by Bill Wall


Anatoly Karpov was born in Zlatoust, Russia on May 23, 1951.  He learned the moves of chess around age 4 in the Zlatoust Pioneers Palace.  By the time he was 11, he had become a candidate master.  At age 12 he was accepted into Botvinnik's chess school in Moscow.  At 13 he was the youngest player in the 1965 USSR Junior Championship, where he scores 4.5 out of 8 in Moscow.  In simultaneous exhibitions, he drew Korchnoi and Spassky while still 13 years old.


In 1965 his family moved to Tula, Russia.  


In January, 1966 he took 6th place in the USSR Junior Championship in Moscow.


In August, 1966 he became Russia's youngest master at 15 years, 2 months. He participated in his first international chess tournament in December, 1966 when he played and won an invitational chess tournament in Trinec, Yugoslavia.


In 1967 he took 5th in the USSR Junior Championship in Moscow. He won the European Junior Championship in Groningen, Netherlands in December 1967.


In September, 1968 he entered the Mathematics and Mechanics Department at Moscow University.  Semion Furman became his chess trainer during this period.


In May, 1969 Anatoly transferred to the Economics Department at Leningrad University where he studied Economics, English, and Spanish.  He also became

interested in politics and at age 18, was elected delegate to the 17th Congress of the Comsomol and made member of the Central committee. 


In August, 1969 he won the World Junior Championship in Stockholm, Sweden with a score of 10 out of 11.  He thus became an International Master at age 18.


In June, 1970 he tied for 4th place at an international tournament in Caracas, Venezuela, gaining a Grandmaster norm.  He was awarded the Grandmaster title at the 1970 FIDE Congress in Siegen in September, 1970 at the age of 19. He was the world's youngest Grandmaster.


In January, 1971 his FIDE rating was 2540.  In September, 1970 he took 4th place in the 39th USSR Championship in Leningrad. In November he tied for first with Stein in the Alekhine Memorial in Moscow. In December he tied for first with Korchnoi in Hastings 1969-70.


In 1972 Anatoly's FIDE rating was 2630.  In November, 1972 he tied for first with Petrosian and Portisch at San Antonio.  Karpov finished his school work at

Leningrad State University.  His thesis was entitled: "Spare time and its economic significance under Socialism."  There is no mention of chess.


In 1973 Karpov's FIDE rating was 2660.  He took 2nd at Budapest in February, 1973.  He then tied for first with Korchnoi at the Leningrad Interzonal in June.

 He tied for 2nd in the 41st USSR championship in Moscow in October.  In November, he took first place at Madrid.  He won the 1973 chess Oscar and was

voted one of the top 10 sportsmen of the year in Russia.


In 1974 Karpov's FIDE rating was 2700.  He defeated Polugaevsky, Spassky, and Korchnoi in the Candidates matches in 1974.  In June he scored 12 out of 14 in the Nice Olympiad for a gold medal and top board one.  Karpov became the official challenger for Bobby Fischer for the world chess championship.  He won the chess Oscar for 1974.


On April 24, 1975 Anatoly Karpov was formally crowned the 12th World Champion when Fischer declined to defend his title. Karpov's FIDE rating was 2705.  In June he won the 3rd Vidmar Memorial in Yugoslavia.  He won the chess Oscar for 1975.


In February, 1976 he won at Skopje.  In May he won at Amsterdam.  In July he took 2nd place in Manila, and then won at Montilla, Spain in August.  In November he won the 44th USSR Championship in Moscow.  He won the chess Oscar for 1976.


In 1977 Karpov won at Bad Lauterberg, Las Palmas, Bristol, and Tilburg. He won the chess Oscar for 1977.


In 1978 Karpov's rating had risen to 2725.  In February he won at Bogojno, Yugoslavia.  In July he defended his world championship title against Viktor Korchnoi in Baguio City, Philippines.  Karpov won with 6 wins, 21 draws, and 5 losses. In 1978 Karpov won the Soviet Union Sportsman of the Year and was personally decorated by USSR President Brezhnev.


In 1979 Karpov won at Montreal, Waddinxveen, and Tilburg. All three events were Category 15 events (average rating over 2600). He won the chess Oscar for



In 1980 he won at Bad Kissingen, Bogojno, Amsterdam, and Tilburg. He won the chess Oscar for 1980.


In 1981 Karpov won at Linares and Moscow.  In October, 1981 he defended his world championship title again to Korchnoi, this time in Merano, Italy.  He won the match with 6 wins, 10 draws, and 2 losses.  He won the chess Oscar for 1981.


