Anatoly Karpov
Overview
 
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov is a Russian chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 grandmaster
International Grandmaster
The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain....

 and former World Champion
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

. He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once again after Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993. He held the title until 1999, when he resigned his title in protest against FIDE's new world championship rules.
Quotations

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)

Encyclopedia
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov is a Russian chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 grandmaster
International Grandmaster
The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain....

 and former World Champion
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

. He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once again after Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993. He held the title until 1999, when he resigned his title in protest against FIDE's new world championship rules. 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. He had a peak Elo rating
Elo rating system
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

 of 2780, and his 90 total months at world number one is second all-time behind only Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 since the inception of the FIDE ranking list in 1971.

Since 2005, he has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia
Public Chamber of Russia
The Public Chamber is a state institution with 126 members created in 2005 in Russia to analyze draft legislation and monitor the activities of the parliament, government and other government bodies of Russia and its Federal Subjects. It has a role similar to an oversight committee and has...

. He has recently involved himself in several humanitarian causes, such as advocating the use of iodised salt
Iodised salt
Iodised salt is table salt mixed with a minute amount of various iodine-containing salts. The ingestion of iodide prevents iodine deficiency. Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. It also causes thyroid gland...

.

Early life

Karpov was born on May 23, 1951 at Zlatoust
Zlatoust
Zlatoust is a city in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Ay River , west of Chelyabinsk. Population: 181,000 ; 161,000 ; 99,000 ; 48,000 ; 21,000 ....

 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
Mikhail Botvinnik
Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, Ph.D. was a Soviet and Russian International Grandmaster and three-time World Chess Champion. Working as an electrical engineer and computer scientist at the same time, he was one of the very few famous chess players who achieved distinction in another career while...

'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." 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. Karpov improved so quickly under Botvinnik's tutelage that he became the youngest Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 National Master in history at fifteen in 1966; this tied the record established by Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

 in 1952.

1967–69

Karpov finished first in his first international tournament in Třinec
Trinec
Třinec is a town in Frýdek-Místek District, Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic. It lies on the Olza River, in the historical region of Cieszyn Silesia. The town has 37,405 inhabitants as of 2009, in 2001 17.7% of the population were Poles...

 several months later, ahead of Viktor Kupreichik
Viktor Kupreichik
Viktor Davidovich Kupreichik is a Belarusian chess master.At the beginning of his career, he won individual gold medal at Ybbs 1968 ....

. 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
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

 in 1968 to study mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

. He later transferred to Leningrad State University, eventually graduating from there in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. One reason for the transfer was to be closer to his coach, Grandmaster Semyon Furman
Semyon Furman
Semyon Abramovich Furman was a Soviet chess International Grandmaster and trainer. He is best known for developing Anatoly Karpov into a World Chess Champion, but was a formidable player himself, as well as a successful coach for several other world-class players...

, 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
World Junior Chess Championship
The World Junior Chess Championship is an under-20 chess tournament organized by the World Chess Federation ....

, scoring an undefeated 10/11 in the finals at Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

. In 1970, he tied for fourth place at an international tournament in Caracas
Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

, Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, and was awarded the grandmaster
International Grandmaster
The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain....

 title.

Top-Class Grandmaster

He won the 1971 Alekhine
Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine was the fourth World Chess Champion. He is often considered one of the greatest chess players ever.By the age of twenty-two, he was already among the strongest chess players in the world. During the 1920s, he won most of the tournaments in which he played...

 Memorial in Moscow (equal with Leonid Stein
Leonid Stein
Leonid Zakharovich Stein was a Soviet chess Grandmaster from Ukraine. He won three USSR Chess Championships in the 1960s , and was among the world's top ten players during that era.- Early life :...

), ahead of a star-studded field, for his first significant adult victory. His Elo rating
Elo rating system
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

 shot from 2540 in 1971 to 2660 in 1973, when he shared second in the USSR Chess Championship
USSR Chess Championship
This is a list of all the winners of the USSR Chess Championship. It was the strongest national chess championship ever held, with eight world chess champions and four world championship finalists among its winners...

