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1975 World Chess Championship
Compiled by Penguincw

★★★ INTRO ★★★

The 1975 World Chess Championship was a forfeited match. If it took place, it would be between 32 year old defending champion Robert James Fischer of the United States and 24 year old challenger Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union.


Fischer easily won the title from Spassky in 1975 (see Game Collection: 1972 World Chess Championship for games and more info). It was time to determine a new challenger. However, this time, instead of having one interzonal tournament where the top 6 advanced, this time, there were 2 interzonals where the top 3 from each advanced.

In the first one (see Game Collection: Interzonals 1973: Leningrad or Leningrad Interzonal (1973) for games and more info), 18 players played. The ones that advanced were Viktor Korchnoi, Karpov (both scoring 13.5/17) and Donald Byrne (12.5/17).

In the second one (see Game Collection: Interzonals 1973: Petropolis or Petropolis Interzonal (1973) for games and more info), once again 18 players participated and the top 3 advanced. Henrique Mecking won clear first (with 12/17), however three players (Efim Geller, Lev Polugaevsky and Lajos Portisch) were all tied with 11.5/17. The usual way to solve this is to set a playoff (see Game Collection: Interzonals 1973 play-off: Portoroz or Portoroz Interzonal Playoff (1973) for games and more info). Polugaevsky (5.5/8) and Portisch (3.5/8) advanced. Geller finished with 3/8.

In the Candidates tournament, it was a knockout format, but a slightly different rule for advancing was used. In the quarter finals, it was first to win 3 games, with a limit of 16 games. Note: Number of wins are in brackets.

In the quarter finals, Karpov beat Polugaevsky 5 1/2-2 1/2 (3-0), Spassky defeated Bryne 4 1/2-1 1/2 (3-0), Korchnoi beat Mecking 7 1/2-5 1/2 (3-1) and Petrosian beat Portisch 7-6 (3-2).

See below for respective matches (for games and more info):

Karpov - Polugaevsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1974)

Spassky - Byrne Candidates Quarterfinal (1974)

Korchnoi - Mecking Candidates Quarterfinal (1974)

Petrosian - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1974)

In the semi-finals only Soviets were left. It was first to win 4 games, with an expanded limit of 20 games. The matches ended with Karpov beat Spassky 7-4 (4-1) and Korchnoi defeated Petrosian 3 1/2-1 1/2 (3-0). Petrosian resigned the match after just 5 games. After losing 3 games, he decided to protest in hopes of reversing the result of the match. That didn't go well. See below for respective matches (for games and more info):

Karpov - Spassky Candidates Semifinal (1974)

Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Semifinal (1974)

In the finals, it was a first to win 5 games, win a limit of 24 games. The match took place all the way up to 24 games. Eventually, this match was the WCC final match, as Fischer later resigned his title. Karpov narrowly beat Korchnoi 12 1/2-11 1/2 (3-2). (see Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974) for games and more info)


Karpov emerged victorious from the Candidates, and was due to play Fischer in Manila starting June 1st, 1975. While the interzonal and candidates took place, Fischer wanted to deviate from the match style they've used since 1951 (see Game Collection: 1951 World Chess Championship for games and more info).

The format that Fischer desired was that it was first to win 10 games (draws not counting) and if the match was tied with each side winning 9 games, Fischer would retain his title. However, this gave the champion (Fischer) too much of an advantage, as he would technically need only 9 wins to retain the title. Also, unlimited games would've took place, so this match could take forever.

In 1974, FIDE accepted first to win 10 games, draws not counting, but put up a 36 game limit and the 9-9 tie rule denied. Fischer then decided to resign his title. For this, the Korchnoi-Karpov finals in the candidates acted like the WCC match.


See also: Karpov - Fischer World Championship Match (1975)

Head to Head Match up Prior to 1975: (the 2 players never met and would never meet)

Previous World Championship: Game Collection: 1972 World Chess Championship

Next World Championship: Game Collection: 1978 World Chess Championship

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