I've heard that Karpov is a natural at other games besides chess, figuring out the odds and efficient strategies very quickly. He shares this with a lot of chess pros, for example Grischuk doubles as a professional poker player.

A lot of the criticism leveled at Karpov by Kasparov, Korchnoi, Bronstein and others boils down to his open rejection of risk and brilliance in chess together with his efficient adaptation to life in the Soviet Union. Karpov figured that his own best interests were served by not rocking the boat, whilst others suffered varying degrees of personal hardship for taking a more 'principled' stance, both on and off the chess board.

One of the ironies of this is that Karpov might actually have been more in tune with Western individuality and efficiency than those less favored by the Soviet state.


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