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Anatoly Karpov vs Garry Kasparov
"White Key Symphony" (game of the day Mar-06-2005)
Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1985), Moscow URS, rd 4, Sep-12
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-13-18  Howard: So, 42.Qf5 would have been a much better move---despite having played this game over at least 2-3 times, I wasn't aware of that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Howard>
<42.Qf5 would have been a much better move>

He did play 40. Qf5, reaching the identical position, in the actual game. Are you saying there's a better move than 41. Qe6+? Otherwise, what difference would it make?

Aug-14-18  Howard: Excuse me, but I was referring to White's 42nd move, not his 40th. Sounds like you misread my comment.

I'm glad I'm not the only person who makes these minor mistakes! I've done a few typos on this website, myself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Howard>
No, I did not misread your comment.

White played 40. Qf5, <reaching the identical position> that he could have reached by playing 42. Qf5. Black then replied with the forced 40...Kg8 which is the same thing that would have happened after your suggested 42. Qf5. White then played 41. Qe6+.

Is there a better move than 41. Qe6+? If not, your suggestion would merely transpose with the actual game, which continued 42. Qg6 Kg8 <43. Qe6+> (the same position that occurred on move 41).

Hope this clarifies. In light of the above, <what difference would it make?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Xeroxx: This game proves that Karpov was a better player than Kasparov. >

Karpov was born in 51, Kasparov in 63. So Anatoly is 12 years older. In the 1984 match Anatoly was 33 and Garry 21. In the 1990 match Anatoly was 39 and Garry 27.

1984 G 3 - A 5 ( +3 -5 =40 )
1985 G 13 - A 11 ( +5 -3 =16 )
1986 G 12 1/2 - A 11 1/2 ( +5 -4 =15 )
1987 G 12 - A 12 ( +4 -4 =16 )
1990 G 12 1/2 - A 11 1/2 ( +4 -3 = 17 )

So counting only the games from WCC match
Garry beat Anatoly +21 -19 =104
That's only a 2 game lead in 144 games!

That does not demonstrate a significant superiority. The simple truth is.. all players have their strengths and weaknesses. Karpov was a powerful (better) positional player, like a boa constrictor. Kasparov was stronger tactical player. It's more likely to see a pawn or piece sac from Garry than Anatoly. But there's no question about it, in the overall picture, both players were significantly above the rest of the world, and their matches were a clash of the Titans. If we factor in the age difference, I'm of the opinion they were the two most closely matched players of any WCC cycle.

Oct-22-20  fabelhaft: I think it also should be factored in that when Kasparov won the title after 72 of those match games he was still more than 150 Elo below his peak. He was only 24 when the fourth of those five matches were played.

Apart from being a great player Karpov was a stylistically diffficult opponent for Kasparov (just like Kramnik). If one looks as also other results Kasparov did better over all.

After two matches Karpov had +9-7=40 against Korchnoi but I’d say the difference between the two at that time was slightly bigger if one looks also at other results.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Great game indeed :)
Nov-02-20  SChesshevsky: Was a really interesting game. Kasparov not shy about accepting the isolated pawn and does seem to get a lot of play out of it. But the long term weakness probably can't be discounted.

Key moment might be at 21. Nxe6. Kasparov elects what seems most natural 21...fxe6. Protecting the isolated pawn. But circumstances might make that natural move inaccurate. With white's LSB on and plenty of firepower with Q's and R's, is e6 more of weakness than the isolated pawn? Then throw in the now unprotected g6 square. Have seen games with fxe6 has been fine. But mainly when the King can feel fairly secure at ...f7 or ...e7. In this game, Black's seemingly forced ...Kh8 might not bode well for 21...fxe6. Though 21...fxe6 probably isn't losing, it likely forces Black to be more precise in whatever counterplay he can come up with.

On the other hand, 21...Qxe6 does feel more awkward and still leaves the isolated pawn to deal with but might've been a better way to go.

Dec-13-20  fisayo123: Pretty amazing game from Karpov. White key symphony indeed. Probably the only game in this match in which he played at his best level.

