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Korchnoi - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal 1983
Compiled by Tabanus

Missing info: exact venue, organizer/director, referee/arbiter, playing time, Portisch's seconds, scandals (if any), picture.

Viktor Korchnoi (52) was qualified for this match by being vice-World Champion, after the Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1981). Lajos Portisch (46) was qualified from the Toluca Interzonal (1982). Three other matches were held in parallel: the Kasparov - Beliavsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1983), the Smyslov - Hübner Candidates Quarterfinal (1983), and the Ribli - Torre Candidates Quarterfinal (1983). The draw for pairings had been made in Lucerne, Switzerland on 10 November, at the FIDE congress during the chess olympiad (29 October - 16 November, 1982). 1, 2 Each match would be played to 10 games, 3 so the first player to achieve 5½ points would go to the semifinal. If tied at 5-5, the matches would be extended with either two games (and two more if still tied) or four games. Der Spiegel says four games, and that if still tied (the rules may not have been 100% clear), the players could choose between two rapid games and drawing of lots. 4 The matches were held in order to select a challenger for Anatoly Karpov, the World Champion.

Previous super tournaments: Bad Kissingen (1928) (won by Efim Bogoljubov), Bad Kissingen (1980) (won by Karpov), Bad Kissingen (1981) (won by Korchnoi), and the 1982 Women's Interzonal (won by Nona Gaprindashvili)!

Portisch had played in five WC quarterfinals before, and two semifinals. This was the sixth quarterfinal, out of a total of seven (the last one was in 1989)

Korchnoi's seconds: Hans Ree and Lev Gutman, and also some helpers from various countries for morale, physical fitness and general well-being. It was spoken English, German and Russian (Hans Ree in Schaken Archief, 31 May 2005,

"At the start of 1983, K had played in Wijk aan Zee, where he was extremely uncompromising, but had the worst result for many years (+5 -6 =2)" (Garry Kasparov in My Great Predecessors, Part 5, p. 163)

Somogyi Néplap, 3 April 1983, p. 10 (

Game 1:

"In the 1st game Korchnoi chose a rare variation of the English Opening, and although Black achieved good play ... Portisch used up nearly all the time on his clock, and was unable to hold a roughly equal rook endgame in time-trouble." (Kasparov, p. 163)

Korchnoi baffled Portisch in their third game with a new move in a heavily studied variation of the English Opening and scored with sharp tactical play ... The move by Korchnoi that made Portisch consume 40 minutes was 11 N-Q4!? (Byrne The New York Times, 19 April 1983, (1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e6 6.Ndb5 d5 7.Bf4 e5 8.cxd5 exf4 9.dxc6 bxc6 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.Nd4) (Game 3 is only game from this match in Korchnoi's My Best Games)

Korchnoi: "I have spent at least 80 working hours trying to refute the opinion of theory, that the chances are roughly equal." (My Best Games, Vol. 1. p. 104) (before Nd4)

11...Kc7 12.g3 Bc5 13.Rc1! fxg3 14.hxg3 Ba6? K comments: Amazingly careless! It was not yet too late for 14...Rb8 etc....

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15.Nxc6! "This unexpected move wins the game. And effectively, not only this game, but also the entire match! Indeed, Portisch was unable to recover from this blow ..." (My Best Games, Vol. 1. p. 106)

Game 4: "The most disheartening, most disastrous blunder of the quarterfinal matches for world championship contenders was Lajos Portisch's 52d move of his fourth game" (Byrne in The New York Times, 1 May 1983,

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Portisch played 52.Qg2? and was punished with 52...Rxh3+! 53.Kg1 (if 53.Qxh3 then 53...Qxf2+ 54.Kh1 Ra6 0-1) 53...Rh6 54.Kf1 Ra6 55.Re1 Ra2 0-1

Game 6

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Here both 50.Kc5 and 50.Rg7 would have won, but after 50.Ke3? Bh1 51.Nb6 Re4 52.Kf2? the position was even.

Game 8 postponed on K's request (De Telegraaf, 12 April 1983, p. T 17)

Byrne on Game 8:

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32.Nxe4 Nxe4 33.Rcf1!

Bad Kissingen, Germany, 26 March - 15 April 1983

Elo* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 GM Korchnoi 2600 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 6 2 GM Portisch 2620 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 3

*FIDE Rating List January 1983

Korchnoi advanced to the Kasparov - Korchnoi Candidates Semifinal (1983)

After the event, K left Germany on 17 April in Petra Leuwerick's car, together with Gutman (Charles Partos in Le Matin (Lausanne), 30 April 1983, p. 25)

Bad-Kissingen 26 March - 18 April 1983: Lidia K Semenova against Margareta Muresan, 5,5-4,5 (10 games).

Original collections: Game Collection: WCC Index (Korchnoi-Portisch 1983) by User: Hesam7 and Game Collection: Korchnoi - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal 1983 by User: Tabanus.

Game 1 March 26
Korchnoi vs Portisch, 1983 
(A17) English, 55 moves, 1-0

Game 2 March 28
Portisch vs Korchnoi, 1983
(D85) Grunfeld, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3 March 30
Korchnoi vs Portisch, 1983 
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 35 moves, 1-0

Game 4 April 1
Portisch vs Korchnoi, 1983 
(D85) Grunfeld, 55 moves, 0-1

Game 5 April 5
Korchnoi vs Portisch, 1983
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 52 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 6 April 7
Portisch vs Korchnoi, 1983 
(D97) Grunfeld, Russian, 56 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 7 April 9
Korchnoi vs Portisch, 1983
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 8 April 13
Portisch vs Korchnoi, 1983 
(E12) Queen's Indian, 38 moves, 1-0

Game 9 April 15
Korchnoi vs Portisch, 1983
(A30) English, Symmetrical, 57 moves, 1-0

9 games

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