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Anatoly Karpov
Number of games in database: 3,551
Years covered: 1961 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2623 (2630 rapid, 2644 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2780
Overall record: +972 -228 =1299 (64.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      1052 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (250) 
    B92 B81 B24 B44 B84
 King's Indian (185) 
    E60 E62 E81 E71 E63
 Queen's Indian (146) 
    E15 E17 E12 E16 E19
 Ruy Lopez (135) 
    C95 C82 C84 C92 C80
 Queen's Gambit Declined (113) 
    D37 D30 D35 D38 D31
 Grunfeld (98) 
    D85 D73 D97 D78 D87
With the Black pieces:
 Caro-Kann (273) 
    B17 B12 B10 B14 B18
 Queen's Indian (241) 
    E15 E12 E17 E19 E14
 Ruy Lopez (175) 
    C92 C95 C69 C77 C98
 Nimzo Indian (160) 
    E32 E54 E21 E53 E42
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (137) 
    C92 C95 C98 C93 C86
 Sicilian (92) 
    B46 B40 B44 B47 B42
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984 1-0
   Karpov vs Topalov, 1994 1-0
   Karpov vs Unzicker, 1974 1-0
   Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974 1-0
   Kasparov vs Karpov, 1984 0-1
   Karpov vs Topalov, 1994 1-0
   Timman vs Karpov, 1979 0-1
   Karpov vs Gulko, 1996 1-0
   Karpov vs Kasparov, 1985 1-0
   Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978)
   Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981)
   Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984)
   Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1985)
   Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Rematch (1986)
   Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1987)
   Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1990)
   Karpov - Timman FIDE World Championship (1993)
   Karpov - Kamsky FIDE World Championship (1996)
   Karpov - Anand World Championship Match (1998)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   Madrid (1973)
   USSR Championship (1976)
   San Antonio (1972)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   Montreal (1979)
   Bad Lauterberg (1977)
   Phillips & Drew GLC Kings (1984)
   Brussels World Cup (1988)
   Linares (1994)
   Trophee Anatoly Karpov (2012)
   Cap D'Agde (2013)
   Cap d'Agde (2008)
   Superstars Hotel Bali (2002)
   USSR Championship (1971)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Karpov Tournament Champion - I by amadeus
   Anatoly Karpov - My Best 300 Games by jakaiden
   Karpov Tournament Champion - II by amadeus
   Match Karpov! by amadeus
   Anatoly Karpov's Best Games by KingG
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1980-1989 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   "Chess Genius Karpov" - Victor Baturinsky by Karpova
   a Karpov collection by obrit
   Anatoly Karpov's best games by Psihadal
   Basic Instinct by Imohthep
   How Karpov Wins 2nd Edition by BntLarsen
   Karpov vs. the World Champions Decisive Games by visayanbraindoctor
   Instructive Karpov Games by Billy Ray Valentine
   Anatoly Karpov - My 300 Best Games by YuanTi

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Anatoly Karpov
Search Google for Anatoly Karpov
FIDE player card for Anatoly Karpov

(born May-23-1951, 63 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov was born in the town of Zlatoust, located in the Southern Ural Mountains in the USSR. He learned to play chess at four years old and became a candidate master by age eleven. At twelve, Karpov was accepted into the chess academy presided over by Mikhail Botvinnik. Karpov won the World Junior Championship in 1969, thereby automatically gaining the title of International Master. In 1970, he became an International Grandmaster after finishing equal fourth at Caracas. A World Championship Candidate in 1973, he defeated Viktor Korchnoi in the Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974) to earn the right to Karpov - Fischer World Championship Match (1975) with World Champion Robert James Fischer. When FIDE declared Fischer forfeited, Karpov became the 12th World Chess Champion, the youngest since Mikhail Tal in 1960.

Karpov defended the championship twice against Korchnoi in Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978) and Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981). After Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984) which was aborted with Karpov leading by 2 points over Garry Kasparov, he lost his title to Kasparov in Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1985). He played three more closely contested matches with Kasparov, narrowly losing Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Rematch (1986), drawing Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1987) and narrowly losing Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1990).

Karpov was thrice Soviet Champion: in 1976*, 1983** and 1988***, on the latter occasion sharing the title with Kasparov. In 1993 Karpov regained the FIDE title against Jan Timman in Karpov - Timman FIDE World Championship (1993), after Kasparov had broken away from the organization. He successfully defended his title against Gata Kamsky in Karpov - Kamsky FIDE World Championship (1996) and Viswanathan Anand in Karpov - Anand World Championship Match (1998). In 1999 FIDE changed the rules, deciding that the World Champion would be determined by an annual knockout tournament, and Karpov retired from championship competition.

At Linares (1994), Karpov achieved one of the greatest tournament successes ever, distancing Kasparov by 2.5 points.

