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Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal '77
Compiled by Tabanus
--*--

For this match, Korchnoi qualified when he reached the Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974). Petrosian qualified from the Varese Interzonal Playoff (1976) that followed after the Biel Interzonal (1976). The three other quarterfinal matches were Polugaevsky - Mecking Candidates Quarterfinal (1977), Portisch - Larsen Candidates Quarterfinal (1977) & Spassky - Hort Candidates Quarterfinal (1977). Each match was of 12 games and the first to achieve 6,5 points would be the winner.1, 2 If after 12 games there was no winner, then two more games would be played. If again there was no winner, then the procedure would be continued until there was one. No provision had been made if there never was a winner, but then presumably the matches would be decided by natural causes.1

The playing venue was the Il Ciocco Hotel3 in Il Ciocco, a tourist center4 at Barga, Lucca township, northern Tuscany, Italy. Here the Marcucci brothers, owners of the factories, hotels and mountains around, had given $20,000 to get publicity.5 For Korchnoi, it was the first time he had met a Soviet player after he moved to the west in 1976. The match was particularly piquant bearing in mind that Petrosian was one of the signatories to a letter roundly condemning Korchnoi for his desertion of his motherland.1 One could also read in the newspapers Korchnoi had said, Petrosian? I hate that man.6 The match was several places dubbed as the match of hatred. When the two met in the first round they exchanged neither a handshake nor a word of greeting.7 Later in the match Korchnoi protested against the fact that Petrosian had a telex machine standing "in the room". He suspected that there was a direct connection with the USSR.8

Korchnoi's family was held back in Soviet Russia and his chess books had been left in Leningrad.9 His warm-up consisted of an 8-game match against Jan Timman in November (+4 -1 =3), and a 4-game match against Werner Hug in January (+2 =2).10 His two seconds in Barga were Yacov Isaakovich Murey (during latter part of the match) and Hans Ree (both IM's).11 Petrosian had played in the USSR Championship (1976) in December. He arrived (seemingly better prepared) with Efim Geller, Igor Arkadievich Zaitsev and Yuri Averbakh as seconds.12 Bozidar Kazic was main arbiter.13 Kazic also became an "errand boy" bringing messages between the two delegations in each corner of the dining room.14

The players: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_HDMO_yu5l...

The quality of the games was generally poor.9 Because in between the genius chess came also huge blunders. After three draws, Korchnoi got sick before game 4 (scheduled for 7 March) and requested postponement.15 In game 5 Petrosian moved the wrong knight (29...Ned5), lost the exchange and so the game. He struck back with great moves in game 6 (15.d5 and 17.Ne5). Korchnoi got worse, and probably let himself be checkmated to shorten the suffering. After a draw in game 7, Petrosian again blundered the exchange in game 8 (33.e4). After two more draws, Petrosian asked for postponement of game 11 (scheduled for 28 March) because he was sick.16 When Korchnoi offered the draw in that game, Petrosian was not worse but seemed to have no fight left.

Il Ciocco Hotel (Barga Italy) 28 February - 2 April 1977

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Pts 1 GM Korchnoi 2645 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 0 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 6˝ 2 GM Petrosian 2645 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 1 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 5˝

Korchnoi advanced to the Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1977).

NOTES
1) Harry Golombek in The Times 19 February 1977 p. 9. 2) Tidskrift för Schack vol. 83/2 p. 46. 3) http://www.ciocco.it/en-us/live/hot... 4) http://www.renaissancetuscany.com/w... 5) Dimitrije Bjelica in CHESS March 1977 p. 161. 6) De Telegraaf 24 December 1976 p. 37. 7) The Times 1 March 1977 p. 6. 8) De Telegraaf 21 March 1977 p. 18. 9) Second hand citation from Korchnoi's book Chess Is My Life. 10) Korchnoi's 400 Best Games (Batsford 1978) p. 245. 11) De Telegraaf 2 March 1977 p. 17. 12) Tidskrift för Schack 83/4 p. 106. 13) De Telegraaf 1 March p. 15. 14) Eldis Cobo Arteaga in Noticias Ajedrez Tenerife 10 June 2008: http://ajedreztenerife.blogspot.no/... 15) El Mundo Deportivo 9 March 1977 p. 34. 16) Limburgsch Dagblad 29 March 1977 p. 13. Game dates are mainly from the Dutch newspapers at http://kranten.delpher.nl/.

Original collections: Game Collection: WCC Index (Korchnoi-Petrosian 1977) by User: Hesam7, Game Collection: 0 by User: TheFocus and Game Collection: Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal '77 by User: Tabanus. Thanks to User: Chessdreamer, User: Paint My Dragon and User: Chessical for finding sources and improving the English.

Game 1 February 28
Korchnoi vs Petrosian, 1977 
(A14) English, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 2 March 2
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 17 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3 March 5
Korchnoi vs Petrosian, 1977 
(E05) Catalan, Open, Classical line, 39 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 4 March 9
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 5 March 14
Korchnoi vs Petrosian, 1977 
(A29) English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto, 71 moves, 1-0

Game 6 March 16
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 37 moves, 1-0

Game 7 March 19
Korchnoi vs Petrosian, 1977
(D61) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 8 March 21
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 57 moves, 0-1

Game 9 March 23
Korchnoi vs Petrosian, 1977
(E06) Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3, 43 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 10 March 26
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977 
(E19) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3, 15 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 11 March 30
Korchnoi vs Petrosian, 1977 
(E06) Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 12 April 2
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977 
(E14) Queen's Indian, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

12 games

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