The history of sport has seen many great gladiatorial clashes: Ali v Frazier in boxing, McEnroe v Borg in tennis, Prost v Senna in motor racing. None however can quite compare to the intensity of the rivalry between those two great world chess champions: Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. Between 1984 and 1990 they contested an astonishing five World Championship matches consisting of 144 individual encounters. This volume concentrates on the first two of those matches.
- The epic 1984/85 contest which was lasted six months before being controversially halted "without result" by the then President of FIDE Florencio Campomanes.
- The 1985 match when Kasparov brilliantly won the final game to take the title and become - at the age of 22 - the youngest ever world champion.
Great chess contests have often had resonances extending beyond the 64 squares. The Fischer v Spassky match was played during the Cold War with both champions being perceived as the finest products of their respective ideologies. The Karpov v Korchnoi battles (three matches between 1974 and 1981) were lent an edge with Karpov being a Russian hero of the pre-Glasnost era whilst Korchnoi was the disaffected dissident. The Kasparov v Karpov encounters mirrored a battle between the new Russia and old Russia with Kasparov seen as a symbol of the new ideology emerging under Gorbachev whereas Karpov was seen to represent the old regime of die-hard Communists such as Brezhnev.
In this volume Garry Kasparov (world champion between 1985 and 2000 and generally regarded as the greatest player ever) analyses in depth the clashes from 1984 and 1985, giving his opinions both on the political machinations surrounding the matches as well as the games themselves.
My duels with Anatoly Karpov are essentially the finale of my multi-tome project
My Great Predecessors. Initially I had in mind only our five matches for the world crown, but in the course of the work I felt the need to give a complete picture of our many years of rivalry and to present all the games between us (there were 181!) - from the first, played in a simultaneous display back in 1975, to the tournament, rapid and even blitz games, includ≠ing the last, played in 2006.
However, it is the matches, of course, that are at the centre of this narrative: this was one of the most intensive duels in the history of top-class sport. Our matches consolidated the achievements of the openings revolution of the 1970s, and, in turn, prepared a powerful information and research explosion, which made the game even more dynamic and deep, demanding complete dedication and highly professional preparation. These factors be≠came the main driving force of the changes which occurred in chess at the close of the 20th century - a kind of prologue to the computer era.
In this fierce clash of two opposing styles, a new dominating tendency was formed and, as a result, in the early 1990s a different chess reality emerged. An enormous store of ideas appeared, and a knowledge of these more than compensated for lack of experience. And the young generation which grew up on these matches (Anand, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Kamsky, Akopian, Shirov, Kramnik, Topalov...) confidently seized the leading positions in the world, supplanting those who were unable to adapt to the changes. The chess elite sud≠denly became younger: playing in 1993 in Linares, I was already a thirty-year-old veteran! There remained myself and Karpov - and the young, for whom a detailed study of typical middlegame schemes became a part of their ordinary everyday work.
The overall score of our five successive matches (1984/85, 1985, 1986,1987 and 1990) is almost equal: 21 wins for me, 19 for Karpov and 104 draws. Nevertheless, each time when the decisive moment arrived, I was always able to win. For me this means more than any statistics of victories and defeats. I demonstrated my best results when it was most impor≠tant. It would appear that in my success there was a certain historical predetermination.
Although the peak of this epochal confrontation came in 1984-1990, it retained its sharp≠ness right up to the super-tournament of the six strongest grandmasters in the world in Las Palmas (1996), where I took first place, whereas Karpov shared last place and ceased to be regarded as a real contender for the crown, even though he was still the FIDE champion. Here our chess roads diverged: for a long time to come I was still No.l in the world rating list, whereas he began to drop down. And the last duels between us no longer exerted the previous influence on the development of chess.
