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Garry Kasparov's Biography

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Garry Kasparov was born Gary Weinstein on 13 April, 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, USSR.

Kasparov's chess talent was evident from an early age. Taught to play by his father Kim Moiseyevich Weinstein, he later joined the Botvinnik Chess School where he made significant progress. After his father died he changed his name to a Russian version of his mother's maiden name. She was born Klara Kasparova.

From the age of 12 Kasparov was setting new standards. After becoming the youngest player to win the USSR Junior Championship he went on to win the World Junior Championship at age 16.

On his seventeenth birthday he achieved Grandmaster status. But his most notable achievement was the title of World Champion, the youngest ever, at the age of 22. This match was against the reigning champion Anatoly Karpov and the match was to last fully six months. However, a re-match was ordered and this took place in November 1985 and Kasparov was victorious.

Kasparov was to fall out with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and he set up a rival organisation called the Professional Chess Association (PCA) and a World Championship match was arranged in 1993, in which Kasparov played Britain's Nigel Short. Although Kasparov was to win the match, FIDE held their own World Championship match and Karpov was also to claim the position of World Champion after beating Dutchman Jan Timman.

In recent years Kasparov has been under the spotlight for his matches against the world's strongest computers. In 1996 Kasparov played a six game match against Deep Blue, beating the machine 4-2.

However, he was defeated a year later by an improved version of the computer 3.5-2.5.

Garry Kasparov is the highest rated player in the history of chess.

Since his retirement from playing competitive chess, Garry Kasparov has been writing a regular column in New in Chess magazine.

Kasparov has been active in Russian politics and heads the anti-Putin party, the United Civil Front.

Garry Kasparov's books include the My Great Predecessors series about all the world chess champions and How Life Imitates Chess, in which he wrote:

"Human beings are brilliantly creative at finding ways to pass time in unconstructive ways."

On 17 August 2012, Garry Kasparov was arrested outside the Moscow court, where members of the Pussy Riot punk band were found guilty of hooliganism.

Kasparov continued to campaign against Putin, and his book Winter is Coming was subtitled Why Vladimir Putin and the Enermies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.

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