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Sergey Karjakin vs Veselin Topalov
Corus (2007)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <Can't even say that. It would be tough to beat the level of outright cheating the Russian team (and even Soviet government) was willing to perform to ensure Karpov did not lose to Korchnoi - in both matches when Karpov was the WC.>

What is this supposed to mean? What kind of outright cheating? Are you sure you didn't mean to compare Korchnoi's behaviour to Topalov's - because that would make more sense.

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Most Topalov haters were his fans until the WCWC.
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Are you sure you didn't mean to compare Korchnoi's behaviour to Topalov's - because that would make more sense.> huh? there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Soviet regime wanted Karpov (and before him, Botvinnik) as champion and told top players to lose to him. this is axiomatic among the expatriated Russian GMs.
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Shams><huh? there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Soviet regime wanted Karpov (and before him, Botvinnik) as champion and told top players to lose to him. this is axiomatic among the expatriated Russian GMs.>

And what does this have to do with alleged cheating in Karpov-Korchnoi matches?

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: I'm calling match-fixing the same as cheating. Is there a hair I need to split somewhere?
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <shams> You asserted that (A) Karpov cheated in two WC matches with Korchnoi. Asked for evidentiary support, you cited (B) <anecdotal> evidence that Soviet players had thrown games to Karpov. Since Korchnoi was no longer a Soviet player by the time of the two matches, I don't see how B supports A. Maybe you can explain?
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: keypusher, find me where I asserted that Karpov cheated. I never did.
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <shams> You're right, I was sloppy. Sorry.

I still can't see the relationship between:

<It would be tough to beat the level of outright cheating the Russian team (and even Soviet government) was willing to perform to ensure Karpov did not lose to Korchnoi - in both matches when Karpov was the WC.>

and

<there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Soviet regime wanted Karpov (and before him, Botvinnik) as champion and told top players to lose to him. this is axiomatic among the expatriated Russian GMs.>

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: I haven't read of the Karpov-Korchnoi match. I'm speaking in general terms, of decades of psychological pressure brought to bear on many Russian (and Baltic, and Eastern Bloc...) chess players-- the impact of which I think it is impossible for those of us who didn't live in Communist U.S.S.R. to appreciate. Bronstein hated to talk about this stuff but he made this exact point, and I trust him. It pisses me off, as it should any chess player. I have no clue whether Karpov was complicit or not; therefore I never called him out.

Yes, anecdotal evidence, but there's a fair amount. Russian GMs confiding over beers, late at night, that they were "asked" to throw games to Karpov. (Don't remember where I read this, but I did.) Keres in what, 1948? Other stories too; I stopped making mental notes when they ceased to surprise me. Where there is this much smoke, I think there is fire. Particularly when it's obvious that everything was political in the U.S.S.R.

I don't know specifics of the Karpov-Korchnoi matches; if I gave the impression that I did I misspoke.

I, for one, would rather have my integrity attacked in the open air -- where the scrofulous nature of the charges is apparent to all -- than go through that stuff. It's evil.

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: no worries, keypusher.

only the second quote was mine. the first is centercounter's; I assume he knows more of those matches than I did.

but, perhaps you are thinking, you *agreed* with him, Shams. Maybe you even said "you're exactly right" (I did). And that's where it was me being a bit sloppy.

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <shams> Fair enough. I'll share my own thoughts, though no one has requested them.

AFAIK Karpov never lost an international tournament game to a Soviet player while he was World Champion. (Please correct me if you know otherwise, anyone.) He occasionally lost to Soviet players in Soviet events, and he occasionally lost to foreign players in international events, but no Soviet player ever beat him in an international tournament. Korchnoi beat him at Hastings 1971 before he became champion, and Beliavsky beat him at Tilburg in 1986, after he was no longer champion, but I am not aware of any defeats a Soviet player inflicted on him in an international event in the intervening years. That does make me wonder. Of course, in the 1970s and 1980s Karpov was a great player who didn't lose very often, period. But that no Soviet player ever beat him outside the USSR for fifteen years seems a bit much. In fact, Spassky claimed that he was punished for finishing ahead of Karpov in ___, 1983.

There is at least one suspicious Karpov win that I know of against a Soviet player in an international event.

Karpov vs Smyslov, 1979

The record is certainly consistent with the <anecdotal> evidence re Karpov you cite, shams.

For Botvinnik, the evidence is rather different. Soviet players did beat him in international events.

Kan vs Botvinnik, 1935

F Bohatirchuk vs Botvinnik, 1935

Botvinnik vs Kotov, 1946

Botvinnik vs Geller, 1952

Keres vs Botvinnik, 1956

Those weren't meaningless games, either. The losses to Kan and Bohatirchuk cost Botvinnik clear first at Moscow 1935; the loss to Kotov nearly cost Botvinnik the Groningen 1946 tournament; the loss to Geller cost Botvinnik the Budapest tournament; and the loss to Keres cost Botvinnik clear first in the Alekhine memorial.

