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Sports & Games

Garry's Journey

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 14:12 min

Even when Garry was a kid, the number 13 held special meaning for him. He shares the realization of that numeric destiny and the forces that shaped his singular style of play.

Garry Kasparov
Teaches Chess
Garry Kasparov teaches you advanced strategy, tactics, and theory in 29 exclusive video lessons.
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It's hard to remember the very first experience playing chess. I'm looking at this wooden board with some pieces, trying to figure it out. Almost instantly, falling in in love with this mystery. And I learned how to do the pieces simply watching-- following my parents. And then, I even was brave enough to make suggestions. And actually, you know, one of the suggestions worked. I did play a little bit with my father, though he died at a very young age, 39. So I was 7. I remember playing more playing with my uncle. He was a pretty decent player. I was just in the beginning of my chess journey. And I remember, he gave me a rook handicap. And he beat me. I was so upset. I couldn't beat him instantly. It took time for me just to get stronger. My first big experience was 1972. I played the blitz championship. I was in the quarterfinal. And it was a real one for adults, and I was nine years old. And I made nine out of nine in the quarterfinal. And then, I played in the semifinal, and I qualified. I was pretty good blitz player. I was a good player period, but in blitz I was even stronger-- because I was very quick, very sharp. So I qualified for the final, when I could face masters. I mean, real tough guys. And I played in the final-- I was a very small kid, you know. It was hard for me just to sit in the chair to make moves. And I lost all the games except one. I won one game-- lost five or six games in a row. And I was not-- I was not ready. My mother took me away, because it was too early. But it was a good experience. I was lucky, because I found the game of chess. This is something that perfectly fits my personality. We all are good for something. But that was the nexus where my memory, analytical skills, determination-- by human standards, brute force of calculation-- everything worked perfectly. And I've been making progress. And it was more of limiting my eagerness to be involved. So my mother tried to make sure that I don't have too much chess. I was always hungry for more chess. Not to overload me, not to throw me into the big competitions too early. Because she remembered this experience of this blitz championship in Baku. It was too early. And that's why later on, when she was pushed by some of our friends and relatives-- yes, let's make sure Garry plays this tournament-- she said, no, no, no, don't rush. Don't rush. Give him time to get stronger, to get mature, and to be ready. to have enough stamina for serious competitions. Because it's not just about playing. You have to play, and you have to win. A lot of people around me believed that I could be a great player. I could be even the world champion. I remember in 1972, when Bobby Fischer won his title, beating Boris Spassky, I was given a present from one of our relatives. It was a chess board. And and it had squares surrounding the...

Elevate your game

At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I'm a beginner at chess. I learned a lot of ideas and moves. I've also found motivation and ideas to continue other passions.

Kasparov is excellent. An experienced world champion. A legendary GM

I now know how to play with structure and all the basic tricks and traps of the game. It would have been great if Kasparov explains a championship game for example and why he played his moves.

I feel it was a great class. It really inspired me. Tomorrow I will watch Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana play live in London. So it was a double reason to finish this course. I have always concentrated on openings, Kasparov in this course stressed the need for studying end games.


A fellow student

How did Garry Kasparov become so successful in playing chess. From, Sasha

Jason R.

Great advice and tips Garry! I learned a most valuable lesson watching your class. I was expecting to learn some strategies and tactics that might help me become a better chess player but instead I learned that what I needed was to be steered in the right direction so I wouldn't be wasting my efforts. This class definitely covered what I needed to know in order to make progress in developing my chess game as well as anything I aspire to be great at! Thanks Kasparov!

Dennis C.

Hearing him talk is both profoundly touching and inspirational. Going against Putin the way he has is potentially lethal. He is really heroic.

Robert A.

Great lessons & fantastic learnings about life and the game of chess - hope to see you soon in Croatia again Garry!

Michael M.

This one taught me nothing to improve my chess game, but I loved it. Very interesting personal stories and reflection. In one of the other MasterClasses I took, all 20+ lessons had the world-famous and very talented teacher doing nothing but what Garry did in this one -- just rapping. I learned absolutely nothing to improve my skill and it was a total waste of the tuition. In this case, though, Garry taught us for 23 well thought-out lessons and then finally took a little break to talk about his life. It was perfect.


Thanks Garry- it was great to hear your story in a little more depth this way. I have played chess on and off since I was 8, this course has really revived my interest in the game. I have it as something 'in the pocket' that I can always enjoy, which is wonderful, it is time well-spent. It's like going to the gym for my brain.

Dezso R.

David, if you want to know more about Kasparov you may want to read his book My Great Predecessors volume 1 and 2.

David B.

I'd like to hear more about his training. Seems he learned intuitively at first, but given the interest of his parents more must have happened. He mentioned coach's names earlier in passing. Seemed to play a lot.... more in one month than I have played in my life, it seems....


No 13 is very interesting. I felt the narration of the journey in his own words to be very honest and truthful.