Draft:List of chess games between Kasparov and Karpov

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Kasparov and Karpov face off in 1984 World Chess Championship

Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov have played a total of 170 classical chess games, of which Kasparov won 28, Karpov won 21, with the remaining 121 games drawn. Thus the overall score favours Kasparov (+28-21=121). If blitz and rapid games are included (where time controls are much shorter than in classical games) the overall score favours Kasparov (+39-25=129).[1]Both players are considered to be among the greatest chess players ever.

Karpov recalled his first match with Kasparov, stating “Initially our relations were completely normal, I remember a lively twelve-year-old boy, who played against me in a simul', then a youth with whom l played in the same team. He al­ ways showed me respect; at the same time he was independent, but invariably respectful. I saw that he was sizing me up, but only later did I realise that already then he was studying me. I only observed him, but already he was aiming at one thing – at the inevitable future rivalry with me. Already then his entire life was devoted only to this. But – I repeat – this in no way affected our relations. We weren't close – but also we did not clash. As is now clear only because our interests did not cross.” In a simul against Karpov in Leningrad, Kasparov was defeated and spoke to a journalist after the match. Kasparov had the following dialogue with a jour­ nalist from the Baku sports newspaper:

'How do you explain your defeat at the hands of the world champion?'

'Perhaps by the fact that I remained one to one with him. Just imagine, sitting opposite you is the best player on the planet. And so I overlooked his combination.'

'And what lesson did you learn from this meeting?'

'You have to fight to the last, even if you are in a winning position.[2]'

1984 World Championship[edit]

One of the most famous matches between Kasparov and Karpov took place in 1984, the World Chess Championship was a “first to 6 wins” match. At the time of the match, Karpov was 33 years old and rated 2705. Kasparov was 21 years old and rated 2715 . After nine games, Karpov was up 4-0. Many fellow players predicted Karpov's victory within 18 games. In a surprising turn of events, Kasparov was able to draw the next 17 games, finally losing game 29 to go down 5-0. After drawing the next four games, Kasparov defeated Karpov in game 32 to achieve his first ever win against the world champion. Incredibly, Kasparov held out for another 14 draws, breaking the record for longest world title match. Kasparov won games 47 and 48 to bring the score to 5-3 in favour of Karpov.[3]

In a strange turn of events, the match was ended by the then president of Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), Florencio Campomanes, announcing a new match to be held a few months later. A controversial decision, as both players were happy to continue the play. In a press conference later, Campomanes cited the players’ health as the main reason of ending the match, which had been strained by the match. At this point, Karpov had lost 10 kg (22lb) over the course of the match.[4]

1985 World Championship[edit]

Following a controversial and abrupt ending of the previous match, Kasparov began training almost immediately after the press conference held by Campomanes. This time the game would be a best of 24 with the first to 12.5 points to claim the title. In the event of 12-12 draw, Karpov would retain the title. The first half of the match concluded with the scores equal: 6-6. Although it had been full of stirring developments on the chess board, all the indications suggested that the most interesting stage was still to come. Indeed, in the second half of the match, as though casting off the burden of the preceding unlimited match, Kasparov and Karpov began playing unrestrainedly, aiming to seize the initiative as soon as possible in every game. The intensity of the struggle was to grow from one game to the next, before reaching its peak in the fifth hour of play in the decisive 24th game[5]. On the 9th of November, 1985 Kasparov secured the title by defeating Karpov 13-11 in the 24th game with the black pieces with the Sicilian defence. At 22 years old, Kasparov had become the youngest world champion ever, breaking the 20-year-old record held by Mikhail Tal. The 16th game of the series, won by Kasparov with black is regarded as an all-time masterpiece in chess history.[6] 'This game once again showed that Kasparov and Karpov play different kinds of chess, and it is hardly possible to under­ stand which of them now is stronger,' reported a Radio Spain correspondent. And here is one of the numerous comments published in the Soviet press: 'The impatience of spirit, the impetuosity of a heart with its urgency to live, experience and fight, is an indication of the colossal reserve of Kasparov's young, volcanic energy, which in this match his opponent has so obviously lacked. All the more respect is provoked by Karpov's persistent desire to overcome fate and not fold under its blows.'[5]With regards to their final game of the Championship, Kasparov wrote in his book, Garry Kasparov on modern chess – kasparov vs karpov 1975–1985:

“And so everything was to be decided in the final game. On the result of it depended the fate of the entire marathon of 72 games, unparalleled in the history of chess. Such games, of incomparable value in the life of a player, have their own laws. When just a single move can decide the question 'to be or not to be', it is very hard to retain absolute clarity of thought. It is impossible to escape from the notion that one incorrect move may prove fatal, since nothing can be corrected afterwards – this game is the last in the match!