, and finished equal first with Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ; pronounced in the original Russian as "karch NOY"; Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, born March 23, 1931 is a professional chess player, author and currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit...

 in the Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 Interzonal
Interzonal
Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and were a stage in the triennial World Chess Championship cycle.- Zonal tournaments :...

 Tournament, with the latter success qualifying him for the 1974 Candidates Matches, which would determine the challenger of the reigning world champion, Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author...

.

Candidate

Karpov defeated Lev Polugaevsky
Lev Polugaevsky
Lev Abramovich Polugaevsky was an International Grandmaster of chess and frequent contender for the world chess championship, although he never achieved that title...

 by the score of +3 =5 in the first Candidates' match, earning the right to face former champion Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

 in the semifinal 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
Sicilian Defence
The Sicilian Defence is a chess opening that begins with the moves:The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White's first move 1.e4...

, then scoring another victory in the sixth game. Following ten consecutive draws
Draw (chess)
In chess, a draw is when a game ends in a tie. It is one of the possible outcomes of a game, along with a win for White and a win for Black . Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.For the most part,...

, 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
Blunder (chess)
In chess, a blunder is a very bad move. It is usually caused by some tactical oversight, whether from time trouble, overconfidence or carelessness. While a blunder may seem like a stroke of luck for the opposing player, some chess players give their opponent plenty of opportunities to blunder.What...

 by Karpov two games later. Three more draws, the last agreed
Draw by agreement
In chess, a draw by agreement is the outcome of a game due to the agreement of both players to a draw. A player may offer a draw to his opponent at any stage of a game; if the opponent accepts, the game is a draw. The relevant portion of the FIDE laws of chess is article 9.1...

 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
Draw (chess)
In chess, a draw is when a game ends in a tie. It is one of the possible outcomes of a game, along with a win for White and a win for Black . Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.For the most part,...

 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
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 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. Spassky thought that Fischer would have won in 1975 but Karpov would have qualified again and beaten Fischer in 1978.

World champion

Determined to prove himself a legitimate champion, Karpov participated in nearly every major tournament for the next ten years. He convincingly won the very strong Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 tournament in 1975, and captured his first of three Soviet titles in 1976. He created a phenomenal streak of tournament wins against the strongest players in the world. Karpov held the record for most consecutive tournament victories (nine) until it was shattered by Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 (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
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, 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
Robert Hübner
Robert Hübner is a respected German chess Grandmaster, chess writer, and papyrologist . At eighteen, he was joint winner of the West German Chess Championship...

 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
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 "Tournament of Stars" tournament in 1979, where he finished joint first (+7 −1 =10) with Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion.Widely regarded as a creative genius, and the best attacking player of all time, he played a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability....

, ahead of a field of strong grandmasters completed by Jan Timman
Jan Timman
Jan Timman is a Dutch chess Grandmaster who was one of the world's leading players from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. At the peak of his career he was considered to be the best non-Soviet player and was known as "The Best of the West"...

, Ljubomir Ljubojevic
Ljubomir Ljubojevic
Ljubomir Ljubojević is a Grandmaster of chess. He was born on November 2, 1950, in Titovo Užice, Yugoslavia . Ljubojević was awarded the International Master title in 1970 and the GM title in 1971. He was Yugoslav champion in 1977 and 1982. He won the 1974 Canadian Open Chess Championship...

, Spassky, Vlastimil Hort
Vlastimil Hort
Vlastimil Hort is a chess Grandmaster of Czech nationality. During the 1960s and 1970s he was one of the world's strongest players and reached the Candidates stage of competition for the world chess championship, but was never able to compete for the actual title.Hort was born in Kladno,...

, Lajos Portisch
Lajos Portisch
Lajos Portisch is a Hungarian chess Grandmaster, whose positional style earned him the nickname, the "Hungarian Botvinnik"...

