Winner and Still Champion, Kasparov a Dynamic Showman
NEW YORK (AP) _ Garry Kasparov is a media-conscious and outspoken showman of the chess world who enthusiastically appears on Western television to discuss Russian politics and promote chess.
He’s also wealthy, thanks to prizes like the $900,000 he won for a world championship match that concluded Tuesday.
Once described by British grandmaster Tony Miles as ``a monster with 27 eyes who sees everything,″ Kasparov appeared tired during the first half of his title duel with Viswanathan Anand of India, trailing after nine games.
But he turned the contest in his favor and a draw in the 17th game Monday night ensured at least a tie. Then another draw Tuesday ended the tournament with the score Kasparov 10.5, Anand 7.5.
Kasparov, now 32, became the youngest chess champion in history when he defeated fellow Soviet Anatoly Karpov in November 1985. The two remain bitter enemies.
Charismatic and ego-driven, Kasparov is used to getting his own way. For several years he engaged in a bitter battle with the Soviet sports establishment, even speaking out before the reforms that opened Soviet society.
In 1993, Kasparov broke with chess’s ruling body, known as FIDE, to form the New York-based Professional Chess Association, which organized his latest contest.
He has aggressively promoted chess in the West, joked with David Letterman on TV and written columns on Soviet politics for The Wall Street Journal.
Now a millionaire several times over, Kasparov often mentions the possibility of a political career in Moscow when his reign finally ends. He even founded his own political group, the Democratic Party of Russia.
His business ventures in the former Soviet Union include an executive jet charter company and ``The Kasparov Consultancy,″ which caters to several overseas corporations.
Kasparov’s business partner, Andrew Page, said the chess player has begun negotiations with Planet Hollywood and other U.S. theme restaurants for sites in Moscow.
He was divorced last year. His former wife left Moscow with their daughter and now lives in New Jersey. In New York, Kasparov was with new girlfriend Julia Vovk, a 19-year-old student from Riga, Latvia.
After defeating Karpov in 1985, he was hailed as a hero who brought excitement to the game after a decade-long reign by the reserved and manipulative former champion.
But longtime Kasparov advocates say he, too, has become arrogant and dismissive.
``Though he’s a brilliant promoter of the game, even Kasparov himself knows he’s lost a lot of support in chess circles,″ said Larry Parr, former editor of the magazine Chess Life.