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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 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-19-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Film-makers should be herded into a big room and told three important things:

1. Nuns are not funny,
2. Cats are never scary and
3. No one can make money from a film about chess.

Oct-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < offramp: Film-makers should be herded into a big room and told three important things:

1. Nuns are not funny,
2. Cats are never scary and
3. No one can make money from a film about chess.>

And 4.: At the end of an action movie, something must be blown up, even if it makes no sense.

Oct-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: ok, chess players are boring and it's mathematically impossible for a chess movie to make money. Still, these pieces of history need to be documented. I applaud the filmmaker.

Will the infamous Dr. Zhukar be making an appearance, I wonder?

Oct-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <HeMateMe: ...Will the infamous Dr. Zhukar be making an appearance, I wonder?>

Yeah. He'll be in the audience.

Oct-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Sally Simpson> Thanks for posting. It was this match that rekindled the passion in me for this game it's participants, etc There was a chess bookstore in Back Bay Boston, Ma. on Newbury St. and they had press clippings hanging on the wall covering the full match.
Jan-20-19  john barleycorn: Mikhail Tal, E. B. Edmondson-Chess Scandals the 1978 World Chess Championship

https://de.scribd.com/document/3970...

Dec-26-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Dave Oshana 's prediction on page 6 of the June 1978 Chicago Chess Bulletin:

Karpov 6, Korchnoi 5, 21 draws. Both GMs will press hard, but neither will collapse. It will be an exciting match: the styles and personalities of the players are almost totally opposite. Karpov's drawing ability will have a dampening effect. Korchnoi will have to be very careful. Korchnoi is perhaps too much an artist, an expressionist who tries to superimpose his own personality on every game. Karpov accepts the essence of the game and allows himself to flow along harmoniously.

http://www.springfieldchessclub.com...

Dec-26-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <FSR> Thanks for posting. Really miss the days gone by when we had real intense drama in the Championship Match. This was great draws not counting, playing for blood! With two individuals who cannot stand one another. Now we get a match similar to flag football...no hitting ect between them...very short match as to not allow any player to get tired, these players are all friends as if they are frat brothers.....

Why even have matches anymore!?? These are purely laughable. Just have a Quadruple Round Robin then all 6 players play each other 4 times, please no draws, they do not count! Top 6 Elo rated players.

Dec-27-19  spingo: <FSR: Dave Oshana 's prediction on page 6 of the June 1978 Chicago Chess Bulletin: Karpov 6, Korchnoi 5, 21 draws. ...>

It's an uncanny prediction. Dave Oshana must have tremendous reasoning and analytical abilities.

Dec-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: How did oshana do 3 years later? I assume the same guy opined on the 1981 match. Karpov won that one 6-2.
Dec-27-19  spingo: <HeMateMe: How did oshana do 3 years later? I assume the same guy opined on the 1981 match. Karpov won that one 6-2.>

At the link that <FSR> gave, there is one far-out prediction: Albert Sandrin thought it would be 6-1 to Karpov with 5 draws.

It is not a bad guess for the 1981 match, though: 6-2 with 10 draws.

I was surprised at how many of the Illinoisette punters thought it would be 6-5 in 1978. Five out of 15 predicted 6-5 to one K or the other, with various amounts of draws.

Dec-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think Korchnoi overachieved in '78, for a man of his age. he was in his late 40s in 1978.
Dec-27-19  Howard: You may have a point about Korchnoi's age, but keep in mind that his defection would have sparked some motivation in him!
Dec-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Indeed, korchnoi gave up cigarettes and embarked on an exercise program as part of his match preparation. He took up jogging. There's a photo floating around of VK running down the road with his seconds, Michael Steen and ray keene.

I played through every game (and adjournment) with my high school chess team buddies. Our local newspaper printed every game. This was back when people got most of their information from newspapers, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Dec-27-19  Olavi: <HeMateMe:> This, for me, is the best WC match. It is nowhere near the best quality-wise, and both protagonists produced much better matches - but what a match.
Dec-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It was a SLUGFEST, like ali-frazier III, the Thrilla in Manilla!
Dec-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <spingo> Their 1974 match had also been close: 3-2 for Karpov with 19 draws. Based on that precedent, it made sense to predict another close match with a lot of draws.
Dec-28-19  spingo: <Olavi: <HeMateMe:> This, for me, is the best WC match. It is nowhere near the best quality-wise, and both protagonists produced much better matches - but what a match.>

Yes, it is a very good one. I also think it is right up there with the very best WC matches.

My favourite would be
Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1990).
Then
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969).

And at number 3:
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969). But that was only 10 games. If I was thinking of longer matches then #3 would bethis one: K-K 1978.

Dec-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <spingo> You listed the 1969 match twice.
Dec-28-19  Carrots and Pizza: Karpov was really great at this time in his career. Korchnoi was one of the greatest players to not be a world champion, was so creative, very stubborn and had an enormous will to at least not lose. Karpov had to be great. If we want to make stylistic comparisons to historical players, I might say Karpov was like Capablanca and Korchnoi is like Lasker.
Dec-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think korchnoi is a bit like Alekhine, willing to enter into unclear, murky positions whereas Karpov is more like Botvinnik, very pragmatic in his approach to chess.
Dec-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: 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.

* https://en.chessbase.com/post/closi...
** https://tv.nrk.no/program/KOID22008... (may not be available in all countries)

Dec-28-19  spingo: <FSR: <spingo> You listed the 1969 match twice.>

LOL. So I did! My mistake. I meant...
Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910).

Dec-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Diademas> hey thanks for the DVD info for the Match from 1978. I'll have to get a universal DVD player though, can only get Region 1 here in America. It was the drama of this match that got me started in chess, do to Fischer not playing anymore. thanks again!!
Dec-28-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: there's also <The Great Game> an early 80s movie about the Lone Pine chess tournament, featuring Karpov and Korchnoi.
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