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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. Karpov vs Ziuliarkin 1-035 1961 ZlatoustB24 Sicilian, Closed
2. Karpov vs Nedelin 1-036 1961 BorovichiC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
3. Karpov vs Budakov ½-½26 1961 ZlatoustC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
4. A Shneider vs Karpov 0-151 1961 CheliabinskC34 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Karpov vs S Belousov 1-040 1961 BorowitschiC07 French, Tarrasch
6. Karpov vs Shefler 1-043 1961 ZlatoustC01 French, Exchange
7. Karpov vs A Alekseev ½-½58 1961 ZlatoustB40 Sicilian
8. E Lazarev vs Karpov 0-149 1961 CheliabinskD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. Karpov vs Mukhudulin ½-½61 1961 ZlatoustB56 Sicilian
10. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½30 1961 SimulC47 Four Knights
11. V Kalashnikov vs Karpov ½-½62 1961 ZlatoustE15 Queen's Indian
12. Zadneprovsky vs Karpov 0-165 1961 ZlatoustE27 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation
13. B Kalinkin vs Karpov ½-½32 1961 CheliabinskC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
14. Karpov vs V Kalashnikov 1-060 1961 ZlatoustC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
15. Karpov vs Maksimov 1-060 1961 MagnitogorskE81 King's Indian, Samisch
16. Tarinin vs Karpov 1-035 1961 ZlatoustC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
17. G Timoshchenko vs Karpov 0-153 1961 BorovichiC10 French
18. Karpov vs Gaimaletdinov 1-060 1961 ZlatoustC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
19. Shusharin vs Karpov 0-135 1961 CheliabinskC77 Ruy Lopez
20. V Kalashnikov vs Karpov ½-½36 1962 ZlatoustC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
21. Karpov vs Karin 1-039 1962 CheliabinskB06 Robatsch
22. Manakov vs Karpov 0-126 1962 KoyenskC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
23. Aranov vs Karpov 0-171 1962 CheliabinskC10 French
24. Kolishkin vs Karpov 0-154 1962 ZlatoustC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
25. Ziuliarkin vs Karpov 0-135 1962 ZlatoustC50 Giuoco Piano
 page 1 of 143; games 1-25 of 3,551  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Karpov wins | Karpov loses  

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < The Rocket: <Put me in with the Know-Nothings, then. If Topalov was ever an all-time great, it was between Kasparov's retirement and the Kramnik match.> Topalov is still Topalov. It's not as if he figured out chess in 2005. He was always a consistent top 5 player. >

Wait, consistent top-five makes you an all-time great? Quick, alert Alexander Beliavsky (and a few dozen others).

Anyway, through 2005, Topalov's top ranking (in 1997) was #6. Karpov was just a bit better.

<As to your list: I doubt Botvinnik loses much either outside of his matches.>

While he was the champion, he didn't play much outside of his matches. If I get interested I'll figure his numbers out.

Jan-28-15  The Rocket: Topalov just so happened to be a top player next to Kramnik, Anand and Ivanchuk. You don't seem to realize just how great these players are/were.

Beliavsky and Ljubojevic are <not> all time greats. And these were rivals of Karpov. Of course anybody in the world championship contention world is an all time great the bigger you make the list. But that's a separate point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <The Rocket: <Also, the greatest all-time great Karpov had to face was (of course) Kasparov. The greatest all-time great Kasparov had to face was Karpov.> Not in the 70s and early 80s (outside of 3 games and one simul). You referred to an era without Kaspy.>

Well, this is getting ridiculous.

This whole discussion got started because Perfidious said that from the mid-70s to the early 80s, when Karpov lost, it was front-page news. You piped up and said

<That's true of all current world champions except Euwe.>

Now I have no idea what that means. I picked up that sentence and looked at it from different angles and I couldn't make any sense of it. There's only one current world champion, and Euwe lost the title 78 years ago.

But it did get me wondering about how often world champions lose. I knew I had counted up Karpov's losses during the 70s one time, so I found that post, and then I decided to compare him to other world champions. I didn't bother with Botvinnik, because he played so little as champion, and I didn't do Tal or Smyslov, because they only reigned a year each, and presumably the vast number of games I would be looking at would be the matches in which they gained and then lost the title. Fischer didn't play any games as champion, and I wanted to look at people who preceded Karpov, because they would have provided the standard of comparison for Karpov once he took the title. So, that left Petrosian and Spassky.

After I did the work and posted the results, you piped up again and listed who you thought were the great rivals of Karpov and Kasparov. (You really seem to have it in for Karpov, for some reason.) And then when I pointed out you'd left out Kasparov as Karpov's great rival and Karpov as Kasparov's great rival, you piped up with <Not in the 70s and early 80s (outside of 3 games and one simul). You referred to an era without Kaspy.>

HUHHH? The only reason I mentioned Kasparov at all was that you brought him up.

You just sort of rocket from one non-sequitur to another.

Anyway, <The Rocket>, no offense, but I'm done dealing with your queries and observations for now. I might look up Botvinnik's record as champ if I get interested.

