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Anatoly Karpov
Karpov, Anatoly (Flickr).jpg
Anatoly Karpov, 2006
Full name Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov
(Анатолий Евгеньевич Карпов)
Country  Russia
Born May 23, 1951 (1951-05-23) (age 58)
Zlatoust, RSFSR, Soviet Union
Title Grandmaster (1970)
World Champion 1975–1985
1993–1999 (FIDE)
FIDE rating 2619
(No. 140 on the September 2009 FIDE ratings list)
Peak rating 2780 (July 1994)

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov (Russian: Анатолий Евгеньевич Карпов Anatolij Evgen'evič Karpov; born May 23, 1951) is a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster and former World Champion. He was official world champion from 1975 to 1985, played three more matches for the title from 1986 to 1990, then was FIDE World Champion from 1993 to 1999. For his decades-long standing among the world's elite, Karpov is considered one of the greatest players of all time.

His tournament successes include over 160 first-place finishes.[1] He had a peak Elo rating of 2780, and his 90 total months at world number-one are second all-time behind only Garry Kasparov since the inception of the FIDE ranking list in 1971.

Since 2005, he has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia. He has recently involved himself in several humanitarian causes, such as advocating the use of iodised salt.[2]

Contents

Early life

Karpov was born on May 23, 1951 at Zlatoust in the Urals region of the former Soviet Union, and learned to play chess at the age of four. His early rise in chess was swift, as he became a Candidate Master by age eleven. At twelve, he was accepted into Mikhail Botvinnik's prestigious chess school, though Botvinnik made the following remark about the young Karpov: "The boy does not have a clue about chess, and there's no future at all for him in this profession."[3] Karpov acknowledged that his understanding of chess theory was very confused at that time, and wrote later that the homework which Botvinnik assigned greatly helped him, since it required that he consult chess books and work diligently.[4] Karpov improved so quickly under Botvinnik's tutelage that he became the youngest Soviet National Master in history at fifteen in 1966; this tied the record established by Boris Spassky in 1952.

International career

1967-1969

Karpov finished first in his first international tournament in Trinec several months later, ahead of Viktor Kupreichik. In 1967, he won the annual European Junior Championship at Groningen. Karpov won a gold medal for academic excellence in high school, and entered Moscow State University in 1968 to study mathematics. He later transferred to Leningrad State University, eventually graduating from there in economics. One reason for the transfer was to be closer to his coach, Grandmaster Semyon Furman, who lived in Leningrad. In his writings, Karpov credits Furman as a major influence on his development as a world-class player. In 1969, Karpov became the first Soviet player since Spassky (1955) to win the World Junior Chess Championship, scoring an undefeated 10/11 in the finals at Stockholm. In 1970, he tied for fourth place at an international tournament in Caracas, Venezuela, and was awarded the grandmaster title.

Top-Class Grandmaster

He won the 1971 Alekhine Memorial in Moscow (equal with Leonid Stein), ahead of a star-studded field, for his first significant adult victory. His Elo rating shot from 2540 in 1971 to 2660 in 1973, when he shared second in the USSR Chess Championship, and finished equal first with Viktor Korchnoi in the Leningrad Interzonal Tournament, with the latter success qualifying him for the 1974 Candidates Matches, which would determine the challenger of the reigning world champion, Bobby Fischer.

Candidate

Karpov defeated Lev Polugaevsky by the score of +3 =5 in the first Candidates' match, earning the right to face former champion Boris Spassky in the semi-final round. Karpov was on record saying that he believed Spassky would easily beat him and win the Candidates' cycle to face Fischer, and that he (Karpov) would win the following Candidates' cycle in 1977. Spassky won the first game as Black in good style, but tenacious, aggressive play from Karpov secured him overall victory by +4 -1 =6. The Candidates' final was played in Moscow with Korchnoi. Karpov took an early lead, winning the second game against the Sicilian Dragon, then scoring another victory in the sixth game. Following ten consecutive draws, Korchnoi threw away a winning position in the seventeenth game to give Karpov a 3-0 lead. In game 19, Korchnoi succeeded in winning a long endgame, then notched a speedy victory after a blunder by Karpov two games later. Three more draws, the last agreed by Karpov in a clearly better position, closed the match, as he thus prevailed +3 -2 =19, moving on to challenge Fischer for the world title.

