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Anatoly Karpov vs Mikhail Tal
Montreal (1979), Montreal CAN, rd 16, May-02
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Keres Defense (A14)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-24-03  ughaibu: I assume that this is the game that various posters have claimed that Tal was ordered not to win, (this duplicate Karpov vs Tal, 1979 is clearly incorrect), looking at the game I have to wonder why it is assumed that Tal could win this game. According to chessgames' records Tal and Karpov tied at 2-2 with 23 draws, this doesn't suggest that Tal restrained himself and declined to win this game.
Aug-24-03  PVS: <looking at the game I have to wonder why it is assumed that Tal could win this game.>

If Tal were ordered not to win before he played, it would not look like he could win.

Aug-24-03  PVS: There was a story later that Tal actually cried because he was denied a chance to obtain a clear first. Tal was in great form in 1979, he swept through the Riga interzonal. They did not want to take any chances.
Aug-24-03  ughaibu: PVS: I dont know anything about this tournament but I take it to have been a double round affair as there is a reversed colours game also in the database, that game was a GM draw, why didn't they play another GM draw if it was impossible for it to look as if Tal had any winning chances? Refutor has asked for your sources of these rumours, I'm also interested.
Aug-24-03  PVS: <Refutor has asked for your sources of these rumours, I'm also interested.>

Don't you trust me?
Unfortunately my memory has become fallible as to sources, suffice to say that I thought it credible and consistent with other chess history I had read. I can recommend three fairly recent books on Soviet chess: Soviet Chess 1917-1991 by Andy Soltis, Russian Silhouettes: Portraits of the Heroes of a Vanished Age by Genna Sosonko, and the invaluable (for research sake) Russians Versus Fischer. Interviews with the players after the fall of the Soviet Union are good too.

Aug-24-03  ughaibu: About trust, I believe you've done the reading and I believe you feel the conclusions you've drawn are reasonable, nevertheless I prefer to draw my own conclusions. Of the three books you mention the only one that I've read a review of is the Soltis one, I got the impression that Soltis values sensationalism above accuracy.
Aug-24-03  PVS: The question about trust is a reference to a famous Richard Feynman story. He was touring CERN when the director remembered that they were running a large experiment to test one of Feynman's theories. Feynman asked how much it cost and the director replied "Thirty-five million dollars." Feynman gave him a sly look and asked "What's the matter, don't you trust me?"
Aug-24-03  ughaibu: PVS: Thanks for explaining that. If the suggestion is that it would be irksome for me to undertake the research myself, I won't argue.
Aug-24-03  pawntificator: Heh heh. I always love your stories, PVS. I trust you ;) How about a gameknot game? I understand you came out of retirement to play a few with Sylvester! Don't worry, I'm terrible at chess. Heh heh.
Aug-24-03  PVS: <pawntificator: How about a gameknot game? I understand you came out of retirement to play a few with Sylvester!>

I did play two enjoyable games with Sylvester to get him started in Game Knot. But chess is bad for my health. This is serious and not a joke. Would that it were, I should be happy to play you.

Aug-24-03  PVS: <ughaibu: If the suggestion is that it would be irksome for me to undertake the research myself, I won't argue.>

I meant no suggestion, it was just a little late night humour. You should absolutely draw own conclusions, everyone should.

Aug-24-03  pawntificator: Very well, then, my dear PVS. If ever feel sufficiently recovered, I would be honored to share a game with you.

I certainly hope you aren't putting a strain on yourself by spending so much time in a close proximity to chess, such as on this very website? Perhaps this community of chess lovers is good for your health, though. Best of wishes to you, friend.

Mar-04-04  Everett: PVS... "Don't you trust me?" was first coined by Feynman? Give me a break! Perhaps you could choose a morre original line that he may of said, like some of the lines from his not believing expansion as Einstein understood it.

I in fact said "don't you trust me?" to a girl in my back seat in HS without having to recall Feynman. Thank goodness... but now, perhaps, you should be quoting me.

Mar-05-04  Lawrence: And did she?
Jul-30-04  Everett: What's not to trust?
Oct-21-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Ordered not to win? No one needed to be ordered not to win against Karpov, especially in this time period. He almost never lost with white, and didn't lose too often with black either. And what chances were the Soviets supposedly taking?

I am surprised Karpov didn't play on in the final position, which is clearly superior for him. Maybe he was ordered not to win?

Sep-26-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I now have the tournament book (in Russian, so I can't do much more than read the moves at this point). The GM draw ughaibu alluded to happened in round 7. Before that round, Karpov, Ljubojevic and Tal were half a point behind the leader, Portisch.

This game took place in Round 16 (in an 18-round tournament). Tal was in clear first with 10 1/2, with Karpov a half point behind. So Karpov had every reason to want a win, and Tal had every reason to be happy with a draw, since it maintained his lead. In the following round, though, Karpov beat Ljubojevic with Black, while Tal drew with Kavalek with Black (in just 22 moves). In the final round both Karpov and Tal played GM draws to finish with 12/18, 1.5 points ahead of Portisch.

You can never be completely sure about these things, but the competitive situation (not to mention the course of the game itself) provides no support for the hypothesis that Tal was ordered not to win this game.

Sep-27-06  Caissanist: If you don't have it already you might want to get a copy of Hanon Russell's booklet "Russian for Chessplayers". I once stumbled on a collection of old Russian chess magazines and was able to get a lot out of them using an earlier edition of that book, despite my total ignorance of the language.
Sep-27-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <cassianist> thanks, that's very helpful. Never heard of it before.
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