Garry Kasparov, a world champion chess player who has also led the battle for democracy in his Russian homeland, will address this year’s graduates during Saint Louis University’s spring commencementSaturday, May 16. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Chaifetz Arena.
A true prodigy, Kasparov was only 22 when he became the youngest person ever to earn the title of undisputed World Chess Champion, a premier post that he would hold for nearly a decade. His impressive career also includes a record 15 consecutive professional tournament victories and being named Russia’s Chess Grand Master. Locally, he has been a strong supporter of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
While Kasparov’s accomplishments in chess are legendary, his commitment to social justice and democracy compelled him to move into politics. In 2005, he retired from competitive chess to join the vanguard of the Russian pro-democracy movement to protest the policies of President Vladimir Putin and continues to seek free elections in his country. He is also chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.