March 11, 2005


Garry Kasparov, World's Top Chess Player, Retires (Judith Ingram
Associated Press)

Garry Kasparov, the chess world's youngest-ever champion and its public face and undisputed king the last two decades, made a stunning move shortly after winning a prestigious tournament in Spain: He announced his retirement from professional play.

The disclosure from the Russian grandmaster -- the world's No. 1 ranked chess player since 1984 who is considered by some the best in the history of the game -- came shortly after he won the 14-match Linares tournament in Spain on Thursday, despite losing the final game.

"Before this tournament I made a conscious decision that Linares 2005 will be my last professional (tournament), and today I played my last professional game," Kasparov said at a news conference in Linares, according to a video posted on the online chess magazine

He said his last games were "very difficult for me to play under such pressure, because I knew it was the end of the career which I could be proud of."

Kasparov, 41, became the youngest world champion ever at age 22 and quickly cut a swath through the chess world with an aggressive style that shunned settling for a draw.

However, his most brilliant strategic decision came against Anatoly Karpov when, having fallen behind early, he determined that he could just keep drawing until his older, less fit foe started to fall apart, at which point Karpov's cronies in the chess world intervened to stop the match. In its own way, his rise and the direct challenge he posed to the regime signalled the coming end of the USSR.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 11, 2005 11:01 AM

I was terribly impressed by his games against the IBM supercomputer. At first he used the aggressive style that was so effective against humans, but it was like trying to trade punches with a woodchipper; the computer looked, all commentators agreed, invinceable.

Kasparov changed to a bizarre, defensive style that took advantages at the cost of weaknesses, that, while obvious, would take a long series of moves to expliot. The computer was completely lost, unable to recognize the inherent weakness without being able to forsee far enough ahead to understand any of the millions of ways it could be exploited; at one point literally moving and returning a piece on consecutive moves; it was embarrassing. Kasparov demolished it.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 11, 2005 12:24 PM

Kaspy has his eye set on bigger things now.

Over the past years he has developed into one of the most vociferous opponents of the "dictator Putin". He may challenge for Putin's job in 2008.

He is nothing if not idiosyncratic, a quality that should stand him in good stead with the proprietor of this weblog.

Posted by: Eugene S. at March 11, 2005 6:05 PM