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Viktor Korchnoi vs Boris Spassky
"Chess Crisis" (game of the day Aug-22-2008)
Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977/78) (1977), Belgrade YUG, rd 7, Dec-09
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. General (D58)  ·  1-0


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Given 7 times; par: 77 [what's this?]

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sac: 31.Rxd2 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Zanza> Inserting diagrams into comments:

1. The hard way: go the home page and scroll down to the last line. You will find a help page on FEN diagrams. If you really want to, you can enter the diagrams by hand. Good luck ...

2. An easier way (but only for positions that actually occurred in the game): step through the game until you find the position that you want to make into a diagram. Press Ctrl and P together. Click in the comment box to put the cursor where you want the diagram to go. Press Ctrl and V. The apparently meaningless series of numbers and letters will appear in the kibitzing diagram and on the site as the position.

3. Another easy way (but only if your chess playing software allows): copying a game position into the clipboard using Ctrl P as above. Paste that position into your chess software. (In Fritz 11, the crumb trail is file-new-position setup - paste FEN). Play some moves to get to an analysis position that you want to turn into a diagram. Then copy to the clipboard using file-new-position- setup - copy FEN. Then go to the website, click on the comment box and Ctrl V as before.

Other software may have different ways of copying and pasting fen diagrams. I can only speak for Fritz.

Sounds long-winded, I know, but is really quick once you get the hang of it. If you're still struggling, get in touch at my forum and I'll try to help.

Aug-22-08  Sularus: spassky once said that korchnoi had everything in chess EXCEPT for one: viktor had no chess talent. lol!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Fascinating position after 34. Rc7.

click for larger view

Korchnoi has exchanged off his passed c pawn, but in return has shattered black's pawn structure and doubled his own heavy pieces on the seventh rank. The attack on the backwards g7 pawn forces spassky to jettison his e5 pawn.

34. ... Qa1+ 35. Kh2 e4 36. Qxe4. Black has managed to defend g7 by opening up the long a1-h8 diagonal, but he had to sacrifice the e pawn to do so. And the a pawn's days are numbered too. Black will be too busy dealing with white's threats on the kingside to be able to defend it.

I really enjoyed this game - especially the way that the action shifted from the queenside to the kingside. Makes a refreshing change from some of the more barbaric hacks that we sometimes get (although they have their charm too).

As Obi-Wan might have said "a civilised game for a more civilized age"

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Spassky just wasn't the player he used to be after he lost to Fischer in '72
Aug-22-08  ravel5184: I have that book!
Aug-22-08  PinnedPiece: For those (like me) for whom the bleeding obvious is hidden in the mists:

49 Qb8+ Kh7
50 g8=Q++

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Another finish would be 48. ... Qc7 (pins the white queen) 49. Qxc7 Rxc7 50. Rg4 followed by Rxh4. Not as flashy as <pinned piece's> mate, but white wins slowly by throwing his pawns forwards.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Korchnoi always seemed to have a paranoid crisis throughout his career-Fischer had one also. Too bad these two titans couldn't have played for the title at some time. seems to have a large Korchnoi tint-with 4217 of his games on the base. He does play an entertaining style of chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: " seems to have a large Korchnoi tint-with 4217 of his games on the base."

Well, his career does span 63 years...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessmensch: <Once> Thanks for the tips re inserting diagrams into comments. That should be useful for many of us. I copied it for future reference.
Aug-22-08  Caissanist: <Once> Thanks very much for that, I didn't know about the control P function. After trying that out, let me add something: since you can now move the pieces around in the game position (this was not true before), you can generate an analysis position without copying back and forth to Fritz or any other program. Just make the moves you want and then hit control-P to generate the FEN.
Aug-22-08  PinnedPiece: <Once: Not as flashy as <pinned piece's> mate,>

But No Doubt the way it would have gone down.


