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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1981), Merano ITA, rd 18, Nov-18
Spanish Game: Open. Bernstein Variation (C80)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-11-04  Lawrence: Korchnoi thought 54 minutes before playing 13...Be7. (If you think that's bad, in the 14th game he thought 78 minutes.) The Terrible Twins (Junior and Fritz) reckon he was just frittering away his time and should have played 13...Qd5. 18...Rfb8 was the wrong Rook to the wrong square, should have been 18...Rad8.

There's a 14-ply string of moves (21...Nc6 to 28.Ra7) where every single move is Junior's first choice. It's as if the engine is on auto-play.

41...e5 was Korchnoi's secret move but the next day he resigned the game and the match was over. Karpov won +6 -2 =10. Thus ended their rivalry for the world championship.

Jan-27-07  Fast Gun: A bit of useless trivia, this was the last game that Karpov played 1.e4 against his great rival, not sure why he refrained from doing this, not only against Korchnoi, but against all other GM's who he played: When you consider that during the 1980's AK was virtually unbeateable with e4 openings !!
Mar-30-08  Everett: <Fast Gun> Karpov has played e4 after this, and even in the 90's. Against Kasparov he played e4 up until 1985.
Apr-11-08  Knight13: <Lawrence: Korchnoi thought 54 minutes before playing 13...Be7.> That's because he got killed after playing that move in Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981.

<Fast Gun: Karpov played 1.e4 against his great rival, not sure why he refrained from doing this, not only against Korchnoi, but against all other GM's who he played: When you consider that during the 1980's AK was virtually unbeateable with e4 openings !!> Maybe he just wanted to keep it that way! :-D

Jun-10-08  Helios727: <Lawrence> If 18... Rad8, then 19. f5 and how does black save the knight?
Sep-26-08  Woody Wood Pusher: After move 31..gxf6 black has an extra pawn, but his position is completely hopeless, white controls the 7th rank, his knight is better and black has a pile of weaknesses.

Classic Karpov!

Oct-30-09  TheMacMan: im starting to agree with fischer that these silly games were all prearranged, maybe not every move, but definitely the results
Nov-24-09  M.D. Wilson: Pull the other one, TheMacMan!
Premium Chessgames Member
  oleander8: oleander8: who can help?
What about karpov-korchnoi ,if it would happen 12. cxd4 - Nexd4 and not Ncxd4 as in 1981?
May-29-13  LIFE Master AJ: See also: Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: This was the conclusion of The Massacre in Merano.
Aug-06-15  Howard: It was also one of the five best games of the second half of 1981, according to the Informant.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Howard: It was also one of the five best games of the second half of 1981, according to the Informant.>

And it should have been GOTD long ago. I submitted it for consideration, with the title

<The Massacre in Merano>.

Aug-06-15  Howard: Personally, I still remember looking at the New York Times the day after the game was adjourned, and the late Robert Byrne (who covered the match for the NYT) stated that Korchnoi's position was so hopeless, it was predicted he probably wouldn't even bother to resume the game.

Sure enough, he resigned the next morning without bothering to show up for the resumption. Karpov thus was given another three years as champion.

Oct-15-15  Macbeth: after Fischer going out of the picture, no one could get even close to Karpov. Chess world was deprived a great duel among equal forces, like Capa-Alekhine or Karpov-Kasparov
Oct-18-17  Howard: Looked up this game last night in a couple of books of mine, and noticed a strange inconsistency.

Kasparov's MGP gives an exclamation point to 27.h3! and implies that Korchnoi was probably lost at that point...

...but then Karpov's Strategic Wins (Part 1) gives a question mark to that move, and states that 27.Bf4 would have been better.

What gives ?

Oct-18-17  SChesshevsky: Interesting that the Strategic Wins book panned the seemingly more strategic 27. h3 which looks like it stops any Ng4 complications cold.

Then Karpov can concentrate on the a file plus frustrate a passive Korchnoi.

27. Bf4 is probably better and more forcing but might not fit in with the a file plan. And seemingly not necessary from both Karpov's and Kasparov's view.

Is the Karpov strategic book by Tibor? I have his Karpov endgame book and it's OK but seems to use too much computer lines versus principles. What's your take on the strategic book(s)?

Oct-18-17  Howard: My take on the first volume of Karpov's Strategic Wins is that it's very well. As for the second one, I don't have that one, mainly because a lot of the games are from post-1990 when Karpov was clearly in decline.
Oct-18-17  RookFile: A Karpov in decline still has plenty to teach the rest of us.
Oct-19-17  paavoh: <A Karpov in decline still has plenty to teach the rest of us.> Hear, hear!
Oct-19-17  Howard: Yes, I'll concede that point. However, I've browsed through Volume 2 a few times at bookstores, and it didn't impress me much.

To be fair, the first volume included a number of games from the 1960's, including several from 1961-1965! In other words, the Karpov of (say) 1992 was undoubtedly much, much stronger than the Karpov of 1965 (when he turned 14!), so one can argue that Volume 1 probably shouldn't have bothered to include games from that early on !!

Dec-27-18  Howard: This Karpov classic has Petrosian's name all over it.
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