Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion since 1985, said Thursday that he was retiring from professional play.
The announcement came shortly after he lost the final game of the 14-match Linares tournament, which he won.
“Before this tournament I made a conscious decision ... and today I played my last professional game,” Kasparov said at a news conference, according to a video posted on the online chess magazine Chessbase.com.
He said his last games were “very difficult for me to play under such pressure, because I knew it was the end of the career which I could be proud of.”
Some believe that Kasparov, 41, is the best player in history. At age 22, he became the youngest world champion ever.
But the Azerbaijan-born player will be remembered in part for one of his losses, a 1997 match against IBM supercomputer Deep Blue.
Kasparov’s first title match, from September 1984 to February 1985 against Anatoly Karpov, was the longest in history. After 48 games, the psychological and physical strain on Karpov, who was leading but appeared likely to lose, caused chess authorities to end the match inconclusively.
Kasparov won a rematch six months later, becoming the youngest world champion ever. He defended his title against Karpov in 1986, 1987 and 1990.