Aug-22-08  Artar1: 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 00 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 b6 8.Rc1 Bb7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.b4 c6 12.Be2 Nd7 13.00 a5 14.b5 c5 15.dxc5 Nxc5 16.Nd4 Qd6 17.Bg4 Rfd8 18.Re1 Ne6

<[18...Be5 19.h3 g6 20.Re2 (20.Nc6 Bxc6 21.bxc6 Qxc6 22.Bf3 Bxc3 23.Rxc3 Qf6) 20...Bg7 21.Rec2 Re8 22.Bf3 Rad8=]>

19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Nc6 Bxc6 21.bxc6 Bxc3 22.Rxc3 Rac8 23.Qc2 e5

<[23...b5 24.Rc1 Rc7 25.Rc5 Rdc8 26.h3 a4 27.a3 ]>

24.c7 Rd7 25.Rc1 d4

<[25...Qe7 26.Rc6 Kh8 27.a4 d4 28.h3 d3 29.Qb3 Rdxc7 30.Rxc7 Rxc7 31.Rxc7 Qxc7 32.Qxd3 Qc1+ 33.Kh2 Qc6=]>

26.Rc6 Qd5 27.Qb1 d3 28.Qxb6 d2

<[28...Qxa2 29.h3 Rf7 30.Qa6 Qxf2+ 31.Kh2 Qf5 32.e4 Qf4+ 33.Kh1 Rff8 34.Qxd3 Kh7 ]>

29.Rd1 Qxa2 30.h3! Qa4 31.Rxd2 Rxd2 32.Qb7 Rdd8 33.cxd8Q+ Rxd8 34.Rc7 Qa1+ 35.Kh2 e4 36.Qxe4 Qf6 37.f4 Qf8 38.Ra7 Qc5 39.Qb7 Qc3 40.Qe7 Rf8 41.e4 Qd4 42.f5 h5 43.Rxa5 Qd2 44.Qe5 Qg5 45.Ra6 Rf7 46.Rg6 Qd8 47.f6 h4 48.fxg7 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <caissanist> Even better - good call. I didn't know you could do that!
Sep-07-08  mcgee: >>Spassky just wasn't the player he used to be after he lost to Fischer in '72<<

But his form as champ was pretty spotty anyway - possibly the worst ever tournament result for a defending WC when he came 6th at Moscow in 1971. As ex-champ, Spassky recovered well to win the 1973 USSR championship and recorded wins at Bujogno 1978 (equal with Karpov) and Linares 1983 that rank among the best of his career. My own hunch is that Spassky's best years were 1965-69 and that he really found being champ a burden.

Nov-01-08  gulliver: < and that he really found being champ a burden.> I find this observation deep and illuminating.
The idea that being a champ to be a burden. It is something known but we tend to forget it and its left on the dark side of our minds. And it is true. Mcgee throws light on it. We all strive to win but winning is not so simple.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <mcgee: <<Spassky just wasn't the player he used to be after he lost to Fischer in '72>> But his form as champ was pretty spotty anyway - possibly the worst ever tournament result for a defending WC when he came 6th at Moscow in 1971....>

My vote goes to Petrosian for his showing at Santa Monica 1966-the only thing saving him from outright disaster was two wins against Najdorf.

<My own hunch is that Spassky's best years were 1965-69 and that he really found being champ a burden.>

Spassky may well have been the best player in the world at this time, though from 1967-70, Larsen compiled a formidable tournament record against all comers and Fischer was successful when he played.

Sep-07-11  mcgee: Looking at Chessmetrics, Petrosian arguably posted an even worse performance at Moscow 1967 - but thanks for drawing attention to the Santa Monica result. I think my comments were made before Anand finished last in Bilbao in 2008 which renders the debate null and void in my eyes - although I am sure someone will beg to differ :)))))))))
Sep-07-11  mcgee: Alekhine also had some pretty bad results during WWII - including Munich 1941 where he could only finish equal second with Lundin behind Stolz...
Sep-07-11  BobCrisp: Alekhine also had some pretty bad results during WWII...>

<Lasker> and <Capa> didn't come out of it too well neither.

Sep-08-11  LIFE Master AJ: Superlative play by Korchnoi!!!
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

White's last move was 30.h3, a masterpiece of calculation and far from obvious, even for a player renowned for his powers in that aspect of the game. Keene analysed this in CL&R in 1978, demonstrating, as <Eyal> points out above, how the apparently strong 30.Qb7 fails to the elegant resource 30....Qa4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <mcgee>Korchnoi thought that Black should have played 21..♕xc6 and after 22 ♘e4 ♕b7 23 ♘xf6 gxf6 24 ♕g4+ ♔f7 25 ♕h5+ White has no more than a draw.

Korchnoi states in his 2011 book "My Best Games":

"There was also a psychological consideration. I sensed that Spassky liked his position, that he was prepared to play for a win".

Dec-06-16  Saniyat24: I think Spassky played well, Korchnoi was just better...!
Dec-06-16  Howard: The move 30.h3!! went down as one of the best moves of the year. To say that the game turned on that move, would be an understatement.
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