest rival of President Putin. He already tried to run for the presidency once in 2007, however, he had to withdraw from the race. After repeated arrests and persecutions, he applied for Croatian citizenship wanting to stay at his property at the city of Makarska. As of 2020, he has been declared a foreign agent by the Russian Ministry of Justice.

While he may not be holding the title anymore, he did not coach only the current champion. He also coached and taught a number of other grandmasters including the person who took his title away, Vladimir Kramnik. Those who have the chance to register for an original betting account can wager on which of his students and trainees will become the next winner of the World Chess Championship.