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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi
"Anatoly Would" (game of the day Mar-07-2008)
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship (1978), City of Baguio PHI, rd 14, Aug-19
Spanish Game: Open. St. Petersburg Variation (C82)  ·  1-0


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Given 45 times; par: 83 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-01-10  M.D. Wilson: I like the tension of the '84 match and the controversial ending, but the '87 match was also interesting and had excellent games, well, all the KK matches did. The '78 match was interesting because Korchnoi played so well yet lost and Karpov hadn't reached his peak and still won.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: the 84 match was a bit of a snooze. it was interesting, and important, because people could see a new chess force had arrived, and he was not a favorite of the Politburo. But match is marred by all of the draws--Kasparov's wearing out Karpov by producing some 35 or 40 draws.

The subsequent 24 game matches they played exhibit a much higher quality of chess.

Jan-03-10  M.D. Wilson: The 1984 Match catalysed Kasparov's chess development. Iron sharpens iron.
Mar-18-10  Bobwhoosta: <M.D. Wilson>

Well put.

Mar-18-10  BarcelonaFirenze: In my opinion, in 1978 Korchnoi was probably the strongest player in the world. We must remember that behind Karpov was the whole soviet chess machine... I think that, also, in the decisive game, Karpov broke the agreement about the presence of the parapsycologist that so much bothered Korchnoi...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <In my opinion, in 1978 Korchnoi was probably the strongest player in the world. We must remember that behind Karpov was the whole soviet chess machine...>

Why does that make Korchnoi stronger? Because he had weaker adjournment analysis? I don't follow the argument.

<I think that, also, in the decisive game, Karpov broke the agreement about the presence of the parapsycologist that so much bothered Korchnoi...>

I think ultimately that's why Korchnoi wasn't the strongest, and why he never became world champion. He got rattled too easily. Recall the candidates final against Spassky, where he whipped him so badly that Spassky retreated into his relaxation box for the whole game, and Korchnoi went to pieces over that and lost 4 games.

As for this match, it was one of the great slugfests, but I don't know how much actual credit it reflects on either player. Karpov had been nearly invincible since winning the title, but Korchnoi beat him 5 times, and let him off the hook in several more games. Ditto for Karpov, who had several dead-won games where he inexplicably let Korchnoi off (I'll never know how Karpov avoided winning Games 20 and 22). In the end, I think Korchnoi's reputation increased (for coming as close as he did), while Karpov's reputation took a hit (for failing to beat the point spread), which is why Korchnoi won the Oscar that year.

But in the end, it was the ease with which Korchnoi could be thrown off his game that killed him. Compare that with Botvinnik, who played training matches where he had his opponent blow smoke in his face, just to train in dealing with adverse conditions. Korchnoi lost Game 8 just because Karpov wouldn't shake his hand, which got him so upset that he tossed out all his opening prep, and played an impromptu opening disaster. He was an aggravating guy to root for.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: After losing to Karpov in Bagui City in 1975, Korchnoi was just 3 years older, and Karpov was just 3 more years experienced. I don't see how VK could suddenly be better than Karpov in 1978.

I think the hot temperatures of the Phillippines in the summer of '75 hurt Karpov more than they did Korchnoi. Karpov, of the delicate constitution faded as the match went deep into its second month. He might have beaten Korchnoi more thoroughly had the match been somewhere else in '75.

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Karpov and Korchnoi didn't play a match in 1975. They played matches in 1974 (Moscow), in 1978, (Baguio City), and in 1981 (Merano). Karpov of course won all three.
Mar-19-10  slomarko: <acirce> tries to pose like some sort of super knowledgeable kibitzer but like usual the doesn't know too much about the topic he's smarting off about. Korchnoi and Karpov played 4 matches not 3. The first was a training match in 1971, in Leningrad.
Premium Chessgames Member
Mar-19-10  Poulsen: According to Jeff Sonas' calculations Korchnoi has had 3 +2800 performances in his insanely long career.

Karpov has had 21 (twenty-one!!).

