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Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978
Baguio City, Phillipines

The 1978 World Chess Championship was played between challenger Viktor Korchnoi and champion Anatoly Karpov in Baguio City, Phillipines. The conditions of the match were changed for the first time since 1951: the 24 game format was replaced with an unlimited game format, with the first player to win 6 games being declared champion. The rematch clause for the Champion, which had been discarded since 1963, was brought back into effect.

 Korchnoi vs Karpov
 Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1974 Candidates Matches, Moscow
This was not the first match betwen Korchnoi and Karpov. In the 1974 candidates matches, after defeating Lev Polugaevsky and Boris Spassky in preliminary matches, Karpov beat Korchnoi in the 1974 candidates final by the close score of +3 -2 =19.

Korchnoi had been one of the USSR's top grandmasters for over 20 years. He had won the Soviet Championship on four occasions and had had reached the Candidates final twice. When Korchnoi dramatically defected from the USSR in 1976, he set the stage for one of the most bitterly contested matches in WCC history, filled with high political drama, tension, and accusations. The political ramifications of a Soviet defector winning the chess crown hung heavy on the match atmosphere.

Numerous accusations were traded by the two camps. Korchnoi continously complained that he was being stared at by a member of Karpov's team during play, a parapsychologist supposedly with hypnotic powers. Karpov objected to Korchnoi's wearing of sunglasses which he said deflected light on his eyes. At one point in the match the players stopped shaking hands and all further communication stopped. Draws offers were conveyed through the arbiter.

According to Grandmaster Robert Byrne:

Korchnoi, the challenger, thrives on rancor, developing instant aversion for every opponent he plays. Their mutual dislike began with Korchnoi's disparaging remarks about Karpov's play during their final Candidates' Match in Moscow in 1974. True enmity did not blossom, however, until their title match in Baguio City, the Philippines. After Korchnoi defected from the Soviet Union in 1976, his wife, Bella, and son, Igor, were prevented from joining him. Karpov was not amused when Korchnoi called him "the jailer of my wife and son", implying that Karpov could have obtained their release from the Soviet Union so they could have joined Korchnoi. Karpov retaliated by terming Korchnoi "immoral" for leaving his family behind when he defected to the West. Korchnoi screamed, "Filthy!" and Karpov would no longer shake hands.[1]

Karpov's FIDE Rating going into the match was 2725; Korchnoi's was 2665. The match opened with seven draws. Karpov opened up a 5-2 lead and seemed sure to win when Korchnoi made an astonishing comeback winning three games to tie the match at 5-5. Karpov, however, won the very next game to win the match.

click on a game number to replay game 1234567891011121314151617181920
Karpov½½½½½½½1½½0½11½½1½½½
Korchnoi½½½½½½½0½½1½00½½0½½½

click on a game number to replay game 212223242526272829303132
Karpov0½½½½½100½01
Korchnoi1½½½½½011½10

FINAL SCORE:  Karpov 6;  Korchnoi 5 (21 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Karpov-Korchnoi 1978]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #8     Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978     1-0
    · Game #17     Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978     0-1
    · Game #31     Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978     1-0

FOOTNOTES

  1. Korchnoi Bids for Chess Title Karpov Holds, Robert Byrne, New York Times, 1981
        As Chess Matches Go, This One's Well-Behaved, New York Times, Dec 1 1987

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 32  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½181978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
2. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½291978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
3. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½301978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchE42 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein)
4. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½191978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
5. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½1241978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchE42 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein)
6. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½231978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
7. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½421978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
8. Karpov vs Korchnoi 1-0281978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
9. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½411978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½441978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
11. Korchnoi vs Karpov 1-0501978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchA07 King's Indian Attack
12. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½441978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC81 Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack
13. Korchnoi vs Karpov 0-1611978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Karpov vs Korchnoi 1-0501978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
15. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½251978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½511978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC07 French, Tarrasch
17. Korchnoi vs Karpov 0-1391978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
18. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½641978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchB08 Pirc, Classical
19. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½391978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
20. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½631978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchB15 Caro-Kann
21. Korchnoi vs Karpov 1-0601978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½641978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC07 French, Tarrasch
23. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½421978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Karpov vs Korchnoi ½-½451978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
25. Korchnoi vs Karpov ½-½801978Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship MatchA22 English
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 32  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 10 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-09-21  Allanur: When Karpov was the challenger, both the champ and challenger needing to win by 2 GAMES was deemed unfair *to the challenger.*