This 85' match was probably the worst Karpov played in all 5 matches vs Kasparov. He was surely still feeling the effects from the 48 game marathon match a few months earlier. And of course Kasparov had learned a lot about Karpov but Karpov and Karpov was not yet prepared for that.

Dec-13-20  fisayo123: <fablehaft> Kasparov in his books says 1989-90 was his 1st peak and 1999 was his 2nd peak. Chessmetrics also correlates with his view.

You have to factor in the phenomenom of rating inflation. ELO will have you believe Smyslov's peak was in 1971 or Topalov's peak was in 2015.

So while Kasparov's ELO peak in 2000 was a reasonable year for him, if ELO wasn't a flawed system then Kasparov should have had 2850+ in 1987-1993 as well

Kasparov was very much in his prime in pretty much 4 of the 5 matches he played against Karpov. Karpov was already closer to 40 when he played his final match vs Kasparov

Exactly. The 12 year age difference was clearly in Kasparov's favour and he dominated Karpov post 1990 when the latter was already in his 40's. Plus youth gives you a stronger nervous system which is one reason why Kasparov was able to prevail in their tight matches.

Dec-13-20  fabelhaft: <Kasparov was very much in his prime in pretty much 4 of the 5 matches he played against Karpov. Karpov was already closer to 40 when he played his final match vs Kasparov>

When the match of this game was played Kasparov was 22 and Karpov 34. I think Karpov was very much in his prime around this age, as his results also show. He was up 5-0 after 30 games against Kasparov the year before. Kasparov still had a bit left to his top level in the mid 80s s I see it.

In the Karpov vs Korchnoi match in 1978 Korchnoi was 47, but quite close to his peak. I think Karpov was considerably stronger when he played his matches against Kasparov than he was when he faced Korchnoi.

Chessmetrics rank Karpov’s strongest performances in the 1970s as sharing first with Korchnoi in the Interzonal 1973 and sharing first with Tal in Montreal 1979, together with the 16.5-15.5 against Korchnoi. Tal and Korchnoi were well into their 40s at the time. To me what Karpov did 1984-96 is on a different level. He was only 5-10 Elo behind Kasparov on the Elo lists of 1996.

Dec-19-20  fisayo123: <Fabelhaft> It doesn't correlate to the quality of his chess. I've analyzed pretty much almost every game of the four defining players of all time. :Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov and Carlsen with a strong engine that goes as deep as 50+ ply.

Of course Karpov played great chess pretty much from 1971-1996 with his swansong in the Kamksy-Karpov match and the Vienna supertournament in which he won that year. After 25 years as the either #1 or #2 player, he had no more motivation and started venturing into politics in 1997.

Back to the point about "peaks". Karpov's peak to me was from 1974-1988, with his absolute peak from 1974-1984. The engine analysis of the quality of his play closely aligns with this view.

There is also the fact that in the 70's, in Karpov's youth, he rarely got into time trouble and used to play the best moves almost instantly, almost like a robot. He lost that speed of play in the mid to late 80's and 90's. He'll constantly get into time trouble in the Kasparov matches and also in his later matches with Short, Timman, Gelfand and Kamsky.

<I think Karpov was considerably stronger when he played his matches against Kasparov than he was when he faced Korchnoi.>

More knowledgable in the openings and more versatile maybe but definitely not stronger. Karpov in the 70's was playing "Fischer chess" for a decade. His play was almost flaweless and he made less mistakes in general.

It's irrelevant what the ELO rating says due to inflation.

<Kasparov still had a bit left to his top level in the mid 80s s I see it.>

Kasparov himself in the 2nd volume of his book "Kasparov on Kasparov" speaks of his two peaks.

1987-1990 and 1999. So according to Kasparov himself, he was in his absolute peak in 3 of those 5 matches.

And I'll happily take Kasparov of 1987-1990 over 1999 Kasparov anyday. The latter achieved a decent amount of success thanks to opening preparation with engines which gave him an advantage over the field at the time. But the 1999 Kasparov clearly played weaker than the 1989 Kasparov for example.

