Garry Kasparov

World Chess Champion, Author, Master of Strategy

Garry Kasparov speaker
English · Russian

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17. He came to international fame at the age of 22 as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985. He defended his title five times, including a legendary series of matches against arch-rival Anatoly Karpov. Garry Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s rating record in 1990 and his own peak rating record remained unbroken until 2013. His famous matches against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.

Kasparov’s outspoken nature did not endear him to the Soviet authorities, giving him an early taste of opposition politics. He became one of the first prominent Soviets to call for democratic and market reforms and was an early supporter of Boris Yeltsin’s push to break up the Soviet Union. In 1990, he and his family escaped ethnic violence in his native Baku as the USSR collapsed. His refusal that year to play the World Championship under the Soviet flag caused an international sensation. In 2005, Kasparov, in his 20th year as the world’s top-ranked player, abruptly retired from competitive chess to join the vanguard of the Russian pro-democracy movement. He founded the United Civil Front and organized the Marches of Dissent to protest the repressive policies of Vladimir Putin. In 2012, Kasparov was named chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Vaclav Havel.Facing imminent arrest during Putin’s crackdown, Kasparov moved from Moscow to New York City in 2013.

The US-based Kasparov Chess Foundation non-profit promotes the teaching of chess in education systems around the world. Its program already in use in schools across the United States, KCF alsohas centers in Brussels, Johannesburg, Singapore, and Mexico City. Garry and his wife Daria travel frequently to promote the proven benefits of chess in education and have toured Africa extensively.

Garry Kasparov has been a contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal since 1991 and is a regular commentator on politics and human rights. He speaks frequently to business and political audiences around the world on innovation, strategy, individual freedom, and achieving peak mental performance. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Oxford-Martin School with a focus on human-machine collaboration. Kasparov’s book How Life Imitates Chesson strategy and decision-making is available in over 20 languages. He is the author of two acclaimed series of chess books, My Great Predecessorsand Modern Chess.Kasparov’s 2015 book, Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped is a blend of history, memoire, and current events analysis. Reviews called it“A compelling story of courage and civic-mindedness” (The Wall Street Journal) and“Brave, trenchant and convincing” (The Times).

Garry Kasparov is currently working on a new book on artificial intelligence, detailing his matches against Deep Blue, his years of research and lectures, and his ongoing cooperation with the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. He says, “The human-machine relationship is quickly becoming the most important development in technology, business, and education. Understanding this dynamic will determine who shapes the 21st century.”

"Winter is Coming"

Achieving Your Potential

Logical Thinking

Strategy - the Big Picture

Success is in the Mind

Leaders vs. Managers

How the Computer Changed the Game of Chess Forever

Strategy for decoding the Complexity of Life

Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped

The stunning story of Russia’s slide back into a dictatorship—and how the West is now paying the price for allowing it to happen.

The ascension of Vladimir Putin—a former lieutenant colonel of the KGB—to the presidency of Russia in 1999 was a strong signal that the country was headed away from democracy. Yet in the intervening years—as America and the world’s other leading powers have continued to appease him—Putin has grown not only into a dictator but an internationalthreat. With his vast resources and nuclear arsenal, Putin is at the center of a worldwide assault on political liberty and the modern world order.

For Garry Kasparov, none of this is news. He has been a vocal critic of Putin for over a decade, even leading the pro-democracy opposition to him in the farcical 2008 presidential election. Yet years of seeing his Cassandra-like prophecies about Putin’s intentions fulfilled have left Kasparov with a darker truth: Putin’s Russia, like ISIS or Al Qaeda, defines itself in opposition to the free countries of the world.

As Putin has grown ever more powerful, the threat he poses has grown from local to regional and finally to global. In this urgent book, Kasparov shows that the collapse of the Soviet Union was not an endpoint—only a change of seasons, as the Cold War melted into a new spring. But now, after years of complacency and poor judgment, winter is once again upon us.

Argued with the force of Kasparov’s world-class intelligence, conviction, and hopes for his home country, Winter Is Coming reveals Putin for what he is: an existential danger hiding in plain sight.

Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped

How Life Imitates Chess

Garry Kasparov was the highest-rated chess player in the world for over twenty years and is widely considered the greatest player that ever lived. In How Life Imitates Chess Kasparov distills the lessons he learned over a lifetime as a Grandmaster to offer a primer on successful decision-making: how to evaluate opportunities, anticipate the future, devise winning strategies. He relates in a lively, original way all the fundamentals, from the nuts and bolts of strategy, evaluation, and preparation to the subtler, more human arts of developing a personal style and using memory, intuition, imagination and even fantasy. Kasparov takes us through the great matches of his career, including legendary duels against both man (Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov) and machine (IBM chess supercomputer Deep Blue), enhancing the lessons of his many experiences with examples from politics, literature, sports and military history.

With candor, wisdom, and humor, Kasparov recounts his victories and his blunders, both from his years as a world-class competitor as well as his new life as a political leader in Russia. An inspiring book that combines unique strategic insight with personal memoir, How Life Imitates Chess is a glimpse inside the mind of one of today's greatest and most innovative thinkers.

THE BLUEPRINT (coauthor)

Where has the world’s innovation gone? In The Blueprint, Thiel and company take the perception of technological progress to task, calling for more radical research and development into technologies and engineering. An action that will not only advance innovation, it will also create millions of jobs in the process.

THE BLUEPRINT (coauthor)

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