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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship (1978), City of Baguio PHI, rd 32, Oct-17
Pirc Defense: Classical Variation. Quiet System (B08)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-10-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <tivrfoa: why black resigned? what would white play next? c5?>

42.c5 is fine but 42.Nxf7 is better. Of course, 42...Kxf7 leads to mate in 1 and so white is two Pawns up and his QS Passers are worth of extra piece.

Oct-10-12  tivrfoa: <Honza Cervenka> Thanks a lot! =)
Aug-10-13  GumboGambit: Armchair quarterbacks will criticize Korchnois opening. Thats what happens when you deviate from the norm and lose. But Korchnoi could not beat Karpov with the French up to that point. And Ruy Lopez led to several draws as well. On a good run, He went bold and played for the win, but it didnt pay off.
Aug-10-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <GumboGambit: Armchair quarterbacks will criticize Korchnois opening....Ruy Lopez led to several draws as well.....>

Then there were the instances when it didn't:

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978

and

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978

As pointed out in prior kibitzes on this page, Korchnoi had a far from easy time in the face of his formidable opponent's deep preparation and understanding when facing 1.e4, despite his own immense experience and knowledge.

May-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This is the final position of this final game of this monumental match. Black sealed 41...♖a7-b7.


click for larger view

A longish scan of this position will reveal that white can now play 42.♘g5:f7. This isn't a piece offer as Black cannot play 42...♔xf7 owing to the drastic 43.♕e7#.

So instead, let's imagine that black plays 42...♖g8-f8. That seems as good as anything else.

White might then play 43.♘f7-e5. That would give us this position:


click for larger view

White is two connected passed pawns ahead and has the much better position .

Jul-21-14  Caissanist: I don't necessarily disagree with <FSR> or the other posters, but it's possible that Korchnoi played this opening not in a winning attempt but as an attempt to avoid the Soviet team's preparation. I recall an article he wrote in <Chess Life & Review> before the match where he wrote that he had to constantly "dodge" from one opening to another when playing matches against Soviet players, since he took it for granted that the Soviets would be able to prepare openings against him better than he could against them. He cited Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977 as an example of what could happen to him when he made the mistake of repeating an opening in a match against a Soviet player.
Jul-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Caissanist.....it's possible that Korchnoi played this opening not in a winning attempt but as an attempt to avoid the Soviet team's preparation. I recall an article he wrote in <Chess Life & Review> before the match where he wrote that he had to constantly "dodge" from one opening to another when playing matches against Soviet players, since he took it for granted that the Soviets would be able to prepare openings against him better than he could against them....>

As Fischer had in 1972, despite his considerable erudition and experience in that phase of the game; both these great players were tough-minded and pragmatic enough to realise this.

Aug-01-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: My understanding is that The Soviets brought back the notorious Dr. Zukhar for this 32nd game. Therefore I propose that this should be a GOTD, with the title

"The Return of Dr. Zukhar"

Nov-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <perfidious: <GumboGambit: Armchair quarterbacks will criticize Korchnois opening....Ruy Lopez led to several draws as well.....>

Then there were the instances when it didn't:

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978

and

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978

As pointed out in prior kibitzes on this page, Korchnoi had a far from easy time in the face of his formidable opponent's deep preparation and understanding when facing 1.e4, despite his own immense experience and knowledge.>

But there is also this game

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978

Korchnoi wins with the Black pieces by playing an open Ruy Lopez. Likely it would have been better to try the open Ruy again instead of the PIrc.

Aug-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: People often say that Karpov faded at the end of matches. But he won this 32nd game pretty easily and he also had a won position in this final match game: Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974.
Aug-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp: People often say that Karpov faded at the end of matches. But he won this 32nd game pretty easily and he also had a won position in this final match game: Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974.>

People say that because it's true. He won the '74 match 3:2 after being ahead 3:0, he lost three out of four going into this game (after having lost twice in the first 27 games), and he lost the last two of the 1984 match after having lost once in 46 games up to that point.

Aug-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Wouldn't that mean that he lost all those matches? But he won the first 2.
Aug-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp: Wouldn't that mean that he lost all those matches? >

No.

The '74 match was played to five wins or 24 games. The last three games were draws. Final score 3:2 with 19 draws.

The '78 match was played to six wins. Karpov led 5:2 with 20 draws before scoring three losses and one draw in games 28-31. With the match tied 5:5 with 21 draws, he then won this game and the match.

