12th World Champion
1975 - 1985
1993 - 1999
Anatoly Evgenievich Karpov was born in Zlatoust, Russia in 1951. His early rise in chess was swift, as he became a Candidate Master by age eleven. At twelve, he was accepted into Mikhail Botvinnik's prestigious chess school, though Botvinnik made the following remark about the young Karpov: "The boy does not have a clue about chess, and there's no future at all for him in this profession." Karpov acknowledged that his understanding of chess theory was very confused at that time, and wrote later that the homework which Botvinnik assigned greatly helped him, since it required that he consult chess books and work diligently. Karpov improved so quickly under Botvinnik's tutelage that he became the youngest Soviet National Master in history at fifteen in 1966; this tied the record established by Boris Spassky in 1952.
In April 1975, a few days before his 24th birthday FIDE declared him the World Champion after Bobby Fischer, the current World Champion, refused to defend his title. Karpov was embarrassed that he had acquired the title in this manner and subsequently played in many strong tournaments to prove that he deserved to be World Champion. He performed impressively and accumulated the finest tournament record in history. He once said, "To be champion requires more than simply being a strong player; one has to be a strong human being as well." He retained his title until losing to Garry Kasparov in a controversial match in 1985.
In 1993 Kasparov rejected FIDE leaving Karpov to play in the official FIDE World Championship match in which he defeated Jan Timman of the Netherlands. However, his victory was over-shadowed by the independent championship match played at the same time between the current World Champion, Kasparov and British Grandmaster, Nigel Short. Both Karpov and Kasparov won their championship matches and both claim the title of World Champion.
A man's integrity can be determined by his words. Only the unbroken ones count.
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