Outside of chess, Karpov has been linked to the company Petromir, which claimed in 2007 to have found a large natural gas field.****

* [rusbase-1]; ** [rusbase-2]; *** [rusbase-3]

**** Miriam Elder, The St. Petersburg Times, Issue # 1242, 2007.02.02, Link: and The St. Petersburg Times, Issue # 1246, 2007.02.16, Link:

Wikipedia article: Anatoly Karpov

 page 1 of 143; games 1-25 of 3,551  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. V Kalashnikov vs Karpov ½-½62 1961 ZlatoustE15 Queen's Indian
2. Zadneprovsky vs Karpov 0-165 1961 ZlatoustE27 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation
3. B Kalinkin vs Karpov ½-½32 1961 CheliabinskC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
4. Karpov vs V Kalashnikov 1-060 1961 ZlatoustC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
5. Karpov vs Maksimov 1-060 1961 MagnitogorskE81 King's Indian, Samisch
6. Tarinin vs Karpov 1-035 1961 ZlatoustC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
7. G Timoshchenko vs Karpov 0-153 1961 BorovichiC10 French
8. Karpov vs Gaimaletdinov 1-060 1961 ZlatoustC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
9. Karpov vs S Belousov 1-040 1961 BorowitschiC07 French, Tarrasch
10. Shusharin vs Karpov 0-135 1961 CheliabinskC77 Ruy Lopez
11. Karpov vs Ziuliarkin 1-035 1961 ZlatoustB24 Sicilian, Closed
12. Karpov vs Nedelin 1-036 1961 BorovichiC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
13. Karpov vs Budakov ½-½26 1961 ZlatoustC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
14. A Shneider vs Karpov 0-151 1961 CheliabinskC34 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Karpov vs Shefler 1-043 1961 ZlatoustC01 French, Exchange
16. Karpov vs A Alekseev ½-½58 1961 ZlatoustB40 Sicilian
17. E Lazarev vs Karpov 0-149 1961 CheliabinskD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Karpov vs Mukhudulin ½-½61 1961 ZlatoustB56 Sicilian
19. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½30 1961 SimulC47 Four Knights
20. V G Kirillov vs Karpov 0-163 1962 ZlatoustA20 English
21. Kolishkin vs Karpov ½-½39 1962 CheliabinskC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
22. Karpov vs Piskunov 1-035 1962 ZlatoustB03 Alekhine's Defense
23. Karpov vs Tarinin 1-053 1962 CheliabinskC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
24. V Kalashnikov vs Karpov ½-½36 1962 ZlatoustC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
25. Karpov vs Karin 1-039 1962 CheliabinskB06 Robatsch
 page 1 of 143; games 1-25 of 3,551  PGN Download
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Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If the phrase had gone instead 'first-rank world title aspirant', I should agree with <Caissanist>, mais certainement.

As to the proposition <Olavi> made, agreed--it is plausible, if not highly probable.

Romanishin indeed showed some promise of breaking through, but never quite managed at the very highest level, for reasons I have never understood.

Jan-03-15  Howard: Romanishin certainly showed some promise back in 1977 when he tied for first with Tal at a very strong tournament in Leningrad....and Karpov finished only around fourth ! In fact, Chess Life and Review ran a short article on the event, and the writer (David Levy I think) actually went as far as to say that at the rate that Romanishin was improving..."I fully expect to see him in the Candidates final match in 1980."

Didn't quite work out though....Romanishin didn't even make the Candidates for 1980.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Didn't quite work out though....Romanishin didn't even make the Candidates for 1980.>

Yes, Romanishin got to the Canidates only once - in the PCA championship which ended in 1995 (lost in the quarterfinal 2:5 to Anand).

Jan-04-15  Olavi: And Vaganian. But it's true, comparatively few. Another possible reason, perhaps it was because the earlier generation was too strong?!
Jan-04-15  Troller: And then even Kasparov was sort of a glitch. There were some strong players of the same generation, e.g. Jusupov and Ehlvest, but these were all but eclipsed by the Anand-generation born 1968-75 or so. They would then go on to dominate chess for the next two decades.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I agree with <perfidious>' distinction between "first-rank world title aspirant" and super-gm with regard to those born in the Soviet Union between 1937 and 1963.

Part of the reason might be that while the chess drenched atmosphere looked inviting from the outside, the competition to reach the top was cut-throat, and the older generation was entrenched.

A Fischer born in the USSR in 1943 at age 15 would encounter a 1958 USSR Championship where a 27 year old brute like Korchnoi could only finish at 50%, and to make an plus impression you would have to get past Geller, Polugaevsky, when your reward would be to face the top group, Tal, Bronstein, Petrosian and Spassky.

Jan-04-15  Olavi: "First-rank title aspirant" is so very exclusive. For me, there's ever only been four at the same time at the most, normally two. <tamar>'s point is a good one; it is not inconceivable that that Fischer would have drowned. (I'm not suggesting that he would have.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Olavi> To me you opened a fascinating, if unsolvable discussion.

Fischer's trip to the USSR in 1958 does provide some indication what might have happened.

He navigated the first level of strong players in blitz beating Vasuikov and Nikitin, and demanded to play Botvinnik. The Soviets instead trotted in Petrosian who won their sessions.

Fischer became insulting when it became apparent that was all the Soviets were prepared to organize for him, and left in a rage.

