Chess great Kasparov gets Croatian passport

3rd March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Russian former chess world number one turned opposition activist Garry Kasparov has obtained Croatian citizenship, the interior ministry said on Monday.

The fierce Kremlin critic was granted the former Yugoslav republic's passport since it was "in Croatia's interest" it said in a statement obtained by AFP, without elaborating.

The 50-year-old, known for publicly supporting Croatia during the 1990s war, received the citizenship last week.

A fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kasparov has been spending his summer vacation on the Croatian coast for years and according to media reports has a house in Makarska, on the central coast.

He reportedly plans to open a chess academy in the northern Adriatic resort of Opatija.

He also enjoys good relations with Croatia's politicians, meeting in January with President Ivo Josipovic who praised his "moral support" to Croatia during the 1991-1995 war and played chess with him. Last week he met Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.

Kasparov retired from competitive chess in 2005 after dominating the game for about two decades. He became the youngest-ever world champion aged 22 in 1985 and is considered one of the greatest chess players of all time.

© 2014 AFP

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