The account of my duels with Karpov, which will occupy three volumes, partly resem≠bles my earlier books
Dva matcha (Two Matches, 1987),
Child of Change (1987) and
Unlim≠ited Challenge (1990). However, here I now see many situations more deeply, through the prism of my life experience. Since I have already concluded my chess career and am armed with powerful analytical programs, my commentaries have become both more frank, and far more accurate. But the evaluation of individual moves will still take into account the psychology of the struggle! Since over the months and years of our confrontation we came to sense so keenly each other's condition, psychological motifs often had a serious influ≠ence on the decisions taken.
In this volume there are 76 games - our early meetings and our first two matches. In addition, I have returned to the important events which preceded them. 'Never before in the period of FIDE rule has the ascent of the challenger to the summit involved such diffi≠culties (and difficulties of a non-chess sort),' wrote Botvinnik, before noting: 'The FIDE leadership tried even to remove Kasparov from participation in events for the world championship: in 1983 he was disqualified, and in the semi-final Candidates match with Korchnoi he was defaulted without playing. But this intrigue collapsed and Kasparov forced his way through to a match with Karpov...'
Our first match (Moscow 1984/85) was an unlimited one. The regulations, which were highly constraining for the challenger - play to six wins without counting draws and a return match (also unlimited!) - were adopted by FIDE with Karpov's agreement before his match with Korchnoi (Baguio 1978), although return matches had been abolished back in the early 1960s. However, playing for many months without a restriction on the number of games proved to be beyond Karpov's strength. At the finish in Baguio he suffered three defeats, and in our Moscow match he lost the 47th and 48th games, after which the FIDE President terminated the match 'without the declaration of a result'. Botvinnik called it 'an absolute disgrace, thank God the only one in the entire history of chess!'
Alas, the scandalous conclusion of the match overshadowed its rich chess content, which was not in fact professionally studied by the experts. And yet, despite the obvious mistakes, in particular by me, it was from our unlimited marathon that modern chess proceeded in a new direction. This was my first major event where I did not annotate the games. Why? The tension was so great and prolonged, and the psychological background so dark, that I had no desire to tackle this work. Besides, there was also no time - a new match was due to begin within six months... Now I am finally able to fill this gap.
When work on this volume was approaching completion, I added to my life experience by spending some time in jail. In late November 2007, just before the rigged parliamentary elections, I, like many other representatives of the opposition, clashed head-on with the police and the arbitrary judicial rule of Putin's Russia. The five days spent in captivity became for me a fundamentally new reference point in my relations with people. From behind bars, everything, as in chess, is seen in black and white - many expressed their solidarity, but there were also those who did not pass the test of elementary decency. Anatoly Karpov made an attempt to visit me in prison - the solidarity of champions proved stronger than political and personal disagreements! He was not able to do this: the authorities, who did not allow any lawyers to see me, did not make an exception for Kar≠pov. But in the new system of coordinates his goodwill gesture outweighed all the nega≠tive factors which had accumulated during our long years of confrontation.
I should like to express my gratitude to my former trainers Alexander Nikitin, Alexander Shakarov and Yuri Dokhoianfor their help in the preparation of this manuscript for publication.Content:
1 On the Eve of Battle
009 First acquaintance
019 Reconnaissance in force
2 The First Match: 1984/85
054 Opening preparation
058 Face to face (games 1-5)
084 Catastrophe (games 6-9)
116 The champion relaxes the pressure (games 10-15)
133 l am not yet ready to win (games 16-27)
163 The collapse of Karpov's dream (games 28-32)
182 Above the precipice (games 33-41)
210 The 'corpse' comes alive (games 42-48)
242 Stages of the battle
246 Shadow of Baguio
253 'We agreed on something quite different!'
264 To whose benefit?
269 'The match must take place!'
4 The Second Match: 1985
277 Surprise for the champion (games 1-3)
296 Double knock-down (games 4-5)
308 High tension (games 6-11)
340 Miracle gambit (games 12-16)
364 In classical style (games 17-19)
377 Hypnosis of the champion's title (games 20-23)
405 Start of a new era (game 24)
420 Index of Openings
422 Index of Complete Games