Once Karpov became champion, the challenger not only needed to win by 2 games but had to win by two MATCHES.

Had Korchnoi won this match, he had to win one more match so that he can remain champion

Jan-09-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Once Karpov became champion, the challenger not only needed to win by 2 games but had to win by two MATCHES.>

This makes no sense.

<The movie "Closing Gambit"*, about this match, is still available to watch from Norwegian broadcaster NRK**. A must see covering all the absurdities surrounding the encounter.>

Now showing on PBS America in the UK.

https://www.pbsamerica.co.uk/series...

Jan-09-21  Allanur: That does make sense.
Had Korchnoi win this match, he would need to win 1 more match. That makes 2 games and 2 matches.

Say he won each match with 6-5, that is the lowest margin he could have win to be the champion, then the score would have been 12-10. That is TWO games.

Jan-09-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Had Korchnoi win this match, he would need to win 1 more match.>

But he'd be classed as world champion after the first. If Karpov then beat him, wouldn't Korchnoi then be entitled to a rematch too? It could go on forever!

<That makes 2 games and 2 matches.>

I object to the use of the word <and>.

The 2 games and 2 matches are one and the same thing.

Jan-09-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <MissScarlett> <If Karpov then beat him, wouldn't Korchnoi then be entitled to a rematch too? It could go on forever!>

In case this wasn't a joke, the answer is no.

For example, Smyslov and Tal did not get rematches after losing Botvinnik's rematches with them. They got re-seeded into the candidates. That is what Korchnoi would have got.

Jan-09-21  Sally Simpson: ***

"They got re-seeded into the candidates. That is what Korchnoi would have got."

Indeed. Korchnoi got seeded into the candidates 3 times after losing matches to Karpov.

***

Jan-09-21  Olavi: <Once Karpov became champion, the challenger not only needed to win by 2 games but had to win by two MATCHES.>

I think it was considered fair that Botvinnik no longer got a rematch after 1963, and unfair when it was reinstated. But no, the challenger did not have to win two matches to become world champion. I think you knew that.

Jan-10-21  Allanur: <But he'd be classed as world champion after the first.> Korchnoi HAD TO PLAY&WIN 1 MORE MATCH against Karpov. If he did not, Karpov would have been gifted the title again.

<I object to the use of the word <and>. The 2 games and 2 matches are one and the same thing.> No, a match and a game, at least in chess history context, are two different things.

Jan-10-21  Allanur: Kasparov in 1985 did not need to win by 2 games and 2 matches, a draw in the second match would have been sufficient.

But in 78 (or 81 and 84), the challenger had to win by 2 matches (and that makes 2 games). Korchnoi had to win two matches in case he won 1 of the championship matches.

Jan-10-21  Allanur: An excerpt from a parodical article about Karpov's career being hoax:

<His tournament victories were similarly hoax. Here is how:

In a strong Linares 1983 tournament Boris Spassky finished ahead of Karpov, then the USSR government quitted paying him stipend, excluded him from the Soviet team events. Why? It was clear, in case a Soviet player finishes ahead of Karpov they would need to pay for that. That is why Karpov had been winning tournaments ahead of his Soviet players. They had to throw the tournaments to Karpov. Another player who had the potential to surpass Karpov was prevented from joining tournaments: Viktor Korchnoi. He was the only non-Soviet at the time that had the potential to shake Karpov's hoax but the Soviet government was cautious enough: He simply was eliminated.

