Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Boris Gulko vs Anatoly Karpov
USSR Championship (1976), Moscow URS, rd 13, Dec-16
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Szen Variation (B44)  ·  0-1



explore this opening
find similar games 7 more Gulko/Karpov games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: Games that have been used in game collections will have a section at the bottom which shows collections which include it. For more information, see "What are Game Collections?" on our Help Page.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Gulko sets a stalemate trap. Karpov ignores it and responds with a rook move setting up zugzwang, and then another Rook move setting up an unstoppable mate.
Oct-28-14  tranquilsimplicity: Karpov is the greatest Chess scientist (positional) who ever lived! We don't yet agree as to who is the greatest Chess artist (tactical); but names like Tal and Bronstein spring to mind. As for the greatest universal player that combined the art and science to arrive at universality of Chess style, my choice is Fischer. And when we say artist or scientist, we do not mean to suggest that the artist does not know or appreciate the science of chess, and vice-versa. It simply means a tendency in playing style.#
Oct-28-14  Petrosianic: <tranquilsimplicity: Karpov is the greatest Chess scientist (positional) who ever lived!>

You can tell that just from this one game?

Oct-29-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Petrosianic> No. Not just this most interesting game but after studying quite a lot of his games. I must admit that my comments are meant to incite debate or responses. And I have been successful since you have responded.

The reason I feel that Karpov's strategic mastery is slightly above that of Petrosian, Capablanca, Kasparov and Lasker, is the fact that Karpov dominated a much stronger field of competitors or super grandmasters. Then there is the fact that Karpov's games are so scientifically (-positionally-strategically) slanted, that one fails to notice what is going on. His feel for high strategy and microscopic manoeuvres is superior to that of any other in my opinion. Karpov asserts this but adds that Petrosian may have been the only GM that could match him (Karpov) in this scientific (ultra-positional) approach.

I also could have added that Lasker and Kasparov can along with Fischer contest for the greatest player with a universal style. In fact Emanuel Lasker in my opinion may easily be the strongest if not greatest player who lived; but I don't want to go there. It's a pity that Lasker is not really accorded the respect I feel he deserves in Chess history. And it is a pity that Fischer had even refused to include Lasker in his top ten greatest players; however with Fischer's issues with anti-semitism it may not be difficult to see why Fischer felt that way.#

Oct-29-14  Petrosianic: I didn't agree or disagree with your claim, I just asked what about this game supports it (apparently nothing). But if it doesn't, then why didn't you post the comment on a page that would support the claim?

<And I have been successful since you have responded.>

You just want to get an answer and don't care what it is? Are you sure you want to say that? You could yell "Fire" in a crowded theater and get that result.

Oct-29-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Petrosianic> Karpov calmly repels Gulko's attack refusing to fall for Gulko's tactics. And when Gulko's attack is spent, Karpov unleashes simple tactics of his own .. Nxb4, ..Nxf3, ends going up an exchange where with the greatest ease paralyses Gulko on the rim!

It is this paralysing or strangulating effect that Karpov exercises with perfect mastery game after game, that I am "singing hymns" about. And I thus sought opinion on the game and Karpov's style. And when I made the great claim, I did so with awareness that it is my opinion only and many others may feel differently hence my very relaxed attitude regarding soliciting opinion.

And might say that I do not really care about the answer because there could never be an answer or "truth" where people's opinions are concerned. But I still enjoy to know what another might think. I might even be swayed by another's view.

And no; I am not that desperate with regard to inciting a response. Being no arsonist I am interested in provoking comment on our beautiful game; Chess.#

Oct-29-14  Petrosianic: Good. That's good. Now, when you say Karpov didn't fall for his tactics, are you implying that they were on the cheap side? A coffeehouse attack, if you will? Or that they were reasonable, but Karpov just saw deeper?

Another thing worth mentioning would be that the ending of this game is remarkably similar to the ending of Game 1 of the Karpov-Spassky match, except this time Karpov was on the winning side.

Oct-30-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Petrosianic> I am implying that Karpov saw deeper. Gulko is one of the few players to have a plus score against Kasparov, and I believe the only GM to have been a USSR and USA Champion. It would be unwise to think of Gulko's tactics as 'Coffee-house'.

Yes..the first game of Karpov v Spassky match in 1974 had a similar ending. It was a rather fiery game but unfortunately for Spassky, his only win.#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <tranquilsimplicity: <Petrosianic> Karpov calmly repels Gulko's attack refusing to fall for Gulko's tactics. And when Gulko's attack is spent, Karpov unleashes simple tactics of his own .. Nxb4, ..Nxf3, ends going up an exchange where with the greatest ease paralyses Gulko on the rim!>

I think Karpov's first tactical shot is 36...Rd2! Now 37.Rxc6 loses to Nf3+, so Gulko has to bring his queen back, allowing for Nxb4.

May-12-20  SChesshevsky: <...Karpov calmly repels Gulko's attack...>

Think the question is after 34. Qc5 are whites passed pawns a threat or just targets.

