Karpov's Strategic Wins features Karpov’s most entertaining and instructive strategic wins from 1961-1985 when Karpov proved he was a worthy successor to Bobby Fischer’s title.
Anatoly Karpov, the twelfth World Chess Champion, is one of the greatest players of all time and the holder of a number of records. No other player in history has won so many high-level individual tournaments. Karpov also achieved the best ever tournament performance in winning the 1994 Linares tournament with an incredible 11/13, two and a half points ahead of the second and third placed Kasparov and Shirov.
These records are the most impressive but they are not the only ones. Of all the World Champions, Karpov is the one who participated in the largest number of World Championship finals. He is also the only player to have won the title of World Champion in three different ways. The most significant is of course when he reigned between 1975 and 1985. He also won the 1997-98 FIDE World Championship. What is less well known is that he was the winner of the only World Rapid Chess Championship in Mazatlan 1988. Karpov may well be the player who earned the most money through chess, although it is impossible to establish this with any certainty. Together with Nick Aplin I wrote a book entitled Endgame Virtuoso: Anatoly Karpov, published by New in Chess in 2007. During the selection of games for that book came the realization that Karpov’s games are so rich as to be worthy of deep investigation from just one particular angle.
The primary aim of the present two-volume work is to show the reader, in chronological order, how Karpov outplayed his opponents by strategic means. Karpov’s strategic genius has been well documented by many chess writers, but according to my best knowledge not a single book has been written on the subject in such depth as can be found in these pages. The twelfth World Champion is best known as a “python” who could slowly squeeze the life out of his opponent, but over the course of the two volumes we will see plenty of examples of his tactical sharpness as well. Games involving a quick attack on the opponent’s king have been omitted, as they do not fit in with the overall theme of the book, but let me quash any misconceptions about Karpov being a one-dimensional player. When the situation on the board demanded it, he could attack with as much ferocity as almost anyone else.
A number of Karpov’s games which culminated in interesting endgames have been omitted from this project, as they have already been discussed in the Endgame Virtuoso book. My conclusion from the work on both the present project and the aforementioned endgame book is that Karpov’s little-known games often contain at least as much instructive and artistic value as his more famous wins. In this book I have tried to give priority to the beauty and educational value of his strategic masterpieces. Over the coming pages I will identify the tools he uses and highlight the features that characterize his play.
Many have called Karpov the greatest strategic player of all time. I invite the readers to become acquainted with his masterpieces and decide for themselves whether this view is justified.
Again, Tibor Karolyi explains Karpov’s particular genius: features Karpov’s most entertaining and instructive strategic wins from 1986-2009 when Karpov was battling with his young rival Garry Kasparov for chess supremacy It was during this period, at Linares in 1994, that Karpov achieved what statistics show to be the finestever tournament performance.
Tibor Karolyi is an International Master from Budapest who was Hungarian Champion in 1984. One of his previous books won the Guardian’s Book of the Year prize in 2007.
Karolyi coached Peter Leko, who improved in 4 years from promising junior to world class Grandmaster.