NAME: Anatoly Yevgenyevic Karpov
BIRTHDATE: May 23, 1951
BIRTHPLACE: Zlatoust, Russia
CREDENTIALS: Became a grandmaster at age 19. Chess champion of the Soviet Union in 1976, 1983 and 1988. World Chess Champion from 1975-85. One of the most active and successful tournament players of all time.
Known as an extremely strong positional player, a fierce fighter who dominates by steady, unstoppable force rather than by flashy play. Karpov has described his style in this way: Let us say the game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don't yield to precise calculation; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory.... I would choose the latter without thinking twice. If the opponent offers keen play I don't object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic.
Learned the game of chess at age 4. Karpov's accomplishments in chess apparently were the result of much work and determination, considering that one of his early chess instructors, the great Mikhail Botvinnik, assessed Anatoly's born talent this way: "The boy doesn't have a clue about chess, and there's no future at all for him in this profession"!