Original name Garry Weinstein or Harry Weinstein, Russian chess master who became the world chess champion in 1985.
Kasparov was born to a Jewish father and an Armenian mother. He began playing chess at age 6, by age 13 was the Soviet youth champion, and won his first international tournament at age 16 in 1979. Kasparov became an international grandmaster in 1980. From 1973 to 1978 he studied under former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik.
Kasparov first challenged the reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov in a 1984-85 match, after he survived the Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE; the international chess federation) series of elimination matches. Kasparov lost four out of the first nine games but then adopted a careful defensive stance, taking an extraordinarily long series of drawn games with the champion.
With Kasparov finally having won three games from the exhausted Karpov, FIDE halted the series after 48 games, a decision protested by Kasparov. In the two players' rematch in 1985, Kasparov narrowly defeated Karpov in a 24-game series and thereby became the youngest official champion in the history of the game.
In 1993 Kasparov and the English grandmaster Nigel Short left FIDE and formed a rival organisation, the Professional Chess Association (PCA). In response, FIDE stripped the title of world champion from Kasparov, who defeated Short that same year to become the PCA world champion. In 1995 he successfully defended his PCA title against Viswanathan Anand of India.
In 1996 Kasparov defeated a powerful IBM custom-built chess computer known as Deep Blue in a match that attracted worldwide attention. Kasparov and the team of Deep Blue programmers agreed to have a rematch in 1997. Deep Blue's intelligence was upgraded, and the machine prevailed. Kasparov resigned in the last game of the six-game match after 19 moves, granting the win to Deep Blue.
In 2000 Kasparov lost a 16-game championship match to Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.