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MATCH STANDINGS
Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal Match

Viktor Korchnoi6.5/12(+2 -1 =9)[games]
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian5.5/12(+1 -2 =9)[games]

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal (1977)

Korchnoi qualified for this match when he reached the Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974). Petrosian qualified from the Varese Interzonal Playoff (1976), which followed about two months after the Biel Interzonal (1976). The three other quarterfinal matches were Polugaevsky - Mecking Candidates Quarterfinal (1977), Portisch - Larsen Candidates Quarterfinal (1977) and Spassky - Hort Candidates Quarterfinal (1977). Each match was of 12 games, and the first to get 6,5 points would be the winner. (1, 2) If after 12 games there was no winner, then two more games would be played. If again there was no winner, the procedure would be continued until there was one. No provision had been made if there never was a winner, but then presumably the matches would be decided by natural causes. (1)

The playing venue was the Il Ciocco Hotel (3) in Il Ciocco, a tourist center (4) at Barga, Lucca township, northern Tuscany, Italy. Here the Marcucci brothers, owners of the factories, hotels and mountains around, had given $20,000 to get publicity. (5) For Korchnoi it was the first time he met a Soviet player after he moved to the west in 1976. The match was particularly piquant bearing in mind that Petrosian was one of the signatories to a letter roundly condemning Korchnoi for his 'desertion' of the motherland. (1) One could also read in the newspapers that Korchnoi had said, Petrosian? I hate that man. (6) The match was several places dubbed as the match of hatred. When the two met in Game 1, there was neither a handshake nor a word of greeting. (7) Later in the match, Korchnoi protested against the fact that Petrosian had a "telex machine standing in the room". He suspected that there was a direct connection with the USSR. (8)

Korchnoi's family was held back in Soviet Russia, and his chess books had been left in Leningrad. (9) His warm-up consisted of an 8-game match against Jan Timman in November (+4 -1 =3), and a 4-game match against Werner Hug in January (+2 =2). (10) His seconds in Barga were Yacov Isaakovich Murey (during latter part of the match) and Hans Ree (both IM's). (11) Petrosian had played in the USSR Championship (1976) in December. He arrived seemingly well prepared with Efim Geller, Igor Arkadievich Zaitsev and Yuri Averbakh as his three seconds. (12) The chief arbiter was Bozidar Kazic. (13) Kazic also became an "errand boy" bringing messages between the two delegations in each corner of the dining room. (14)

The players: https://web.archive.org/web/2016082...

The quality of the games was poor. (9) Because in between the genius chess came also blunders. After three draws, Korchnoi got ill before Game 4 (scheduled for 7 March) and requested postponement. (15) In Game 5, Petrosian moved the wrong knight (29...Ned5), lost the exchange, and the game. He struck back with great moves in Game 6 (15.d5 and 17.Ne5). Korchnoi got worse and probably let himself be checkmated to shorten the suffering. After a draw in Game 7, Petrosian again blundered the exchange in Game 8 (33.e4). After two more draws, Petrosian asked for postponement of Game 11 (scheduled for 28 March) because he was sick. (16) When Korchnoi offered the draw in that game, Petrosian was not worse, but seemed to have no fight left.

Barga, Italy, 28 February - 2 April 1977

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Korchnoi 2645 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 0 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 6˝ Petrosian 2645 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 1 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 5˝

Korchnoi advanced to the Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1977). After the match, Korchnoi went straight to Switzerland to play in Montreux (1977).

