Karpov System: A Complete Chess Accounting

Karpov developed a system of complete chess accounting which enabled him to rem
ain undefeated at the topmost levels for years and years.While Fischer tried to
find the winning move (and avoid any drawish move) at each stage and lost some g
ames in order to win, Karpov created a much more objective system of ensuring a
win or escaping with a draw on every move. Hence Karpov system is more objective
and solid.
Elements of the Karpov System:
A. Seven Timeless Reference Points:
1. Material Relationship between the forces: Calculation of material strength is
the starting point for evaluation of any chess position. If the material posit
ion is equal, accent gets shifted to other six reference points. However, if the
material equality is destroyed, then under stable equal conditions, the side ha
ving an advantage must win. To win, the player having advantage shall perform sy
stematic exchanges reducing the number of active pieces and shall make his mater
ial superiority more and more noticeable and dominant. The goal of player in adv
antage shall be to take the position to one of the theoretical endgame positions
which he can handle more confidently. Karpov is a follower of Philidor here "th
e ability to play the end of the game is the ability to play". The weaker or def
ending side (the side in material loss) usually strives to organize tactical com
plications in such situations, to take the struggle into irrational positions in
which the opponent's material superiority looses its significance.
2. Presence of direct threats: Three questions shall be asked constantly during
the evaluation of any chess position:
(i) What is threatening me?
(ii) What else can my opponent do?
(iii) What else can I do?
Result of such evaluation can be - better, equal or worse position. You can't pl
ay good chess without constant, concentrated attention during the game.
3. Position of the kings and their safety:This is quite often the most important
reference point of evaluation of a chess position. A successful attack on the o
pponent's king mostly wipes out many of the opponent's pluses in a chess positio
n and leads to the biggest material losses of all kinds. With same side castling
, the main method of destroying the opponent's position is to exploit a weakness
in his pawn cover. But in the cases of opposite side castling, the number of at
tacking methods increases significantly. Typical plan of attack in opposite side
castling is - "Pawn Storm" the goal of which is to destroy the pawns covering t
he opponent's king and to open lines for a decisive attack by the pieces. When w
e have our advanced pawns in front of the opponent's king, the lines of attack c
an be opened much more easily.
4. Possession of open lines: Important lines are files, ranks and diagonals. Con
trol over these lines have significant influence over evaluation of a chess posi
tion and if other points are equal leads to a better game.There are four strate
gic plans based on fighting for different types of open lines:
(i) Breakthrough in the Centre: This helps in mobilizing your forces fast to any
part of the board.
(ii) Breakthrough between the Centre and the Flank: This plan works on the c an
d b files.
(iii) Attack on the Edge of the board: The queen rook file (a file) is the fart
hest from king in short castled positions. Opening of the outside a file diverts
opponent's forces from his king side towards queen side and provides an opportu

2. 5. for black's dark squared bishop and Reti and English Openings etc.d4 Nf6. the attack always occurs on the side where opponent's king is located. 5. 2. the F rench Defence or the Kings Indian Defence openings. Obtain the initiative with a peaceful center.c4 e6.Nf3 exd). Put obstacles on the w ay of opponent's pawn attack. The game moves to the flanks . Plan of Atta ck: Flank attack with a pawn storm to clear a path for attacking pieces. We need to be cautious towards opponen t's flank attacks too. the plan of ac tion is . the Grunfeld Defence and some other openings . 4.d4 Nf6. 8.Nc3 Nf6. Quite large sacrifices are sometimes made to control the long diagonals. 2. Hence. 5. One of the most popular pawn structures is the Carlsbad structure which arises in Queen's Gambit declined (1.d4 d5. weak and strong squares: The position of pawns has always dir ectly or indirectly influenced the choice of plans. Attacks take place on the side with open lines or where superiority of forces can be created in the shortest time. Pawn structure created in the opening to a large exte nt determines the course of the game. This often leads to outside passed pawn too which plays a significant role in pawn endgames. 3. In fact. Sicilian D ragon etc. white has at his disposal pawn minority attack o r a break in the centre with e3-e4 and also king side attack. 3. Pawn structure. Black's defence usually depends on the course of action taken by white and consi st of counter attack with pawns or pieces on the king side.Qc2 d5. Plans of Defence: 1. (iii) Dynamic Center where final position of the pawns is not yet fixed: These a rise after half open openings and Sicilian Defence games.c4 e 6.cxd). 2.Nxg5 e6.1. (ii) Static Center with Central Pawns fixed in pairs: Characteristics are a mano euvring battle for the central squares and switching of the attacks to the flank at an appropriate moment. fo r White's light squared bishop) have been created in which right from the first move. actions of both sides and fi nally the result in chess.Nc3 d5.exd cxd. 2. An attack on a ce ntral pawn forces it to advance after which it should be blockaded and the weake . 4. . 2. 6. we shall convert this position to a position which suites our playing style or the playing situation (we want s ure-shot win or draw is also acceptable). battle is focused on opening and controlling the long diagonals on which t he bishops can display their strength.Nc3 Bb4. positional methods l ike creation of a defensive line including b7-b5 or piece control over the c4 an d b5 squares and also undermining of the centre or a counterattack on a queen si de castled position. (iv) Mobile Center where any of the central pawns can move: This is a feature o f Evans Gambit.nity of opening his king side.d4 d5. Thus we need to keep a careful eye on the center and to forsee upcoming changes. We need to keep in mind that a peaceful center is a n ecessary condition for flank attacks on the opponent king. 3. Look for an active play on the flanks. Nimzo-Indian Defence (1.e4 c6. 4.c4 g6. Grunfeld Defence (1.cxd exd) and with colors reve rsed in Caro-Kann defence (1. These can transpose to any of the other four pawn positions.Nf3 Bg7.Bg5 Ne4. Many times a player gives up his rook in exchang e of opponent's bishop to gain control over long diagonal. 5. 3. 6. The main method to handle a mobile center is to blockade it.c3).Bd3 Nc6. In the Carlsbad pawn structure. 6. 4.Bg5 c6.cxd Nxg5.e3 Nbd7. The Center and Space: There are five basic types of pawn positions in the cen tre and there are fairly precise plans of attacking and defensive play for each of these positions: (i) Closed Center with Fixed Pawn Chains: These arise after the Ruy Lopez. 5. (iv) Dangerous Diagonals: Entire opening systems (like King's Indian. Alekhine's Defence. Counter attack on the other side. 7. In the cases of Opposite side castling.