Fischer's opponent in 1975?

Though a world championship match between Karpov and Fischer was highly anticipated, those hopes were never realised. Fischer insisted that the match be the first to ten wins (draws not counting), but that the champion would retain the crown if the score was tied 9—9. FIDE, the International Chess Federation, refused to allow this proviso, and FIDE declared that Fischer relinquished his crown. Karpov later attempted to set up another match with Fischer, but all the negotiations fell through. This thrust the young Karpov into the role of World Champion without having faced the reigning champion. Garry Kasparov argued that Karpov would have had good chances, because he had beaten Spassky convincingly and was a new breed of tough professional, and indeed had higher quality games, while Fischer had been inactive for three years.[5] Spassky thought that Fischer would have won in 1975 but Karpov would have qualified again and beaten Fischer in 1978.[6]

World champion

Karpov participated in nearly every major tournament for the next ten years. He convincingly won the very strong Milan tournament in 1975, and captured his first of three Soviet titles in 1976. He created the most phenomenal streak of tournament wins against the strongest players in the world. Karpov held the record for most consecutive tournament victories (9) until it was shattered by Garry Kasparov's (14). In 1978, Karpov's first title defence was against Korchnoi, the opponent he had defeated in the 1973-75 Candidates' cycle; the match was played at Baguio in the Philippines, with the winner needing six victories. As in 1974, Karpov took an early lead, winning the eighth game after seven draws to open the match, but Korchnoi staged a comeback late in the match, as, after the score was +5 -2 =20 in Karpov's favour, he won three of the next four games to draw level, with Karpov then winning the next game to retain the title (+6 -5 =21).

Three years later Korchnoi re-emerged as the Candidates' winner against German finalist Dr. Robert Hübner to challenge Karpov in Meran, Italy. This match, however, was won handily by Karpov, the score being (11–7, +6 -2 =10) in what is remembered as the "Massacre in Merano".

Karpov's tournament career reached a peak at the exceptional Montreal "Tournament of Stars" tournament in 1979, where he finished joint first (+7 -1 =10) with Mikhail Tal, ahead of a field of strong grandmasters completed by Jan Timman, Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Spassky, Vlastimil Hort, Lajos Portisch, Huebner, Bent Larsen and Lubomir Kavalek. He dominated Las Palmas 1977 with an incredible 13.5/15. He also won the prestigious Bugojno tournament in 1978 (shared) and 1980, the Linares tournament in 1981 (shared with Larry Christiansen) and 1994, the Tilburg tournament in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, and 1983, and the Soviet Championship in 1976, 1983, and 1988.

Karpov represented the Soviet Union at six Chess Olympiads, in all of which the USSR won the team gold medal. He played first reserve at Skopje 1972, winning the board prize with 13/15. At Nice 1974, he advanced to board one and again won the board prize with 12/14. At La Valletta 1980, he was again board one and scored 9/12. At Lucerne 1982, he scored 6.5/8 on board one. At Dubai 1986, he scored 6/9 on board two. His last was Thessaloniki 1988, where on board two he scored 8/10. In Olympiad play, Karpov lost only two games out of 68 played.

To illustrate Karpov's dominance over his peers as champion, his score was +11 -2 =20 versus Spassky, +5 =12 versus Robert Hübner, +6 -1 =16 versus Ulf Andersson, +3 -1 =10 versus Vasily Smyslov, +1 =16 versus Mikhail Tal, +10 -2 =13 versus Ljubojevic.