Aug-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <keypusher: <offramp: Wouldn't that mean that he lost all those matches? > No.

The '74 match was played to five wins or 24 games. The last three games were draws. Final score 3:2 with 19 draws.

The '78 match was played to six wins. Karpov led 5:2 with 20 draws before scoring three losses and one draw in games 28-31. With the match tied 5:5 with 21 draws, he then won this game and the match.>

Kortschnoi was obviously tired.

Aug-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: He was sometimes impatient and impetuous otb and beyond the board, but Korchnoi never was tired :)

Just after the WCC 1978 match finished, Viktor Korchnoi went on to the Chess Olympiad at Buenos Aires, missing the first three rounds, then playing all the rounds 4 to 14, unbeaten and achieving at 81,8% the Gold medal on board one for Switzerland (7th-11th, Hungary won); he clearly was superior to the others, watch out for instance his last round game vs. Kavalek, USA: Korchnoi vs Kavalek, 1978, no energy drain, a typical Korchnoi game

Aug-12-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: _<diagonal: He was sometimes impatient and impetuous otb and beyond the board, but Korchnoi never was tired...>

So Karpov won by being a better player of chess.

Aug-12-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: <offramp, I did not fully exclude that you couldn’t decline to riposte something like "then AK was better player">

Well, was Karpov a significantly better player in 1978?

Watching out the stats:

Competitive games between Karpov and Korchnoi (alphabetical order) in the 1970s, both as Grandmaster:

1970 USSR Championship
Korchnoi vs Karpov 1-0
Korchnoi took clear first in the ch

1971 Moscow, Alekhine Mem
Korchnoi vs. Karpov 0-1
Karpov’s rise to adult prominence, he won together with Leonid Stein, five former, present or future World Champion competing

1971 Leningrad Training match
Karpov vs Korchnoi 3-3 draw overall
(Korchnoi took Black in five games and forewarned Karpov what opening he was proposing to play)

1971/72 Hastings
Korchnoi vs Karpov 1-0
Korchnoi (first on tie-break) and Karpov joint winners, there was no play-off

1972 Moscow blitz
Korchnoi vs Karpov 1-0

1973 USSR Championship
Korchnoi vs Karpov 0-1
Spassky won that notorious Soviet-ch, including five former or future World Champions, joint 2nd-6th in alphabetical order: Karpov, Korchnoi, Kuzmin, Petrosian, Polugaevsky. 18th and last: young and sometimes erratic Beliavsky

1973 Leningrad Interzonal
Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½
Korchnoi (first on tie-break) and Karpov joint winners, advancing both with sole third R. Byrne to the Candidate's

1974 Candidate's Final (5 wins, not counting draws, restriction of 24 games): no player achieved five wins, Karpov won at smallest possible margin: 12.5-11.5

1975 no games

1976 no games, Soviet Team Chess Cup in April: Karpov (ARMY) paused in the round versus Korchnoi (TRUD - travail); Korchnoi as individual best on board one, briefly after, he emigrated / defected at Amsterdam-IBM tournament

(to continue)

Aug-12-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: (continuation)

1977 no games because of soviet boycott against Korchnoi

..to secure Karpov's participation, Korchnoi was not invited to top tournaments, i.e. never ever at Bugojno series, not at Milano 1975, not at Montreal 1979, not at Torino 1982, etc. In tournaments, Korchnoi played in, there were no soviet players, of course. Sometimes it was rather bizarre: In Argentina, Clarin series was organized with Karpov (two entries, two fails), and Konex series with Korchnoi near same time..

..during ten years, Karpov and Korchnoi did not play a single game in a tournament or team event, unbelievable! ..no data makes it rather difficult to formulate an expectation..

1978 Baguio City, six wins
Karpov finally by a nose: 16.5-15.5 (6-5)

ELO year list in January 1979 after Baguio City:

1. Karpov 2705 (down to 2690 in January 1981)
2. Korchnoi 2695
3. Spassky, Portisch 2640

1979 no games

1980 no games

ELO list in July 1981 (now half-yearly) just before Merano:

1. Karpov 2700
2. Korchnoi 2695
3. Hübner 2640

Then against all ELO odds, Korchnoi started with three losses in the first four games (over-optimism?, Korchnoi just played and won outright the Lone Pine Open 1981, but beating up the folks in swiss system and a match vs. a boa constrictor are different things), and lost clearly to Karpov in Merano 7-11 (6-2 in wins), in fact, Korchnoi was dominated, he had to fight for every draw.