That is how Karpov won the tournaments. The Soviets that could dethrone him simply did not dare to oppose the government that was behind Karpov, one of them did and that one paid a heavy price for that. Another two players were not joining tournaments, so the Soviet players, who were dominating the chess world back then, was just making Karpov champion artificially.

As for Linares 1994, Karpov was a chess player that was being artificially inflated for 25 years already, in such a period of time a luck is bound to happen. After all, given enough time, a monkey can write a Shakespearean poet. As for Moscow 1971, that was the year the Soviet players were evaluating newcomers. That is why a relatively unknown player like Vladimir Savon won the Soviet championship.>

Jan-10-21  Petrosianic: <Olavi>: <I think it was considered fair that Botvinnik no longer got a rematch after 1963, and unfair when it was reinstated.>

The story behind that is largely forgotten, and needs reminding every so often.

When Karpov became World Champion, he didn't want to play an Unlimited Match. He wanted to go back to the Best of 24 format. However, the USCF bought into the (now discredited) idea that the unlimited match format would reduce the number of draws, and really wanted a variation of Fischer's Rules to be tried.

To that end, Ed Edmondson and the USCF brokered a deal with Karpov in which he would agree to play an Unlimited Match in exchange for having the rematch clause reinstated. Reported in Chess Life & Review in, I believe, 1977, though I'd have to hunt for the exact issue.

<But no, the challenger did not have to win two matches to become world champion. I think you knew that.>

True, but if the statement goes uncalled, someone might be fooled into believing it. If it does get called, you just try again later. That's how internet trolling works.

Jan-10-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Allanur> <His tournament victories were similarly hoax. Here is how: In a strong Linares 1983 tournament Boris Spassky finished ahead of Karpov, then the USSR government quitted paying him stipend, excluded him from the Soviet team events.>

I'm not sure what article you are quoting or what you mean by it being a "parodical" article. A parody of the truth? Or did you mean "paradoxical".

I'm not sure how to interpret the statement that after Linares 1983 the USSR government quit paying him (Spassky) his stipend and excluded him from the Soviet team events. Given that Spassky had emigrated to France in 1976, I suspect that the Soviets stopped paying him his stipend well before 1983. And, needless to say, I doubt that he would have been invited/allowed to participate in Soviet team events after 1976.

<Another player who had the potential to surpass Karpov was prevented from joining tournaments: Viktor Korchnoi. He was the only non-Soviet at the time that had the potential to shake Karpov's hoax but the Soviet government was cautious enough: He simply was eliminated.>

Korchnoi defected from the Soviet Union in 1976 and settled in Switzerland in 1978, becoming a Swiss citizen. So, like with Spassky, the Soviet Union's ability to prevent him from playing in tournaments was "greatly diminished" after 1976. As far as "eliminating him, Korchnoi managed to play quite well until about 2010, including being ranked in the world's top 100 players at the age of 75.

And he got the last laugh. He did not die until 2016, outliving the Soviet Union by about 30 years.

Jan-10-21  Petrosianic: <what you mean by it being a "parodical" article. A parody of the truth? Or did you mean "paradoxical".>

Beats me. I still want to know how a monkey can write a poet.

Jan-10-21  Petrosianic: Although Spassky became a French citizen in 1978, he played under the Soviet Flag as late as 1984.

Of course he was in his late 40's then, so the idea that he needed to be held back to stop him from sweeping the world before him is pure fiction.

Jan-11-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Petrosianic....I still want to know how a monkey can write a poet.>

Ah, the mysteries of life.

One word says it all: you never know.

Jan-11-21  Allanur: <Korchnoi defected from the Soviet Union in 1976 and settled in Switzerland in 1978, becoming a Swiss citizen. So, like with Spassky, the Soviet Union's ability to prevent him from playing in tournaments was "greatly diminished" after 1976.>

Korhcnoi was being boycotted by the Soviets, which resulted in him being unable to join any tournament Karpov was taking part in.