Karpov had cemented his position as the world's best player and world champion by the time Garry Kasparov arrived on the scene. In their first match, the World Chess Championship 1984, held in Moscow, with the victor again being the first to win six games outright, Karpov built a commanding 4-0 lead after nine games. The next seventeen games were drawn, setting the record for world title matches, and it took Karpov until Game 27 to gain his fifth win. In Game 31, Karpov had a winning position but failed to take advantage and settled for a draw. He lost the next game, after which fourteen more draws ensued. In particular, Karpov held a solidly winning position in Game 41, but again blundered and had to settle for a draw. After Kasparov won Games 47 and 48, FIDE President Florencio Campomanes unilaterally terminated the match, citing the health of the players.[7] The match had lasted an unprecedented five months, with five wins for Karpov, three for Kasparov, and a staggering forty draws.

A rematch was set for later in 1985, also in Moscow. The events of the so-called Marathon match forced FIDE to return to the previous format, a match limited to 24 games (with Karpov remaining champion if the match should finish 12-12). In a hard fight, Karpov had to win the final game to draw the match and retain his title, but wound up losing, thus surrendering the title to his opponent. The final score was 11-13 (+3 -5 =16), in favor of Kasparov.

Rivalry with Kasparov

Karpov remained a formidable opponent (and the world #2) until the early 1990s. He fought Kasparov in three more world championship matches in 1986 (held in London and Leningrad), 1987 (held in Seville), and 1990 (held in New York City and Lyon). All three matches were extremely close: the scores were 11.5 to 12.5 (+4 -5 = 15), 12 to 12 (+4 -4 =16), and 11.5 to 12.5 (+3 -4 =17). In all three matches, Karpov had winning chances up to the very last games. In particular, the 1987 Seville match featured an astonishing blunder by Kasparov in the 23rd game. Instead, in the final game, needing only a draw to win the title, Karpov cracked under pressure from the clock at the end of the first session of play, missed a variation leading to an almost forced draw, and allowed Kasparov to adjourn the game with an extra pawn. After a further mistake in the second session, Karpov was slowly ground down and resigned on move 64, ending the match and allowing Kasparov to keep the title.

In their five world championship matches, Karpov scored 19 wins, 21 losses, and 104 draws in 144 games.

Karpov is on record saying that had he had the opportunity to fight Fischer for the crown in his twenties, he (Karpov) could have been a much better player as a result (in a similar way as Kasparov's constant rivalry with him helped Kasparov to achieve his full potential).

FIDE champion again (1993-1999)

Karpov in 1996

In 1992, Karpov lost a Candidates Match against Nigel Short in 1992. But in 1993, Karpov reacquired the FIDE World Champion title when Kasparov and Short split from FIDE. Karpov defeated Timman – the loser of the Candidates' final against Short.

The next major meeting of Kasparov and Karpov was the 1994 Linares chess tournament. The field, in eventual finishing order, was Karpov, Kasparov, Shirov, Bareev, Kramnik, Lautier, Anand, Kamsky, Topalov, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Illescas, Judit Polgar, and Beliavsky; with an average Elo rating of 2685, the highest ever at that time, making it the first Category XVIII tournament ever held. Impressed by the strength of the tournament, Kasparov had said several days before the tournament that the winner could rightly be called the world champion of tournaments. Perhaps spurred on by this comment, Karpov played the best tournament of his life. He was undefeated and earned 11 points out of 13 possible (the best world-class tournament winning percentage since Alekhine won San Remo in 1930), finishing 2.5 points ahead of second-place Kasparov and Shirov. Many of his wins were spectacular (in particular, his win over Topalov is considered possibly the finest of his career). This performance against the best players in the world put his Elo rating tournament performance at 2985, the highest performance rating of any player in history. Jeff Sonas considers this the best tournament result in history.[8]

Karpov defended his FIDE title against Gata Kamsky (+6 -3 =9) in 1996. However, in 1998, FIDE largely scrapped the old system of Candidates' Matches, instead having a large knock-out event in which a large number of players contested short matches against each other over just a few weeks. In the first of these events, the FIDE World Chess Championship 1998, champion Karpov was seeded straight into the final, defeating Viswanathan Anand (+2 -2 =2, rapid tiebreak 2:0). In the subsequent cycle, the format was changed, with the champion having to qualify. Karpov refused to defend his title, and ceased to be FIDE World Champion after the FIDE World Chess Championship 1999.

