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    Entries in Anatoly Karpov (21)

    Thursday
    Aug072014

    A Chess Documentary from 1986

    The documentary film Chess: A State of Mind came out in 1986 and was written by British IM William Hartston. This (almost) 30-minute piece offers a recap of the world championship from Paul Morphy (not an official champion) through the beginning of the Garry Kasparov era. It goes from Morphy through Boris Spassky pretty quickly, and then takes its time with Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. Viktor Korchnoi gets a lot of air time in the Karpov segment, and both Korchnoi and Spassky have a bit of fun at Karpov's expense.

    Young whippersnappers should watch for the history lesson, and oldsters should watch for the nostalgia.

    Tuesday
    May272014

    Karpov, Karpov; Tal, Tal

    Some pleasant recent offerings on Chess24:

    Two pieces on the 12th World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov. The most recent one has Karpov look back at his unplayed match with Bobby Fischer, offer a short comment about the Magnus Carlsen-Viswanathan Anand match(es) and a recollection of meeting Salvador Dali. The older one offers a transcript of a Russian film that had already been available on YouTube for some time, but now English readers unfamiliar with Russian can enjoy it. It is a documentary of Karpov's training camp before the aforementioned (non-) match with Fischer. Fans of Tigran Petrosian will also want to check this out, to see him play a little blitz and hear his voice (as he's engaged in some mild trash talk with Rafael Vaganian).

    Then it's time for Mikhail Tal, courtesy of Peter Svidler. There's a short interview with Svidler in which he discusses (among other things) his new video series on Tal, which is, I suspect, probably available only to members of the site. If you're a member I think you'll enjoy it, but I wouldn't really recommend signing up if this is your only reason for doing so. (Unless money is no object to you, in which case there are certain bloggers who would appreciate your support.)

    At least two things struck me about the series, which I have watched in its entirety. The first is the strong emotional bond Svidler shows towards Tal, one of deep respect and feeling. The second, somewhat ironically, is a sense in many of the games that his opponents played extraordinarily poorly (at least/certainly by Svidler's standards), to a degree that one almost wonders if there has been rating deflation over the past few decades, at least if ratings are taken to represent objective strength.

    A more modest claim is that they played very poorly (compared with their peers today) in the kinds of complicated positions that Tal created, which may very well be the case. Additionally, our improved skill in such positions today is explained in part by the fact that Tal arrived and forced the world to adapt, and even more by the presence of computers, which have done much to improve players' awareness of tactical resources. Whatever the story, the videos are enjoyable, so watch them if you can.

    Saturday
    Apr122014

    Bundesliga Finale

    The latest Bundesliga season ended last weekend, with Baden-Baden winning for about the 30th time in a row. (Okay, it was only their ninth consecutive title. Other teams had better find rich benefactors if they hope to break this strangehold.) Levon Aronian was the special guest star helping push them over the edge to victory, scoring 2.5/3 over the final weekend to not only help them but himself as well as he aimed to recover from a poor finish at the Candidates.

    More about that here, but I'd like to focus on Anatoly Karpov's surprise appearance. He played a couple of games, drawing with the lower-rated Felix Graf before defeating the 2664-rated Maxim Rodshtein in his second game, and with the black pieces. You can replay those games here, and I would especially draw your attention to Graf's unusual drawing combination in the first game. Most sacrifices involve captures - think of bishop sacrifices on h6 and h7, for example - but sometimes a piece is moved to an empty square. It's even rarer to have the first sac accepted only to have a second empty-square sacrifice on the next move, but that's just what Graf did. There are probably other examples of this happening, but I'm unable to recall any offhand. If you can think of some other examples, please share them with us!

    Wednesday
    Jan012014

    Recently Completed Events: Karpov Beats Timman 2.5-1.5

    One of the sub-events in Groningen over the Christmas holiday was a 4-game match between former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov and Dutch great Jan Timman. The match commemorated their FIDE World Championship match 20 years prior, and finished with the same result: Karpov won. The first three games were drawn, but Karpov won a nice technical game to close out the match - have a look.

    Thursday
    Dec262013

    Korchnoi Out, Karpov-Timman Underway

    According to the Zurich Christmas Open website, Viktor Korchnoi had to cancel his participation in the tournament due to health reasons. Here's the Google Translate version:

    Unfortunately, Viktor Korchnoi can not fulfill his wish of participating in the traditional tournament. Health reasons force him to stay at home. We wish him a speedy recovery and all the best in the coming year.

    For those of you looking to get your fix of old-timey chess players, Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman are playing a four-game rapid (40' + 30") match. Game 1 was played earlier today and was drawn in a fairly dull game, thanks to Karpov's unfortunate but understandable continued advocacy of the Scandinavian with 3...Qd8.

    Sunday
    Nov032013

    Hardy Russian Stock...Brrrrrrr

    Anatoly Karpov as you've never seen him before:

    Sunday
    Nov032013

    Karpov-Kasparov Nostalgia

    As intriguing as many find the upcoming world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, there is as yet no rivalry in chess history that compares with that between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. They played five world championship matches in a six-year period, comprising 144 games in total (no wimpy 12-game matches for those two), and in all of them the outcome was unclear until very near or even at the very end.

    Here is a video compiling both photos and footage of their rivalry from a simul battle in the mid-70s through their rapid and blitz match in 2009. A remarkable highlight to me is the footage of the end of the Seville match in 1987, which must have been one of the most shattering events of Karpov's career - if not his life. To look at Karpov (at the 9:00 mark; see the next 75 seconds or so as well) when he resigns the 24th game is to be amazed. Just to judge by outward appearances, he looks no more disappointed than many of us would be after losing a game at our local club. I've been unhappier after losing blitz games than he seems to be. That kind of remarkable composure probably helped him a great deal in his career.

    Saturday
    Nov022013

    The Karpov-Muzychuk Endings From Cap d'Agde

    In my summary post on Cap d'Agde, I mentioned a long and fascinating ending between Anatoly Karpov and Mariya Muzychuk from their semi-final match. Here it is, with my annotations.

    Saturday
    Nov022013

    Bacrot Wins Cap d'Agde, Defeating Karpov in Blitz

    When we left off yesterday in our Cap d'Agde recap, Anatoly Karpov had drawn the first game of his semi-final with Mariya Muzychuk while Etienne Bacrot had defeated Vassily Ivanchuk. After that, Karpov defeated Muzychuk in a long and eventful ending to make it to the final. First it was a knight vs. bishop ending, then a fascinating pawn ending, and then a queen ending Karpov pulled out after more than 100 moves. Bacrot then defeated Ivanchuk a second time, and Saturday's final was set.

    Karpov and Bacrot drew both rapid games (25' + 10"), and so the match moved on to a blitz phase (), and only here did Karpov taste defeat for the first time in the entire tournament. Unfortunately for Karpov, he lost both games - and despite having won positions in both. In the first, blunders near the end cost the game, while in the latter he was still winning in the final position and so presumably lost on time. Alas - but that's blitz. Despite his tremendous success in the preliminary stage Karpov still came in second overall, but even so it was a fantastic result. Of course a very good result for Bacrot as well, and congratulations to both players are in order.

    Tuesday
    Oct292013

    Crazy Karpov Update: 8/9

    Anatoly Karpov's crazy streak continues, and he's up to six straight wins. In round 8, opening the second cycle of the preliminary round of the Cap d'Agde rapid tournament, Karpov defeated Vassily Ivanchuk when the latter blundered in a better position, and then in round 9 the ex-champ beat Mariya Muzychuk as well. Is this tournament being sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation?