Garry Kimovich Kasparov (born April 13, 1963) is a chess grandmaster and the strongest (highest rated on the FIDE April 2004 list at 2817) chess player in the world. Kasparov trained at Mikhail Botvinnik’s chess school. His talent and potential were clear when he won the Soviet Junior Championship at Tbilisi in 1976, scoring 7 points out of 9. He was 13 at the time. He repeated the feat the following year, demolishing the field with a score of 8.5/9.
In 1978 Kasparov participated in the Sokolsky Memorial tournament at Minsk. He had been invited as an exception, but took place, and also became master. Kasparov has repeatedly said that this event was a turning point in his life, and that it convinced him to choose chess as his career. “I will rememeber the Sololsky Memorial as long as I live”, he wrote. He has also said that after the victory, he thought he had a very good shot at the World Championship.
Garry’s rise up the FIDE ranking order was nothing short of phenomenal. Starting with an oversight by the Russian chess federation, Garry Kasparov participated in a Grandmaster tournament in Banja Luka while still unrated (the federation thought it was a junior tournament). He emerged from this top-class encounter with a provisional rating of 2595, enough to catapult him into the top group of chess players.
It was clear from early on that Garry had the playing strength to match the then current world champion Anatoly Karpov – a firm favourite of the Russian Chess Federation. But first Garry had to pass the test of the Candidates Tournament to qualify.
Kasparov’s Candidates final match was against the resurgent Vassily Smyslov (who won his match against Huebner by the spin of a roulette wheel!). Smyslov was the seventh world champion in 1957, but later years saw his willingness to fight for wins greatly diminished. This posed no problems for the youngster from Baku who registered a comfortable win.
The 1984 World Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov had its fair share of ups and downs, as well as the most controversial finish to a competitive match ever. Karpov started off in very good form, and within a dozen games Kasparov found himself 4-0 down in a “first to six wins” match. Fellow players predicted a 6-0 whitewash of Kasparov within 18 games.
The termination of the match was a matter of some controversy. At the press conference at which he announced his decision, Campomanes cited the health of the two players, which had been put under strain by the length of the match, yet both Karpov and Kasparov stated that they would prefer the match to continue. Karpov’s statement was difficult to believe: he had lost 22 pounds over the course of the match and had been hospitalized several times. Kasparov was in excellent health and extremely resentful of Campomanes’ decision, asking him why he was abandoning the match if both players wanted to continue. It would appear that Kasparov, who had won the last two games before the suspension, felt the same way as some commentators – that he was now the favourite to win the match despite his 5-3 deficit. He appeared to be physically stronger than his opponent, and in the later games seemed to have been playing the better chess.
Whatever the reasons for the abandonment, the match became the first, and so far only, world championship match to be abandoned without result. Kasparov had made a new enemy in Campomanes, and the feud between the two would eventually come to a head in 1993 with Kasparov’s complete break-away from FIDE.
In November 2003, he engaged in a four game match against chess playing computer program X3D Fritz (which was said to have an estimated rating of 2807), using a virtual board, 3D glasses and a speech recognition system. The first was a draw, X3D won the second after Kasparov blundered when short of time, Kasparov won the third, and the last game was a draw. The X3D Man-Machine World Chess Championship match ended in draw. Kasparov receives $175,000 for the result and takes home the golden trophy. (Although since it drew the match X3D Fritz said it was going to store a virtual reality copy of the trophy for itself.). Kasparov continued to criticize the blunder in the second game that cost him a crucial point. He felt that he had outplayed the machine overall and played well. “I only made one mistake but unfortunately that one mistake lost the game.”
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