, Huebner, Bent Larsen
Bent Larsen
Jørgen Bent Larsen was a Danish chess Grandmaster and author. Larsen was known for his imaginative and unorthodox style of play and he was the first western player to pose a serious challenge to the Soviet Union's dominance of chess...

 and Lubomir Kavalek. He dominated Las Palmas
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria commonly known as Las Palmas is the political capital, jointly with Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the ninth largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 in 2010. Nearly half of the people of the island...

 1977 with 13½/15. He also won the prestigious Bugojno
Bugojno
Bugojno is a town and municipality of the same name in central Bosnia and Herzegovina on the river Vrbas. It is located in the Central Bosnia Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity. The town is to the northwest from Sarajevo, with an estimated population of 50,000 .To the west...

 tournament in 1978 (shared) and 1980, the Linares tournament
Linares chess tournament
The Linares International Chess Tournament , is an annual chess tournament, usually played around the end of February, takes its name from the city of Linares in the Jaén province of Andalusia, Spain, in which it is held...

 in 1981 (shared with Larry Christiansen) and 1994, the Tilburg
Tilburg
Tilburg is a landlocked municipality and a city in the Netherlands, located in the southern province of Noord-Brabant.Tilburg municipality also includes the villages of Berkel-Enschot and Udenhout....

 tournament in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, and 1983, and the Soviet Championship
USSR Chess Championship
This is a list of all the winners of the USSR Chess Championship. It was the strongest national chess championship ever held, with eight world chess champions and four world championship finalists among its winners...

 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
20th Chess Olympiad
The 20th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between September 18 and October 13, 1972, in Skopje, Yugoslavia ....

, winning the board prize with 13/15. At Nice 1974
21st Chess Olympiad
The 21st Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between June 6 and June 30, 1974, in Nice, France.-References:* OlimpBase...

, he advanced to board one and again won the board prize with 12/14. At Valletta 1980
24th Chess Olympiad
The 24th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between November 20 and December 6, 1980, in La Valletta, Malta.-References:* OlimpBase...

, he was again board one and scored 9/12. At Lucerne 1982
25th Chess Olympiad
The 25th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 29 and November 16, 1982, in Lucerne, Switzerland.-References:...

, he scored 6½/8 on board one. At Dubai 1986
27th Chess Olympiad
The 27th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between November 14 and December 2, 1986, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.-References:...

, he scored 6/9 on board two. His last was Thessaloniki 1988
28th Chess Olympiad
The 28th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between November 12 and November 30, 1988, in Thessaloniki, Greece.-References:...

, 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
Robert Hübner
Robert Hübner is a respected German chess Grandmaster, chess writer, and papyrologist . At eighteen, he was joint winner of the West German Chess Championship...

, +6 −1 =16 versus Ulf Andersson
Ulf Andersson
Ulf Andersson is a leading Swedish chess player. FIDE awarded him the International Master title in 1970 and the Grandmaster title in 1972 .-Career:...

, +3 −1 =10 versus Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions . Smyslov was twice equal first at the Soviet Championship , and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won...

, +1 =16 versus Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion.Widely regarded as a creative genius, and the best attacking player of all time, he played a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability....

, +10 −2 =13 versus Ljubojevic.

Karpov had cemented his position as the world's best player and world champion by the time Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 arrived on the scene. In their first match, the World Chess Championship 1984
World Chess Championship 1984
The World Chess Championship 1984 was a match between challenger Garry Kasparov and defending champion Anatoly Karpov for the World Chess Championship title...

, 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
Florencio Campomanes
Florencio Campomanes was a Filipino political scientist, chess player, and chess organizer.- Education :...

 unilaterally terminated the match, citing the health of the players. 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
World Chess Championship 1984
The World Chess Championship 1984 was a match between challenger Garry Kasparov and defending champion Anatoly Karpov for the World Chess Championship title...