Towards retirement?

Karpov's outstanding classical tournament play has been seriously limited since 1995, since he prefers to be more involved in politics of his home country of Russia. He had been a member of the Supreme Soviet Commission for Foreign Affairs and the President of the Soviet Peace Fund before the Soviet Union dissolved. In addition, he had been involved in several disputes with FIDE and became increasingly disillusioned with chess. In the September 2009 FIDE rating list, he dropped out of the world's Top 100 for the first time.

Karpov usually limits his play to exhibition events, and has revamped his style to specialize in rapid chess. In 2002 he won a match against Kasparov, defeating him in a rapid time control match 2.5-1.5. In 2006, he tied for first with Kasparov in a blitz tournament, ahead of Korchnoi and Judit Polgar.[9]

Karpov and Kasparov played a mixed 12-game match from September 21–24, 2009, in Valencia, Spain. It consisted of four rapid (or semi rapid) and eight blitz games and took place exactly 25 years after the two players' legendary encounter at World Chess Championship 1984.[10] Kasparov won the match 9-3.

Style

Karpov's "boa constrictor" playing style is solidly positional,[11] taking no risks but reacting mercilessly to any tiny errors made by his opponents. As a result, he is often compared to his idol, the famous José Raúl Capablanca, the third World Champion. Karpov himself describes his style as follows:

Let us say the game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don't yield to precise calculation; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory.... I would choose the latter without thinking twice. If the opponent offers keen play I don't object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic.

Notable games

References

  1. ^ van Reem, Eric (2005-08-11). ""Karpov, Kortchnoi win Unzicker Gala"". ChessBase.com. http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2569. Retrieved 2009-07-02.  
  2. ^ Unicef website
  3. ^ "Anatoly Karpov's Best Games". http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?user=KingG.  
  4. ^ Karpov, A. (1992). Karpov on Karpov: A Memoirs of a Chess World Champion. Atheneum. ISBN 0689120605.  
  5. ^ Kasparov, My Great Predecessors, part IV: Fischer, p. 474
  6. ^ In an article (PDF) published in 2004 on the Chesscafe website Susan Polgar wrote: "I spoke to Boris Spassky about this same issue and he believes that Bobby would have won in 1975, but that Anatoly would have won the rematch."
  7. ^ 1984 Karpov - Kasparov Title Match Highlights Mark Weeks' Chess Pages
  8. ^ Facts and figures: Magnus Carlsen's performance in Nanjing. ChessBase.com. Retrieved on 2009-10-26.
  9. ^ ChessBase.com - Chess News - The Credit Suisse Blitz – in pictures
  10. ^ "Kasparov and Karpov to play 12 games match in Valencia". Chessdom. http://previews.chessdom.com/kasparov-karpov-valencia-2009. Retrieved 2009-07-08.  
  11. ^ Kavalek, Lubomir (2007-06-25). "Chess". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/24/AR2007062401102.html. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  

Books

  • Elista Diaries: Karpov-Kamsky, Karpov-Anand, Anand Mexico City 2007 World Chess Championship Matches (with Ron Henley) ISBN 0-923891-97-8
  • Karpov, Anatoly (1990). Karpov on Karpov: Memoirs of a chess world champion. Liberty Publishing. ISBN 0-689-12060-5.   (also a 1992 Simon & Schuster edition)

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Bobby Fischer
World Chess Champion
1975–1985
Succeeded by
Garry Kasparov
Preceded by
Garry Kasparov
FIDE World Chess Champion
1993–1999
Succeeded by
Alexander Khalifman
Preceded by
Bobby Fischer
Garry Kasparov
World No. 1
January 1, 1976 - December 31, 1983
July 1, 1985 - December 31, 1985
Succeeded by
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Karpov, Anatoly (Flickr).jpg

Anatoly Karpov (1951-) is a former world chess champion.

