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Karpov in Brazil

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Just catching up on tons of little notes from all over before hitting the big stuff. My internet and VOIP phone have been out of whack since I got back. Whinge. Karpov has been touring Brazil signing books and giving simuls and he also made a few comments about the Kramnik-Deep Fritz match. He gave up two draws in a 24-board simul, including one to a 12-year-old Pan-Am champ, Amanda Marques Pereira. "'He was afraid of me!' she said between giggles, "It was a great feeling. My teachers always talk about him a lot. It was like a dream." Karpov also presided over the opening of a scholastic program in Sao Paulo. The article covers the usual boilerplate – the loss of the 75 Fischer match was a tragedy, "I am not a communist," etc. It also says he travels 270 days a year.

I haven't seen any complete record of Karpov's comments in the Brazilian papers, but the quote making the rounds is "These man-machine matches are unfair. The human player should have access to the same database as the computer. But the programmers would never accept that." But he did go on to say that "today we have a number of very strong players aged 13 and 14 because they train with computers." Karpov also beat Brazilian GM Giovanni Vescovi +2 -1 =1 in a match of what I believe were blitz games. [ed in the comments says rapid and posts this link to the games.]


I remember reading an article some time ago about Radjabov who was 12 or 13 when it was published. He had just met Kasparov for the first time and one comment by him was, "I saw the fear in his eyes." Young whippersnappers?!

Karpov claims that he and not Kasparov is the all-time greatest player. Has he ever written anything to substantiate his claim?

Sao Paulo... very interesting place. Go to the top of the BANESPA building and one can see just how massive that city is! I had a lengthy interview with Giovanni Vescovi at the Turin Olympiad. He's quite a pleasant person and of course a talented player. He told me there are some big chess clubs there. I hope to visit next summer... and also Bahia.


"fear in his eyes" I doubt Karpov worries that much about anything nowadays...other than you know what. What do kids know about that?

Jeff Sonas did a very interesting series of articles on determining the greatest player of all time. Karpov would have easily been the greatest of all time (25+ years as No. 1 or 2.), if it weren't for Kasparov happening along at the same time. Of course if it weren't for retirement, Kasparov probably would have been either No. 1 or 2. for a longer period of time than Karpov. It's hard to count in Lasker as he was inactive for long periods and played some significantly weaker opponents. Guess a lot depends on who you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have playing at the same time as you.

Interestingly enough, Karpov also stated that he didn't consider Kramnik to be amongst the best chess players of all time. I'm curious, what is Karpov's record against Kramnik?

"These man-machine matches are unfair. The human player should have access to the same database as the computer. But the programmers would never accept that."

I'd note that the chessbase reports said Kramnik got to see the screen until Fritz stepped out of its opening book. The display shows a listing of statistics for other games played... not quite the same as unfettered access, but I bet Karpov would be surprised what programmers would be willing to allow, if asked.

@ Greg Koster and Joao:

I got this from Susan Polgar's blog. I don't know how reliable it is.


Mind you, it says greatest not strongest or best.

"These man-machine matches are unfair. The human player should have access to the same database as the computer. But the programmers would never accept that."

-Posted by: Tyler at December 11, 2006 22:55

Also, can anyone honestly make a case that Kramnik lost due to Fritz's opening book or its endgame tablebases? In the one game he lost legitimately (the last), he was simply outclassed in the middle game. Karpov probably didn't even bother to look over the games. Not to mention the pointlessness of this "fair or unfair" argument.

Err...somehow my post got garbled, it should have included what Tyler said. I was not attributing Karpov's quote to Tyler.

The match with GM Vescovi was not blitz but rapid (25 minutes per player I believe). For those who don't know who GM Vescovi is he had a Fide rating of about 2650 a year ago or so and was in the Fide top 100. He is 28 years old. The 4 games of the match are availabe in java applet at


Quite an impressive win for Karpov against an opponent who could have been his son.

Kramnik beats Karpov with 8 to 5 wins and 23 draws in Chessgames.com's database. Two of Kram's extra wins might have been rapid's though. This database is also not necessarily complete.

In one of the Brazilian articles it says "Karpov doesn't consider Kramnik a talent on the level of other greats of the past."

ChessGames score is corect,

though clasical games score is +2-2=9:
Linares: Karpov=Kramnik;
Dortmund: Karpov=Kramnik;
Linares: Karpov->Kramnik;
Dortmund: Karpov=Kramnik;
Vienna: Karpov->Kramnik;
LasPalmas: Kramnik=Karpov; Karpov=Kramnik;
DosHermanas: Kramnik->Karpov;
Dortmund: Kramnik->Karpov;
Wijk aan Zee: Karpov=Kramnik;
DosHermanas: Kramnik=Karpov;
Dortmund: Kramnik=Karpov;
Wijk aan Zee: Karpov=Kramnik.

Kramnik dominated in most rapid-blind games,
but Kramnik lost to Karpov in very important Rapid World Chempionship "EurotelTrophy" (Prague-2002) 1/2final...

In Polgar's blog, Karpov rates the greatest players: Capablanca, Alekhine, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov. Pretty tough to break into that list.

He rates the most "solid" players as Capablanca, Kramnik, Karpov.

It is not clear whether Karpov's list is in chronological or some other order.

And does Karpov really claim that he is the best ever? That doesn't sound like him.

I think Karpov isn't being cocky; he's just being objective, and it would sound silly if he claimed he wasn't in the top 5. I agree with his top 5.

I bet he just gave the names quickly in chronological order the way most of us would if we were casually asked and didn't give it much more thought.

I wish Karpov feared me. :( I'm sure I wouldn't last 20 moves in a simul with him.

As for Radjabov detecting fear in the eyes of Kasparov, what a joke!


Thanks for the correction. Karpov rated himself over Kasparov, bud did not rate himself best ever.

If Karpov had grown up in the mid 19th century, paul Morphy would have cleaned his clock.


Yeah, and if your Grandma were a man you would not have been born...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 11, 2006 4:49 PM.

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