Notes

1) Harry Golombek in The Times, 19 February 1977, p. 9.
2) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 83/2, p. 46.
3) https://web.archive.org/web/2015102...
4) https://web.archive.org/web/2015042....
5) Dimitrije Bjelica in CHESS, March 1977, p. 161.
6) De Telegraaf, 24 December 1976, p. 37.
7) The Times, 1 March 1977, p. 6.
8) De Telegraaf, 21 March 1977, p. 18.
9) Second hand citation from Korchnoi's book Chess Is My Life.
10) Korchnoi's 400 Best Games (Batsford 1978), p. 245.
11) De Telegraaf, 2 March 1977, p. 17.
12) Tidskrift för Schack, 83/4, p. 106.
13) De Telegraaf, 1 March 1977, p. 15.
14) Eldis Cobo Arteaga in Noticias Ajedrez Tenerife, 10 June 2008 (https://web.archive.org/web/2016033...).
15) El Mundo Deportivo, 9 March 1977, p. 34.
16) Limburgsch Dagblad, 29 March 1977, p. 13.

Original collections: Game Collection: WCC Index (Korchnoi-Petrosian 1977) by User: Hesam7 and Game Collection: Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal '77 by User: Tabanus. Game dates are mainly from Dutch newspapers at https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten. Thanks to User: Chessdreamer, User: Paint My Dragon and User: Chessical for finding sources and improving the English.

 page 1 of 1; 12 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½221977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalA14 English
2. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½171977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
3. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½391977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE05 Catalan, Open, Classical line
4. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½221977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
5. Korchnoi vs Petrosian 1-0711977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
6. Petrosian vs Korchnoi 1-0371977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
7. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½251977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
8. Petrosian vs Korchnoi 0-1571977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE15 Queen's Indian
9. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½431977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
10. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½151977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
11. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½271977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
12. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½401977Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE14 Queen's Indian
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-30-15  Kasparov Fan: "The result of the match was 2-1 in my favour with 9 draws.This shows just how agitated the opponents were.As I left II Ciocco, I gave Petrosian a last farewell look.He was a whole range of emotions: rage, hate and 'I didn't finish you off today, but we'll settle things next time'.In fact just after he arrived in the USSR, Petrosian was removed from his post as chief editor of 64". Victor Korchnoi from his autobiography 'Chess is my life'
Jun-30-15  Howard: His removal as chief editor was noted in Chess Life and Review, as I recall.
Jun-30-15  Petrosianic: Yeah, and then it turned out he did much better against Korchnoi than fellow Soviets Polugaevsky and Spassky did.
Dec-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Petrosianic: Yeah, and then it turned out he did much better against Korchnoi than fellow Soviets Polugaevsky and Spassky did.>

That is very true. Kortschnoi was in rampaging good form at the time.

In his next match, Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1977), VK jobbernowled Polugaevsky 5-1 with 7 draws, having been 5-0 up after only 7 games!

In the following Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977) VK went chessically postal: he was 5-0 up by game 10, although he then suffered something of an éboulement, lost 4-in-a-row and only won 7-4 with 7 draws.

So Petrosian did extremely well to keep his in-form rival at arm's length, especially as TVP seems to have been out-of-form, and frequently making the kind of errors he normally only occasionally made.

Kortschnoi had a very good English/Israel team (Keene, Stean, Murey and others) which was the equal of any Soviet team. Both Karpov & Petrosian did well to stand up to the juggernaut.

May-24-20  Allanur: I wonder one thing, here is a good discussion:

If Petrosian (or Spassky) managed to win the candidates in 1977 and managed to become the challenger, would the Soviet government give them freedom to defeat Karpov in case he was able to (I do think neither one practically had chance of beating Karpov but I also think if Spassky was committed, he could do it even in 77).

Both were players beaten by Fischer 5-6 years ago and one of them dethroning Karpov in 1977 would have cemented Fischer's legacy to an unchallangable level. After all, Karpov became champion by default and he spent next 3-5 years joining every tournament he could to demonsteate he really is a worthy champion. Considering these, a loss to Petrosian or Spassky would have demolished everything the USSR had been doing. That is the reason I think the USSR government would have banned the two from beating Karpov. I said I do think Karpov would have been superior to both of them in 1977, I do think both would lose but my point is: would the Soviet government let it be a free match like "may the besr win" or would they command Karpov to remain champion?

What do you think?

