Reports | October 29, 2013 11:03

Big lead for Karpov at "Trophée Karpov" in Cap d'Agde

Last year he won the tournament named after himself, and he's doing well again this year: Anatoly Karpov! The 12th World Champion tops the leaderboard after eight rounds at the Karpov Trophy rapid tournament in Cap d'Agde, France. The other players are Vassily Ivanchuk, Etienne Bacrot, Yannick Pelletier, Mariya Muzychuk, Nino Maisuradze, Zhao Xue and Marie Sebag.

Anatoly Karpov | Photo courtesy of the organizers

At 62, Karpov is mostly involved in business and politics these days. Sometimes he shows up at an opening ceremony of some chess event, but he's hardly moving the pieces himself. Still, when he's playing, he attracts all the attention. As one of the true chess legends. Since last year's "Trophée Anatoly Karpov", won by Karpov, the 12th World Champion only played some rapid games in Moscow and Kiev and two classical games: draws with Evgeny Alekseev and Peter Svidler in the Bundesliga.

Like last year, the "Trophée Anatoly Karpov" starts with a preliminary event, which is an 8-player, double round robin. After 14 rounds, 4 players advance to a knockout phase. The time control is 25 minutes + 10 seconds per move.

The players are Vassily Ivanchuk (2733), Etienne Bacrot (2730), Anatoly Karpov (2619), Yannick Pelletier (2578, Switzerland), Mariya Muzychuk (2491, Ukraine), Nino Maisuradze (2302, France), Zhao Xue (2579, China) and Marie Sebag (2510, France). It's nice to have a group that's "gender balanced", but in fact it's also a kind of "youth" and "experience" tournament: the average age of the ladies is 26.5 while the average age of the men is 43!

The tournament runs from Friday, October 25th till Saturday, November 2nd in Cap d'Agde, the seaside resort of the town of Agde, France, on the Mediterranean sea, southwest of Montpellier.

Karpov didn't get time to acclimatize and immediately faced the top seed. This way, the first round immediately saw the two finalists of last year paired against each other.

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For some reason, Ivanchuk would continue to draw all of his games in rounds 2-7. It's not that he didn't try, but somehow the result was always the same. His games with Pelletier and Bacrot were quite interesting:

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Unlike Ivanchuk, Karpov would play just one more draw (with Sebag) — he won all the other games! Here's a nice win against Pelletier in a Nimzo-Indian. It's just a slight edge in the ending, but the way Karpov finished it off was still nice. Pelletier must have resigned that one with a smile.

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A black win against Bacrot, one of the world's top grandmasters, was even more impressive. Don't miss Black's 39th, great stuff.

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In the eighth and last round played so far, Karpov was lucky. His 3...Qd6 Scandinavian didn't go well, but in a better position Ivanchuk blundered a full piece.

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Six more rounds will be played, and then the knockout phase starts. One name will surely reach the semi-finals!

Below is a video of the first two rounds created by Europe-Echecs. You can find more on their YouTube channel.

 

2nd Karpov Trophy 2013 | Round 8 standings

 

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

Webbimio's picture

This is what is meant by "class".

Kasparov is overrated's picture

Karpov > Kasparov

Anonymous's picture

Yes this event once again proves that Karpov always was much stronger than Kasparov.

NN's picture

2920 performance?!

Kadur's picture

( for a 62 years old player )

RG13's picture

I think Korchnoi had a similar fantastic result at age 70!

Kadur's picture

If he keep playing at this form he might get the wild card for the next candidates ;)

Anonymous's picture

That would be totally awesome!!

Soviet School's picture

I love that Idea and maybe sponsor would like it. Karpov for Wildcard

Webbimio's picture

This is simply impossible. But I would like to see him again in classical chess.

strana's picture

Kasparov is 12 years younger than Karpov, was always much more prepared in opening theory and also had more stamina. But even so, he was never able to dominate against Karpov. Garry has a +28 -21 = 129 score against him, but many of this advantage happened in the 90s, when Karpov was not as strong as before. I strongly believe that the young Karpov was the best player ever.

