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Boris Spassky vs Anatoly Karpov
Hamburg (1982)  ·  King's Gambit: Accepted. Fischer Defense (C34)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-13-14  Petrosianic: Petrosian played the KG once too, in the mid 40's, before he was anybody.

I like the KG, but I still think of the Evans Gambit as the epitome of swashbuckling chess.

I wonder how many World Champions have lost to each one? Steinitz, Lasker, and Botvinnik all lost to the Evans at least once in their careers. How about the KG? We know Fischer and Karpov lost to it. How many others did?

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <I like the KG, but I still think of the Evans Gambit as the epitome of swashbuckling chess.>

I like it a lot, but funnily enough because (to me) it's not so swashbuckling as the KG. Sometimes White's king dies very early in the KG. Much less chance of that early on in the Evans.

The real problem with the Evans is that you don't get to play it. Not all that many people play 1...e5 to begin with, and those that do generally prefer 3....Nf6 in my experience.

<I wonder how many World Champions have lost to each one? Steinitz, Lasker, and Botvinnik all lost to the Evans at least once in their careers. How about the KG? We know Fischer and Karpov lost to it. How many others did?>

Well of course Steinitz lost to the KG as well as the Evans.

Charousek beat Lasker with the KG at Nuremberg, you'll remember.

Charousek vs Lasker, 1896

None of Lasker's losses to the Evans look like serious games; of course he helped put the opening out of business in the 1890s.

Corzo beat Capa in an Evans....of course JRC was 13 at the time. Doesn't look like Capablanca ever lost to the KG in serious play.

to be continued...

Mar-13-14  Petrosianic: One thing I like about the Evans is that I can point to a specific time (1880's-90's) when everyone was playing it, and it was the opening of choice.

But I'm not really sure when the Golden Age of the King's Gambit was. It seems like anybody might play it at any time in the 19th century, but I'm not sure when the time was that EVERYONE was playing it.

(Speaking of that, how about the Danish? Was there ever a time when the Danish was big, or was it always an occasional opening?)

But yeah, as you say, the KG can be a lot dicier for White than the Evans is.

Did any world champion (past, present or future) ever lose to an Evan's Gambit after this game?

Kan vs Botvinnik, 1929

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Obviously I am counting games when these men weren't WC....otherwise we would have a very small sample.

Alekhine never lost to the KG, it looks like. A couple of losses to the Evans in correspondence games when he was very young.

Botvinnik is the first WC to not rely on 1....e5. He never lost to the KG, it appears, and had that horrible loss to Kan as Petrosianic mentioned in the Evans declined. Kan vs Botvinnik, 1929

Smyslov is interesting. He played 1...e5 regularly, but never faced the Evans and never saw a KG until 1987, if this database is to be trusted.

Tal -- mostly played the Sicilian. Lost this wonderful game to Bronstein Bronstein vs Tal, 1968 in the KG

One Evans, also wonderful, which he won.

J Klovans vs Tal, 1951

Petrosian also didn't play 1...e5 a lot. Had a couple draws with the KG. (Bronstein played it against him, but Spassky didn't.) No Evans.

Spassky -- figured no one would dare play the KG against him, but I was wrong. He faced it five times and...won every time. Not too surprising.

No Evans.

To be continued...

Mar-13-14  Petrosianic: Interesting. Spassky is 5-0 against the King's Gambit? I'm going to have to look up those games. Boy, that's cheek, playing it against him.

A lot of people have pointed out the fact that White won every King's Gambit game that Fischer was involved in. He lost to Spassky as Black, played it three times as White, and won all of those.

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Fischer...we all know about the Spassky game. I didn't realize that Bryant Park's own Asa Hoffman had beaten Bobby in the Evans, albeit in blitz.

A Hoffmann vs Fischer, 1963

Karpov -- well, here we are at his only loss to the KG. No Evans.

Kasparov -- there's this one, nearly as bad a blow to Bryan's defense as the Immortal Game.

Short vs Kasparov, 1993

But also this one, which is blitz. Short vs Kasparov, 2011

Evans, just this. Blitz. Kasparov doesn't seem to have liked 1....e5 any more than Fischer did.

Short vs Kasparov, 2011

Kramnik -- nearly 600 games with 1....e5 in the database, including lots of blitz and rapid I assume, and not a single KG or Evans. Sad.

Anand lost a KG to Morozevich and a very famous and beautiful Evans to Kasparov.

Carlsen -- one draw with the KG (which clinched the GM title, way back in 2004). No Evans.

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Petrosianic: One thing I like about the Evans is that I can point to a specific time (1880's-90's) when everyone was playing it, and it was the opening of choice.>

I can't really speak to the 1880s, but the 1890s tournaments I know well (Hastings, Nuremburg, St. Petersburg, London) you don't see the Evans often, and it doesn't score well. At Hastings there was a prize for the most victories with the Evans. Chigorin got the prize -- he won once.

Just took a quick look at the London 1883 collection -- very few Evans. Even Chigorin only played it three times.

I've said this before, but Steinitz kept the Evans in business an extra 20 years with his horrible defenses.

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher: The real problem with the Evans is that you don't get to play it. Not all that many people play 1...e5 to begin with, and those that do generally prefer 3....Nf6 in my experience.>

Though I often played 1....e5, the Two Knights was always my preference; never tried 3....Bc5.

<....Steinitz kept the Evans in business an extra 20 years with his horrible defenses.>

Then Lasker put it out of business with his.

