Elista Diaries — Karpov vs Kamsky and Karpov vs Anand

World Chess Championship Matches

Anatoly Karpov

Reviewer: Jeremy Silman
Ishi Press
414 pages

This fine book gives a great account of the World Championship match between Karpov and Kamsky. All the games are deeply annotated, photos are sprinkled throughout, the complete score of the match and a description of that day’s particular game is given at the beginning of the moves and notes, and comments/stories by Henley, Bjelica and others give you a feel for the match’s intrigues and dramas.

All this is offered in the last 130 pages. The first 200 pages are filled with Karpov’s two favorite games (deeply annotated) of the other World Champions (starting with Steinitz, though he gives seven when he reaches himself!), a discussion of what each Champion gave to chess as a whole, a quick talk about Morphy (plus one annotated Morphy game), an in-depth discussion of Kamsky’s road to this World Championship match (lots of games and lots more annotations), all the games (with notes) of the Karpov-Gelfand match, and (finally!) all the previous encounters (once again, many have notes) between Karpov and Kamsky.

This is one of the best three match books I’ve ever seen (Tal’s book on his 1960 match with Botvinnik is the best, Yasser’s wonderful account of the Fischer-Spassky rematch has dropped to third behind this Karpov masterpiece); it gives more than full value for those who wish to analyze chess games, and it gives more than full value to those who simply wish to read about chess history (past and present). I loved it and I think that you will too. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

My review was based on the R & D Publishing first edition from 1996 (333 pages), which concentrated on the Karpov-Kamsky 1996 match. The more current version, from Ishi Press, is 414 pages. The Ishi Press version has added the Karpov-Anand match from Mexico City 2007.