Karpov’s Checkmating Attacks

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Anatoly Karpov – the 12th World Chess Champion – turned 70 yesterday and today we celebrate the occasion with a selection of Karpov’s checkmating attacks.

Anatoly Karpov at 70
Picture from chess24.com

Karpov has already featured in our Checkmate Monday series once before but we have by no means exhausted the supply of excellent examples from the great champion.

Try your hand at the following positions to see if you can match the champion’s skill. Can you finish off Karpov’s checkmating attacks?

Highlight the space under each position to reveal the answers.

A Single Move

Our first example is checkmate in just one move.

Checkmate in One Against Eric Lobron

Anatoly Karpov – Eric Lobron
Walldorf Rapidplay match, 1997
White to play and checkmate Black in one move
Answer: 24.Qh6 checkmate.

The Delicate Touch

The next example requires a delicate touch – typical of Karpov’s style.

Anatoly Karpov - Henrique Mecking
Anatoly Karpov – Henrique Mecking
Hastings, 1971-2
White to play and checkmate Black in two moves
Answer: 34.Rg7 and Back resigned; 1-0. 35.Rf3 checkmate is next on the agenda.

A Knight to Remember

Karpov played many games against Jan Timman. White has an extra knight but sometimes that is not enough to win. However, Karpov finished off in style, with a forced checkmate.

Anatoly Karpov - Jan Timman
Anatoly Karpov – Jan Timman
Bugojno, 1978
White to play and checkmate Black in three moves
Answer: 70.Rf5+ and 1-0. Timman didn’t wait for 70…Kh6 71.Ng8+ Kh7 72.Rh5 checkmate.

A Big Sacrifice

All of the deft touches shown above may give the impression that Karpov never finished games with a sacrificial flourish. The next example refutes the idea.

Anatoly Karpov - Zoltan Ribli
Anatoly Karpov – Zoltan Ribli
Dubai Olympiad, 1986
White to play 

Answer: Karpov unleashed a brilliant queen sacrifice. 53.Qxh7+ Kxh7 54.Rh2+ Kg8 55.Rdh1 f6 56.Rh8+ 1-0. 56…Kf7 57.g6 checkmate would have swiftly followed had Ribli not resigned.

Pawn Power

In today’s final example of Karpov’s checkmating attacks, his opponent, the tricky Ivanchuk, has just promoted a pawn on h8 to earn himself a new queen. White is ahead by one point, but Karpov finishes off the game with a fine checkmate. Accuracy is required!

Beating Vassily Ivanchuk
Vassily Ivanchuk – Anatoly Karpov
Tilburg Rapidplay, 1993
Black to play
Answer: 51…b3+ 52. Ka3 Qc5+ 0-1 Ivanchuk resigned, as 53.Kb2 Qf2+ 54.Kb1 Qa2+ 55.Kc1 Qc2 checkmate is on the way.

Incidentally, our friends at chess24.com have published a the first part of a very recent interview Karpov, which is definitely worth reading.

Chessable Courses

You may like to know that there are many more beautiful checkmating patterns in our course, The Checkmate Patterns Manual, by International Master John Bartholomew and CraftyRaf. This course won third place in our Chessable Awards for 2020.

The Checkmate Patterns Manual

There is a shortened, free version of the course here.

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