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WCC: Karpov-Korchnoi 1981
Compiled by WCC Editing Project
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Original: Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1981)

Korchnoi quotes- http://porto-fr.odessa.ua/index.php...

DRAFT <Chessical>

The players

In July 1981, Anatoly Karpov was the world’s top rated player at 2700, and Viktor Korchnoi was second at 2695 some 55 points above the number three player Robert Huebner.

The match was to start on September 19th, 1981, but Korchnoi stated he would not play until his wife and son were permitted to emigrate from the Soviet Union. In August, the President of FIDE Fridrik Olafsson, put the match back a month to allow negotiation over the granting of visas. This did not, however, resolve the problem. Korchnoi’s son was suddenly was drafted into the military. When he refused to join up, as this could indefinitely strand him in the Soviet Union, he was arrested. (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/10/01/n...) Karpov attacked Fridrik Olafsson ’s initiative this as a political move stating “Korchnoi abandoned his family five years ago”. “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 857-8, July 1981, p.102).

The Soviets managed to overturn the decision at a meeting of FIDE in Atlanta but in the end the 1st October was the soonest the venue could now be ready. (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/27/m...)

With both players attacking each other in the press , the bitterness of the previous match in Baguio remained. Karpov complained “Korchnoi is uncouth. He is a very good chess player…but as a person I have a low opinion of him”. (“Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 865-6, November-December 1981, p.235).

==================

Head Referee Paul Klein

-<Robert Byrne, New York Times, 11 November 1981 http://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/11/n...>

===

The seconds

Korchnoi’s seconds were Michael Francis Stean and Yasser Seirawan (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/10/01/n... later joined by emigrees Leonid Alexandrovich Shamkovich and Canadian Champion Igor Vasilievich Ivanov (“Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 865-6, November-December 1981, p.238). Korchnoi was not helped by dissensions in his camp between his delegation leader Petra Leeuwerik and Didi of the Ánanda Márga Pracáraka Sagha sect whom he had met at Baguio. She radically changed Korchnoi’s diet to vegetarian and isolated him for yoga sessions. According to Mikhail Tal , "The board is the only place where he can recover." (http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print...).

Karpov had the best assistance the Soviet Union could provide:

Igor Arkadievich Zaitsev and Yuri Balashov as his official seconds for the match. Mikhail Tal , Lev Polugaevsky (who were also in Merano), Efim Geller and Rafael Vaganian were all actively involved in helping Karpov prepare for the match. They were joined at various times by Elizbar Ubilava , Adrian Mikhalchishin , Vitaly Tseshkovsky , Albert Zinovievich Kapengut , Rudolf L Kimelfeld , Vladimir Lepeshkin , Rozenberg and the noted correspondence player Georgy Konstantinovich Borisenko. (http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/histo...)

Their research enabled Karpov to demolish Korchnoi’s defence in the Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981 and Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981 .

“The champion’s analytical team continued to grow throughout the course of the match; whenever he ran into any kind of problem, he would receive help and instructions from Moscow. The famous novelties in the open version of the Ruy Lopez, for example, were devised by Yuri S Razuvaev and Efim Geller , who were “locked away” in the office of Ivonin, deputy chairman of the Sports Committee, so that they could come up with something for Tolya Karpov…” (http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/histo...)

The match

Merano offered a prize fund of 800,000 Swiss Francs (http://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/27/m...). The winner being the first to score six victories (“Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors”, Vol.5. p.152)

Introduction:

The match took place between 1st October and the 18th November 1981. It became known as “The Massacre in Merino” and was the shortest since Lasker - Capablanca World Championship Match (1921) . It took Karpov only 18 games to retain his title (+6 +10,-2). In Baguio it took Karpov 17 games to reach a three point advantage, here it took only 9.

“Korchnoi played much better in Baguio than in the first eleven games here” (Karpov, “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 865-6, November-December 1981, p.235-6).

Korchnoi played the first half of the match badly. His opening play was uncertain, he lost the three of the first four games and was never able to make this up. His first victory in Game 6 gave him little pleasure:

“Victor was not happy with the game. He thought he did not get a good opening, and then Karpov’s blunder on the 40th move made it all look too easy”. (Yasser Seirawan , “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 863-4, October-November 1981, p.218).

Korchnoi, after Game 2, was never better than two games behind:

“…it is not a match it is a rout…on one hand we have a thirty year old champion at the height of his powers…aided and supported in every way by his country…on the other hand a 50 year old challenger …not only without a country but pursued by hatred and continual persecution (Korchnoi was embargoed by the Communist bloc from GM tournaments – ed.) …he has a 21 year old son who is immured in a Siberian labour camp”. (Harry Golombek in “The Times” quoted by, “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 867-8, December 1981, p.268).

“Korchnoi, whose style of play has always been exciting and dynamic, has suddenly began to play like a defanged pussycat. Gone from his play are the inspired sacrifices and beautiful counter-attacks…Instead he seems content to play passively waiting for his opponent to err. This is completely the wrong strategy against Karpov”. (Arnold Denker , “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 865-6, November-December 1981, p.238).

Korchnoi played some games extremely well, such as: Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1981 , but,

“Not since Capablanca’s defeat of Lasker can a contestant in a world championship match have made so few identifiable errors” (William Hartston ,“Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 867-8, December 1981, p.269)

Karpov stated. “There were practically no short draws and every game, with the exception of the seventeenth, went down to the “bare” kings. For this reason, the match has to be considered a difficult one…” (http://moscow2012.fide.com/en/histo...)

Korchnoi was not invited to share the stage at the closing ceremony “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 867-8, December 1981, p.269). This was the end of his world championship ambitions. Karpov was awarded an Order of Lenin on his return to the Soviet Union, ( “Chess”, Vol. 46, Nos 867-8, December 1981, p.269). He said he could not name any player who was currently a serious threat to him.

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Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1981 
(D58) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst, 43 moves, 0-1

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1981 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 57 moves, 1-0

Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1981 
(D58) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

3 games

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