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Viktor Korchnoi vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner. Rubinstein Variation (E42)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-06-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <xu fei> I should have looked back myself but didn't. Thanks mate. :)
Dec-17-04  Resignation Trap: <kevin86> The last part of this game was not pointless, there are ways for Black to go wrong. For example 77. Kc8 Ka8? (instead of 77...Ka6!) allows a forced mate in six: 78. Bb8! b5 79. Kc7 b4 80. axb4 (and soon) 83. b7 mate.
Oct-16-05  Bobsterman3000: Hilarious. I would have loved to see the looks on Korchnoi's face during those last 50 moves...
Oct-17-05  PaulLovric: <Bobsterman3000>, especially with those x-ray glasses he wears
Oct-17-05  Astardis: Korchnoi mentions this game in several of his books. In that time, him and Karpov did not at all talk to each other - not even to agree to a draw. so it was rather difficult to draw for them. plus they did not really like the idea of giving the opponent a draw. at some point Korchnoi writes "It then was my pleasure to stalemate the World Champion"
Oct-17-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: LOL, I've been playing out the lines suggested by <Druken> and <Cyph> and found the same replies they've found. The interesting points are the move White must take to capture the h pawn is a game saver for Black, and Black's nice hiding spot on h8 for the Knight, and the fact that hxg5 is the only move that makes Black work at all. By White's 65th move, this is one that looks like a dead draw. I'm surprised they played on so long.

May-04-06  Ulhumbrus: After 13 Rad1 White has not only the bishop pair but a lead of two moves in development as well. Black can be forecast to lose.
Jul-05-06  who: 2 points.

The drawing possibility of moving the king away fromt the pawn wasn't Karpov's. Averbakh describes it and I assume Karpov looked it up at one of the many adjournments.

Larsen writes about this game:

"When he (Korchnoi) was young, he was very interested in theater. But a slight speech difficulty kept him away from acting (though he did perform, and not without success, in a Russian movie about a chess grandmaster).

Which speech difficulty? Now we know. He finds it difficult to pronounce "Nitchya"!"

Feb-05-07  tz061: korchnoi missed mate in 7 on move 55.
Jun-18-07  Cactus: What's wrong with 52.Bxf6?
Jun-18-07  russep: 52...Qf4+ then Qxf6
Feb-23-08  chicagotim: at 123. why didnt white just race to the black pawn and take it?
Feb-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: I'm not an endgame expert, but I play one at chessgames.com:

I think that even after he took the black pawn, black could get his king to a8, and since the white bishop can't control a8, it's a draw.

Any actual experts agree?

Feb-23-08  TheaN: You're correct. It doesn't matter that the Black King is away from his pawn, as long as the space between the White King is as few as possible. After:

124.Ke6 Kg8 125.Kd5 Kf7 126.Kc4 Ke8 127.Kb4 Kd7 128.Kxa4 Kc8 129.Kb5 Kb7 130.a4 Ka8= as Kb7 Ka8 Kb7 stronghold or stalemate.

Any moves to hold the King out of the a8 corner wouldn't allow White to take the a4 pawn (as the final ~60! moves took to realize). Why Karpov didn't go to a8 instinctively I don't know. He had the chance.

Apr-09-08  Knight13: 69. b5 is the most uncomfortable type of move ever. 64. a4 does not work due to ...a5. This B vs N endgame is impossible.
Feb-16-09  WhiteRook48: what do you mean, it's impossible? The players played through it (obviously!) Why did Korchnoi have to stalemate Karpov? He could have antagonized Karpov by playing until move 157.
Feb-16-09  swarmoflocusts: Karpov could get to a8 long before Korchnoi could queen.
Feb-17-09  swarmoflocusts: Now that I have time to write my calculations (checked for accuracy by Fritz)

E.g.: (From the position after 122...Kh8)

123.Ke6 Kh7 124.Kd5 Kg8 125.Kc4 Kf8 126.Kb4 Ke8 127.Kxa4 Kd7 128.Ka5 Kc7 129.Ka6 Kb8 and the king can never be forced out of the queening square.

