Was Karpov ever the best player in the world?

Savage47

I don't think there's any doubt Fischer was better through at least the mid 80s. Fischer shredded through the candidates matches against Larsen,Taimanov and Petrosian with an 88% win percentage. Karpov's career against older versions of the same guys? 59%. 

I also don't think there's any doubt Kasparov was better from at least 1984 on. 

Korchnoi was well past his prime when he played Karpov but Karpov still had to pull all kind of crazy shenanigans (including kidnapping Korchnoi's family) to beat Korchnoi. He barely won the first match by one game and unimpressively won the second match against a 50+ year old Korchnoi who likely wasn't even top 5 by that point. 

Even with all of Karpov's advatanges- his teams of analysts, kgb threats and bribes and unlimited soviet resources he never once proved he belonged over the board. 

 

 

mariners234

Sure you can say it like that.

Another way to say it is after over one hundred match games with Kapsarov, Karpov scored 49%. In other words he was almost immeasurably worse than Kasparov. And if we rate Kasparov as the the greatest of all time, then Karpov has good reason to be #2.

 

As for Fisher's candidate's matches, sure he won the first two 6-0 each. A feat which will probably never be repeated... but the games weren't as one sided as the match score suggests. Larsen and Taimanov had very good drawing opportunities in some games. If the matches were played 10 more times, it's unlikely Fischer would have gotten 12-0 again.

kindaspongey
Savage47 wrote:

... Korchnoi who likely wasn't even top 5 by that point. ...

Wasn't there some sort of challenger selection process before the 1981 match?

Savage47
kindaspongey wrote:
Savage47 wrote:

... Korchnoi who likely wasn't even top 5 by that point. ...

Wasn't there some sort of challenger selection process before the 1981 match?

If the soviets could pick the champion couldn't they also pick the challengers? 

kindaspongey

So you have no particular candidates for 4 more appropriate 1981 challengers? There were rating lists back then?

BonTheCat
kindaspongey wrote:
Savage47 wrote:

... Korchnoi who likely wasn't even top 5 by that point. ...

Wasn't there some sort of challenger selection process before the 1981 match?

As a matter of fact Korchnoi shared second place with Portisch on the January list (E2650, Karpov E2690), and was #2 on the July list, a mere 5 points behind Karpov (E2695 vs E2700).

Given that Fischer hadn't played for nearly ten years at that point, I think it's safe to say that Karpov definitely was the best player in the world at that stage. That young lad Kasparov was E2625 and E2630 on the above two lists.

Savage47
BonTheCat wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
Savage47 wrote:

... Korchnoi who likely wasn't even top 5 by that point. ...

Wasn't there some sort of challenger selection process before the 1981 match?

As a matter of fact Korchnoi shared second place with Portisch on the January list (E2650, Karpov E2690), and was #2 on the July list, a mere 5 points behind Karpov (E2695 vs E2700).

That's about the level Fischer was playing at in 1992 based on his performance rating against Spassky. Given that he was probably a little rusty at point, I think its fair to say that Fischer would have still been in the 2700s well into his 50s if he were playing somewhat regularly. 

So, his rating in 1981 would have been somewhere between 2700 and 2785. If we assume it's in the middle that would Fischer at about 2740 in 1981. Which means Fischer in 1981 would have been better than Karpov at just about any point in Karpov's career.  

Even then I don't know that's accurate. Fischer's peak rating was probably lower than it should have been because of lack of games against high rated opposition. His performance ratings in the early 70s are off the charts. But, once you reach the point where you're that much better than everyone else you need hundreds of games to make even small rating increases. 

Karpov's rating on the other hand was probably much higher than it should been. What do you think his rating would been without his teams of analysts and his kgb support running around threatening and bribing people? I also think its worth noting Karpov's peak rating came in the 90s when he was in his 40s. Is that rating inflation? 

So, there's no doubt Fischer was better in 1981. Korchnoi was probably at least equal if we take away all of the BS. And if you look at the way Kasparov rose to the occasion in 1984 and eventually took command of the match, I think it's very likely Kasparov would beat Karpov in a wc match in just about any year regardless of the ratings. 

Utopia321

Fischer retired after 1972. In terms of competitive chess players, Karpov was the best player before Kasparov.

