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Viktor Korchnoi vs Boris Spassky
"Catch Me If You Can" (game of the day Jul-06-2019)
Spassky - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1968), Kiev URS, rd 6, Sep-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-11-03  ughaibu: This match was really a bit of a slaughter with Spassky at his best playing calm and controlled chess, but in this game Korchnoi got out of control. With computers checking the tactical validity of the player's plans would we still get exciting games like this? All aspects of human ability come into chess, there are none that are irrelevent in the sense that the computer should deal with them. Okay, you say computers are good for opening study, I reply, can a computer come up with the Nemeth gambit?
Feb-11-03  skakmiv: 19.Bd3???
Feb-11-03  ughaibu: Korchnoi's a piece up at that point so it's not really a sacrifice. My guess is that if the bishop is captured black won't be able to maintain a pawn on b3 so his attack won't have much force.
Feb-11-03  aulero: 19.Bd3 is evidently to prevent the menace b3-Bb4-Rxb1-Qa2-Qa1 mate. It was never easy attacking Korchnoi! This is the reason because Tal, for example, had a such bad score against him!

Spassky was a formidable player with a marvellous style that allowed him to create many very beautiful games. It was a pity that against Fischer he didn't offer his best and after that match he quickly lost his energy: once he said he was the ghost of the player that he has been.

Apr-30-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: A bit unexpectedly, black gives up a piece in the opening.


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12...a5!
Black gets a won position, but should at some point have played ...h5, for example at move 20.

Then, at move 25, Spassky misses a win.


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25...Bxc3 26.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 27.bxc3 and ...Rxf4.

34...Ra6 is not a good move; ...Bd7 might have saved the game.

Jul-11-06  KingG: It's a shame Spassky didn't manage to win the game after his brilliant piece sac.
Aug-22-08  M.D. Wilson: A defensive masterpiece.
Jul-07-13  Zonszein: A brilliant defence indeed.
Yet Spassky should have won, as shown by offramp above.
Jul-07-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Cheers, man!
Jul-07-13  ewan14: A legendary game from one of the best matches of all time
Jul-07-13  RookFile: Sometimes I get tired of hearing that Korchnoi would have been a good match opponent for Fischer in the 1970's. It really doesn't make any sense. Spassky beats Korchnoi in '68. Then Petrosian beats Korchnoi in '71. Fischer shows up and beats both Petrosian and Spassky convincingly. People start talking about chances against Fischer in '75 even though Korchnoi himself said he would have no chance.
Jul-08-13  Zonszein: Hello offramp.
It's good to be back.
And thank you for your interesting comments on many games
Feb-25-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: KingG, Spassky explained after the match what happened to him when he had to play his 25th move...: "suddenly, I could no more see the situation on the chessboard at all; I waited some minutes but this blindness went on; so I played a move without seeing the threat of White"...
Feb-25-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: RookFile, I agree with you; and I hate the attitude of Kortchnoï while playing the match of 1978; he spoilt it; but maybe we have to admit that Kortchnoï was not lucky: between 1960 and 1970, Fischer, Spassky and Petrossian blocked him; then he had a big hope after 1972, because the Russians had no more a young grand master who could beat him.... Except one: Anatoly Karpov; and this was the bad fate of Kortchnoï.... And the reason why he left USSR in 1976...
Mar-27-16  cimatar: @offramp 25..Bxc3 will be met with Rxh7 and not Qxc3 that is why Spassky moved 25..Nb6 to cover the h7 which is a target..there is a long variation that will follow afterwards but IMHO the players covered this line as winning for white. i.e. after 26.Rxh7 black has nothing 26..Bxb2 27.Kxb2 or Bb4 Kd1 is hard to proceed with the attack..while Rh8 and Qxg6 is coming.
Mar-27-16  cimatar: at move 25 black looks like he is attacking but only in the surface, because whites attack is more concrete although IMO he should have tried 25..Kf7 trying to move out from the attack!
Mar-27-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <imatar: @offramp 25..Bxc3 will be met with Rxh7 and not Qxc3 that is why Spassky moved 25..Nb6 to cover the h7 which is a target..there is a long variation that will follow afterwards but IMHO the players covered this line as winning for white. i.e. after 26.Rxh7 black has nothing 26..Bxb2 27.Kxb2 or Bb4 Kd1 is hard to proceed with the attack..while Rh8 and Qxg6 is coming.>

<25..Bxc3 will be met with Rxh7> That would give us this position:


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How about 26...Bxd4+?


