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Karpov vs Kasparov Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990
New York and Lyons

The 1990 WCC match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov was held from October 8 to December 30. The match locale was split, with the first 12 games played in New York, USA, and the final 12 in Lyons, France. The prize fund was three million dollars, with 5/8 going to the winner. In case of a tie, the prize fund would be shared equally with Kasparov retaining the title.

Unlike the 1987 WCC cycle in which Karpov was seeded directly into the final candidate match, this time he was only reserved a spot in the quarter finals, and thus had to win three mini-matches in order to face Kasparov. This he accomplished by defeating Johann Hjartarson 3½ to 1½, Artur Yusupov 4½ to 3½ and Jan Timman 6½ to 2½.

Perhaps as a psychological ploy, Karpov suggested a last minute change to the rules in the pre-match press conference. Karpov argued that since the results of their last two matches had been so close, that they should continue play, should they become locked in a 12-12 tie. Kasparov received this suggestion with a look of incredulity. "Mr. Karpov is the challenger," he said, "and he must win the match."[1]

Leaving New York, the score was tied 6-6 (with one win apiece), but Kasparov turned up the heat in France. The New York Times reported:

Chess experts said Mr. Kasparov had lost confidence and grown nervous in New York after he had squandered the early lead in some games when he moved too fast to put his opponent away. Mr. Kasparov picked up steam, however, in Lyons. The match was tied at 8½ points each after 17 games, but Mr. Kasparov left his opponent almost hopelessly behind by winning the 18th and 20th games.[2]
With a final score of 12½ to 11½, Garry Kasparov retained the title of World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 123456789101112131415161718192021222324
Kasparov½1½½½½0½½½½½½½½101½1½½0½
Karpov½0½½½½1½½½½½½½½010½0½½1½

FINAL SCORE:  Kasparov 12½;  Karpov 11½
Reference: game collection Kasparov-Karpov 1990 WCC

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #20     Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990     1-0
    · Game #2     Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990     1-0
    · Game #16     Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990     1-0

FOOTNOTES

  1. Kasparov and Karpov Anticipate a Chess War, New York Times, Oct. 3, 1990.
    2 With a Draw, Kasparov Keeps Title, New York Times, Dec 27, 1990.

 page 1 of 1; 24 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½30 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE81 King's Indian, Samisch
2. Kasparov vs Karpov 1-044 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
3. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½53 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
4. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½41 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
5. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½36 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
6. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½42 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. Karpov vs Kasparov 1-044 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
8. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½84 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
9. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½34 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
10. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½18 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
11. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½24 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
12. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½37 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
13. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½42 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
14. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½41 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC45 Scotch Game
15. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½33 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
16. Kasparov vs Karpov 1-0102 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC45 Scotch Game
17. Karpov vs Kasparov 1-040 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
18. Kasparov vs Karpov 1-057 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½39 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
20. Kasparov vs Karpov 1-041 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
21. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½86 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
22. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½43 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
23. Karpov vs Kasparov 1-029 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
24. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½36 1990 Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchA17 English
 page 1 of 1; 24 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: This match is also known for the fact that the players played under different flags: Karpov played (still) under the Soviet flag, Kasparov (already) under the Russian one.

The Soviet Union still existed (for one more year), but Russia already declared its sovereignity (but not yet independence).

Feb-24-15  Everett: <alexmagnus> That is very interesting. Did not know that. Must have seemed bizarre, but also a sign of the times...
Mar-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <alexmagnus: This match is also known for the fact that the players played under different flags: Karpov played (still) under the Soviet flag, Kasparov (already) under the Russian one.>

I have looked at a lot of pictures from the 1990 match, including the one on this page. Most of then show no flags. After all, what's the point?

But I found this one from the New York half, from The Manchester Guardian: http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-700/h-... That does seem to prove that at least in New York the players chose two different flag-symbols on their name-plates.

Mar-25-15  HeMateMe: For some reason, in the '92 Olympics all the soviet bloc teams competed under either the Olympic five ring flag, or some sort of made up flag, for the moment. I guess the people from Belarus Kazakhstan, etc., didn't actually have their own flags they could use for the Olympic games?
Jul-26-15  Chessman1504: In that documentary, what's interesting to me is how Kasparov claims Karpov's choices against 1.e4 don't "fit his style." It seems a little stereotypical how he says Karpov doesn't understand the Spanish game, like a "Karpov is a positional player. He doesn't get dynamics" sort of thing.
Jul-26-15  TheFocus: Such stupid remarks by Garry.

Karpov is considered a great expert in the Ruy Lopez. Black or White.

