Garry Kasparov

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Garry Kasparov : biography

13 April 1963 –

Due to Kasparov’s continuing strong results, and status as world No. 1 in much of the public eye, he was included in the so-called "Prague Agreement", masterminded by Yasser Seirawan and intended to reunite the two World Championships. Kasparov was to play a match against the FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov in September 2003. But this match was called off after Ponomariov refused to sign his contract for it without reservation. In its place, there were plans for a match against Rustam Kasimdzhanov, winner of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, to be held in January 2005 in the United Arab Emirates. These also fell through due to lack of funding. Plans to hold the match in Turkey instead came too late. Kasparov announced in January 2005 that he was tired of waiting for FIDE to organize a match and so had decided to stop all efforts to regain the World Championship title.

Politics

Kasparov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1984 and in 1987 was elected to the Central Committee of Komsomol. But in 1990 he left the party. Kasparov fled from Baku to Moscow on a chartered plane, one day before Black January and in May took part in the creation of the Democratic Party of Russia. In 1991, Kasparov received the Keeper of the Flame award from the Center for Security Policy (a US think tank) for his contributions "to the defence of the United States and American values around the world". Kasparov was in June 1993 involved with the creation of the "Choice of Russia" bloc of parties and in 1996 took part in the election campaign of Boris Yeltsin. In 2001 he voiced his support for the Russian television channel NTV.

In April 2007, it was asserted that Kasparov was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a "non-profit, non-partisan national security organization [in Washington, DC] that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security". Kasparov confirmed this and added that he was removed shortly after he became aware of it. He noted that he did not know about the membership and suggested he was included in the board by accident because he received the 1991 Keeper of the Flame award from this organization. But Kasparov maintained his association with the leadership by giving speeches at think tanks such as the Hoover Institution.

After his retirement from chess in 2005, Kasparov turned to politics and created the United Civil Front, a social movement whose main goal is to "work to preserve electoral democracy in Russia". He has vowed to "restore democracy" to Russia by toppling the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, of whom he is an outspoken critic.

Kasparov was instrumental in setting up The Other Russia, a coalition which opposes Putin’s government. The Other Russia has been boycotted by the leaders of Russia’s mainstream opposition parties, Yabloko and Union of Rightist Forces as they are concerned about its inclusion of radical nationalist and left-wing groups such as the National Bolshevik Party and former members of the Rodina party including Viktor Gerashchenko, a potential presidential candidate. But regional branches of Yabloko and the Union of Rightist Forces have opted to take part in the coalition. Kasparov says that leaders of these parties are controlled by the Kremlin, despite the fact that they both publicly oppose the president’s policies.

On 10 April 2005, Kasparov was in Moscow at a promotional event when he was struck over the head with a chessboard he had just signed. The assailant was reported to have said "I admired you as a chess player, but you gave that up for politics" immediately before the attack. Kasparov has been the subject of a number of other episodes since.

Kasparov helped organize the Saint Petersburg Dissenters’ March on 3 March 2007 and The March of the Dissenters on 24 March 2007, both involving several thousand people rallying against Putin and Saint Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko’s policies. On 14 April, he was briefly arrested by the Moscow police while heading for a demonstration, following warnings by the prosecution office on the eve of the march, stating that anyone participating risked being detained. He was held for some 10 hours and then fined and released.