 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-fought match, 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
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

), 1987 (held in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

), and 1990 (held in New York City and Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

). All three matches were extremely close: the scores were 11½ to 12½ (+4 −5 =15), 12 to 12 (+4 −4 =16), and 11½ to 12½ (+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. 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 (1993–99)

In 1992, Karpov lost a Candidates Match against Nigel Short
Nigel Short
Nigel David Short MBE is an English chess grandmaster earning the title at the age of 19. Short is often regarded as the strongest English player of the 20th century as he was ranked third in the world, from January 1988 – July 1989 and in 1993, he challenged Garry Kasparov for the World Chess...

. 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
Linares chess tournament
The Linares International Chess Tournament , is an annual chess tournament, usually played around the end of February, takes its name from the city of Linares in the Jaén province of Andalusia, Spain, in which it is held...

. The field, in eventual finishing order, was Karpov, Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

, Shirov
Alexei Shirov
Alexei Dmitrievich Shirov is a Soviet-born Latvian chess grandmaster. He has consistently ranked among the world's top players since the early 1990s, and reached a ranking as high as number four in 1998...

, Bareev
Evgeny Bareev
Evgeny Bareev is a Russian chess Grandmaster and chess coach. In October 2003, he was in fourth place in the world rankings, with an Elo rating of 2739....

, Kramnik
Vladimir Kramnik
Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik is a Russian chess grandmaster. He was the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and the undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007...

, Lautier
Joel Lautier
Joël Lautier is a French chess grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer .Born in Canada, of French father and Japanese mother, Lautier is one of the strongest grandmasters from France. He won the 1988 World Junior Chess Championship on tiebreak at Adelaide, and the French Chess Championships in 2004...

, Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

, Kamsky
Gata Kamsky
Gata Kamsky is a Soviet-born American chess grandmaster, and the current World Rapid Chess Champion. He is also the current United States Chess Champion. As of September 2011, he is rated No. 1 in the United States and No...

, Topalov
Veselin Topalov
Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster. He currently has the sixth highest rating in the world, and was the challenger facing world champion Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship 2010, losing the match 6½–5½....

, Ivanchuk, Gelfand
Boris Gelfand
Boris Abramovich Gelfand is a Belarus-born Israeli chess Grandmaster. He won the 2011 Candidates Tournament and will challenge Viswanathan Anand for the World Chess Championship 2012.-Biography:...

, Illescas
Miguel Illescas
Miguel Illescas Córdoba is a prominent Spanish grandmaster of chess.He was a highly skilled player as a youngster and became junior champion of Catalonia at the age of 12. A trained computer scientist, chess remained his real passion and continued progress brought him an International Master title...

, Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest person ever to do so at that time.Polgár was ranked No...

, and Beliavsky
Alexander Beliavsky
-External links:...

; with an average Elo rating
Elo rating system
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

 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
San Remo 1930 chess tournament
San Remo 1930 was the first international chess tournament held in the famous San Remo casino. Sixteen chess masters from Europe and the Americas, including the World Champion, played a round robin tournament from 16 January to 4 February 1930...

), finishing 2½ 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
Elo rating system
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

 tournament performance at 2985, the highest performance rating of any player in history up until 2009, when Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen
Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy who is currently the number-one ranked player in the world. In January 2010 he became the seventh player ranked number one in the world on the official FIDE rating list...

 won the category XXI Pearl Spring chess tournament
Pearl Spring chess tournament
The Pearl Spring Chess Tournament is a double round robin chess tournament event featuring six super-GM players that takes place in Nanjing, China. The first edition in December 2008 was won by Veselin Topalov...

 with a performance of 3002. However, chess statistician Jeff Sonas
Jeff Sonas
Jeff Sonas is known as a statistical chess analyst who invented the Chessmetrics system for rating chess players, which is intended as an improvement on the Elo rating system. He is the founder and proprietor of the Chessmetrics.com website, which gives Sonas' calculations of the ratings of current...

 still considers Karpov's Linares performance as the best tournament result in history.

Karpov defended his FIDE title against Gata Kamsky
Gata Kamsky
Gata Kamsky is a Soviet-born American chess grandmaster, and the current World Rapid Chess Champion. He is also the current United States Chess Champion. As of September 2011, he is rated No. 1 in the United States and No...

 (+6 −3 =9) in 1996. However, in 1998, FIDE largely scrapped the old system of Candidates' Matches, instead having a large knockout 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
FIDE World Chess Championship 1998
The FIDE World Chess Championship 1998 was contested in a match between the FIDE World Champion Anatoly Karpov and the challenger Vishwanathan Anand. The match took place between 2 January and 9 January 1998 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The challenger was determined in a tournament held in Groningen,...

, champion Karpov was seeded straight into the final, defeating Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

  (+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
FIDE World Chess Championship 1999
The FIDE World Chess Championship 1999 was held in Las Vegas, United States, between 31 July and 28 August 1999. The championship was won by Russian Alexander Khalifman, making him the FIDE World Chess Champion.-Format:...

.

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
Supreme Soviet
The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union was the Supreme Soviet in the Soviet Union and the only one with the power to pass constitutional amendments...

 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 2½–1½. In 2006, he tied for first with Kasparov in a blitz tournament, ahead of Korchnoi and Judit Polgár.

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
World Chess Championship 1984
The World Chess Championship 1984 was a match between challenger Garry Kasparov and defending champion Anatoly Karpov for the World Chess Championship title...

. Kasparov won the match 9–3.

Candidate to FIDE Presidency

In March 2010 Karpov announced that he would be a candidate for the presidency of FIDE. The election took place in September 2010 at the 39th Chess Olympiad
39th Chess Olympiad
The 39th Chess Olympiad, organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, on to...

. In May a fund-raising event took place in New York with the participation of his former rival Garry Kasparov and of Magnus Carlsen, both of whom supported his bid and campaigned for him. Also Nigel Short has announced he supported Karpov's candidacy. However, on September 29, 2010, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov is a Kalmyk multi-millionaire businessman and politician. He was the President of the Republic of Kalmykia in the Russian Federation from 1993 to 2010, and he has been the President of FIDE , the world's pre-eminent international chess organization, since 1995...

 was reelected as President of FIDE, winning the election by 95 votes to 55.

Style

Karpov's "boa constrictor" playing style is solidly positional, 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
José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play...

, 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

  • Viktor Korchnoi vs Anatoli Karpov, Moscow 1973 Karpov sacrifices
    Sacrifice (chess)
    In chess, a sacrifice is a move giving up a piece in the hopes of gaining tactical or positional compensation in other forms. A sacrifice could also be a deliberate exchange of a chess piece of higher value for an opponent's piece of lower value....

     a pawn for a strong center and queenside attack.
  • Anatoly Karpov vs Gyula Sax, Linares 1983 Karpov sacrifices for an attack that wins the game 20 moves later, after another spectacular sacrifice from Karpov and counter-sacrifice from Sax. It won the tournament's first brilliancy prize. This was not the first time Karpov used the sharp Keres
    Paul Keres
    Paul Keres , was an Estonian chess grandmaster, and a renowned chess writer. He was among the world's top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s....

     Attack (6. g4) – see his win in Anatoli Karpov vs Vlastimil Hort, Alekhine Memorial Tournament, Moscow 1971

Hobbies

Karpov's extensive stamp collection of Belgium philately
Postage stamps and postal history of Belgium
Belgium began using national postage stamps on July 8, 1849, when two imperforate stamps, a 10c. brown and 20c. blue, were introduced. A few months later a 40c. red stamp with a new design was issued, for postage to foreign destinations. In 1850 two new stamps of 10c. and 20c...

 and Belgian Congo stamps and postal history covering mail from 1742 through 1980 is being deposed of by David Feldman's
David Feldman (philatelist)
David Feldman is a professional philatelist, author and auctioneer, chairman of David Feldman SA, a Geneva based philatelic auction company that has attained record prices for some of the most famous postage stamps of the world...

 auction company in December 2011. He is also known to have a large chess stamp and chess book collections. His private chess library consists of 9000 books.

Honours and awards

  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland
    Order of Merit for the Fatherland
    The Order of Merit for the Fatherland was instituted on 2 March 1994 by Presidential Decree. The statutes describe it as a decoration for merit, not an order of knights....

    , 3rd class (2001) - for outstanding contribution to the implementation of charitable programmes, the strengthening of peace and friendship between the peoples
  • Order of Friendship
    Order of Friendship
    The Order of Friendship is a state decoration of Russia established by decree # 442 of March 2, 1994 of the President of the Russian Federation....

     (2011) - for his great contribution to strengthening peace and friendship between peoples and productive social activities
  • Order of Lenin
    Order of Lenin
    The Order of Lenin , named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union...

     (1981)
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was an order of the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service. It is the labour counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner. A few institutions and factories, being the pride of Soviet Union, also received the order.-History:The Red...

     (1978)
  • Order of Merit
    Order of Merit (Ukraine)
    The Order of Merit first, second or third class, is the Ukrainian award, given to individuals for outstanding achievements in economics, science, culture, military or political spheres of activity...

    , 2nd class (Ukraine) (13 November 2006) - for his contribution to the victims of the Chernobyl disaster
  • Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow
    Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow
    The Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow is an award of the Russian Orthodox Church, established in 1978...

    , 2nd class (1996)
  • Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh, 2nd class (2001)
  • Medal "For outstanding contribution to the Collector business in Russia"
  • Honorary member of the Soviet Philately Society (1979)
  • Diploma of the State Duma of the Russian Federation № 1
  • Order "For outstanding achievements in sport" (Republic of Cuba)
  • Medal of Tsiolkovsky Cosmonautics Federation of Russia
  • Medal "For Strengthening the penal system", 1st and 2nd class
  • Breastplate of the 1st degree of the Interior Ministry
  • International Association of Chess Press, 9 times voted the best chess player of the year and awarded the "Chess Oscar
    Chess Oscar
    Chess Oscar is an international award given to the best chess player every year. The winner is selected by a poll of chess experts across the world, including Grandmasters...

    "
  • Order of Saint Nestor the Chronicler, 1st class

Books

  • Elista Diaries: Karpov–Kamsky, Karpov–Anand, Anand Mexico City 2007 World Chess Championship Matches (with Ron Henley
    Ron Henley
    Ronald Watson "Ron" Henley is a grandmaster of chess, chess writer, producer of chess videos and is involved in financial trading funds...

    ) ISBN 0-923891-97-8

(also a 1992 Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

 edition)

Further reading

  • World chess champions by Edward G. Winter, editor. 1981 ISBN 0-08-024094-1
  • The World's Great Chess Games by Reuben Fine
    Reuben Fine
    Reuben Fine was one of the strongest chess players in the world from the early 1930s through the 1940s, an International Grandmaster, psychologist, university professor, and author of many books on both chess and psychology.Fine won five medals in three chess Olympiads. Fine won the U.S...

    , Dover; 1983. ISBN 0-486-24512-8
  • Anatoly Karpov's Best Games by Anatoly Karpov, Batsford
    Anova Books
    Anova Books is a UK-based publishing company founded in 2005, with the acquisition of the Chrysalis Books Group from the Chrysalis Group. Since its inception, the firm has acquired or created several other imprints...

    ; 2003. ISBN 0-7134-7843-8
  • Curse of Kirsan: Adventures in the Chess Underworld by Sarah Hurst, Russell Enterprises, 2002.

External links

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