In 1982 he won at London, Hamburg, and Tilburg.


In April, 1983 he won the 50th USSR Championship.  He won at Hanover and Tilburg later that year.


In 1984 Karpov won at Oslo and London. 


In September, 1984 he started his marathon world championship match with Garry Kasparov.  The match was for the first to win 6 games. After 5 wins, 40 draws, and 3 losses, FIDE President Campomanes stopped the match after 5 months of play. The match was first played at the House of the Unions (Pillar Hall) in Moscow, but the match was later moved away from Pillar Hall when Minister of Defense Dmitry Ustinov, then chief political leader Konstantin Chernenko died, and the building was used for their funerals.


Karpov won the chess Oscar for 1984.


In August, 1985 Karpov won at Amsterdam before resuming his rescheduled world championship match with Kasparov.  This time Kasparov won as Karpov won 3 games, drew 16 and lost 5. This time the match was limited to 24 games and played in Moscow.


In 1986 Karpov won at Brussels and Bugojno before he started a rematch with Kasparov in July.  Karpov again lost to Kasparov in London/Leningrad, winning 4 games, drawing 15 games, and losing 5 games.


In 1987 Karpov won at Amsterdam and Bilbao and defeated Sokolov to become challenger to the world championship. He again played Kasparov, in Seville, Spain in October. Kasparov retained his title by drawing it with 4 wins, 16 draws, and 4 losses. 


In 1988 Karpov won at Wijk aan Zee, Brussels, Tilburg, and the World Active Championship in Mexico.  He tied with Kasparov the 1988 USSR Championship.


In 1989 he won at Skelleftea and became the world championship challenger after defeating Hjartarson in Seattle, Yusupov, and Timman (in 1990) in Candidates matches.


In July, 1990 he won at Biel before starting he rematch with Kasparov in New York and Lyons in October, 1990.  Kasparov again won the match, with a score of 12.5 - 11.5.


In 1991 Karpov won at Reggio Emilia and Reykjavik and defeated Anand in a Candidates match.


In April 1992 Karpov lost the semi-final Candidates match to Nigel Short, thus being eliminated from the FIDE world championship match.  However, in 1993,

both Kasparov and Short declined to play a world championship match under FIDE rules.  FIDE forfeited Kasparov and Short as World Champion and Challenger in

March, 1993.


In September, 1993 Karpov defeated Jan Timman for the world FIDE championship.  Karpov's FIDE rating was 2760.


In March, 1994 Karpov won at Linares (average rating was 2685) and had a performance rating of 2985.  His peak Elo rating was 2780 in 1994.


In February, 1995 Karpov defeated Gelfand in the FIDE semi-final in India.  In April he won at Monte Carlo.  In December he won the category 17 tournament at Groningen. 


In July 1996 Karpov defeated Gata Kamsky for the FIDE world championship match, held in Elista, Kalmykia, Russia.  He scored 10.5-7.5.


In 1998, Karpov was seeded straight into the final of a knockout event, defeating Vishy Anand in a rapid tiebreak to retain the title.


Karpov was FIDE world champion until 1999, when he resigned his title in protest against FIDE’s new world championship rules.  FIDE scrapped the old system of Candidate Matches and replaced it with a knockout event


Karpov has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia since 2005.


In 2006, Karpov tied for 1st place with Kasparov in a blitz tournament.


In the September 2009 FIDE rating list, Karpov was not listed in the top 100 for the first time.


In 2010, he ran for the presidency of FIDE, but lost to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, 95 to 55.


In 2012, Karpov defeated Yasser Seirawan in a match held in St. Louis, Missouri.


In November 2012, Karpov won the Cap d’Agde rapid tournament, beating Vassily Ivanchuk in the final round.


Karpov became the first millionaire playing chess.  Before the Soviet Union broke up, he was a member of the Supreme Soviet Commission for Foreign Affairs and the President of the Soviet Peace Fund. 


Karpov has won over 160 tournaments.


Karpov went 90 total months as world number one until beaten by Garry Kasparov.


Hostalet - Karpov, Groningen 1968

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O 5.Qc2 c5 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3 Nc6 8.Bd3 cxd4 9.exd4 d5 10.Ne2 dxc4 11.Bxc4 e5 12.Be3 Ne4 13.Qb3 Qa5+ 14.Kf1 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 exd4 16.f3 dxe3 17.fxe4 Qd2  (threatening 18...Qf2 mate)  0-1