Anonymous's picture

"I strongly believe that the young Karpov was the best player ever"

Together with the old Korchnoi that was an inch from beating him in matches twice.

Carlos Cleto's picture

Twice ?

The only close affair was Baguio 78.

Merano was a massacre, and in Moscow 74 Korchnoi only win a game after the curtains are closing, Karpov having a confortable 3 x 0 after 17 games.

Anonymous's picture

Very true!
The young Karpov was so strong that Fischer was actually afraid of him!

RG13's picture

I think that Fischer had nothing to win (for him because the title meant more to him than money) and everything to lose and I think that he would have played the match if Korchnoi or Spaasky was the official challenger. However even though Fischer chickened out Karpov said that he thought that Fischer was still stronger than him in 1975 and would have probably won.

Anonymous's picture

The difference between players like Karpov and Fischer is that Karpov always would say that his opponent is very strong and has good chances to win, while Fischer always said Karpov was a weak, cheating criminal. This doesn't mean that Fischer in fact would have won, only that Karpov was a more normal person.

RS's picture

+1,000,000,000. Yes Fisher was afraid of karpov which is why he did not even defend his title

jsy's picture

-1,000,000,000,000 Fisher was not afraid of Karpov. Fischer didn't play a single game up to the title defense that would had occurred in 1975. Suppose Fischer was afraid of to play the other "patzers" not named Karpov? I think not.

Anonymous's picture

Excellent points and, yes, Gary did much more work studying the opening phase compared to Karpov.

bbb's picture

Karpov was a bigger talent and a better all around player than Kasparov if one compares their peak performances. But Kasparov had the killer instinct, the psychology of the winner and this is more important than fine technique in competitive chess.

R.Mutt's picture

Anatoly has long deserved the Anatoly Karpov Award for the best Anatoly Karpov! Hope he wins.

Septimus's picture

Wow! Karpov is THE man!

Anonymous's picture

Karpov greatest player ever - no competition

Anonymous's picture

Karpov is the man. GO KARPOV!

Bert's picture

Karpov will probably always be the best player ever

noyb's picture

Congratulations to Tolya, fine performance!

Anonymous's picture

Please take up competitive chess again, Mr. Karpow!

RG13's picture

This performance and that of the 70 year old Korchnoi proves that an 'old man' like Kasparov could still make the top players sweat if he wanted to compete. However these old men have already accomplished everything he wanted to in chess and the youngsters would be fortunate to have a career half as great. Karpov's tournament successes include over 160 first-place finishes. I don't think any other player in history comes close to that.

Anonymous's picture

Karpov proving to all haters that he is the by far greatest player ever is the best thing of the year. The worst thing of the year being that Big Vlad was robbed from his deserved title match by the insane tiebreaks FIDE ridiculously introduced. Otherwise we would have had Vlad back as WC where he belongs.

RG13's picture

Well if there was a rapid playoff between Kramnik an Carlsen there is no guarantee that Kramnik would have won it. I don't think Kramnik thinks he "was robbed".

Anonymous's picture

The greatest match player ever losing to someone that never played a match sounds rather unbelievable though. Vlad also pointed out after Candidates that Carlsen's first place on the rating list has nothing to do with chess. Vlad would have won for sure.

Leo's picture

I'm sure that's how it always turns out in your dreams :)

Anonymous's picture

Chess Oscar for Karpov!!!

RS's picture

Ivanchuk got all draws!! I think this is a first for him in his 25 year long chess career

RG13's picture

Ivanchuk may be saving his load for the semifinals. He only has to play well enough to reach them.

Anonymous's picture

Karpov may be using doping.

Anonymous's picture

Is there any known substance that leads to better performance in chess?

Soviet School's picture

Vodka and cigarettes.

RG13's picture

Yes, there are drugs which enhance cognition in normal people. So much so that the researchers started medicating themselves like crazy once they saw the results!