I'm guessing that both players evaluated them as more targets. Thus making Gulko's "attack" maybe more trying to mix things up in semi-desperation than anything tangible.

To give credit, afterward Gulko did seem to put up a spirited and clever defense with such an exposed King.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I am not sure why white avoided 17.Qxd6. Well, I guess that after 17.Qxd6 Nc5 18.Qxd8 Rfxd8 19.e5 Be7 20.Rcd1 Bxf3 21.gxf3 (21.Bxf3? Nd3 ∓) 21...f5 gives white hardly any significant advantage but extra Pawn is an extra Pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 34.c5 seems to be better, as 34...Rb7 35.Qa6 Qd7 36.Nd6 Rxb4 37.Bb5 Nb8 38.Qb6 is bad for black.
Jun-01-20  SChesshevsky: <Honza Cervenka: 34.c5 seems to be better...>

Yeah, does appear so. Probably focuses Black on those passed pawns much more than any King directed counter play.

My first inclination is maybe 34...Qb7 where I think white doesn't want to exchange queens but then has to come up with some move. Eventually queens come off and looks like one of the pawns will fall and maybe the other blockaded pretty good but Black will probably have to make some concession somewhere as the remaining outside passed pawn is always going to give white opportunities. But opportunities to win?

Maybe that's why Gulko went different? Maybe thought his rook plan was winning and just missed the mating threat? Maybe thought both pawns would eventually be dropped and figured 4 versus 2 endgame was lost?

One of those games where I really wish could know what both guys were thinking at move 34.

Jun-01-20  dhotts: <Honza...> 17. Qxd6 is a great moved followed by 17...Nc5 and then 18.f5!...Gulko missed a big chance.
Jun-01-20  SChesshevsky: < I am not sure why white avoided 17.Qxd6...>

You probably have to be a little suspicous when the world #1 leaves the pawn hanging to start. Then even after something simple like 17. Qxd6 Bxc3 18. Rxc3 Nc5 19. Qxd8 Rfxd8 blacks probably got enough compensation with some threats on pawns and white pieces kind of uncoordinated. If white wants to go all caveman with 19.f5 Qxd6 20.Bxd6 Nxe4 21.fxg6 Nxd6, I don't know what you end up with besides a mess that might be unclear.

Sep-17-21  tessathedog: This is a magnificent, genuine chess "struggle", typical of a "no holds barred" USSR Championship game. There are several highlights.

Firstly, there is Karpov's intriguing pawn sacrifice offer on move 16 mentioned by others. There's some compensation, but it seems to be very subtle, and perhaps not enough. Gulko probably should have called Karpov's bluff.

Next it is Gulko's turn to offer a positional sacrifice, and this one is clearly excellent (27 Rd6!). Acceptance of the exchange sacrifice would result in white having two sweeping bishops supporting two far advanced passed pawn. Echoes of Petrosian. Karpov wisely declined.

But Gulko's queenside pawns are strong, not targets as some have suggested. He's better. But he "misses the moment" when Karpov attacks his 'b" pawn with 33...Nc6. Gulko passively defends it with 34 Qc5?. A tactical defence was available in the form of 34 c5! and Karpov cannot take on b4 due to a discovered attack (Nd6). In the meantime, White has progressed his pawns and improved the scope of his bishop. My engine assesses this as +1.6.

Karpov then initiates a spectacular tactical defence, finding 35...Qb8! with threats against h2, which Gulko misses, likely in time trouble, allowing the strike 36...Rd2!

Still, it seems Gulko might counter tactically himself with his own desperado (38 Rxe6) only to be upended by the lovely counter 38...Nf3+! which nudges Gulko's queen away from Karpov's rook, winning the exchange.

High class tactical play from the World Champion. So resourceful. Gulko played well too. Just a great fight.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Karpov 1976
from Behind the Iron curtain by Open Defence
Karpov plays a great game
from Karpov at the 1976 Soviet Championship by positionalgenius
USSR Championship 1976
by suenteus po 147
Karpov Tournament Champion - I
by amadeus
estrategias 2 de suetin
Anatoly Karpov's Best Games
by Psihadal
Sicilian (Black)
by chazsmiley
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Szen Var (B44) 0-1
from Kar pov 12th World Chess Champion by fredthebear
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Szen Var (B44) 0-1
from Sicilian Taimanov / Paulsen Poked Fredthebear by fredthebear
Karpov plays a great game
from Karpov at the 1976 Soviet Championship by chessgain
Karpov Tournament Champion - I
by chessgain
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Szen Variation (B44) ยท 0-1
from Sicilian Taimanov / Paulsen Poked Fredthebear by Patca63
from Chess Informant 23 by Chessdreamer
Karpov Tournament Champion - I
by docjan
0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 9
by 0ZeR0
from Chess Informant 23 by Chessdreamer by Sergio X Garcia

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC