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  WCC Overview
Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984-85
The Aborted Match

From the age of 12, the chess genius from Azerbaijan Garry Kasparov was setting new standards. After becoming the youngest player to win the USSR Junior Championship he went on to win the World Junior Championship at age 16. His style was aggressive and dynamic. On his seventeenth birthday he achieved the grandmaster title.

After defeating Beliavsky, Korchnoi, and Smyslov in the candidates matches, Kasparov earned the right to challenge Anatoly Karpov for the title. The match was held in Moscow. Once again, the format was the first to 6 wins, draws not counting.

 Karpov vs Kasparov
 Karpov and Kasparov, 1984
Karpov secured quick lead in the match, winning games 3, 6, 7, and 9 to establish a dominating score of 4-0. However, due an incredible series of draws, it wasn't until game 27 when Karpov claimed his 5th point. With the score 5-0, Karpov's victory appeared imminent, but this marathon struggle was outlasting everybody's expectations. Finally, on the 32nd game, Kasparov beat Karpov for the first time. After another long series of draws, Kasparov won game 47 and game 48, making the score 5 to 3.

At this stage, FIDE President Florencio Campomanes made a most unexpected and controversial decision: he called the match off.

At the press conference at which he announced his decision, Campomanes cited the health of the two players, which had been put under strain by the length of the match, despite that both Karpov and Kasparov stated that they would prefer the match to continue. Karpov had lost 10kg (22lb) over the course of the match. Kasparov, however, was in excellent health and extremely resentful of Campomanes' decision, asking him why he was abandoning the match if both players wanted to continue. It would appear that Kasparov, who had won the last two games before the suspension, felt the same way as some commentators: that he was now the favorite to win the match despite his 5-3 deficit. He appeared to be physically stronger than his opponent, and in the later games seemed to have been playing the better chess.[1]

The match lasted from September 10, 1984 to February 8, 1985. It was aborted after 48 games, making Karpov the de facto winner. A new match was scheduled to take place later in 1985.

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click on a game number to replay game 2122232425262728293031323334353637383940

click on a game number to replay game 4142434445464748

FINAL SCORE:  Karpov 5;  Kasparov 3 (40 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Karpov-Kasparov 1984/5]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #9     Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984     1-0
    · Game #6     Kasparov vs Karpov, 1984     0-1
    · Game #27     Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984     1-0


  1. Garry Kasparov from

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 48  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½36 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
2. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½47 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE17 Queen's Indian
3. Karpov vs Kasparov 1-031 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchB44 Sicilian
4. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½44 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE15 Queen's Indian
5. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½21 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchB83 Sicilian
6. Kasparov vs Karpov 0-170 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE15 Queen's Indian
7. Karpov vs Kasparov 1-044 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
8. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½20 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
9. Karpov vs Kasparov 1-070 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
10. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½15 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE12 Queen's Indian
11. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½41 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchA15 English
12. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½21 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
13. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½33 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchA15 English
14. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½16 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE15 Queen's Indian
15. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½93 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE15 Queen's Indian
16. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½37 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE15 Queen's Indian
17. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½23 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
18. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½25 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE15 Queen's Indian
19. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½51 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½19 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchA15 English
21. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½34 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½25 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
23. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½22 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½17 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchA33 English, Symmetrical
25. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½22 1984 Karpov - Kasparov World Championship MatchD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 48  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 29 OF 29 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-20-12  drik: <Honza Cervenka: The only real issue, which was highly problematic from the perspective of even and fair conditions was just the three days gap between the end of Groningen and the start of the match in Lausanne. As the fatigue can be key factor in the chess match, this schedule was definitely in Anand's disfavour.>

OK. So we are in agreement that the conditions were in Anand's disfavour ... we only disagree about the EXTENT of this disfavour.

<But the question is how great role the fatigue played then, if any at all.>

Fatigue plays a role in most human competition - so 'any at all' is scarcely in doubt. Recall Karpov's fatigue after 20 games in both the 74 & 78 matches against Korchnoi. Recall that Kasparov dismissed the match as between "a tired player and an old player".

<I have to repeat here once again that Vishi as far as I know never explained his loss in 1998 by fatigue>

Vishy is a gentlemen. He has said little about his treatment by the Bulgarians in the Topalov match either, but that does not mean that nothing was amiss. He finally admitted the toll of Kasparov's 'door slamming' antics at the 1995 match - but it took him over a decade to do so. Perhaps he only did so because it was not widely known. Comment on this case may be deemed superfluous - given that it is so blatantly obvious.

Dec-20-12  nok: Your point was the unfairness of one player sitting out while the other plays the Candidates :

<Yes Karpov not knowing who his opponent would be, was inconvenient. But the REAL 'inconvenience' of ACTUALLY having to fight through all these players, was INCOMPARABLY greater than the VIRTUAL inconvenience of POSSIBLY playing them.>

It happens to be a correct point. I noted that all Steinitzian cycles were unfair in this way, whatever the Candidates format. Now, the latter will have its own twists, and knockout is generally disliked. But to say a hundred men lost their honor by a playing in Groningen is, well, moralising.

Jan-06-13  blazerdoodle: @Honza. Fascinating analysis on Fischer. But all the analysis aside, Fischer did have a set of rules he claimed he would play under. I canít say they were right or wrong, they were fed up with the guy. But being and old guy and old school, I liked the Cramer rules and donít believe itís true they unduly favored the champ. The idea of having to beat the champ to take his title is not to give the champ special treatment - he has it by the success he gained it, already- why? If the match is drawn, and the challenger still able to usurp him, but not beat him. This canít be good. Itís trying to give to the usurper more than his due, is all it is. Iím not saying the challenger deserves more than his due. But if the match is drawn, he shouldnít lose his title. No one took it. This will continue to bug me. I believe chess is like boxing, not tennis or baseball.
Apr-29-13  Capabal: <Determining the Strength of Chess Players Based on Actual Play> by Diogo R. Ferreira, ICGA Journal, March 2012

Ferreira analyzed various matches and tournaments, among them all the K-K matches. Results of the K-K matches are copied below. The method is described as follows:

We used HOUDINI 1.5a which is one of the strongest engines currently available (only superseded by HOUDINI 2.0c at the time of this writing), with a search depth of 20 plies.

ē We carried out the analysis from move 1 (actually, analysis begun with the starting position, so that the gain of the first move could be determined). With respect to opening theory/preparation, we consider it to be an integral part of strength of play.

ē With regard to suboptimal play in won/lost positions, we considered that playing strength should be de- termined based on whatever a player brings about on the board. If a player plays suboptimally, and this changes the position evaluation, then it should have an effect on the perceived strength of play.

ē Our method for comparing players is based on the distribution of gain expressed as a histogram with the maximum possible resolution (in this work, we used intervals 1 centipawn). This is in contrast with other approaches that consider only one or two parameters (e.g., mean loss, or mean and standard deviation).

ē Rather than an expected error or best move percentage, our method provides an expected score between players that can be directly translated into an estimated rating difference. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that computer analysis can be translated directly into the Elo-rating scale.

ē There is no consideration whatsoever of the complexity of the positions. This is perhaps one of the few issues in which the present approach is lacking in comparison with both Guid and Bratko (2006) and Regan and Haworth (2011)


Kasparov-Karpov WC matches






Aug-31-13  thegoodanarchist: <After defeating Beliavsky, Korchnoi, and Smyslov in the candidates matches, Kasparov earned the right to challenge Anatoly Karpov for the title.>

How impressive is Smyslov? More than 30 years after his WC reign he was back in the mix of it.

Aug-31-13  RookFile: Good for Smyslov, but a commentary on the relative decline in chess at the time. Kasparov deserves credit, with his lively play, for reawakening interest in the game. Karpov was very strong, but his style was more focused on winning endgames.
Sep-30-13  Conrad93: Wow. A a first time win on the thirty second move.

That must be a record.

Sep-30-13  Conrad93: They should have stopped the championship after the fifth consecutive win by Karpov.

FIDE sucks.

Sep-30-13  Jim Bartle: <They should have stopped the championship after the fifth consecutive win by Karpov. FIDE sucks.>

Excellent idea. Forget about the rules, just make them up as you go. In football, if a team is ahead by two goals after 80 minutes, call the game. In golf, if one player is three strokes ahead after 16 holes, declare him the winner.

Sep-30-13  Conrad93: Comparing golf and football to chess is idiotic.
Sep-30-13  Jim Bartle: So if the rules say first to win six games wins the match, if it gets to 5-0, just say it's over. The hell with the rules.

When Karpov was leading Korchnoi 5-2 in 1978, should they have declared Karpov the winner right there?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Neither player was tired. 48 games in five months is not very many - and nearly all those games had been very short draws.

FIDE was the tired one; FIDE and the Soviet Chess Federation. They simply could not afford to keep the match going on indefinitely.

Oct-02-13  Conrad93: Why not just indefinitely extend the match then, Jim?

There is always a chance the opponent could catch up, right?

Oct-03-13  Jim Bartle: The rule was first to six wins, conrad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Conrad> is still learning....
Oct-18-13  devere: I've never seen it discussed, but what happened to the purse for this match? Did the K & K boys play 48 grueling games for no pay?
Aug-07-14  tzar: The whole 1984 WC match was a mess. Again Fischer's ghost was present with his stupid demands that affected the next WC match cycle which should have been to 24 games.

IMO Karpov showed complete superiority over any conceivable reasonable match lenght and Kasparov's strategy of making draws to prolong the fight led to a senseless endless match that became just a resistence test. Karpov had already lost 10 Kg. and the officials were worried about his health.

Campomanes tried to end the mess that was a ruin economically and could have lasted 20 or 25 games more putting the players health at risk.

His decision was controversial and open to criticism but it does not make him a "criminal".

Aug-07-14  Petrosianic: Timing is everything. If Campomanes had stopped the match after Game 46, few would have blamed him. Stopping it when he did looked like exactly what it was: An attempt to save Karpov's bacon. (Nobody called him a criminal, even though you put that word in quotes for some reason).

Mind you, I personally think Karpov would have won the match had it continued. That doesn't mean Campomanes thought so. He toyed with the idea of stopping the 1978 match the same way.

Likewise, if both players had agreed to the stoppage, few would have blamed Campo. But neither did.

I don't think the Unlimited Match was a bad idea. It was a reasonable attempt to put more fight into the matches. A lot of people predicted that this kind of thing might happen, given two players with the wrong kinds of styles, and the wrong circumstances. But just as many poo-pooed the idea. The only way to settle the question was to test the format and find out. We tested it, it failed. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have tested.

Aug-07-14  tzar: The decision was controversial...some people like you see it as a way of saving Karpov's bacon...others as a quite reasonable decision (considering the tactics going on in the match, financial and health reasons)...others think it only favored Kasparov.
Aug-07-14  Howard: Regarding Petrosianic's recent comment, Campomanes didn't become president of FIDE until 1982. It was actually Euwe who was FIDE president at the time of the 1978 Karpov-Korchnoi match, though he stepped down later that year.

Olafsson succeeded him, and then in 1982 it was the Campomanes regime.

Aug-07-14  Petrosianic: I'm aware that Campo wasn't FIDE President in 1978. But he was running the Philippine Federation, where the match was played. Of course it would have been a lot messier if one the organizers tried to pull the plug on a match without FIDE's consent. They'd probably be in breach of contract. And since it never actually happened, it's no more than rumor.
Aug-07-14  Petrosianic: <tzar>: <others think it only favored Kasparov.>

In the end, I think it did, if you consider what would have happened had Kasparov won the 1984 match. Everyone would have said, with some justification, that Karpov was a better player but Kasparov won by outsitting him. His whole image as the gutsy rebel challenging the establishment would be destroyed. He'd have been champion, but a champion that got little respect. Even if he still won the 1985 match, his reputation would be permanently affected.

People are funny. They don't blame him for TRYING to win that way (what else could he do?). But actually succeeding at winning that way would have left a different impression.

Dec-19-14  1d410: It seems like the FIDE president was trying to bail out Karpov, but what was his motive? Why be biased one way or another?
Dec-19-14  Petrosianic: Karpov and Campomanes were good personal friends.
Dec-19-14  Olavi: Not only did Campomanes make a decision that was very disadvantageous for Karpov, the decision was also contrary to what, C, K and K had agreed on, as Karpov's immediate reaction showed. In fact, it was exactly what Kasparov had proposed, albeit before game 48. Source: Gligoric, the arbiter.
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