Anonymous's picture

Check his shoes!!! ;-) heheh jk

Greco's picture

According to chessmetrics Karpov has the second best performance in tournaments..first is Kaspy!

RG13's picture

Karpov's tournament successes include over 160 first-place finishes. I don't think any other player in history comes close to that.

Anonymous's picture

Some four-five years ago Nakamura won five tournaments the same year as Carlsen won three, it was just that those Carlsen won were much stronger. Karpov was for example sole winner of Linares once and shared first another time. Kasparov won it nine times. The difference between the two with regards to tournament results is huge, and to Kasparov's advantage.

RG13's picture

Karpov finished 1st over 160 times in his career and he didn't need any takebacks to do that; http://www.touchmoverule.com/2013/07/polgar-vs-kasparov-1994.html

How many times did you say that Kasparov finished first? Also what will Kasparov be able to do when he is over 60 years old?

There are different kinds of greatness. Number of 1st place finishes = Karpov. Longest as world number one = Kasparov. Number of top level games without a loss = Tal - by a lot. Greatest domination of his contemporaries = Fischer. Greatest performance by a person 70+ = Korchnoi. Longest domination of top tournaments = Lasker. Greatest accuracy according to a strong engine = Capablanca with Fischer a close second.

Anonymous's picture

Try to list the number of actual classical tournaments Karpov won and you will find that they are less than 60 rather than 160. The latter number includes every rapid and tiebreak minimatch event he ever played. But numbers of course mean nothing here. Bogo won many more tournaments than Lasker.

Karpov was a great player but hardly won any tournament after Linares 1994. For almost 15 years before that he never finished ahead of Kasparov (who never won any tournaments by taking back moves either). It's easy to calculate that you can't reach 160 won real tournaments mainly by winning lots of events in the 1970s.

Before Linares 1994 Chessmetrics lists Karpov's strongest tournament performances as shared first with Korchnoi in Interzonal and shared first with old Tal in Montreal 1979. Then he won lots of comparatively weak events too and was of course truly great. But no comparison to Kasparov who only played the strongest events and simply did better.

Greco's picture

+1

RG13's picture

You are correct that Kasparov didn't win any tournaments from taking back moves, but he did win a game from taking back a move. As far as the number 160 - I got that from wikipedia and I cannot verify it - much less do qualitiative analysis on the "first place finishes" it purportedly refers to.

RG13's picture

Karpov is from a different era than Kasparov. His ability to have individual outstanding performances well past his prime is just another measure of his greatness. He was clearly the best in the world in 1975 (Fischer wasn't a chess player in 1975) and by 1985 when he sat down to play Kasparov in their first match he racked up a lead of 5 wins to 0 with a bunch of draws. Clearly if the match was of any reasonable length (like 24 games which is considered a marathon today) Karpov would have been declared the victor easily. As it was a stupid unlimited match (no longer considered sensible) which might have stretched to over 60 games it was called off by FIDE. That is more about endurance than chess and a younger man should have an edge in an endurance match. This makes his 1995 match against Kasparov when he was well past his prime all the more amazing. What would have happened if Kasparov didn't have draw odds and was forced to play a rapid play-off? Would he be reduced to tears like he was in their 2002? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QXRR9Ql7kI

Comparing players of different eras is more complex than it seems. To compare the strength of tournaments of different eras then you have to penalize a player who might have played in a time when stronger tournaments were not available. For example, what would it have done to the strength of a 4 man Round Robin if top-rated Fischer where in it rather than someone rated over 100 points less than them? Karpov could only play who was available.

Also 'stronger' must be determined only by ranking and not rating since comparing the ratings of players who peaked in different eras is subject to debate among the experts. This article explains some of the difficulties: http://gambit.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/are-todays-top-players-better...

Josué Cardin's picture

Karpov is the BEST EVER !!!!

Human Counter's picture

Check that crosstable!!! wow
Karpov is simply amazing!
The finals will be Karpov-Bacrot or Karpov-Ivanchuck

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