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Karpov, Anatoly

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov, born May 23, 1951, in Zlatoust, Russia, was the 12th World Chess Champion (1975-1985).

Karpov was the first world champion to win the title without playing a chess match.  He was awarded the title in 1975 when Bobby Fischer refused to defend his title. Anatoly became a Candidate Master at the age of 11, a Master at 15, an International Grandmaster at 19, and world champion at 23.

His peak Elo rating was 2780 in July 1994.

He successfully defended his world championship title twice against Viktor Korchnoi, but eventually lost his title in 1985 to Garry Kasparov.  He played matches against Kasparov in 1986, 1987, and 1990 but despite all contests being closely fought, he was unable to regain the title.

Anatoly Karpov was also the official FIDE champion from 1993 to 1999 (Garry Kasparov split away from the official FIDE championship in 1993).  In 1999, FIDE changed the world championship rules, deciding that the World Champion would be determined by an annual knockout tournament, prompting Karpov to retire from world championship competition.

Karpov was renowned for his frequent tournament successes during his reign as champion.  He has won more major tournaments (over 160), than anyone else in the history of the game. He never scored worse than 4th place in any tournament while world champion.

He became the first millionaire playing chess (now a billionaire in real estate and oil investments).


  • In 1978 he was named Soviet Union Sportsman of the Year and was personally decorated by President Brezhnev.
  • He has the most complete collection of postage stamps on the topic of chess. 
  • He has opened over 50 Karpov schools of chess around the world.  


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