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Anatoly Karpov

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Born: May 23, 1951 in Zlatoust, USSR (now Russia)

Playing Style and Legacy:

Karpov is known as a positional player, one who looked to squeeze every small advantage out of a position and torture his opponent by building pressure. This logical, strategic style made Karpov very difficult to defeat, as he rarely went for complex tactical lines or made major errors, preferring to gain a slight edge with no chance of defeat.

World Championship Matches:

1975: Won World Chess Championship by default from Bobby Fischer, who refused to defend his title

1978: Defeated Viktor Korchnoi 16.5-15.5 (+6 -5 =21) to retain World Chess Championship

1981: Defeated Korchnoi 11-7 (+6 -2 =10) to retain World Chess Championship

1984: Match with Garry Kasparov halted after 48 games with Karpov leading 25-23 (+5 -3 =40); neither player had the six wins required for victory under the match rules

1985: Lost to Kasparov 13-11 (+3 -5 =16); Kasparov becomes World Chess Champion

1986: Lost to Kasparov 12.5-11.5 (+4 -5 =15); Kasparov retains World Chess Championship

1987: Drew Kasparov 12-12 (+4 -4 =16); Kasparov retains World Chess Championship

1990: Lost to Kasparov 12.5-11.5 (+3 -4 =17); Kasparov retains World Chess Championship

1993: Defeated Jan Timman 12.5-8.5 (+6 -2 =13) in FIDE World Championship Match to become FIDE World Chess Champion

1996: Defeated Gata Kamsky 10.5-7.5 (+6 -3 =9) to retain FIDE World Championship

1998: Defeated Viswanathan Anand 5-3 (+2 -2 =2 in regular match; +2 in rapid tiebreaks) in knockout tournament final to retain FIDE World Championship

1999: Refused to defend FIDE title, as World Champion would no longer be seeded into the finals of the knockout tournament format

Notable Achievements:

  • Won World Junior Chess Championship in 1969
  • Won three USSR Chess Championships
  • Won nine consecutive major tournaments during his time as World Champion

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