Jul-26-15  RookFile: Imagine if Karpov could go back in time with the Berlin wall knowledge that we have today. That would have really been something.
Jul-27-15  Chessman1504: <RookFile> Indeed! I wonder how, in the event that Karpov won the match, Kasparov would have reacted if Karpov said, "Kasparov's choices against 1.e4 e5.. hmmm, don't really fit his style, especially the Berlin." I'll bet Kasparov wouldn't be too happy about that.
Jul-27-15  Chessman1504: <TheFocus> Yeah, I wonder what Kasparov was recommending for Karpov? The Caro-Kann? Karpov did not use the Caro-Kann frequently until the 90's, as in, he didn't use it as his main weapon against 1.e4. He also would rack up a disappointing record against Kasparov in later years.. but who knows? Maybe he could have given it a shot.
Jul-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The Zaitsev Variation of the Spanish is very sharp. I think Karpov only played the Zaitsev because he knew Igor Arkadievich Zaitsev well. I don't think it's his style, either. But one problem is that Karpov won the very first Spanish the two ever played: Kasparov vs Karpov, 1985. But then over the next six years Karpov lost 5 Zaitsevs, won none and managed to draw 9.

So what should Karpov have played in response to Kasparov's 1.e4. Obviously not the Sicilian. Nor the French, Karpov only ever played one French and he lost that: Geller vs Karpov, 1976. Karpov did try the Caro-Kann against Kasparov, but he lost 4, won none and drew three; that's even worse than the Spanish!

If he had played the Berlin he would certainly have done better than he did with those Zaitsevs and CKs. But it might just have meant that Kasparov swirched to 1.d4 and 1.c4.

Jul-27-15  Chessman1504: Well, yes, though in the last Caro-Kann, he was clearly past his prime and got out-prepared. When he tried it in World championship matches before 1990, he got comfortable draws. Maybe he could have tried, though his winning chances were admittedly slim.
Jul-28-15  Everett: < offramp: The Zaitsev Variation of the Spanish is very sharp. I think Karpov only played the Zaitsev because he knew Igor Arkadievich Zaitsev well. I don't think it's his style, either. But one problem is that Karpov won the very first Spanish the two ever played: Kasparov vs Karpov, 1985. But then over the next six years Karpov lost 5 Zaitsevs, won none and managed to draw 9.>

All true, but let's remember that Karpov defeated nearly everyone else with it. He was just outstanding on the Black side of the Ruy. And he also had some near-wins as well.

Kasparov was also outstanding with the Grunfeld vs. most everyone... except Karpov.

Jul-29-15  Everett: Further, Karpov by nature is a kingside castle-guy and q-side attacker. In that case, the Ruy Zaitsev is right up his alley.

Again, Kasparov was the only one ever to make him pay for this opening. Karpov had a smattering of losses here and there with it, but really only Kasparov could see through all the complications.

In a way, it was the definition of styles. Kasparov always went after the king when he had the opportunity, and Karpov was always a super efficient minimalist defender of his king when focusing on his q-side aspirations.

Jul-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Karpov did well, I suppose, to keep the rampaging Kasparov at arm's length. Other players, such as Short and Anand, were pretty much blown away.
Jul-30-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The results between these titans are testimony to the greatness of both.
Jul-30-15  HeMateMe: "The prize fund was three million dollars, with 5/8 going to the winner. In case of a tie, the prize fund would be shared equally with Kasparov retaining the title."

I wonder if the rules regarding a large portion of a Soviet player's winnings kicking back to the state were still in place, at this time?

Jul-31-15  Chessman1504: <Everett> That's interesting how you characterize Karpov. I sometimes think the whole style thing at top levels is a little overblown, but even between two of the top five strongest players ever (arguably), there were clear differences in their preferences.
Jul-31-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <HeMateMe: "The prize fund was three million dollars, with 5/8 going to the winner. In case of a tie, the prize fund would be shared equally with Kasparov retaining the title.">

5/8 seems a bit too much. Certainly 6/8 would be totally unfair; it would be almost 3/4.

Perhaps 4/8 would have been the fairest.

Jul-31-15  HeMateMe: I like 2/5 and 3/5.
Jul-31-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <HeMateMe: I like 2/5 and 3/5.>

That might be too much of a disparity. I think 3/5 to the loser and 4/5 to the winner sounds about right.

Jul-31-15  HeMateMe: Sounds very Orwellian, but we ARE talking about the USSR...
Jul-31-15  Rolfo: <perfidious: The results between these titans are testimony to the greatness of both.>

Very true

Jul-31-15  Howard: The 25th anniversary of this match will, of course, be later this year.
Jul-31-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <offramp> Yes, all these "Ruy Lopez, Closed" games are in fact "Zaitsev" variations and should be titled as such...IMO

*****

Jul-31-15  RookFile: Definitely great matches, very exciting to watch them.
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