Reports | June 15, 2012 14:24

Karpov beats Seirawan 10-8 in St. Louis match

Karpov beats Seirawan 10-8 in St. Louis match

Former World Champion Anatoly Karpov defeated four-time U.S. Champion Yasser Seirawan in a match held from June 10-13 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. In the first three days of play, two classical and two rapid games were drawn, increasing the tension as the players headed into a 10-game blitz match held on June 13. This was won by Karpov 6-4, setting the final score at 10-8 beause the players got one point for each of the four draws in the classical and rapid. 

Karpov and Seirawan in St. Louis | Images courtesy of the official website

Event Karpov-Seirawan | PGN via TWIC
Dates June 10-13, 2012
Location Saint Louis, USA
System Match
Players Anatoly Karpov & Yasser Seirawan
Rate of play 2 games of classical chess (90 minutes / 40 moves followed by 30 minutes to finish the game + 30 seconds increment from move 1), 2 rapid games (25 minutes for the whole game + 5 seconds increment) and 10 blitz games (5 minutes for the whole game + 2 seconds increment)
Prize fund First prize $10,000, second prize $7,000

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted former World Champion GM Anatoly Karpov in a special match against four-time U.S. Champion GM Yasser Seirawan. The two faced off June 9-13 in a match that consisted of classical, rapid and blitz chess. First they played two "normal" games on June 10th and 11th, then two rapid games on June 12th followed by ten blitz games on June 13th.

Chess legends Anatoly Karpov and Yasser Seirawan meet again at the chess board


Both classical games were drawn, but not without two long fights. Karpov’s defensive skills were stellar in both games. After achieving a strong position on the White side of the Slav in game one, he erred and Seirawan won his weak c-pawn. However, Karpov’s two bishops vs. a knight and a bishop advantage allowed him to keep the balance, and the game was drawn after almost 70 moves. In the post-game analysis, both players indicated that the draw was not as difficult to achieve as commentators and fans believed.

Rex Sinquefield, the major contributor to the successful Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, executes the first move

In the second game Seirawan was on the white side of a Queen’s Indian defense. Karpov deviated from main line theory early on with 5…d5 (instead of …Bb7 or …c5) and ended up with a passive and unpleasant position. Seirawan was pressing all game. After the game, both players agreed that trading rooks with 34.Re1 gave away most winning chances and that 34. g4 was better.

Commentator GM Ben Finegold noted that Seirawan’s handling of the clock in this tournament has been excellent so far. By contrast, in the recent U.S. Championship, Seirawan got into deep time trouble in several games. After the second classical game, Seirawan pointed out that the transition from classical to rapid and then blitz may be challenging for both players and will likely result in fireworks.

PGN file


The rapid portion also ended in two draws. In the first game, Karpov achieved a dominant position in the same line of the Slav that they played in game one of the classical match. In the post-game commentary, Karpov and Seirawan agreed that Yasser's main hope was Karpov's time deficit. In the end, Karpov accepted Yasser's draw offer in a better position due to his rapidly dwindling clock. He also pointed out that even though black was worse in the final position, he had no active plans, so Seirawan's position was easier to play quickly.

In the second game, Karpov chose the Lasker Defense of the Queen's Gambit Declined. This surprised Yasser, and he did not get much with the white pieces. The game was drawn after 34 moves.

PGN file

Yasser Seirawan


Karpov drew the first blood in game one when he prevailed in a razor-sharp pawn endgame. Yasser played 45...Kf8 which lost, while 45...Kg8 would have won. But the match was far from over, as the two traded victories. Seirawan won a particularly nice game in round five, highlighting the weakness of Karpov's second rank with 34...Rd2!!.

But after a half-time break, Karpov came back sharp and hungry, and he won three games in a row to clinch the match victory and $10,000 first prize. The final score of the blitz match was 6-4 in Karpov's favor while the overall match score (one point for each of the four draws in the classical and rapid) was 10-8.

PGN file

Anatoly Karpov had the strongest nerves in the decisive blitz match

During the event there was live commentary from GM Ben Finegold and WGM Jennifer Shahade, and you can still replay everything in the following video player below (production: Macauley Peterson). At the post-game press conference both players spoke highly of the overall quality of the blitz match and the playing conditions. The tournament concuded with a cocktail party and tandem chess exhibition at the World Chess Hall of Fame. Karpov was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in 2004, while Seirawan was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2006.

Thanks to Jennifer Shahade

Karpov-Seirawan 2012 | Score



Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Mike Hunt's picture

Typical americanism, glitz and glamour but no substance. Surely that sugar daddy Seinfeld fella(!) should promote up and coming palyers etc and not line the pockets a former great but wealthy political preacher and a rich buddy of dubious american accreditation. Its chest beating pomp like this that the good old US of A is a laughing stock among real chess players and will also be second rate...