Even such a talented player as 24 year old Stein was toiling away in the semi finals to qualify for the Championship in 1959.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: We have seen a great many borderline candidate-level players from those born in that period 1937 through the fifties, in numerous countries: the distinction between them and those whom I regard as legitimate aspirants to the title was not a huge one at first glance, but proved almost insuperable for those who tried.

To add to the names listed by <echever7> above, we may mention Ljubojevic, Ribli, Nunn, Adorjan et al.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Fischer of course thought of the Soviet players as a group, a clump of cheaters.

But most of them were outside the main and hardly communists. Keres was not outspoken, having had to tolerate even Nazis in WW2. Bronstein had learned to keep his mouth shut by hard experience. Tal was a nationalist Latvian, but only spoke out later. Spassky used irony to disguise his criticisms of the system, and impersonated all the top players. Korchnoi only excelled in fits and starts, not showing his title contender capabilities in full until he left.

Geller was a hardline communist, but it didn't do him much good. Botvinnik used him as an ideas factory, and later Petrosian outflanked him in Curacao to win the "Survivor' competition there.

Petrosian was the only one to use the politics to his advantage, although as an Armenian, he was for a long time an outsider as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tamar> As I have opined elsewhere, had Keres been merely on the level of Vladimirs Petrovs, rather than a potential titleholder, he may well have been hanged for collaboration after the war instead of narrowly escaping with a whole skin.

Spassky was an interesting case: someone who could help his masters' aims, but always a maverick. I have always been curious why the authorities allowed him to live abroad.

Korchnoi was too much his own man and only wanted to play chess, with little or no interest in politics.

Petrosian was the golden boy of the establishment, until he found himself unable to beat Korchnoi in the 1974 and '77 cycles. For him to get sacked as editor of <64> was no mean feat.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <Korchnoi was too much his own man and only wanted to play chess, with little or no interest in politics.>

By the way, you know that when Korchnoi moved to his new apartment in Switzerland, he got a call from the Soviet authorities (informing him that he is not a Soviet citizen anymore) literally minutes after he set his phone up? The story goes, Korchnoi always wondered how they found out the number, it was nowhere registered at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Never heard that one--a gem.

Korchnoi was doubtless deeply wounded at having been deprived of his citizenship.

Jan-05-15  Petrosianic: Never heard that story. Considering that Korchnoi first lived in the Netherlands (long enough to have won a Dutch Championship), it seems odd that the KGB would have taken that long to call him. Surely he already knew by the time he went to Switzerland.
Jan-05-15  HeMateMe: Did Korchnoi ever return to Russia after the end of the communist government? What does his son Igor do, these days?
Jan-15-15  ketchuplover: Anatoly's still playing. Played Ivan Morovic 2 classical & 2 rapid games.
Jan-26-15  The Rocket: <Can someone compare their styles a bit? What distinguishes Carlsen from being a better Karpov? What areas is he stronger in? What areas is he weaker than Karpov was in?>

Magnus Carlsen is the better defender of critical positions. I'd say on par with a young Kramnik. This suggests his calculations are stronger. Anatoly Karpov had a wonderful ability to make his opponents pieces look stupid, through sheer positional maneuvering. I don't think Carlsen is at that level of positional mastery. But hey, a win is a win..

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Karpov is stronger in the openings than Carlsen. Karpov concentrated on a few openings and played them very well - rarely got into trouble early in a game.

Carlsen plays a lot more openings - occasionally gets outplayed early counting on his middlegame and endgame skills to save draws or win from equal positions.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <plang: Karpov is stronger in the openings than Carlsen....>

On what we have seen, agreed--one wonders how matters would stand if Carlsen were to focus more on the opening phase.

<,....Karpov concentrated on a few openings and played them very well....>

In his early career as a top-class player, there was far more variety to his game than later, when his repertoire tended towards narrowness, especially as Black against elite opposition.

< (Karpov) rarely got into trouble early in a game.>

Very definitely, as one might expect.

Jan-27-15  The Rocket: <Karpov is stronger in the openings than Carlsen>

No, he isn't. If Karpov was stronger with the black pieces he might very well have beaten Kasparov. Fact is he wasn't. Anatoly never managed to adopt an impenetrable black defence against Kasparov, comparable to what Kramnik did with the Berlin. Karpov was always beatable with the black pieces and that's just a fact.

Carlsen doesn't play main lines because he's hundred elo points stronger than his adversaries and doesn't want to compare computer preparation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <Karpov was always beatable with the black pieces and that's just a fact.>

?!? Then why did he lose so few games?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Karpov was always beatable with the black pieces and that's just a fact.>

It would seem that <Rocket> is living by a river known as Denial, iffen y'all get my drift.

Jan-27-15  RookFile: With these things, I always want to ask what version of Karpov you're talking about. Somewhere around 1978 this guy was beating just about everybody. Certainly he has to be a top 5 player all time.
Jan-27-15  The Rocket: Yes. Maybe even top 3. Remember, this guy beat Anand twice in matches back when Anatoly was past his prime both times. Just goes to show you what a tough match player he really was.
Jan-27-15  Jim Bartle: Maybe Karpov was slightly past his prime when he defeated Anand in the 1991 match, but Anand definitely had not reached his prime.
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