Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov

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Number One

Kasparov-age21

 

Garry Kasparov achieved the #1 ELO rating for the first time in the summer of 1984 at age 21.

Then followed the legendary 1984 World Chess Championship resulting in a notorious decision by Florencio Campomanes (FIDE President) to call off the match because of players fatigue. Although widely favored to win the world title if they had continued, Garry Kasparov lost 10 points and Anatoly Karpov gained 10 points, thus winning back the #1 spot he had just surrendered to Kasparov. Karpov’s #1 position was short-lived. On Nov. 9th, 1985 Garry Kasparov defeated Anatoly Karpov for the world title and coincidentally by January of 1986 he had regained the #1 spot.

He has made the #1 rating his own for most of the past 20 years, although for a brief period in January of 1996, Vladimir Kramnik joined him as co #1, each of them had a 2775 ELO points rating. Kasparov soon however opened the gap between himself and Kramnik who eventually fell to the #3 behind Vishy Anand. As of January 1st, 2005, Garry Kasparov retains his #1 rating, Vishy Anand is second and Vladmir Kramnik has since fallen behind Topalov to #4.

Kasparov first was rated #1 in 1984 and except for the short period mentioned above, he has been the top rated player in the world for over 20 years (1984: 2005).

 

Deep Blue

In February 1996 in Philadelphia, he played IBM’s Deep Blue computer. His opponent was able to analyze 50 billion moves in three minutes. In NYC in May 1997, Kasparov again played the monster computer. The series stands at one match each and the World Champion, backed by the world’s estimated 200 million Chess players, challenged IBM to a tie-breaking third match. IBM cashed in its silicon chips and sailed off into the sunset, satisfied with a tied series. These two matches created two incredible statistics. Chess received the greatest exposure the game has ever known and IBM’s PR unit was quoted as saying that the company received over one billion dollars in quantifiable publicity and 72 million hits on their Internet site.

Deep Junior

In Jan of 2003 FIDE’s President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov decided to hold a world championship challenge match between the world’s #1 ranked player vs. the reigning world computer chess champion, an Israeli program called Deep Junior. The highly publicized and tightly contested event played in New York City saw Garry Kasparov battle the computer to a 3: 3 draw.

 

x3d-challenge Garry

X3D Fritz

Later on in 2003, Kasparov made world headlines when he played X3D’s Fritz computer program to a draw in four games. What was unusual about this contest was Kasparov’s use of darkly tinted 3-D glasses with the added handicap of speaking his moves without ever touching the board.

Team Challenges

The restless Russian is always looking for new challenges and for the past decade has astounded the Chess world by beating some of the world’s strongest Olympic chess teams, playing four to six Grandmasters simultaneously.

Kasparov vs the World

Apart from his match against Deep Blue, Kasparov has always been at the cutting edge of innovations in chess. For four months in 1999, he battled THE WORLD on the internet in a Microsoft sponsored event which opened new frontiers for chess.

Intercontinental Promotion

On a lighter note, he played Boris Becker “live” on CNN for one hour. Garry was in Manhattan and Boris was in Munich.

 

Other Milestones

All Time Great

In 1988, a computer program was devised to analyze a vast collection of chess statistics in order to create a ranking of the all-time chess greats. Top of the list was the twenty-five year old Russian Garry Kasparov, above Capablanca, Karpov, Fischer and the rest.

Ten in a Row

In March 2005, Garry Kasparov won the Linares Super Tournament for the ninth time in sixteen years (90, 92, 93, 97, 99, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2005).

Winning Linares, the “Wimbledon of Chess” for four straight years was one thing, but even more spectacular was that his win in Linares in 2002 made it ten super-tournament victories in a row for the world’s number one. The scoreboard: Linares 4, Wijk aan Zee 3, Sarajevo 2 and Astana 1.

Man and Machine vs. Man and Machine (Advanced Chess)

Kasparov has been at the forefront of the use of computers in chess and in 1998, he played against Bulgarian Grandmaster Veselin Topalov in the first highly publicized game of Advanced Chess in Leon, Spain. Advanced Chess is Man and Computer vs Man and Computer and the fascination for everyday chess fans is that they feel that they are “peeking” inside the minds of the great players as they make their moves.

 

The Person

Those close to Garry know his unrestrained contagious laugh, his kindness and caring and know him as a multi-faceted human being. All of his adult life the courage of his convictions has been put to the test. His matches against Anatoly Karpov (the previous champion closely connected with the Communist establishment) were widely regarded as a show of individual opposition to the authoritarian state. He had difficulties with the USSR Sports Committee, the Communist Party and even the KGB. He was in the forefront of the anti-Communist movement, resulting in real threats to his person.

1990 The Brain of the Year

The BRAIN CLUB and SYNAPSIA in London elected Garry as its first “Brain of the Year” and described him as “The World Chess Champion, athlete and humanitarian both, and a cultivated and curious man who closely follows literature, films and politics”.

 

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