 

If you want the count the years that Fischer was retired in this sort of analysis, then you should also count the years that Kasparov has been retired (since 2005). How many years after that was Kasparov still the best player, by this analysis?

kindaspongey
Savage47  wrote:

... I think its fair to say that Fischer would have still been in the 2700s well into his 50s if he were playing somewhat regularly. 

So, his rating in 1981 would have been somewhere between 2700 and 2785. ...

Had Fischer been willing to play in any competition 1976-1981?

kindaspongey
Savage47  wrote:

… if you look at the way Kasparov rose to the occasion in 1984 and eventually took command of the match, I think it's very likely Kasparov would beat Karpov in a wc match in just about any year regardless of the ratings. 

Have a 1981 rating for Kasparov? Wasn't he born in 1963?

Pulpofeira

"If ifs and ands were pots and pans" (Salo Flohr to Genna Sosonko). I'd like to add other, if Karpov would have got the chance of playing matches against Fischer, he would have been even a better player. grin.png

Laskersnephew

From 1975 through at least 1984 Karpov was unquestionably  the best active player in the world. He won far more tournaments than any other player over that span.

Strangemover

Whether this is true or not, Karpov remains one of the greatest players of all time. A few bits. .. He was the number 1 ranked player for over 4 years (only Kasparov and Carlsen have been so for longer since the rating lists were introduced), in the late 70's he won 9 consecutive top level tournaments, in the 1973-4 candidates cycle he defeated Spassky 7-4 in the semi-final (equally as convincing as Fischer's win over Spassky in 1972), in all the World Championship games vs Kasparov over 5 matches the total score was 21 wins for Kasparov, 19 wins for Karpov, 104 draws. 

BonTheCat
kindaspongey wrote:
Savage47  wrote:

… if you look at the way Kasparov rose to the occasion in 1984 and eventually took command of the match, I think it's very likely Kasparov would beat Karpov in a wc match in just about any year regardless of the ratings. 

Have a 1981 rating for Kasparov? Wasn't he born in 1963?

See my updated post #6. Kasparov was E2625 on the January list and E2630 on the July list of 1981.

Savage47:  Don't forget that Kasparov got a 48-game free tuition course in positional play in 1984. Had they played according to the old format, Kasparov wouldn't had another crack at the title until 1987. Instead he wrested the crown from Karpov in 1985.

DrChesspain
Savage47 wrote:

I don't think there's any doubt Fischer was better through at least the mid 80s.

 

That;s an interesting take to say he was the best player for the 15 years he was no longer playing.

Laskersnephew

"I don't think there's any doubt Fischer was better through at least the mid 80s"

That's just ridiculous. No doubt? How can you possible make a blanket statement like that about a guy who A) Didn't play competitive chess. and B) Was obviously in extremely delicate mental health. 

Laskersnephew

"As for Fisher's candidate's matches, sure he won the first two 6-0 each. A feat which will probably never be repeated... but the games weren't as one sided as the match score suggests."

At that extremely high level, the games are very rarely one-sided, but the results often are! Today, Carlsen doesn't win most of his games by wiping his opponents off the board. The games are generally close and hard fought. But Carlsen racks up one first place after another

Morphys-Revenge

I am scratching my head. is this thread for real? Uh Yell Yeah There was clearly a time (a long time) where Karpov was considered hands down the strongest player in the world. 

 

Only someone ignorant of history would even open such a debate. 

kindaspongey
“... Korchnoi who likely wasn't even top 5 by that point. ...” - Savage47
”... candidates for 4 more appropriate 1981 challengers?...” - kindaspongey
”... Korchnoi shared second place with Portisch on the January list (E2650, Karpov E2690), and was #2 on the July list, a mere 5 points behind Karpov (E2695 vs E2700). ...” - BonTheCat
BonTheCat wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:
Savage47  wrote:

… if you look at the way Kasparov rose to the occasion in 1984 and eventually took command of the match, I think it's very likely Kasparov would beat Karpov in a wc match in just about any year regardless of the ratings. 

Have a 1981 rating for Kasparov? Wasn't he born in 1963?

... Kasparov was E2625 on the January list and E2630 on the July list of 1981. ...

Did that put him in the top five?

BonTheCat

Sixth on the January list, and shared fourth on the July list.