Anatoly Karpov

Fischer never defended his title, which passed to the winner of the Candidates' matches, Anatoly Karpov, in 1975.

Karpov was a worthy Champion, though, and his quiet, deft chess dominated the world of chess for a decade.

Here are two games where he strangled strong opponents.

Click [...] to see list of games

Robert Fischer

'Bobby' Fischer was known as a threat to the Soviet domination of world chess for many years, but kept withdrawing from qualifying as the challenger over disputes with organizers. He finally qualified in 1971, having stormed past the other Candidates with huge scores, and beat Spassky in a match which was as dramatic off the board as on it.

In contrast to the real-life dramas, he played a very cool, rational sort of chess, no-nonsense and razor-sharp.

Boris Spassky

Boris Spassky beat Petrosian on his second try, failing in 1966 and winning in 1969.

Spassky could do many things well, but had a flair for attacking.

He also had a collection of opening systems that he knew very well and would use even if other people didn't think they were very good -- like the King's Gambit and Closed Sicilian, and the Leningrad Variation of the Nimzo-Indian.

There is some wonderful centralisation in this game:

Tigran Petrosian

Petrosian finally ended Botvinnik's long reign at the top of world chess in 1963, and Botvinnik didn't seek a re-match.

Petrosian's mature style was often hard to like -- slow and safety-first -- but easy to admire -- very effective and often subtle.

He was known for a 'boa-constrictor' approach, taking control of a game slowly, and waiting for small mistakes. You wouldn't have thought that could work against top grandmasters, but it did.

Vasily Smyslov

Smyslov played four times for the World Championship: he came second to Botvinnik in the 1948 tournament (following Alekhin's death), and then he played Botvinnik three times, drawing in 1954 (so Botvinnik kept the title), winning in 1957, but losing again in 1958.

Smyslov was a fine singer and musician, and his games are known for their sense of art and harmony. He was not known for great research and analysis, more insight and intuition -- he played all openings with seemingly equal ease, especially the flexible hypermodern openings like the Reti.

Mikhail Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik was the first of many Soviet chess World Champions, winning a tournament in 1948 after Alekhin died, and holding on though a couple of interruptions until 1963. He was known for a very sound, logical style of play, and thoroughly researched all the opening systems he played.

Here he is in action with an IQP position against one of the giants of the day:

Max Euwe

Max Euwe held the title of Champion briefly, beating then losing to Alekhin in 1935 and 1937. He remained active in chess organisation, being Prsident of FIDE for many years, and died a much-respected figure. He was a schoolteacher during his best chess years, the last amateur to hold the title.

Euwe's style was very logical, as fits a maths teacher, and he excelled in analysis, but his faith in his logical conclusions led him to take on very sharp and unbalanced positions, if he believed he was right.

Alexander Alekhin

Alexander Alexandrovitch Alekhin wrestled the crown from Capablanca with and never allowed him a rematch. He did play matches with Bogolyubow and even lost one to Euwe before getting back the worls title.

Alekhin's moves were always trying to get the most out of a position. It wasn't his style to look for 'natural' or 'elegant' moves -- he looked for ones that were forceful, accurate, dynamic -- the moves you had to play right now because you wouldn't get another chance.

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