Also, the Soviets left Botvinnik off their 1952 Olympic team. Again, this was no small matter: it was the first time the USSR ever competed in the chess Olympiad.

I think Botvinnik was quite clearly the favorite of the Soviet government in the 1930s and 1940s, if not the 1950s. Did this extend to government forcing others to lose games to him? The evidence in favor is pretty weak IMO. But that topic has been pretty well thrashed out on the 1948 Match-Tournament title page and the games, particularly the Botvinnik-Keres games. I've said all I can say on those pages.

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <In fact, Spassky claimed that he was punished for finishing ahead of Karpov in ___, 1983.>

Should read: <In fact, Spassky claimed that he was punished for finishing ahead of Karpov in Linares, 1983.>

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here is a correction from <sucaba>

<Well, he lost twice in the tourney on occasion of the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution: Karpov vs Taimanov, 1977 and Karpov vs Beliavsky, 1977.>

Here is the crosstable for that tournament. It was indeed international, although all the non-Soviet participants were from the bloc except Mariotti. http://www.geocities.com/al2055urs/...

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: I would also dispute that Yugoslavia was part of any "bloc".
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: keypusher, your points are very interesting indeed.

From the match-tournament 1948 pages I followed the links to Taylor Kingston's two-part article on Keres-Botvinnik 1948, published in chesscafe nine years ago. Fantastic work by that guy.

thanks for sharing.

Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <acirce> is right about Knezevic, so that's two non-bloc players.
Jan-16-07  vlado23: So, the soviets may have conived to fix tournament outcomes. What bearing does that have on Topolov's behaviour at Elista? I don't see that it either justifies or excuses it.
Jan-16-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: of course you are right, vlado.

if there is a connection in my mind, it is on the effectiveness of pscyhological abuse.

I honestly think that Topalov was surprised by the backlash to his tactics, and that for his part Kramnik felt stronger by the outpouring of support.

Whether he would have won or not without the tricks, I can't say. But subconsciously, Topalov had to know that if had he gone on to win the match, his reputation would be even more ruined than it is now. No way to know how much of a role it played in his mind, but I don't think it can be dismissed.

Jan-17-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Yugoslavia was not a part of any "bloc", certainly not until 1991.
Jan-17-07  Fisheremon: <AgentRgent: Did white draw due to time pressure?> Quite likely, cos' 52.h5 could give White a win.
Jan-17-07  PeerGynt: <Fisheremon: <AgentRgent: Did white draw due to time pressure?> Quite likely, cos' 52.h5 could give White a win.>

GMs at Chesspro.ru say 52.h5 is not winning, but 52.b4 may be the right plan. My oppinion is that Karjakin got surprised by several black moves and lost confidence. I am referring to Bd2 and e4. De facto Bd2 must lose instantly because of Qh5, but Karjakin was cought off guard by the move and did not react properly. Also e4 was a surprising move by Topalov. It did not increas his chances to draw, but created chaos and in some variations it was even possible Karjakin to lose. This is why IMHO Karjakin decided to not risk. He could not trust his own judgement anymore.

Jan-17-07  Fisheremon: <PeerGynt: <Fisheremon: <AgentRgent: Did white draw due to time pressure?> Quite likely, cos' 52.h5 could give White a win.> GMs at Chesspro.ru say 52.h5 is not winning, but 52.b4 may be the right plan.> 52.h5 Rxf5 53.h6 Kg8 54.b4 Re5 55.Kd2 with two variations 55...f5 and 55...d4 both lost for Black.
Jan-17-07  PeerGynt: <Fisheremon> here is the link to Notkin's analysis. Go argue with him http://chesspro.ru/_events/2007/wei...

My point was about why Krjakin decided to settle for a draw in a position with good chances to win.

Jan-13-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <GMs at Chesspro.ru say 52.h5 [http://translate.google.com/transla... ] is not winning, but 52.b4 may be the right plan.>

The conclusions about 52.b4 aren't completely clear, but the line given there as supposedly drawing for Black after <52.h5> seems to be actually losing: 52...Rxf5 53.h6 Kg8 54.b4 Rf1 55.Rxd5 Kh7 56.b5 Kxh6 57.Kd4 f5:


click for larger view

And here Black is "threatening" 58...Rd1+ with a transition to a drawn pawn endgame where both sides queen, but White has 58.c4! and now 58...Rd1+ loses to 59.Ke3 Rc1 60.c5 Kg5 61.Kd2, and 58...Rf3 to 59.b6 Rd3+ (59...Rb3 60.Rb5) 60.Ke5 Rxd5+ 61.cxd5 e3 62.Kxf5 e2 63.b7 e1=Q 64.b8=Q and this queen endgame is a tablebase win for White (even though technically it might not be so easy to convert). I can't see any improvement for Black before move 58 either, so this would seem to support the claim that Karjakin missed a win when he settled for the perpetual at the end.

Jan-03-12  Penguincw: Wow. Topalov never decided to castle.
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