Mar-13-14  Petrosianic: <I've said this before, but Steinitz kept the Evans in business an extra 20 years with his horrible defenses.>

Well, that may well be true. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, and you probably know these games already, but I have a perverse fascination with the 1889 World Championship. At least the games in which Steinitz was black (the ones where he had White were quiet positional squeezes).

But the games in which Steinitz was black are like the proverbial watching a train wreck. You can't bear to look but you can't bear to look away either, when you see his whole army squeezed agaiunst the back rank, white pawn on d6, black Queen boxed in on b8. It's horrific. And I love it.

The fact that he only scored -1 against the Evans is a tribute to Steinitz, not his openings. He should have lost at least 2 of the ones he won, as well as the one he drew.

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One rather doubts that even so formidable a defender as Korchnoi would have tried his hand at some of those abominations when facing the Evans, and he was the exponent of heroic defence.
Mar-13-14  Petrosianic: Korchnoi was heroic defense, Steinitz was bat*** insane defence.

Here's another good one.

Blackburne vs Steinitz, 1876

And he played this same line against Blackburne three times, and won all three games.

Mar-13-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In the early nineties, looked at 4....Qh4 a bit, but could never convince myself it was worthwhile to have a go at it. Stayed with 4....Bc5 vs the Scotch.
Mar-13-14  Petrosianic: I don't face the Scotch much. I like 4... Bc5 too, but I've occasionally gotten a little pressured by White forcing the Bishop to b6, advancing the a pawn, to force Black to play a6, and then having to deal with the threat of Bxb6 cxb6, which would be ugly for Black. It's avoidable, but I'm not sure if I'm doing it the most efficient way. I think I need to study the line some more.
Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher> But the Evans did play a decisive role at Hastings. Pillsbury faced it twice, and won both times. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches... He only won the tournament by half a point, so both wins were critical to his success.
Mar-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <FSR: <keypusher> But the Evans did play a decisive role at Hastings. Pillsbury faced it twice, and won both times. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches... He only won the tournament by half a point, so both wins were critical to his success.>

Well, by that logic each opening in Pillsbury's fifteen wins played a decisive role at Hastings. :-)

It's interesting to compare how the three leaders did against the Evans. Tarrasch sniffed at Lasker for declining the gambit <although he has declared that he knows a winning defence>, but it worked out pretty well:

W Pollock vs Lasker, 1895

Chigorin faced the Evans twice. He won an exciting game against Pollock (W Pollock vs Chigorin, 1895) but blundered into a draw in a totally won position against Bird (Bird vs Chigorin, 1895).

Chigorin was the only one of the three who played the Evans as White, of course. He scored an anemic +1-1=0.

Chigorin vs Gunsberg, 1895

Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1895

So maybe the Evans Gambit really did play a decisive role in this tournament...

At Hastings Pillsbury got a lot of attention for playing the odd "Stone-Ware" defense, as in this nice win over Schiffers.

Schiffers vs Pillsbury, 1895

The following year at Nuremberg he played an inferior countergambit against the same opponent and lost an important game.

Schiffers vs Pillsbury, 1896

Mar-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher> I hadn't realized that Chigorin had lost an Evans to Steinitz at this tournament. As you've demonstrated, the Evans was even more important to the tournament standings than I'd thought.
Mar-10-16  not not: Spassky should have write a book called "How to play inferior opening vs top rated players... and get away with a win! featuring Fisher, Karpov and other so called greatest"
Mar-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <not not: Spassky should have write a book called "How to play inferior opening vs top rated players... and get away with a win! featuring Fisher, Karpov and other so called greatest">

Yeah, none of those titans could play.

You might have mentioned that Spassky was clearly worse against Fischer in the middlegame before the latter blundered.

Mar-11-16  Rookiepawn: Back to the KG, it seems KG has been thoroughly analyzed with a cluster of engines and the conclusion is that with perfect play it only renders a draw for White.

I think that from a practical point of view it still can be played against humans.

http://en.chessbase.com/post/rajlic...

Mar-11-16  Bobby Spassky: Dear Rookiepawn:,

Did you notice this was posted near April fool's day?

Mar-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I know a 2100 player who said that he played the King's Gambit for 20 years in tournament play. He says that the only line he never saw was the classic "main line" that was all the rage in the 1800's.
Mar-15-16  Rookiepawn: <Bobby Spassky: Dear Rookiepawn:, Did you notice this was posted near April fool's day?>

Call me a fool, but "near" is not the day itself. And the note seems pretty long for a joke.

Mar-15-16  disasterion: <Rookiepawn> Chessbase did their best to make it as convincing as possible. Have a look at this:

http://en.chessbase.com/post/the-ch...

Mar-20-16  not not: perfidious: <not not: Spassky should have write a book called "How to play inferior opening vs top rated players... and get away with a win! featuring Fisher, Karpov and other so called greatest"> Yeah, none of those titans could play.

You might have mentioned that Spassky was clearly worse against Fischer in the middlegame before the latter blundered.

i did say it by using "inferior" - he was worse vs Karpov too most of the game;

whether he could get away with it (being pawn down and worse position in middle game) vs Lasker, Capa, or Alekhine, I am not that sure

Apr-29-16  Rookiepawn: <disasterion: <Rookiepawn> Chessbase did their best to make it as convincing as possible. Have a look at this: http://en.chessbase.com/post/the-ch...

April's Fool is not anymore what it used to be.

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