<Given that Spassky had emigrated to France in 1976, I suspect that the Soviets stopped paying him his stipend well before 1983.>

His stipend was stopped in 1983. It is narrated by Spassky himself in one of his interviews.

Spassky was part of the USSR team even in 1981. In the 1981 cross-generational match, Spassky was shown among the national team squad. in 1984 vs RotW match he was not part of the team. After that Linares, he was not part of the team.

<I'm not sure what article you are quoting or what you mean by it being a "parodical" article. A parody of the truth?> it is from chesscom forums. It is a parody, countering Fischerphobs. There, with such 'arguements', it is asserted Karpov is a fraud.

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Nigel Short
@nigelshortchess

Extraordinary testimony, from @GM_RayKeene, of Max Euwe proposing to stop the 1978 Baguio World Championship Match with the scores tied at 5-5. A hugely important historical footnote, in the light of the Karpov-Kasparov debacle in 1985.>

https://twitter.com/nigelshortchess...

Keene's article:

https://www.thearticle.com/chess-tw...

Keene made the same claim in the 2018 documentary <Closing Gambit: 1978 Korchnoi versus Karpov and the Kremlin> which I saw recently on PBS, but it didn't strike me as some major new revelation.

Jan-24-21  Olavi: <MissScarlett: <Nigel Short @nigelshortchess
Extraordinary testimony, from @GM_RayKeene, of Max Euwe proposing to stop the 1978 Baguio World Championship Match with the scores tied at 5-5>

Noticed that. I am very unconvinced. Mr. Keene has had plenty opportunity to write about that, starting with his book about the match. It is well known that Campomanes, as organizer, had mentioned the possibility of termination a month earlier, referring to the Ananda Marga.

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <<areknames: <Bobby would have whipped both their Commie asses ....> I know I shouldn't indulge you <Hazz> but are you seriously calling Korchnoi a commie?? I know you're not doing that. And yes, Fischer vs Karpov is like that record your favourite band never made.>>

Bobby wanted a return to the pre FIDE era , his fave player was Steinitz I think lol , But this was never going to happen.

I'm certain Bobby saw FIDE as an extension of the Soviet School of Chess/ USSR at the time.

That's a good analogy btw. Fischer v Karpov not happening is a tragedy in a chess context.

Korchnoi being there in the 70's was indicative of the vacum in chess at that time. I like Victor. But he was never quite good enough in the 50's and 60's . For him to be playing Karpov in 1978 is a byproduct of Fischer going awol,and the damage Bobby did to a generation of chess GM's..

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: This is still, no matter how you dress this match up , and no matter how much each of you love these players , one of the most boring, poorest, mistake riddled World champ matches in chess history. Itz just there. That's how it is.

Chess needed Bobby . Bobby deserted chess.

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: My top ten 70's players would be

I no particular order ...
1. RJF
2. Bozza
3. Robert Fischer
4. Bozza
5. Robert James Fischer
6. Bozza
7. Bobby
8. Bozza
9. Bobby Fischer
10 .Bozza

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Karpov was the Commie puppet.

Gazza came in, a young Gazza , to fill the Fischer vacum...

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: If not for Gazza . Karpov would have stayed WC a bit longer.

DISCUSS

Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Hazz>, chess historians, a hundred years hence, will trail through the pages of this site in search of nuggets of enlightenment. Your posts will probably puzzle if not bewilder them. Do you have anything to say in your defence?
Jan-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <<MissScarlett: <Hazz>, chess historians, a hundred years hence, will trail through the pages of this site in search of nuggets of enlightenment. Your posts will probably puzzle if not bewilder them. Do you have anything to say in your defence?>>

If they're lookin when I'm gone you mean <Scazz> ??

Well just two words gotta say

FOOOOOK YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZE

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