May-24-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Allanur> I think you’re a boring Fischer/Morphy obsessive who keeps trying to do for them by proxy what they couldn’t be bothered to do for themselves.
May-25-20  Allanur: Keypusher, I do know you are a boring Fischerphob that try to do anything possible to degrade the reality.
May-25-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Allanur> What do you think?>

I think that:

1. If either Petrosian or Spassky had managed to become the challenger in 1977 Karpov (rated 2690 and ranked #1) would have been the favorite in the WCC match. But Petrosian (rated 2645 and ranked #3) or Spassky (rated 2610 and ranked #11) would have been worthy opponents. And among the top Soviet players both Tal and Polugaevsky, both rated 2620 and ranked #6 might have been even worthier opponents. A Karpov vs. Tal WCC match might have been very interesting!

2. As far as the Soviet government giving a Soviet challenger the freedom to defeat Karpov I don't see why they wouldn't. Petrosian and Tal were both former WCCs and asking them to let Karpov win might be too much even assuming that it could be kept secret, which I doubt it could be. And would Karpov be satisfied with that? After all, Botvinnik strongly objected to any "help" from the Soviet government in the 1948 FIDE tournament to determine the WCC. Besides, the most important think was that a Soviet player be WCC and only secondarily who it was. After all, they gave Kasparov the freedom to defeat Karpov in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1990.

As far as Spassky it would have been even more problematic for the Soviets not to give him the freedom to defeat Karpov. Not only was he also a former WCC but he had emigrated to France along with his wife (unlike Korchnoi) in 1976 and would become a French citizen in 1978 so the Soviet's influence on him and their ability not to give him the freedom to defeat Karpov is questionable. Finally, in 1977 Spassky had not been playing all that well recently so his chances of defeating Karpov in a WCC match would probably have been slim and Soviets probably would not have bothered to try to prevent him from defeating Karpov even if he had been a Soviet citizen and resident at that time.

3. Having either Petrosian or Spassky, or for that matter any other Soviet player dethrone Karpov in 1977 would not have had any effect on Fischer's legacy, even if the challenger and match winner had been Polugaevsky. After all, a player's performance varies over time and you're only as good as your last match. And Fischer's last "match" was in 1975.

4. It would not have been a case of the Soviet government commanding Karpov to remain champion, the best they could do would be to command his Soviet opponent <not> to become champion. And, as I said above, I don't think that they would have bothered to do that, simply not worth it.

Jun-01-20  Allanur: @Keypusher, related to your 2nd paragraph, why would they not give freedom to a Soviet Challenger to defeat Karpov? As I said in my previous comment, Karpov was claimed to be "on-paper champion" by the US Chess Federation Edmondson and by some journalists. That was, probably at least one of, the reason Karpov was so keen on joining each and every tournament he could and win them - to demonstrate that he really is the best player out there. One of the two players beaten by Fischer dethroning Karpov in 1978 would have resulted in this scenario:

"Karpov became champion by default in the previous cycle and right after that someone beaten by Bobby dethroned him."

You state <"any other Soviet player dethrone Karpov in 1977 would not have had any effect on Fischer's legacy, even if the challenger and match winner had been Polugaevsky. After all, a player's performance varies over time and you're only as good as your last match."> but I highly doubt media would say so, no matter what you say is true or not, they would just bury Karpov.

Remember Spassky winning Linares 1983 and his monthly salary from the Soviet government being abolished following his victory.

It is true that the Soviet allowed Garry Kasparov to defeat Karpov (though Karpov says he was allowed only in 1985 match but I find it highly suspicious as if he was not allowed in 1984 he could not have played 48 games against Karpov) but Kasparov was a new young player, his win would not have anything comparable to "vs Fischer" question.

Jun-01-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Allanur> I assume that you meant to address your last set of comments to me and not <keypusher> but, at any rate, here is what I think about them:

<As I said in my previous comment, Karpov was claimed to be "on-paper champion" by the US Chess Federation Edmondson and by some journalists.>

I doubt that the USSR based their chess policies on what the USCF and "some journalists" (particularly if they were US journalists) said.

