Karpov at Gibraltar – The Interview

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Karpov at Gibraltar – The Interview

    Karpov at Gibraltar – The Interview

    February 5, 2020

    Anatoly Karpov was recently a guest at the Gibraltar Chess Festival 2020. Tania Sachev interviewed him and the session is on YouTube:



    Extracts from that interview:

    Growing up, were there masters you idolized? Who had a great impact on you in your growing up years?

    I think Capablanca was one of the most important world champions for me. I studied his games, and a good book about Capablanca's games was written by International Master Vasily Panov, a Russian master. There was quite a strong influence of Capablanca's style.

    Was that a bit disappointing for you after Fischer's demands were not met and the match did not take place? Was it bittersweet to be world champion without a match?

    No, I prepared for the match, I was ready to play, but of course I could not force Fischer to play. If he didn't appear, he didn't appear. I wanted to play and to defeat Bobby. It was my personal aim to win that match, but the leaders of my country didn't like the idea. They said, you are world champion, why to take the risk to play Fischer, you are world champion, what else do you want? I said, I want to play the strongest player of the time, I want to beat him, I have chances. And then they asked, are you sure you can win? I said, I have good chances, but it's a sport, how can you be sure that you'll win?

    That's why I had problems to negotiate. They said, if you guarantee [a win]. I said, are you crazy? I cannot guarantee I'll win, but I have good chances to beat Fischer.

    For the chess world, it was a big moment for how rich these world championship matches were — the match with Korchnoi, and then in '84 the match with Kasparov, which you were leading after 48 games and it was stopped...

    We both lost. We waited...but still we had to continue according to the regulations. There was a big pressure by Kasparov's supporters. At that time, they took very high positions in the Soviet Union, so Campomanes could not resist. He made a crazy decision, which separated the world in two parts.

    Actually, if I would have won that match — especially if I got a 6:0...I got chances — Kasparov would have never become world champion. He would have been completely destroyed, psychologically destroyed, because he's very emotional, so I don't think he would have become the strongest player in the world.

    Everybody who studies games, whether from the world championship matches, or the Alekhine Memorial which you won, or the Linares tournament, you want to see the games again to see what really happened, and your opponents had this feeling of helplessness. Recently, I think it was Yannick Pelletier who said he was playing against you many years ago, and he has never felt so helpless in his life. How would you describe your style of play? What was it that left your opponents so helpless?

    I was playing for a win the whole game. Even when I had problems, figuring out how to defend, I was still looking how to defend and how to counterattack. I could find additional possibilities to create problems to my opponents.

    The chess world is really looking forward to the Candidates; You are on the Organizing Committee. One of the stories around the Candidates recently was the Alekseenko wildcard. In fact, Alekseenko will be here at the Gibraltar Masters. You think that in the world championship cycle there should be a wildcard?

    It was a difficult decision, because we had Vachier-Lagrave, who was the main candidate for this place, but at that time Russia didn't have even one...I don't think I'm in favour of having a wildcard for Candidates Tournament, but I can hardly see organizers without their representative in the Candidates Tournament, so that's why it was a difficult decision for FIDE, but at that time Russia didn't have representatives.