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Yuri Balashov vs Lev Polugaevsky
Manila Interzonal (1976), Manila PHI, rd 12, Jun-28
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-16-03  Tigran Petrosian: Very complex. Does anyone know where this game is annotated?
Feb-07-04  Laeuferpaar: Wow, another GREAT Polugajewski Najdorf, THE Master or this System; got to love him for his Sici style. Najdorf GO !!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Copied from a Petrosianic post on the Bobby Fischer page:

<As for games fixed by Russians, you might be interested in something Korchnoi said on this matter, right after his defection:

Korchnoi: "Such things happen. Games are thrown occasionally. But this is never ordered from above. When it happens, which is extremely seldom, it may be a personal exchange. It may also happen internationally. Why, the whole chess world knows that Taimanov bought a point from Matulovic for four hundred dollars in the Interzonal at Palma in 1970. There are a few more known cases. I must tell you that I found Balashov's loss against Polugaevsky at Manila very suspect.

"With draws it is much more frequent, of course.

Jul-19-07  Petrosianic: Yeah, I looked at this game yesterday, but didn't really have time to study it. Korchnoi sniffed around that this game was suspicious, but gave no reason for thinking so, and I've never heard anyone else talking about it (unlike Taimanov-Matulovic, which everyone talks about).

What makes a game suspicious? The fact that both players are from the same country? But Korch himself says these things aren't ordered from above. Is there any reason to suspect a more personal connection? Maybe, but he doesn't say.

What about the relative scores? Polugaevsky scored 12-6 in the tournament, and Balashov scored 10-8. The game happened in Round 12 of 19.

Frankly, it seems a little irresponsible of the Korch to cast aspersions at this game without giving any reasoning behind it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Korchnoi irresponsible? Say it ain't so!

I agree with you, though, this sure doesn't look like a fixed game. Maybe Balashov played a sacrificial attack known to be bad, but that's just more [irresponsible] speculation.

Jun-30-08  HSS: Out of fairness to Korchnoi, he wasn't the only one to suspect the game might have been rigged. Lubomir Kavalek said in an article in "Chess Life and Review" back in late 1976 that the circumstantial evidence suggested the game MIGHT have been thrown.

Kavalek pointed out that Pologaevsky was leading Balashov by a point going into the game, plus the former had an easier schedule of remaining opponents. Thus a win would have more to Pologaevsky's advantage as far as Candidates qualification chances.

On the other hand, Timman said in "New in Chess" back in 2002 that Pologaevsky played a "fantastic novelty" in this game, so thus the game might have been legitimate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: It should also be mentioned that at Wijk aan Zee 2002 Timman played 10 Bxb5!? against Gelfand and won so clearly he felt the piece sacrifice was sound:

"I like this sacrifice" said Timman, "because White has not lost any time with Bd3. If Gelfand had not provoked the sacrifice with 9..b5 I would just have played 9..Be7 10 g4 and a main line."

Before this game Black had played 12..Bb7 13 Qe2..dxe 14 Qc4 with White having a raging attack. Polugaevsky's innovation 12..Ra5! made the line playable for Black though should not be considered a refutation.

The idea that Balashov's choice of 10 Bxb5!? is evidence that he threw the game is ludicrous.

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