<One of the two players beaten by Fischer dethroning Karpov in 1978 would have resulted in this scenario: "Karpov became champion by default in the previous cycle and right after that someone beaten by Bobby dethroned him.">

So?

<but I highly doubt media would say so, no matter what you say is true or not, they would just bury Karpov.>

Again, so? What media? The US media? I also doubt that the USSR based their chess policies on what the US media said.

<Remember Spassky winning Linares 1983 and his monthly salary from the Soviet government being abolished following his victory.>

Cause and effect is a difficult thing to prove. Particularly since Spassky had emigrated to France in 1976 and became a French citizen in 1978. Do you think that the USSR failed to notice this until 1983? Why would they have continued to pay him a salary until after he won Linares in 1983?

<but Kasparov was a new young player, his win would not have anything comparable to "vs Fischer" question.>

If the USSR was so obsessed with making sure that Karpov remained the WCC I don't think that his challenger's age would have had anything to do with it. Besides, in 1984 Kasparov was rated 2710 and ranked #1 ahead of Karpov and in 1983 he was rated 2690 and ranked #2 behind Karpov, so I don't think that his chess playing ability was unknown to the Soviet Chess Federation, regardless of his age. Or do you think that the big, bad USSR had a soft spot for young chess players?

Jun-04-20  tonsillolith: Petrosian was washed up at this point, so it's not a big surprise Korchnoi beat him.
Jun-06-20  Allanur: Aylerkupp, yes. I now realised it was you, not Keypusher, wrote the comment.

You may doubt, the USSR using chess as propoganda is a well known thing and they WOULD have cared what the US and international media would have said. Aftee all, that was why they pretended like chess is not a profession in the Soviet Union.

Yes, why would they not stop paying him salary right after he emigrated but would stop only after him finishing ahead of Karpov? A good 'hypothesis' for you: As even Karpov himself narrated, Karpov wanted to demonstrate he was a worthy champion, not just on-paper. Thus, he kept on joining tournaments and winning. As far as I know, Linares 83 was the first time a Soviet player finishing ahead of Karpov.

USSR was obsessed with not giving any support to Fischer's legacy, not with Karpov (or anyone else). As you yourself put, Kasparov was already #1, he was not a remnant from Fischer's generation. That means, Kasparov beating Karpov would not have served Fischer's legacy.

Jun-06-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  nok: <Kasparov beating Karpov would not have served Fischer's legacy.>

What does this have to do with the Kortchnoi – Petrosian match?

Jun-06-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <nok: <Kasparov beating Karpov would not have served Fischer's legacy.>

What does this have to do with the Kortchnoi – Petrosian match?>

To those obsessed with Fischer and what might have been: everything.

Jun-07-20  EdZelli: tonsillolith Wrote: Petrosian was washed up at this point, so it's not a big surprise Korchnoi beat him. -----------

You're clueless.

1972 San Antonio shared 1st
1973 Amestedam shared 1st
1975 Soviet Champion 1st place
1979 Rio Interzonal shared 1st
1979 Keres Memorial 1st place
1981 Tilburg Interzonal 2nd place

Just to name a few of Petrosian's 70's and early 80's accomplishments.

By late 70's, No live chess player in world could match Petrosian's achievements. Not even close !!!

His Olympiad record still stands !!

Jun-07-20  Petrosianic: <EdZelli>: <You're clueless.>

Yeah, but probably deliberately so. Trash talking GM's is the only pleasure a lot of patzers get. Go to C24 or any online site during a game, and you'll see no end of people watching only the eval, ignoring the game, and pronouncing "So and so blundered!" any time the eval changes by more than 0.2. As often as not the move they pronounced a blunder was perfectly okay.

Jun-08-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: 1970s matches across Cold War fault lines tended to be pretty ragged affairs because of the pressure the participants were under. Fischer-Spassky not exempted.

Once Kasparov showed up people realized -- <ah, <he's> going to be the challenger>. And the chess world relaxed a little bit.

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