In 1978, Caissa was not with Viktor, a quantum of luck missing (I know, the better player is always lucky, but Karpov showed some lack of stamina, here and especially in 1984/85).

In 1981, Korchnoi, 50 years old (still number two of the world), but apparently past his peak, Karpov was then the better and better prepared player.

Korchnoi won a stretch of seven tough Candidate's matches in a row,such Candidate's matches were mostly lasting longer than today a WCC match:

<Vic won vs. Tigran Petrosian, quarterfinal (Ciocco 1977)

Vic won vs. Lev Polugaevsky, semifinal (Évian 1977)

Vic won vs. Boris Spassky, final (Belgrade 1977/78)

Vic won vs. Tigran Petrosian, quarterfinal (Velden 1980)

Vic won vs. Lev Polugaevksy, semifinal (Buenos Aires 1980)

Vic won vs. Robert Hübner, final (Meran 1980/81)

Vic won vs. Lajos Portisch, quarterfinal (Bad Kissingen 1983)>

If Korchnoi really was tired, he would have every right :)

Aug-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: So Korchnoi was less tired than Karpov but he still lost. Is that right?
Aug-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: your initial claim, <Korchnoi was obviously tired> (without any reference or source) isn't sound, matter closed
Aug-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <diagonal: your initial claim, <Korchnoi was obviously tired> (without any reference or source) isn't sound, matter closed.>

I'd say that 30+ serious games of chess in the Filipino heat of July and August would tire anyone out. Karpov was tired, but obviously not as tired as Korchnoi, because Karpov won the last game quite easily.

If Korchnoi was NOT tired, and still lost to a tired Karpov, then Karpov was clearly the better player.

If Korchnoi, like Karpov, WAS tired, then his loss was more of a lottery.

He still lost, though.

Aug-14-16  Sally Simpson: Hi Guys,

Who was the most tired?

According to Ray Keene 'Karpov -Korchnoi 1978 The Inside Story of the Match' After game 6 which was played between the 2nd and 3rd adjournment of game 5 (the 124 marathon the finally ended in a stalemate) it was Karpov who was looking 'haggard and tired'.

A link from another thread:

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/arti...

Has it that Karpov was looking 'haggard and shattered.'

Today starting a match game whilst another was still unfinished seems incredible but then it was relatively common.

Regarding who was the better player. (good post Diagonal) reading the above book and Korchnoi's quoted comments you can see he did not fear Karpov and in some parts of the game, notably the ending, he thought he was superior.

Whether or not you agree, the important thing is Korchnoi thought like this and believed it, that mind set is far more important at that level than grades and past results. .

This match spun on Game 8 with Karpov refusing to shake Korchnoi's hand. Keene calls it a Soviet master stroke. (possibly regretting team Korchnoi had not thought of it first).

A livid and insulted Korchnoi should have demanded a time out for at least an hour (hindsight) but instead played on in this foul mood and lost the first game of the match.

Up to then Korchnoi had been playing the better chess. That missed win in game 5.


click for larger view

55.Bf7+ 1-0 (Korchnoi played 55.Be4+) time trouble accepted is still to this day a wonder. 55.Bf7+ could have changed the course of chess history.

Or maybe not. Korchnoi wins in 1978 but there was a Botvinnik re-match rule in place. Karpov wins the re-match, we still get the Karpov - Kasparov matches.

Aug-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Sally Simpson: Hi Guys,
Who was the most tired?

According to Ray Keene 'Karpov -Korchnoi 1978 The Inside Story of the Match' After game 6 which was played between the 2nd and 3rd adjournment of game 5 (the 124 marathon the finally ended in a stalemate) it was Karpov who was looking 'haggard and tired'...>

Haggard after game 6! I am amazed he was still standing by game 32! But he won it easily.

OR is it possible that playing 32 5-hour games over 3 months is NOT that tiring? That one night's sleep repairs almost all tiredness, and that in long matches the better player wins?

Is THAT possible?

Aug-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: I assume only the spectators were tired.
Aug-15-16  Howard: This matter as to who was more "tired" is getting beaten to death, IMO.
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