Gary Kasparov

(b. 1963)

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Anatoly Karpov (b. 1951) Russian chess player


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1963– )

Russian chess player, world chess champion (1985–93) and PCA world champion (1993– ).

Of Armenian-Jewish origin, he was born in Baku, Azerbaidzhan, and played his first game of chess at the age of six. At the age of thirteen he captured the Soviet youth championship, going on to win his first international tournament in 1979, having studied under the former world champion M. M. Botvinnik from 1973 to 1978. He attained the rank of international grandmaster in 1980.

The 1984–85 world championship tournament, between Kasparov and Karpov, became an epic contest lasting 48 games and ended without a result when the International Chess Federation stepped in, despite protests from Kasparov that he wished to continue. Kasparov won the rematch in 1985, becoming, at twenty-two, the youngest-ever world champion. Volatile and energetic, he successfully defended his title against Karpov in 1986, 1987, and 1990. In 1993, however, Kasparov and his British challenger Nigel Short (1965– ) decided to organize their forthcoming championship match independently of FIDE, the game's ruling body, on the grounds that the £1 million prize was insufficient. As a result Kasparov was stripped of his world title by FIDE and he and Short founded the rival Professional Chess Association (PCA). Kasparov defeated Short to become PCA world champion in 1993 and successfully defended this title in 1995. Kasparov has also been active in politics: he was deputy leader of the Soviet Union's Democratic Party in 1990–91.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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