World – Inducted 2004
Born in Zlatoust in the Urals, Anatoly Karpov has compiled perhaps the best tournament record in chess history, achieving more than 160 first-place finishes. As a teenager, he won the 1967 European Junior Championship and the 1969 World Junior Championship, and was awarded grandmaster status in 1970. He continued to succeed in tournament play, winning Moscow’s 1971 Alekhine Memorial, sharing second place in the 1973 USSR Championship, and qualifying for the 1974 Candidates Matches. His victory in the latter competition earned him the right to challenge defending World Champion Bobby Fischer. Following Fischer’s forfeiture, Karpov was named the 12th World Chess Champion in 1975. Karpov successfully defended his title in 1978 and 1981 before losing to Garry Kasparov in 1985.
During his decade as world champion, he was a constant and dominant presence on the international tournament scene. Karpov and Kasparov would compete for the World Championship three more times, in 1986, 1987, and 1990, with Kasparov narrowly defending his title each time. However, Karpov would recapture the World Championship crown in 1993 and successfully defended in 1996 and 1998. Following changes to the format of FIDE competitions, he resigned the title in 1999 and has since limited his chess participation to exhibition and rapid chess events. Despite his gradual retirement from competitive play, Karpov’s impressive record remains, including a peak Elo rating of 2780 and 90 total months as the world’s top-ranked player. In recent years, Karpov has become involved in several political and humanitarian causes, both internationally and in his native Russia.