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Viktor Korchnoi vs Lubomir Kavalek
Olympiad (1978), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 14, Nov-??
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation (E92)  ·  1-0


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find similar games 4 more Korchnoi/Kavalek games
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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Always nice to see Korchnoi giving the KID "the treatment". This one was an unusual variation, though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: repost from Sax Page (Jan-31-09 by Katu):

There is a book about the 1978 Buenos Aires Olimpics by Istvan Bilek who was also part of the Hungarian team as Sax. He mentions one of Sax's greatest games in it - against Aleksandar Matanovic (it's a pity the game is not in the CG database).

<"Sax was a practicioner of the Sveshnikov Sicilian as Black. In the last round, we had the Yugoslavs as opponents and we were happy that, first time at the Olimpics, someone (Matanovic) at last chosen Sax's pet line! This game was our last finished one. (Sax won with Black). After it we knew that we placed BEFORE the Soviets and we were so happy - until someone said that the USA still has ongoing games and they can reach us! Feelings ran high, as the only game we could reach were <Korchnoi vs Kavalek, 1978>. But there was a huge mass around that table, it seemed that everybody knew that this was the last decisive game). We forgot our manners and stood up on top of chairs to see what's going on. We trusted on Korchnoi. He won more and more pawns. After Kavalek resigned and the audience applaused, we were so happy that almost everyone of us cried.">

Jun-04-13  Howard: It was quite ironic (as Chess Life and Review---as it was called then) that Korchnoi's victory over Kavalek helped the Soviet Union finish in second place !

More specifically, Korchnoi had defected from the Soviet Union two years earlier. Just before the 1978 Olympiad, he had lost a very bitterly-contested world championship match with Karpov. Going into the last round of the event, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Hungary were in a tight race for the top three places....

.....the U.S. played Switzerland in the last round, with Korchnoi (how living there) playing first board for his squad. By beating Kavalek, he undermined the U.S.'s last-round result which therefore......helped the Soviets to finish second place, ahead of the U.S ! Hungary--led, of course, by Portisch--took clear first.

Korchnoi, in other words, could have perhaps "thrown" his game against Kavalek so as to hurt the Soviets' chances of second (or first) place, but to his credit, he didn't do so.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Thanks, <Howard>, for your background information.

I like this game, Korchnoi at his best, having the elements of Lasker, coupled with a killer instinct; in a sense, though, Viktor has always played by his own rules. His flexibility was great, his endgame fearsom and his grit second to none.

May-14-18  Howard: If I remember correctly, Korchnoi missed the first several rounds---he was still recuperating from his lengthy match against Karpov.

Karpov, incidentally, didn't take part in this Olympiad---apparently, he needed a rest, too.

May-14-18  Olavi: Korchnoi started in round four and scored +7 =4 -0 for the best result on board one, though Switzerland missed both Hungary and the Soviet Union.

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