Widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time, Garry Kasparov was the youngest World Chess Champion in history, claiming the title at age 22. He was the undisputed champion for nearly 8 years, and held the world #1 ranking for a record 255 consecutive months. He retired from competitive chess in 2005, and over the course of his career he has written dozens of books on the game. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1963, and is publically opposed to Vladimir Putin’s leadership in Russia. He has stated that he is committed to restoring democracy to his home country.
Kasparov would without question be an enlightening speaker – not only is he one of the most brilliant minds of his time, but he also has the unique perspective of growing up in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Along with his unique story as a chess master, his political actions and support make Kasparov a great, and also different, candidate to speak at Bucknell. While the game of chess itself is not as widely played and enjoyed by our generation, as college students we can still appreciate his brilliance. Combined with his unique position to discuss Russian politics, I believe students would jump at a chance to listen to Kasparov talk.