Understanding before Moving 179: Chess history in a nutshell (60)

by ChessBase
5/26/2024 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 179th episode of his ChessBase show "Understanding before moving" Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and looks at the career and games of Anatoly Karpov, World Champion from 1975 to 1985. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Anatoly Karpov

Last week we talked about Bobby Fischer. This episode focuses on the Russian Anatoly Karpov, who became World Champion in 1975 after Fischer refused to defend his title. Karpov became the challenger by defeating Polugaevsky, Spassky and Kortchnoi in the candidates' matches.

With Fischer retired from the chess world - for a full twenty years, as it turned out later - Karpov set out to prove himself the rightful world champion. And he did so with distinction. Over a period of more than ten years he won almost every tournament he entered, and there were many. He suffered very few defeats during this period and proved to be a formidable opponent.

However, his style didn't capture the imagination of the general public. In a subtle way, he lured many opponents into mistakes and had them in his grip before they realised it. His style was similar to Petrosian's, based on limiting the opponent's chances. But Karpov was more versatile than his predecessor. In addition to his sublime positional play and unrivalled endgame technique, he could also launch powerful attacks. Although he didn't do it often, Karpov's attacking games are also unparalleled. Next week we'll explore some examples.

In this episode I'd like to show you one of Karpov's specialities: manoeuvring in closed positions, similar to Capablanca, who was also a master of this.

Last week we saw a remarkable game by Fischer in which he put three heavy pieces on the a-file to occupy it later, and the analogy with a brilliant game Karpov played at the 1974 Nice Olympiad against Unzicker is striking.

The game against Unzicker and Karpov's strategic masterpiece against Westerinen, coincidentally from the same Olympiad, are both impressive.

In this position Westerinen played 21...Lf8?! Originally, he planned to play 21...cxb4 to create space on c5 for his poorly placed knight on b7. But he refrained from doing so because in that case, White would play 22.Lxd7 Dxd7 (22...Txa1 23.Dxa1 Dxd7 24.Lxb4 is also very bad for Black 24...Sc5 25.Lxc5 dxc5 26.Sxe5) 23.Txa8 Txa8. Do you happen to see the tactical finesse Karpov had in store for his opponent in this position?


Master Class Vol.1: Bobby Fischer

No other World Champion was more infamous both inside and outside the chess world than Bobby Fischer. On this DVD, a team of experts shows you the winning techniques and strategies employed by the 11th World Champion.

Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenco delves into Fischer’s openings, and retraces the development of his repertoire. What variations did Fischer play, and what sources did he use to arm himself against the best Soviet players? Mihail Marin explains Fischer’s particular style and his special strategic talent in annotated games against Spassky, Taimanov and other greats. Karsten Müller is not just a leading international endgame expert, but also a true Fischer connoisseur.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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