Garry Kasparov was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, at the time part of the USSR, Soviet Union.

According to the news he has also acquired Croatian citizenship.

In his comeback tournament in the summer of 2017 he still used the Russian flag. However I did see a Croatian flag together with the Russian one on the poster behind him at the signature sessions between the matches.

But why did Garry Kasparov not play under the flag of Azerbaijan?

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    As far as I understand Kasparov does not have Azerbaijan citizenship (only Russian an Croatian). Also, being born to an Armenian mother (and Jewish father) and taking the less than friendly relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan into account could play a role... Aug 21, 2017 at 9:34
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    @user1583209 Just another guess, but him leading a very politically active life in Russia may have something to do with it...
    – undercat
    Aug 21, 2017 at 15:41
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    @undercat: indeed. If he played for Azerbaijan, this might well be seen as “defection” and undermine his popularity in Russia, and hence his political influence. Aug 21, 2017 at 16:03
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    Furthermore, I guess that people with Armenian roots have not been very interested in siding with Azerbaijan in recent decades.
    – Pere
    Aug 21, 2017 at 17:13

3 Answers 3


But why did Garry Kasparov not play under the flag of Azerbaijan?

Because his FIDE registration is with Russia.

If he wants to change his registration to Azerbaijan then the following also have to happen -

1) He has to have a valid claim like residency, nationality or birth, so birth would do.

2) Azerbaijan chess federation have to agree.

3) An administration fee has to be paid to FIDE and possibly a "transfer" fee also. Because Kasparov is a highly rated GM this would be very large. I think when Caruana transferred from Italy to US it was more than $50,000.

The section of the FIDE handbook which describes the rules is here.

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    Could insert: "0) He has to express his wish to do so." Aug 21, 2017 at 13:35

He has an RF (Russian Federation) citizenship or, at least, he did at some point. In fact, he was the head of a minor party in RF which even held a few seats in the RF parliament at some point.


He did not play under the flag of Azerbaijan in his comeback tournament because he, and many of his relatives fled Baku in 1990, fearing for their lives... Pogroms by lynch mobs of Azeri nationalists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqXubG9MV10

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