Jan-28-15  The Rocket: <But it did get me wondering about how often world champions lose>

And I was proven right. Most if not all active world champs rarely lost. Current, meant the reigning one in any era. I see no harm in phrasing it like that.

I have nothing against Karpov but don't tell me his rivals are comparable and equate his low loss record to those guys who will not make any list outside of those that got beat by Karpov.

Over and out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Botvinnik's zenith was <before> he won the title, from 1941 through his victory in the match tournament. To judge Botvinnik by his record as champion will sell him short, in my opinion.
Jan-28-15  Lambda: Karpov and Kasparov played five world championship matches, they're the two most closely compared players in history. And Kasparov, after 144 games, finished +2. There's virtually nothing to choose between them. Wherever you have one, the other must also be thereabouts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <There's virtually nothing to choose between them.>

I realize the matches were all close but Karpov never won any of them so Kasparov has to get the advantage there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Even a somewhat larger margin would not constitute incontrovertible superiority of one player over another, given the number of games played.

Tournaments? Different story overall, particularly by the time Karpov entered a decline phase--yes, yes, I too am aware of Linares 1994, but that was the exception, not the rule.

Jan-29-15  The Rocket: You don't rate players based on their head to head stats to their closes rival. In such case, Nadal would be superior to Federer, even several years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <rocket scientist--not> No-one here is doing so; Kasparov's superiority overall was indisputable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <The Rocket: You don't rate players based on their head to head stats to their closes rival. In such case, Nadal would be superior to Federer, even several years ago.>

You rate players based on several things, including on their head-to-head stats against their closest rival -- especially when they've played about 200 games with said rival.

You just don't want to do so in this case, because Karpov did so surprisingly well against Kasparov head-to-head.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I'm a big Karpov fan but to me Kasparov was almost always stronger. From the second match onwards Karpov was always on the back foot (although he was ahead in the second match). He always seemed to be defending against huge attacks. He did amazingly well to keep the score so close over 200 games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: It is not easy to win a rematch with an opponent that you have already defeated. Just ask Smyslov or Tal (or Euwe). Kasparov's ability to maintain his title despite numerous challenges from Karpov was an impressive achievement. Karpov's feat against Korchnoi is also impressive.

Alekhine against Bogoljubov and Carlsen against Anand also achieved this though you could argue that the these opponents were not as closely matched.

Jan-29-15  Olavi: <plang> I would also point out the four consecutive Petrosian-Korchnoi candidates matches 1971-1980, with Korchnoi taking the last three. The matches were shorter and Petrosian was no longer at his peak, but still remarkable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The overall result of the Kasparov-Karpov matches is a testament to the greatness of both players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp: I'm a big Karpov fan but to me Kasparov was almost always stronger. From the second match onwards Karpov was always on the back foot (although he was ahead in the second match). He always seemed to be defending against huge attacks. He did amazingly well to keep the score so close over 200 games.>

I think this is fair, and the first sentence undeniable. <The Rocket> I should say I don't like contemplating Lasker's score against Capablanca, though there isn't nearly so much evidence to contend with as with Karpov and Kasparov.

Jan-29-15  The Rocket: <No-one here is doing so; Kasparov's superiority overall was indisputable.>

<Lambda> did infer such a thing. Can you read?

Jan-29-15  The Rocket: <Kasparov's ability to maintain his title despite numerous challenges from Karpov was an impressive achievement.>

All of Kasparovs titel defences could have gone either way. Incredibly, they all went his way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Absolutely agree with <perf> here. Each K-K match-up was epic.
Jan-29-15  Lambda: It's amazing how such a clearly tiny difference can nevertheless be so clear.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Two of the very greatest players ever going at each other hard--no debating that.

It is entirely possible that Kasparov would never have attained full flower without Karpov's implacable opposition, as was the case with more than one of his <Great Predecessors>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: This is why I think Kasparov was the best of all time. Karpov would have been absolutely dominant throughout the eighties if Kasparov had not come along, in fact he may well have reached his peak <after> he lost his title. He was indisputably the best player in the world, already one of the best in history, and still improving--and then he lost his title to someone who suddenly became even better. That's really the only time in chess history that that has happened.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Catfriend: <Caissanist> Perhaps Capablanca - Alekhine?
Jan-30-15  Lambda: Capablanca was strongest during the late 10s and early 20s, during which he played almost flawless chess. He started making errors in the mid 20s, leading to him twice finishing behind Lasker in tournaments then losing the title to Alekhine.

You could almost make a case for Lasker actually, seeing as he seemed just as strong in 1924 as he'd always been, but when he lost the title he was in a bit of a slump due to the result of the war, so it's not quite the same thing.

(It's a shame Lasker and Capablanca had their match when Capablanca was at his best and Lasker was at his worst. If the war hadn't happened, having made friends again at St. Petersburg 1914, you can imagine them having titanic struggles for the top spot during the rest of the 10s to rival the Karpov-Kasparov battles.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: <Lambda> Yup, well said.
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