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James Tarjan vs Anatoly Karpov
Skopje (1976), Skopje MKD, rd 13, Mar-15
Queen's Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation. General (D37)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Wouldn't 34.Qd8+ be the winning move here for Tarjan?
Feb-22-09  Octal: 34 Qd8+ Kh7 35 Qxh4+?? Rh6 wins the queen, while other 35th moves just leave black with a better position.
Jul-27-11  tonsillolith: <39...Qf4+> would make an excellent puzzle, perhaps for Wednesday or Thursday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Tarjan had a draw here (White to play move 38)

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What must have been in severe time trouble White rejected 38.Rd8+ and played 38.f5 instead.

38.f5 Re4 39.Qd5? Qf4+ 40.Kh3

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He made time control but Karpov has and played 40...Re3+ 0-1.

Oct-02-17  WorstPlayerEver: <Sally>

Do you mean Tarjan, the little known chess player? 😄

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Sally Simpson> Tarjan had a draw here (White to play move 38)>

You did not show Tarjan's drawing line. So for the record here is Stockfish 8's version of it at d=50: [0.00] 38.Rd8+ Kh7 39.Qc4 Qf5 40.Rd5 Qg4 41.Rd4 f6 42.Qxa6 f5 43.Qd3 Re2 44.Kg1 Re1+ 45.Kh2 with a draw by repetition.

And Stockfish evaluated at least 2 other lines as leading to a draw at d=50:

1. [0.00] 38.Rd5 f6 39.Rd8+ Kh7 40.Qd3+ f5 41.Qc4 Re6 (huh! But after 42.Qxe5, 42...Qxf4+ 43.Kg1 Qc1+ 44.Kh2 Qf4+ also leads to a draw by repetition since 45.g3 also leads to a draw by repetition (or worse!) after 45...Qxf2+ 46.Kh1 Qf1+ 47.Kh2 Q-f2+ etc. But not the kind of line that one enters into in time trouble!) 42.Rc8 h3 43.gxh3 Qf3 44.Qxe6 Qxf2+ 45.Kh1 Qf1+ 46.Kh2 Qf2+ and the same draw by repetition after 41...Re6.

2. [0.00]: 38.Rd6 Kh7 39.Rxa6 f5 40.Ra2 Re6 41.Ra1 Re4 42.Qd1 Rxf4 43.b5 Rb4 44.Qxg4 fxg4 45.Ra6 Rxb5 46.Ra4 Rg5 47.f3 Kg6 48.Rxg4 Rxg4 49.fxg4 (and this is a tablebase draw) 49...Kf6 50.Kh3 Kg5 51.g3 hxg3 52.Kxg3 and this is clearly a draw even if White loses his g-pawn when in zugswang.

So it looks like Tarjan had more than one drawing line but of course in time trouble all this is hard to calculate. In time trouble I personally probably would have chosen 38.Rd8+ Kh7 39.Qd3+ (with the idea of reaching the time control with forced moves as quickly as possible) and then either 39...Qg6 40.Qd5 or 39...f5 40.Qc4 lead to a draw by repetition according to Stockfish, and I (or Tarjan) would have had more time to calculate the drawing line(s).

It is interesting that in this case 39...g6 leads to a loss for Black after 40.Qd4 but I suspect that even in time trouble Karpov would have seen that 39...g6 leaves Black very vulnerable on the dark squares.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi AylerKupp,

You mentioned the line I had on my board.

click for larger view

38...Rd8+ Kh7 39.Qd3+ f5 40. Qc4

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Black to secure a draw plays 40...Re6 but 41. Qxe6 Qxf4+ is perpetual.

Other tries to stop the draw apart from 40...Re6 seem to pan out in White's favour.

At the time Karpov was always in the news. I'm going to check out some of my old magazine to verify time trouble but I'd put a chunk of money on that it was.

It all goes wonky just before move 40 and back to back errors. a Clear sign. The only other option is it was a must win for White and a draw was no good.

Oct-04-17  Howard: Old chess magazines (and recent ones, for that matter) rarely ever mention whether someone was in time trouble or not.

How about the Informant, though? But, I don't think this game made it into there.

Oct-04-17  Retireborn: The Informator notes are by a V.Sokolov, but don't capture the real tragedies of this game.

My notes are from a book about Karpov giving all his games from 1975-1977 (I think it was one of those O'Connell books.)

Tarjan could have won with 31.Qa8+! (Informator only suggests the useless 31.a4) Kh7 32.Rd5! eg 32...g6 33.Qe8 Kg7 34.Bh6+!

And he was certainly in time trouble when he played 35.b4, otherwise he would have gone for 35.Re1! Rxe1 36.Qc8+ with a forced draw by perpetual (possibilty not mentioned in Informator.)

Oct-06-17  Howard: Tarjan missed a forced win in this game ?! That's truly hard to believe.

Where did Karpov go wrong, then ?

Oct-06-17  Retireborn: 30...Be7 was a blunder permitting 31.Qa8+, as I pointed out. Karpov should have played 30...Qb6 or 30...Re8 instead.
Oct-08-17  Howard: And the Informant missed it...
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