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  WCC Overview
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.

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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 #16     Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990     1-0
    · Game #2     Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990     1-0


  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; 17 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½301990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE81 King's Indian, Samisch
2. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½531990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
3. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½411990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½361990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
5. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½421990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
6. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½841990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½341990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
8. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½181990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
9. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½241990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
10. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½371990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
11. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½421990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
12. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½411990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC45 Scotch Game
13. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½331990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchD85 Grunfeld
14. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½391990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE92 King's Indian
15. Karpov vs Kasparov ½-½861990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
16. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½431990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
17. Kasparov vs Karpov ½-½361990Kasparov - Karpov World Championship MatchA17 English
 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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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  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: From games 3 to 15 there was only one win, with 12 draws. This large number of draws was not even noticed at the time because compared to the 1984/5 match it was a wee-wee in Europa's frozen ocean.

Also, all the games were very hard fought, except perhaps the Petroff in game 10.

Perhaps the New Yorkers would have been a bit unhappy with only 2 wins in 12 games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think people were ok with the draws because it was the KKs playing. We all knew how good they were, two of the three best players of the past 20 years.

kasparov probably had clear memories of what happens when you push too hard against Karpov (losing 4 of the first 9 games in the first match), so his caution radar was up. This wasn't Jan Timman or dzindzichashvili, it was Tolya the Terrible he was playing.

Aug-02-15  Olavi: <morfishine: <offramp>> Karpov played 9...Nd7 a couple of times, and that's not Zaitsev. I'm not quite sure what it should be called, here it's Keres defence, but that's 9...Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 and only now 11...Nd7.
Aug-02-15  morfishine: <Olavi> Yes, you are right Zaitsev has Re8 followed by Bf8
Oct-14-15  The Kings Domain: I'll always have warm and fond memories of this match. It was the time I first got into the game and I remember being excited about this match and following it game by game back when newspapers would cover a world Chess championship and feature the notation of each game on its top page. I found the repetition of the openings the combatants used amusing and boring but was impressed by how they came up with quality games from such monotony. It was the last great era of Chess and there was no better time for someone my age to be introduced to a lifelong passion for the game.
Oct-14-15  The Kings Domain: Fishy: Very true, I forgot to mention the diagrams that were included. Those were the days when Chess still had some relevance to the masses and Joe Public more or less knew who the world champion was.

If I'm not mistaken, coverage of Chess matches were given more importance then because the mainstream media would feature them. And those were the days before the internet.

Oct-14-15  Lambda: It was the last "proper, full-on fight" of a match. Modern matches are a bit short, and the transition was made of matches which were a bit one-sided.
Premium Chessgames Member
Kasparov and Karpov Share Two Passions: Their Love of Chess and Their Hatred for Each Other Los Angeles Times
October 7, 1990>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If that piece is any evidence at all, it would be fair to state that these two greats were united by mutual loathing--as noted therein, by no means a unique instance between opponents of the very highest class.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <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.>

It is well-known that pi/7 for the challenger is the most fair arrangement.

Oct-29-15  TheFocus: <offramp> <Certainly 6/8 would be totally unfair; it would be almost 3/4.>

It wouldn't "almost" be the same; it would be the same.

But of course, he was probably joking.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <perfidious: If that piece is any evidence at all, it would be fair to state that these two greats were united by mutual loathing--as noted therein, by no means a unique instance between opponents of the very highest class.>

But what is it like to spend roughly four hours of every day opposite some guy you hardly know, day after day, week after week and year after year?

We can hardly imagine it. The nearest we get is the queue at the post office.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: A couple of pages ago I said they played under different flags, while the successor poster showed two photos: with no flags and with different ones. This let me confused. Today I finally learned the mystery behind it.

They <did> play under different flags for the first four or five games. But FIDE didn't recognize the Russian flag and prohibited Kasparov to play under it. There was some heated debate behind the scenes, after which a compromise was found: the flags on the table were removed altogether but Kasparov was allowed to wear the Russian flag on his clothing.

By the way, the Russian flag used by Kasparov was not the official flag of Russia back then. Kasparov said they made the flag out of some home materials, as they could not buy it.

First, in 1990 Russia still used the flag of the Russian Soviet Republic (the Soviet flag with a blue stripe added on the left side).

The Russian tricolore flag was used on some demonstrations around Russia's declaration of sovereignty. But even more interesting is: the flag Russia adopted upon its independence was <not> the flag Kasparov used in the match. It had a different shade of blue. The flag Kasparov used was adopted in 1993...

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <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.>

π/5 would be more equitable, IMO

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: From the New Yorker review of "Bridges of Madison County," by Anthony Lane:

"I have always been scared of Meryl Streep. She's brilliant, but the shine is that of an Ice Queen. One reason it's so hard to warm to her is that she visibly refuses to stop thinking about her performances; the recent escapes into high adventure (The River Wild) and broad comedy (Death Becomes Her) were intended as a change of gear, but you could still see the engine whirring away in her head. The big question, in fact, is whether <life> becomes her. Middle-perriod De Niro made you feel the same way; observing th two of them in "Falling in Love," as they went through the precisely calibated motions, was like watching Karpov versus Kasparov."

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "Full" Match Documentary: (~2hrs 45mins) [The Quality after the first few minutes will improve.]
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Great documentary here (u r gonna like dis won!):

May-23-21  arnakor: The second town where the match took place is Lyon, not Lyons! :) Thanks.
May-23-21  fisayo123: Karpov's aggression and ambition in this match with the black pieces is what cost him. He was never interested in playing defensively with black against Kasparov. And that makes sense as he saw him as his equal.

Kramnik on the other hand viewed Kasparov in a totally different light, coming from a position of inferiority, he was happy to make draws and be as incredibly solid and dull as possible in the 2000 match.

May-23-21  macer75: <5/8 seems a bit too much. Certainly 6/8 would be totally unfair; it would be almost 3/4.>

Almost??? 6>3 and 8>4; therefore 6/8>3/4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: In 300 times out of 400, I have trouble telling when other kibitzers are pulling our legs.
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