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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 00:51 GMT
Chess master Kasparov to retire
Gary Kasparov
Kasparov opposes Russian President Vladimir Putin
Former world champion Garry Kasparov has announced that he is to retire from competitive chess.

He made the surprise announcement after winning a prestigious tournament in Spain for the ninth time.

"I will continue to play chess because it is a lot of fun, but no longer on a professional level," he said.

The 41-year-old said he had made the decision because of the intense pressure which he had been under over recent years.

The chess grandmaster, a leading critic of Mr Putin, heads a group of top Russian liberals who have joined forces to keep Vladimir Putin from staying in the Kremlin after 2008.

His group, called Committee 2008: Free Choice, has criticised Mr Putin's control over Russia's parliament and the country's media, and what it calls the "flat-out falsification of the last election's results".

They have vowed to ensure a new president is elected in 2008.


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