You can like Karpov or not, but by any reasonable measure anyone can come up with Karpov simply stands out as one of the most formidable players of all time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: All true, but at the same time, if you look at the games of this match, Korchnoi might very easily have won it. So many games could, and maybe should have ended differently than they did. So many games make you beat your head against the wall and wonder why. I mentioned Games 20 and 22. How in bloody blue blazes did Korchnoi miss 55. B-B7ch in Game 5?? The first time I glanced at that diagram, the move jumped out at me. The move he played was so ugly. In Game 7, probably both players had winning positions before it ended up drawn. In Game 17, Korchnoi not only blew the win, but found a way to turn it into a loss at the last minute. Add Game 25 to Karpov's missed opportunities. How did he not win that??? Really exciting match. One of the best for thrills. But not the very best quality play. Part of the reason for that is probably the pressure on Karpov. Even if you don't like the guy, the thought of what would have happened to him had he lost isn't pretty.
Mar-19-10  Poulsen: <Petrosianic><Even if you don't like the guy, the thought of what would have happened to him had he lost isn't pretty.>

Very true, in that case it's safe to say, that Breznev wouldn't have put a medal on his chest :-)

Mar-19-10  Kazzak: Didn't know that Karpov is a billionaire, that must be eating up Kasparov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <Korchnoi and Karpov played 4 matches not 3. The first was a training match in 1971, in Leningrad.>

Do you know what the result of this was, the training match, if the games can be had?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Yeah, all the games should be in the database. It was played in Korchnoi's living room, Korchnoi had black in 5 of the games, but took a White near the end when he was trying to catch up. The final score was +2-2=2.
Mar-19-10  slomarko: <Do you know what the result of this was, the training match, if the games can be had?> the result of the match was 2:2 with 2 draws however Korchnoi played 5 of the 6 games as black. the games are on CG:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Petrosianic: ... It was played in Korchnoi's living room, Korchnoi had black in 5 of the games, but took a White near the end when he was trying to catch up. The final score was +2-2=2."

Yet some kibitzers are so ignorant they don't include it among the Karpov-Korchnoi matches!!

Mar-19-10  BobCrisp: I'm forced to wonder if Viktor ever played in Petra Leeuwerik's back passage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: When that first volume of all Fischer's games was published in the 70's, Larry Evans made some remark about it being "morbid" to publish every available game of any player.

I remember a time when the existence of the "Secret Training Match" and its final score were known, but nobody seemed to have seen the actual moves. These days it's a little creepy how just about anything can find its way into a database. Things that were only played or only played the way they were because the players thought they were playing in private and could afford to screw around. Like this:

Fischer vs Larsen, 1966

It's just a speed game. Not even part of a speed tournament, apparently just a casual game played in between rounds. These days, the crowd is always watching.

Apr-25-13  vasja: Why not 13 Bxe4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <vasja: Why not 13.Bxe4?>

click for larger view

Essentially, that is what happens in the game after White drives Black's bishop from g4 to g6. Let's look at what difference that makes by playing the game continuation without driving the bishop back:

<13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Nxc5 exf3>

click for larger view

Already one difference is apparent. The bishop on g4 has a veiled attack on d1, and Black threatens 15...fxg2 winning the exchange. This veiled attack also makes the e-pawn hard to defend. Again, following the game continuation:

<15.Bf4 Qxd1>

And now what does White do? If 16.Raxd1 fxg2 wins the exchange, or 16.Rfxd1 fxg2 attacking the rook. White may be able to get the g-pawn back, but in the meantime Black will be ganging up on the e-pawn.

Nor are other lines at move 15 much better; for instance, 15.Qxd8 Raxd8 16.Bf4 Rd5 or 16.Rfe1 Rfe8 17.Bf4 Rd5, or 15.gxf3 Qxd1 16.Rxd1 Bxf3 17.Re1 Re8, as before.

The whole point is that leaving Black's bishop on g4 gives him these tactical possibilities, so White chooses to drive it away.

It's always good to ask. Just saying "Well, it's Karpov and Kasparov. They must have had a reason!" and forgetting about it teaches you nothing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: After 50...Kxe6! then if 51.Rxc8 Kxd6 and how does White win?

So White needs a different 51st move. Maybe 51.Bg3 Rh3!? 52.Rxc8 Kd7 53.Rd8+ Kxc7 54.Rd4 and 54...h4 fails to 55.Rxh4

Dec-27-16  mirkojorgovic: Why not 13... B:F3 _? If 14 gf3,N:F2 lead to complicate position, and white can better answer 14.Q:f3
Jun-08-17  FreeRepublic2: Good question mirkojorgovic. 13... Bxf3 14fxf3 Nxf2 (or Bxf2ch) 15Rxf2 Bxf2ch 16Kxf2 and now Nxe5, gives black a rook and two pawns and exposed white king as compensation for two bishops.

I think this can revive the entire variation. However, some black players might be tempted by the Dillworth instead. Also, the Bernstein-Karpov variation 9Nbd2 has been more popular.

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