In such extreme situations, when the contestants are playing at the limit of their nerves, much, if not everything, is decided by psychological preparedness and  by one's competitive mood. The player who wins is the one who is more composed, careful and self-confident.

Of course, Karpov's task in the 24th game was more difficult – only a win would do. And from the experience of chess events we know that playing for a win 'to order' in the last round nearly always proves unsuccessful­ ful. However, in such cases the theory of probability does not prove any guarantee – you always run the risk of being the exception that proves the rule. Two years later, at the finish of our fourth match (1987), Karpov was to be such an exception. Deciding on the strategy for the decisive encounter was a serious problem for me. It is well known that direct play for a draw is very dangerous, and in addition it in no way corresponds with my outlook on chess. Therefore, casting all hesitation aside, I decided not to avoid critical con­ tinuations, but to accept an open battle. And of the fact that Karpov would come at me, there could be no doubt.”[5]

1986 Rematch[edit]

As part of the arrangements following the aborted 1984 rematch, in the event of Karpov's defeat he would have the right to rematch in the following year. In 1986, London and Leningrad held 12 games each, in a best of 24 match. At one point in the match, Kasparov held a 3-0 lead and looked on his way to a decisive victory. However, Karpov fought back and won three games in a row to bring the score back to 3-3. At this point, Kasparov dismissed one of his long time seconds, grandmaster Evgeny Vladimirov, accusing him of selling Kasparov's opening preparation to Karpov's team . Kasparov scored one more win and won the match with a final score of 12.5-11.5.

1987 Rematch[edit]

A fourth match took place in Seville, in 1987. A close match, with neither player more than one point ahead at any time. By the final game, Kasparov was down one point, requiring a win to draw the match and retain his title. The game was tense and long, but Karpov blundered a pawn early on. Kasparov capitalized and eventually won the game.[5]

1988 Mini Match[edit]

In May 1988, Kasparov and Karpov clashed in yet another mini match held in Amsterdam. The tournament organisers had purposely placed the two great “K’s” together, opposing the two strongest Dutch players, Jan Timman and John Van der Wiel. Their first game resulted in a draw after 37 moves. The next game was hard-fought and an intense match that resulted in a win for Kasparov as Karpov ran out of time with the black pieces. The third game was a draw after 58 moves and the final game resulted in a Kasparov victory with the white pieces.[7]

1990 Rematch[edit]

A fifth match between Kasparov and Karpov was held in New York and Lyon in 1990, with each city hosting 12 games. Kasparov's training team consisted of Z. Dolmatov, M. Gurevich, Z. Azmaiparashvili, G. Georgadze and A. Shakarov. Karpov's team included N. Krogius, L. Portish and R. Henley, while O. Renet was added in France. Again, the result was a close one with Kasparov winning by a margin of 12½–11½. In their five world championship matches, Kasparov had 21 wins, 19 losses, and 104 draws in 144 games.[7]

Post Retirement Games[edit]

On the 10th of March 2005, Garry Kasparov announced his retirement from serious competitive chess, citing a lack of personal goals in the chess world. Karpov continued to play up until 1999, where he refused to defend his FIDE World Champion Title. Since then he has focussed more on Russian politics than Chess. Since this time, both players have turned their attentions away from competitive Chess, focusing more on Russian politics.[7]


  1. ^ Kasparov – Karpov World Championship Rematch (1986). (2019). Retrieved from http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chess.pl?tid=55017
  2. ^ Newborn, Monty (1997), "Deep Blue and Garry Kasparov in Philadelphia", Kasparov versus Deep Blue, Springer New York, pp. 235–278, ISBN 978-1-4612-7477-3, retrieved 2019-06-05
  3. ^ Timman, J., Boel, P., & Erwich, F. (2019). The longest game. Alkmaar: New in Chess.
  4. ^ Kasparov, G. (2008). Garry Kasparov on modern chess – kasparov vs karpov 1975–1985. 1st ed. London: Gloucester Publishers plc.
  5. ^ a b c d Kasparov, G. (2008). Garry Kasparov on modern chess – kasparov vs karpov 1975–1985. 1st ed. London: Gloucester Publishers plc.
  6. ^ Soltis, A. (2010). Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda, or Black to Play 37. ...Rd5 and Change History. Chess Life, (12-13).
  7. ^ a b c Kasparov, G. (2010). Garry Kasparov on modern chess – kasparov vs karpov 1988–2009. 1st ed. London: Gloucester Publishers plc.