(vi) Make the square where your opponent's piece can move blockaded or occupied with your piece or opponent's piece. Usually a long peri od of positional or tactical maneuvering starts.After comparing the positions on the ba sis of above seven reference points. To achieve this. Selection of plan in stage two is dependent on this est imation of the position. the King's Gambit.Restricting the mobility of our opponent's pieces and increasing the domination of your own pieces. (i) Better Position: If a player has got an advantage in development. (iv) Make your opponent move a piece unfavorably when the moved piece destroys a n established connection (blocks another piece's line of action or takes an esse ntial square away from it). 7. 2. (iii) Worse Position: In worse position. Offer piece protection to the fl ank under attack. B. Plan of Defence: 1. Often such moves are tactical blows to open the game and get to the opponent's king more quickly. Development and the position of pieces: As per Karpov. (v) Make the square(s) to which an opponent's piece can move attacked by your pi eces. 2. the player in advantage shall choose as the opportunit y arises. Achieve a superiority in the center. he should try to prevent his opponent from completing the mobilization of his (opponent's) forces. Ab sence of central pawns in this type of center takes the game to sharp active tac tical piece play. Un necessary aggressive actions might only ruin one's position. 3. (vii) Make the opponent's pieces' paths obstructed by your own or opponent's pie ces. a player can determine whether he is in adv antage or loss position. (ii) Equal Position: In equal position. the main task of a player is to slow do wn the opponent's attack.ned squares in front of the pawn shall be occupied with our pieces. Stage One: Compare Reference Points . Make a coordinated piece attack on the side or center w here opponent is weak. Action plan is to take possession of central lines and importa nt central squares. the Slav Defence and the Queen's Gambit Accepted. Create weaknesses in your opponent's camp. (v) Open Center where there are no pawns in the center: These arise after the Ru y Lopez. during which both sides try har d to avoid weaknesses in their position and try to create weaknesses in the oppo nent's camp. moves that present concrete threats. There are seven methods for restricting your opponent's piece mobility: (i) Make opponent's piece occupied with the defence of another piece or an impor tant square. as a rule proceedings go peacefully. (ii) Make your opponent's piece tied down with covering a valuable piece or an i mportant square. (iii) Make two or more of the opponent's pieces or important squares simultaneou sly under threat. Chess Accounting: This shall be performed in following stages: 1.A player shall choose an attacking or defensive plan depending on the objective evaluation of the position in stage One. 2. Stage Two: Choosing a Plan . The best method to slow down an attack is to simplify . Defend the weak squares. forcing the opponent to waste tim e and energy deflecting the threats. Plan of Attack: 1. the most important law of chess is .

A set of such studies are available in the book mentioned below. . his next plan shall be to prepare a counter att ack. "Find the Right Plan with Anatoly Karpov" by Anatoly Karpov and Anatoly Matsu kevich. Stage 3: Strengths & weaknesses of chess pieces: Karpov also studied the limi tations of different chess pieces and developed methods to trap each one of them . Once a player has sl owed down the opponent's attack. one must purchase and read followi ng books) 1.the position by exchanging the opponent's attacking pieces. 3. References: (To further master Karpov System. Batsford Publications 2008.