Garry Kasparov

Born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, then part of the Soviet Union, Garry Kasparov was only 12 years old when he became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR. Achieving grandmaster status at age 17, he became the world’s under-20 champion that same year. In 1985, at the age of 22, he became the youngest world chess champion in history – a title he successfully defended five times over a 15-year period.

In 1996, Mr. Kasparov prevailed in a chess match against an IBM supercomputer called Deep Blue. One year later, following an upgrade to Deep Blue’s hardware, Mr. Kasparov was defeated in a rematch. In addition to making headlines all over the world – the rematch was featured on the cover of Newsweek with the headline “The Brain’s Last Stand” – the experience sparked Mr. Kasparov’s personal interest in artificial intelligence and robotics, areas in which he has remained a respected voice ever since.

Mr. Kasparov lectures regularly on the nexus between human and machine minds at many of the world’s leading educational institutions and tech and finance companies. His 2017 book, Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins, presents his views on human and machine competition and collaboration as well as the full account of his legendary matches against Deep Blue.

In 1990, Mr. Kasparov and his family escaped ethnic violence in his native Baku as the USSR collapsed. In 2005, still ranked No. 1 in the world, he retired from professional chess to form the Russian pro-democracy movement. In 2012, he was named chair of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. Facing imminent arrest during Putin’s crackdown, Mr. Kasparov moved from Moscow to New York City in 2013. In 2017, he founded the Renew Democracy Initiative, dedicated to promoting the principles of the free world through education and advocacy.

Mr. Kasparov is a regular commentator on politics and human rights in major publications, as well as a highly sought-after lecturer on technology, strategy, politics and achieving peak mental performance. A strong believer in the value of chess for developing creativity, discipline and a sense of self-worth among young people, Mr. Kasparov is the founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes the integration of chess-related activities in educational settings around the world.