Dec-20-20  fabelhaft: <the 1999 Kasparov clearly played weaker than the 1989 Kasparov>

I think we have to agree to disagree :-) Kasparov was sole winner of the tournaments he played in 1999, and they were enormously strong. He scored +7 in Linares, with Kramnik and Anand sharing second with +2. The weakie of the field was Leko who won Dortmund the same year ahead of Anand, Kramnik, Karpov etc. Kasparov won more games than the players in second, third and fourth taken together.

Kasparov won Wijk and Sarajevo as well, Wijk had Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Svidler, Topalov, etc. Kasparov started with eight straight wins, including his immortal against Topalov. And he played <clearly> weaker than in 1989?

In 1989 he shared first with Ljubojevic in Barcelona, in Skellefteå he shared first with Karpov, going +4 over 15 rounds. He then won very clearly in Tilburg and Belgrade. These were not in any way comparable to the fields of 1999 though. In Tilburg the almost 60 year old Korchnoi was clear second with a big margin down to Sax and Ljubojevic in 3-4th. In Belgrade Short was his only opponent in the top seven.

”of course 1999. I think that was probably my best year. The quality of my decision-making and energy, I think it was the highest ever in the history of chess. Wijk aan Zee, Linares... I was well ahead of the rest with new ideas, and with more determination. I think my all-time peak was in Frankfurt, 1999, winning the rapid chess. That was the peak”

”Another peak period was Las Palmas ’96 and Linares ’97, right before the Deep Blue match. That was also a period of very high quality, those are my feelings. There were moments in which I played amazing chess, by my evaluation. Linares ’92 and ’93 were two more great events. That's another peak, Linares ’93”

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: beautiful, how Karpov worked the third piece, the Rook, into the attack.
Dec-20-20  carpovius: Karpov used only white squares from move 21 to 38, from 40 to 50 and 8 more times between final moves 51-63. Totally 38 times in the game. Wow!!!

Who's the author of this great pun?

Apr-02-21  Justin796: Wow I knew Kasparov sucked but geez if it wasn't for his prearranged draws we would have forgotten about him....This was the game that convinced me Karpov was only slightly below average and not the horrible player Fischer thought he was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Le grand maitre weighs in, warming to his favourite theme of how greats past and present have had nothing to offer. Sure is great to come to cg and learn for this heah life 1200 player. Next, <hamhock> will tell all and sundry how this opening is a forced loss for Black. I can't wait.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Justin796: Wow I knew Kasparov sucked but geez if it wasn't for his prearranged draws we would have forgotten about him....This was the game that convinced me Karpov was only slightly below average and not the horrible player Fischer thought he was.>

Looks like somebody needs a hug. Or maybe a lobotomy.

Oct-07-21  N.O.F. NAJDORF: 63 ... Re7

64 Rf4+ Rf7

65 Qc5+ Qe7

66 Qc8+ Qe8

67 Rxf7+ Kxf7

68 Bg6+ wins the queen

Mar-16-22  Ulhumbrus: If after 24 Qd3 we assume that allowing White to dominate the g6 square with his queen and bishop will lead to a winning attack this suggests 24...Qe8 preparing ..g6 before White can prevent it. One justification for it is that Black's king can defend g6 from g7 whereas White's king cannot attack it. So Black gets to play with an extra king with respect to that point.
Jun-17-23  N.O.F. NAJDORF: <fisayo123:
You have to factor in the phenomenom of rating inflation. ELO will have you believe Smyslov's peak was in 1971...>

What you say about rating inflation is perfectly true, but Smyslov would surely have peaked in the 1950s.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher>, my vote goes to the latter.

<NOF....Smyslov would surely have peaked in the 1950s.>

Even Botvinnik acknowledged in the 1980s that Smyslov was the strongest player in the world in the mid fifties.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: There was no ELO before 1969 or so? Certainly not in the 50s...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: I would have been at least 2750 during Alekhine's prime, back in the early 1930s; those buggers were lucky I was not yet alive.

The only Elo which existed in the 1950s was the list kept by Kenneth Harkness for ratings in the US.

Jun-17-23  Hodor: I can already see signs of the emerging rating inflation here.
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