Attributed

  • Let us say that a game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don't yield to precise calculations; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory. I would choose the latter without thinking twice. If the opponent offers keen play I don't object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic.
  • Style? I have no style.
  • I like 1.e4 very much but my results with 1.d4 are better.
  • To be champion requires more than simply being a strong player; one has to be a strong human being as well.
  • Chess is my life, but my life is not chess.
  • Those so-called K-K matches for the title were the biggest misery I had in my life - especially the disappointment of losing in Seville. But, you know, despite our history, there’s still a lot of fight in our battles - it’s still a big fight in the eyes of the media.
  • For them I will always be ready. (on getting revenge against players who've beaten him)

Others' quotes about Anatoly Karpov

  • "Karpov clearly belongs to another chess era, from before computer science arrived on the scene." – Felix Izeta
  • "He had arranged for top soviet grandmasters to help with his preparation. We must all provide him with information about our openings and variations, all our professional secrets. It was made clear that this was our patriotic duty to the Motherland, for the traitor must be destroyed. Many grandmasters duly obliged and submitted to this official harassment." – Garry Kasparov (on having to assist Karpov in his World Championship match against Korchnoi)
  • "Karpov, the dyed-in-the-wool opportunist, has never been thwarted by matters of principle." – Lev Khariton
  • "The boy doesn't have a clue about chess, and there's no future at all for him in this profession." – Mikhail Botvinnik (referring to a 12-year-old Karpov)
  • "In short, we can see Karpov as an exploiter of other people’s ideas. His ability to use these ideas is not at issue, but he himself is about as fertile as a woman who has been sterilized is." – Mikhail Botvinnik
  • "It extremely rarely occurs to him to create something new on the chessboard." – Viktor Korchnoi
  • "With his time finished 10 years ago, the former hero of all Soviet working people, from the mines of Astana to the wineries of Cisinau, from the beaches of Yurmala to the mountains of Bishkek, still soldiers on. He tries to keep a straight face, he pretends to be busy, he plays teenage girls in exhibition matches. Just a dead man walking." – Alex Yermolinsky
  • "At first I found some of his moves not altogether understandable, and only after careful analysis did I discover their hidden strength." – Ljubomir Ljubojevic
  • "When observing Karpov's play or playing against him, one cannot help thinking that all his pieces are linked by invisible threads. This net moves forward unhurriedly, gradually covering the enemy squares, but, amazingly, not relinquishing its own." – Alexander Roshal
  • "Many of Karpov's intentions become understandable to his opponents only when salvation is no longer possible." – Mikhail Tal
  • "Known as a negative player, Karpov sets up deep traps and creates moves that seem to allow his opponent possibilities - but that really don't. He takes no chances, and he gives his opponents nothing. He's a trench-warfare fighter who keeps the game moving just an inch at a time." – Bruce Pandolfini
Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Anatoly Karpov
Country File:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg
Born
May 23, 1951 (1951-05-23) (age 59)
Zlatoust, RSFSR, Soviet Union
Title Grandmaster (1970)
World Champion 1975–1985
1993–1999 (FIDE)
FIDE rating 2619
Peak rating 2780 (July 1994)

Anatoly Karpov [1] (born Zlatoust, Russia, 23 May 1951) is a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster and former World Champion. He was official world champion from 1975 to 1985, played three more matches for the title from 1986 to 1990, then was FIDE World Champion from 1993 to 1999.

His tournament successes include over 160 first-place finishes.[2] He had a peak Elo rating of 2780, and his 90 months at world number one are second only to the record of Garry Kasparov.

Since 2005, he has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia. He has recently involved himself in several humanitarian causes, such as advocating the use of iodised salt.[3]

References

  1. Анатолий Евгеньевич Карпов
  2. van Reem, Eric (2005-08-11). ""Karpov, Kortchnoi win Unzicker Gala"". ChessBase.com. http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2569. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  3. Unicef website








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