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I can see that at some point White will get a check on h8, but Black seems to have some checks before that. Here is an example: 27. Kd2 Qc2+
28. Qxc2 bxc2


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29. Rh8+ Kf7
30. R1h7+ Ke8 and Black is a piece ahead.

Mar-27-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <cimatar: @offramp 25..Bxc3 will be met with Rxh7 and not Qxc3 that is why Spassky moved 25..Nb6 to cover the h7 which is a target..there is a long variation that will follow afterwards but IMHO the players covered this line as winning for white. i.e. after 26.Rxh7 black has nothing 26..Bxb2 27.Kxb2 or Bb4 Kd1 is hard to proceed with the attack..while Rh8 and Qxg6 is coming.>

After 25...Bxc3 26.Rxh7 Bxd4+ 27.Kd2 Qc2+ 28.Qxc2 bxc2 the game is over for white IMHO.

Anyway, the easiest way to win for Spassky seems to be 19...cxd3 20.Qxd3 h5! 21.Rc2 (Of course, 21.gxh5? is bad for 21...Bf5) 21...0-0 etc. White is busted with no chance to get counterplay on the KS and even material. The win of black is just a matter of technique.

Mar-27-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <RookFile: Sometimes I get tired of hearing that Korchnoi would have been a good match opponent for Fischer in the 1970's. It really doesn't make any sense. Spassky beats Korchnoi in '68. Then Petrosian beats Korchnoi in '71. Fischer shows up and beats both Petrosian and Spassky convincingly.>

Well, that's true but Spassky, who beat Korchnoi in 1968, was not the same Spassky, who lost to Fischer in Reykjavik four years later. Also Petrosian's performance in last four games of the match with Fischer was something quite unusual I would say.

Mar-28-16  cimatar: I miss that Bxd4 however how about 26.bxc3 first, then if 26..Rxf4 27.Qxg6


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Mar-28-16  cimatar: Is there enough compensation for the Bishop with 27..Kf8 Qd3?
Mar-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <cimatar: I miss that Bxd4 however how about 26.bxc3 first, then if 26..Rxf4 27.Qxg6>

<cimatar: Is there enough compensation for the Bishop with 27..Kf8 Qd3?> 25...Bxc3 26. bxc3 Rxf4 27. Qxg6+ Kf8 28. Qd3 Qc4 is dead lost for white.

Aug-23-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 19...cxd3 20.Qxd3 h5 21.Rc2 O-O 22.Kd2 (what else?) 22....hxg4 23.fxg4 b3+ 24.Rc3 Bxg4 was winning easily.
Sep-11-18  edubueno: 25...Bxc3!! gana enseguida. Por ejemplo:
a)26.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 27.bxc3 Rxf4 28.Rxh7 Nf8 29.Rh8+ Kg7 30.Kb2 Ra2+ 31.Kxb3 Rf2 32.R8h3 R2xf3 33.Rxf3 Rxf3 34.Rg1 Bd7 35.Nd2 Re3 36.Kb4 Ne6 37.c4 Bc6 38.Nb3 b6 39.Ra1 Rg3 40.Ra7+ Kh6 41.Ra6 Rd3 42.cxd5

b) 26.Txh7 Bxd4+ 27.Kd1 Qc2+ 28.Qxc2 bxc2+ 29.Kxc2 Bxe5 30.Bxe5 Nxe5 31.Rh8+ Kf7 32.R1h7+ Ke8 33.Rxf8+ Kxf8 34.Nd2 Bf7 35.g5 Kg8 36.Rh4 Be6 37.Nb3 Nxf3 38.Rf4 Rf1 39.Kc3 b6 40.Kb4 Bh3 41.Kb5 Nxg5 42.Rxf1 Bxf1+ 43.Kxb6 Ne6 44.Kc6 Bc4

Dec-28-18  woldsmandriffield: The castling decisions in this game are extraordinarily provocative. 7 o-o-o by Korchnoi is followed by a Knight sacrifice 5 moves later. Spassky’s 21..o-o is followed by a temporary Queen sacrifice 5 moves later. You reap what you sow...
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