The donation was made through the Garry Kasparov Foundation and will be used in the national federation’s Taking Chess to the People Programme, said federation president, Charles Kuwaza.
Kasparov was impressed by the programme and pledged his support following a visit to the country in July last year. The programme is designed to spread chess to the rural areas.
Chess is one of the fastest growing sports in Zimbabwe, with activity spreading to the streets, homes, schools, bars and clubs. The country recently hosted the Zimbabwe Open, which attracted hundreds of players from all over the country and others from Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana. Zambia’s Kelvin Chumfya lifted the crown. Kasparov’s donation comes at a time when local sport in general is not receiving the expected support from the corporate world, which on its part is also reeling under the current harsh economic climate.
Kasparov, who turns 51 in April, became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22, when he defeated then-champion, Anatoly Karpov. He held the official FIDE world title until 1993, when a dispute with FIDE led him to set up a rival organization, the Professional Chess Association.
In 1997, he became the first world champion to play against a computer under standard time controls, when he lost to the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue in a highly publicized match. He continued to hold the “Classical” World Chess Championship until his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. Between 1986 and his retirement in 2005, he was ranked world number one for 225 out of 228 months and his peak rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the highest recorded until 2013.
He is currently on the board of directors for the Human Rights Foundation.Post published in: Sport