Twelve years after announcing his retirement, multiple-time world champion and one of chess' greatest luminaries Garry Kasparov is ready to get back to the board. Kasparov, 54, will be competing in the St Louis rapid and blitz competition this August as a wild card entrant.
The $150,000 tournament will from run from August 14 to 19 and feature ten of the world's best players, including four wildcard picks. There will also be an interesting face-off between Viswanathan Anand and Kasparov, as the round-robin tournament will have them face each other three times across nine rapid games and 18 blitz games.
Of the 78 games they've played against each other, Kasparov has 27 wins against Anand's eight, with the remaining 43 ending in draws. The 1995 World Championship between them started with eight draws before Anand won game nine and Kasparov rebounded dominantly by winning four of the five remaining games to take the title.
While Kasparov, who rose to prominence when he became the youngest world champion at 22 in 1985 and went on to rule the game for two decades as the highest-ranked player, shed little light on the motivation behind the decision, he didn't hold back his excitement.
"Ready to see if I remember how to move the pieces! Will I be able to announce my re-retirement afterward if not?!", he tweeted. In another of his tweets, Kasparov took a swipe at his own comeback in characteristic style: "looks like I'm going to raise the average age of the field and lower the average rating."
Following his retirement in 2005, Kasparov immersed himself in the politics of native Russia, going on a vitriolic campaign against the policies of President Vladimir Putin, occasionally featuring in exhibition matches while tirelessly promoting the game. He even ran for the FIDE top job in 2014, pitting himself against incumbent president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, but lost.