Nick's picture

FU mike hunt what a juvenile could you think of a better pseudonym What a loser. You are vapid and a bore. Its 2 gentleman having a game, you wouldn't understand.
Boston USA

Anonymous's picture

LOL, what a superfluous and wrong comment to make. This was a well deservedly promoted and fine encounter betweeen two world-wide recognized former greats of chess. If anybody would take you seriously, you could try and survive 20 moves against any of them, just to give us all a good laugh. Even in 20 years, they will probably both finish you off for breakfast without looking up between coffee and eggs.

Born's picture

You are obviously full of frustration Mike, is there maybe something you wish to talk about?


fen's picture

In addition to supporting CCSCSL, Sinquefield and his wife also support chess in the local school system and have also created the chess merit badge for the Boy Scouts of America. This means that literally thousands of kids have been exposed to chess and encouraged to play when they otherwise wouldn't have been. It's really too bad that this doesn't receive the same coverage as events at the chess club, but that's not Rex's fault.

RealityCheck's picture

Trivia question: Would Sugar Daddy, Rex S., have given Yessir an Opa Fiet to go out campaigning for Anatoly and Garry's 2014 FIDE Prez run or coming in 2nd?

Btw, the players did get the "shake-hands" right. Both men standing on equal footing looking each other in the eye. Kirsan should add this "shake-hands" posture to the dress code for the players.

Anonymous's picture

Seriously Mike Hunt? Seriously? In a chess world today when major tournaments stop happening or get postponed indefinitely, you accuse Sinquefield of organizing no substance events? I wish there were 10 of them around the world, to put chess back in the pedestal where it deserves to be.
So, why don't you dip your tongue in you brain before you write whatever you wrote up there - and I am trying hard to be polite here ...

Pal G.'s picture

M. Hunt is a typical, sad little boy. And his screen name is an juvenile, pathetic quip.

LuxAeterna's picture

Please do not feed the trolls.
Talk about the games, the system of the match, the knowledge, the nerves...

Pal G.'s picture

You're right..

Chess Fan's picture

I remember Yasser Sierawan winning the prestigious World Junior title in 1979 (very prestigious at that time) and hoping that there is finally a real alternate challenger (other than the great Korchnoi) to Karpov. He someone how did not qualify or play for the World Championship cycle (I did not follow or remember that) but it is interesting for me to follow this match now.
I have lots of respect for Seirawan both as a great player and especially as a respected elder in Chess giving objective and pertinent views on Chess affairs. When he talks about chess (just as was the case with Bent Larsen) I listen respectfully. Probably also with Dr. GM John Nunn.

Anonymous's picture

I still think Seirawan's S-Chess idea deserves more consideration.

Anonymous's picture

I agree, but don't you think that chess should first try varying the starting piece positions to allow for a significantly wider variety of middlegame positions?

GeneM's picture

S-Chess reduces knights to little more than pawn killers. You use your to exchange sacrifice your knight for enemy pawns in front of the enemy castled king. Same effect exists in Ed Trice's Gothic Chess.
Then those two super powerful pieces get added to the board, and nothing about it "feels" like chess anymore.
S-Chess does have a lower draw rate, but it ain't chess.

Yes "varying the starting piece positions" is overdue. But chess960 - Fischer Random Chess is not quite the answer.
Instead, we should pick one sensible nonTraditional start setup from chess960 and then stick with it for a couple decades; until all its good opening variations are deeply recorded in an opening database (like the variations are for the traditional setup).
** Discard the "Random" from Fischer Random Chess!

WC Fields's picture

GeneM - you are still singing adverts for Ed Trice? What a fool you are. To anyone who understands the Iceland backstory of Ed in Iceland, your reputation is soiled because of it. You think Fischer ever looked at those chess icons you created? Seriously, it was all Ed.

Bobby didn't trust him, wouldn't see him, and Ed got pissed off. Decided to dance on his grave while Bobby was on his deathbed, and you still sing praises misnaming Capablanca Chess in Ed's honor. Utter Tool. Go stick your head in the sand some more. Chess deserves more respect without people like you pissing all over it.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I completely agree with your "#2" point. In a recent interview Kasparov seemed to support such a move for pro chess. He felt not all new opening positions were "playable", so considerable thought from top GM's needs to be given to each new openning position. In any event, such a change would usher in a whole new era of new, exciting middlegame positions.....and chess would be in no danger of being played out.

Anonymous's picture

Well Chess 960 is out there and there was a nice 960 championship that was won by Aronian and then Namamura (I think). Organizers don't seem much interested in it though. I think all these different versions of chess can exist at the same time; it is up to organizers.

Anonymous's picture

But don't you think most amateur chess players like to study openning, hoping to get an advantage in their next club tournament? Chess960 seems to eliminate this aspect of chess completely.

Anonymous's picture

Many amateur players like to study the opening. I am one that does not. So there should be classic chess for those that like opening study and Chess960 for those like me that just want to get right to the middle-game. The pros have shown they are willing to go for whatever the organizers and sponsors want to promote so it can be "yes and" instead of "either or".

Latest articles