(N.B.: If the bishop in the position after 122...Kh8 was on d3 rather than d2, the game would be won for white, as he could attack black's pawn with his bishop while keeping black's king out of the queening square. However, even if he could not attack the pawn, e.g. if the pawns were on a2 and a3 (with the bishop on d3), white would STILL be won, as he could attack the queening square even if black got there:

e.g. 123.Ke7 Kg8 124.Kd6 Kf7 125.Kc5 Ke7 126.Kb4 Kd7 127.Kxa3 Kd6 (wow... Fritz just calculated a mate in 47 moves from this position, but I think it's joking) 128.Kb4 Kc7 129.a4 Kb8 130.a5 Ka7 131.a6 Kb8 132.Bc4 Ka8 133.Be6 Kb8 134.Bf5 Ka8 135.Kb5 Ka7 136.Ka5 Kb8 137.Kb6 Ka8 and now the difference 138.Be6 Kb8 139.a7+ Ka8 and Bd5 is now checkmate.

Perhaps that variation is too tedious. (I tried to trim it down as much as possible.) Suffice it to say that if the black king remains in the corner it will be mated (white has infinite tempo moves with his bishop), and if it comes out the pawn will queen.)

Feb-17-09  WhiteRook48: or even to move 207.
Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: maybe Karpov wanted to prove that he could sac a piece and still draw
Mar-27-09  WeakSquare: Here is one way for Karpov to lose:

if 99...Kf2?? then 100.Ke4 Ke2 101.Bb8 Kf2 102.Kd5 Kf3 103.Kc5 Ke4 104.Kxb5 Kd5 105.Bh2 Ke6 106.Kxa4 Kd7 107.Kb5 Kc8 108.Kc6 and Black King cannot reach a8.

This is all forced!!! Did Karpov have to calculate this or are there general principles??

Jul-21-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: "The bitter feud."

At the time, I think Korchnoi really hated Karpov ... these two fought on forever.

Personally, I LIKE games where one side continues on!!! And I have lost count of the number of times where I won a possibly drawn game, because my opponent was short of time or made an error.

Sometimes, holding these draws is NOT as easy as it looks! Students of the game should play this one out against the computer.

Mar-19-12  Penguincw: It seemed like black didn't mind having their pawns loss, has they can make a fortress in the corner, and no way for white to make progress, by force.
Mar-08-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <WeakSquare: Here is one way for Karpov to lose:

if 99...Kf2?? then 100.Ke4 Ke2 101.Bb8 Kf2 102.Kd5 Kf3 103.Kc5 Ke4 104.Kxb5 Kd5 105.Bh2 Ke6 106.Kxa4 Kd7 107.Kb5 Kc8 108.Kc6 and Black King cannot reach a8.

This is all forced!!! Did Karpov have to calculate this or are there general principles??>

If Black's king can get to b7, he draws. If not, he loses. Look at the route the king took in your variation. Had it been able to reach b7 that way, it would have taken ten moves: Kf2-e2-f2-f3-e4-d5-e6-d7-c8-b7. OTOH, Kg2-h3-g4-f5-e6-d7-c8-b7 is only eight moves. If you think about it that way, it's a no-brainer.

Mar-10-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Jim Bartle: I'm not an endgame expert, but I play one at chessgames.com: I think that even after he took the black pawn, black could get his king to a8, and since the white bishop can't control a8, it's a draw.

Any actual experts agree?>

Yes, that is correct. What Korchnoi wanted in this ending was either (a) a position where he was able to capture both black pawns while keeping Karpov's king away from b7/a8 (the line given by <WeakSquare> that I quoted is an example of that) or (b) keeping both of Black's pawns on the board and then stalemating Black except for the move ...b4. Then Black must play 1...b4 2.axb4 a3 and White wins. This would have been achieved if Black had not resigned in Euwe vs J Baay, 1921.

btw, in light of the above, my comment in response to <Weaksquare>, "If Black's king can get to b7, he draws." was an oversimplification. If both of Black's pawns are still on the board he must avoid letting White stalemate his king.

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