Meet the Legends

Battle of the Legends: Kasparov vs. Short


Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Country Russia
Born April 13, 1963
Title Grandmaster 
World Champion 1985 - 2000
FIDE rating 2812
Peak rating 2851
Peak ranking No. 1

Garry Kasparov is one of chess’ finest living legends, widely considered to be the greatest player of all time. He was crowned the 13th World Chess Champion in 1985 at age 22, the youngest in history to hold the global crown, and held the title for 15 years until 2000. Across that same span, Kasparov held his rank as the No. 1 rated player in the world for 20 consecutive years, up until his retirement from professional chess in 2005. His peak career rating of 2851, set in 2000, stood unbroken for 13 years until finally passed by the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen -- a former pupil of Kasparov.

Born Garry Weinstein to a Jewish father and Armenian mother, Kasparov began playing chess at six years old and, at 12 in 1976, earned his first reputation as the Soviet Junior Champion. He was 15 when he played for his first Soviet Championship, the youngest ever to compete, and earned a plus score in the appearance. At 17 years old, Kasparov secured his first world title, becoming the World Junior Chess Champion at Dortmund, Germany in 1980.

Still a teenager in 1981, Kasparov won his first of two Soviet Championships, his first elite international tournament, and qualified for his first Candidates Tournament -- the youngest player to do so since Bobby Fischer (15). By 1984, Kasparov would become the youngest-ever Challenger for the world title and, at 22 years old in 1985, the youngest-ever World Chess Champion. His win over Anatoly Karpov kicked off an epic rivalry between the two through the 1980s, seeing Kasparov defend the world title in three separate matches through 1990. Karpov defended again over Nigel Short in 1993, and a fifth time against Viswanathan Anand in 1995. After a 15-year reign, Kasparov finally relinquished his throne to Vladmir Kramnik in 2000.

Kasparov played in eight Olympiads over his career, losing only 3 of 82 games, and winning 19 medals -- including team gold in all eight of his appearances. He also holds a record 15 consecutive tournament victories at from 1981-1990, halted by a second-place finish in Linares 1991; and has collected a record 11 Chess Oscars, awarded annually to the best chess player as voted by international chess journalists.


Nigel Short
Nigel Short
Country England
Born June 1, 1965
Title Grandmaster 
Peak Performance 1992 Candidates Match
FIDE rating 2678
Peak rating 2712
Peak ranking No. 3

First garnering attention as a 10-year-old who defeated Viktor Korchnoi in a simul, the legendary Nigel Short was a true child prodigy who would grow to dominate English chess for the better end of the 20th century. A World top-100 player for most of his life -- and still there today, at 49, the oldest player in the elite category -- Short reached his career pinnacle as challenger for the 1993 World Chess Championship, when he qualified to play Garry Kasparov in London.

Eventually a three-time British champion, Short became the youngest-ever competitor in his nation’s title event just days before his 12th birthday, and soon after tied for first at 14 years old in 1979. He secured his International Master title later that year, the youngest in chess history to earn the inscription at the time, and eventually became the youngest Grandmaster in the world after earning the title at 19.

In 1984, Short became Britain’s first-ever Candidate, qualifying three times until famously defeating former World Champion Anatoly Karpov in a semifinal match described as the “end of an era” in 1992. He followed with a finals win over Jan Timman, forever memorializing Short as the first English player to challenge for the 1993 World Chess Championship, though he ultimately lost the match to Kasparov.

Throughout his illustrious career, Short has been a mainstay on the English national team, representing his nation at every Olympiad since 1984 and securing several individual and team medals in that span. His resume is filled with international tournament wins, including the Max Euwe Memorial in Amsterdam 1991 where he finished first over both Kasparov and Karpov; and more recently, back-to-back wins at the 2012 and 2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congresses, finishing a full point ahead of both fields.

Short has enjoyed many fine performances as a match player, against such names as Lev Alburt, Etienne Bacrot, Joel Benjamin, Anish Giri and Sergey Karjakin. In 2011 in Belgium, he narrowly lost a blitz match to Kasparov after dropping the final game.