Anatoli Karpov

Anatoli Karpov

After having disputed ten finals to obtain the world title, having managed to be the world champion for almost 16 years and also having won more than 160 tournaments alone. Anatoli Karpov enters the list of the best international grandmasters of chess.


Anatoli Evgenyevich Karpov was born in Russia, Soviet Union on May 23, 1951. His father, Eugene Stepanovich, introduced him to the world of chess when he was only 5 years old. At that time, Kárpov did not go out of his house due to an illness that prevented him from going out and playing with other children and, thanks to this, chess was the only thing he could play.
A year later, when he was 6 years old, he could go out and that was when he started to play with the other children. Soon after, at the age of 7, his father enrolled him in a chess club at the Zlatoust Sports Palace, the only place where he could learn to play chess better. Soon after, Kárpov said that this experience was unique, because there he met Mikhail Tal.
When Karpov turned 9, he took first place and became a champion of the Chelyabinsk region. Then at the age of 15 he achieved much more success when he managed to become a master of the USSR and, a year later a Grandmaster.

Beginnings in Chess

As we have already mentioned, his career was quite successful since he was a child. After becoming the most screwed national master of the Soviet Union by 1966 when he was only 15 years old, the successes did not take long to come. By 1968, at the age of 12, he entered the chess school recently founded by former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik.
In 1969 he won the world youth championship in Stockholm and, the following year he became an international master by winning fourth place in an international tournament held in the city of Caracas, Venezuela.
He lasted exactly 38 years among the 100 world champions, from 1971 to 2009. In August 2015 he was ranked 159th in the world by FIDE.

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Curious facts

Apart from his passion for chess that began at a very early age, Karpov devoted himself to study Economics graduating with honors being today a professor at the Moscow International Higher Business School MIRBIS. By 1968 he met the chess trainer Semyon Furman with whom he established a great friendship that allowed Karpov to change his career, because at the beginning he was studying Mechanics and Mathematics at the Moscow University and, thanks to Furman he was able to study Economics.
Another interesting fact is that Karpov, with the help of his partner Gary Kasparov, agreed to donate at least 650,000 dollars for the world title match in 1986 to a foundation to help the victims of Chernobyl.
In his early days in chess, when he was just a child, he only played with his father, who always beat him. Whenever Karpov lost a game he started to cry, something that his father quickly had to correct.

Style and Advice

Karpov’s game was characterized by being purely positional. Many players had difficulties when trying to respond to his attacks and moves.
Anatoli Karpov wrote lessons in which he facilitates the players to know better his philosophy and knowledge. First of all we must know his technique in order to know how to apply it:
First of all, Karpov is a practical player, he is mainly concerned with results. His interest is always to win.
He prefers clear positions, which are understandable and very strategic. This approach saves him time and energy, thanks to which he rarely falls into time trouble.
In case he wants to avoid time constraints, Karpov does not usually enter into complex tactics, he hates them mainly because they take time.
He values initiative over material gain, preferring to maintain his positional pressure rather than play the material advantage.
Karpov always uses all the pieces, including the king. He is the second most active king player after Steinitz.
He is always interested in the best results. His main focus is, much to gain plus little to lose.
He was always characterized as one of the least materialistic grandmasters in history.

Chess Contributions

Karpov throughout his career has made many contributions and techniques, especially for those players who have always admired him.
It is not only important to have a defined plan, but to execute it in every move. Always pursuing a concrete objective is key. For many it may seem logical, but it is an important knowledge.
On the other hand, having a maximum depth in the characteristics of each of the positions. Dividing the positional and material factors to compare them with each other in a much clearer way.
The best attack. Karpov has always been able to anticipate the threats of his opponents. His moves are always prophylactic, that is, they are able to frustrate his opponent’s plans by being able to destroy everything he tries to create. In this case, Karpov by using this method managed to frustrate the games and bore his opponents. The trick here is to question ourselves about the moves our opponent wants to make and always keep this in mind when making a move.
Constriction is essential to achieve all phases of the game. This is something very easy to achieve, there are several ways, among them, the use of a piece forced to be alert at all times, because the goal is that the piece occupies the square where the opponent’s piece wants to go. Kárpov used this technique countless times in his games and the results were law.
Anatoli Karpov has been one of the many players capable of perfecting and refining the theories and the system created by Steinitz, to such an extent that he has managed to get into the guts of the positions. Karpov has always shown that, to reach this point can be possible for any player, but only if you reach a higher level of analysis, something that is achieved with perseverance working every day.
Undoubtedly a sensational player, a great inspiration for many players and chess fans. Get other inspirations here on!


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