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Boris Spassky vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Spassky Candidates Semifinal (1974), Leningrad URS, rd 2, Apr-15
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation (B18)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-18-04  ArturoRivera: This game was played in the candidates Touurnament when Karpov had to Fight against Spassky to get a ticket for being world champion, and in one book i read: "My trainer build up in me a stonewall where all tactical shows will justt stuck up, so when i used the Caro-kann against Spassky, he was so stunish for my desition that he resigned to his advantage of playing white and offered me a quick draw"

I think the name of the book is 20 conversations with Anatoly Karpov

Mar-15-06  sarahbumter: Is Karpov's english really that bad?
Mar-15-06  Brown: Perhaps back in '74, yes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: I suspect that's the quality (or, lack thereof) of a translation, not Karpov's English.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I have never heard of the book "20 Conversations with Anatoly Karpov".

Presumably the author asked Karpov at some point, "Why was game 2 of your 1974 match against Spassky so short?"

Mar-16-06  Volmac: I have read the story about this game as well! Karpov had caught a terrible cold in the beginning of the match and had lost the first game as white. Out of desperation he played the Caro-Kann in the second game, an opening he had never played before. Karpov could not have been in shape for a long game and if Spassky had not offered a draw but played on in a long struggle he would certainly have gained a 2-0 lead. (but Spassky has always been a gentleman)

I do not remember the exact words but Karpov said something like this after the match.

"I can only presume he felt sorry for me when he saw how ill I was. That was a kind and generous gesture but also a comfortable one. Why play an ardous game when you have a 1-0 lead?"

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I never knew that a 17-move draw in the Caro-Kann could be so interesting.

This does seem to be Karpov's first serious game with the Caro-Kann - the only previous one for him is Samadov vs Karpov, 1966, when he was 15.

So Karpov is 1-0 down and with a bad cold and he plays an opening he has practically never played before - how odd!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Karpov early in his career said he found the Caro-Kann depressingly passive, or words to that effect.

It is odd he chose it against Spassky, but he kept Spassky off-balance that way I suppose.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: He played it four times in this match, getting a win and three draws. I doubt his employment of it in this game was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <This is the proper moment to discuss our preparation for the match, which we called "a fight with both hands." What did this mean? It had been noted that Spassky did not usually pay much attention to openings when preparing for matches, and the decision was made to offer him as varied a scheme of opening systems as possible...> My Best Games

<keypusher> Reading between the lines, I infer that Karpov had not been intending to make the Caro-Kann his main defence in the match, but when Spassky failed to show an advantage, he kept playing it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <tamar> I think that's exactly right. Spassky finally got a decent initiative on his fourth (!) try against the Caro-Kann and Karpov promptly switched to the Ruy Lopez.

Karpov made little use of 4...Bf5 afterwards, although of course he became the great exponent of 4...Nd7. I always liked 4...Bf5 myself.

Dec-23-09  raychandler: Someone who made a hobby out of playing the black side of the closed Ruy Lopez found the Caro Kann "depressingly passive"?
Sep-07-14  Everett: <raychandler: Someone who made a hobby out of playing the black side of the closed Ruy Lopez found the Caro Kann "depressingly passive"?>

Have a look at the Ruy Zaitsev's Karpov has played, and you will see plenty of activity compared to the C-K.

Nov-02-14  Zonszein: Karpov palyed the Caro kann again against Spassky in 2006, and lost
Sep-20-17  edubueno: ¿Por qué darle tablas cuando se tiene mejor caballo, mejor alfil y mejores peones?
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