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Anatoly Karpov vs Vlastimil Hort
Budapest Tungsram (1973), Budapest HUN, rd 2, Feb-14
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: In final position black cannot stop intrusion of white Bishop or King. Pawn ending after 45...Be6 46.Bxe6 Kxe6 46.g4 Kd6 (46...h5 fails for 47.gxh6 e.p., but of course not 47.f5+?? gxf5 48.gxh5 f4 = or even 47.gxh5?? gxh5 ) 47.f5 is easily won. Pretty game of Karpov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Karpov takes an elegant route to a superior endgame with 25 Nfe6 and 26 Rxe5! The more Karpov games I see, the more impressed I am.
Oct-19-05  hayton3: A superlative example of Karpov's technique. Blacks initial structural weakness - the backward e pawn - is slowly converted into other, greater weaknesses that eventually lead to a winning endgame advantage. Great thumb-screw chess
Mar-29-06  micartouse: The last five moves in the bishop ending are harsh - White could very well make tempo moves with his pawns to achieve the same zugzwang goal, but he doesn't even need to. Why waste the resource?

Hort's resignation at this point was a dignified decision.

Sep-08-06  Runemaster: Yes very nice.

Black has to avoid the exchange of bishops after the knights have come off. If 38...Bf5 39.Bxf5 gxf5 40.Kd4 and the White king penetrates; he has the opposition and two tempo moves (a2-a3 and g2-g3) in reserve.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Btw, 13...Qxb2 is no good for black. After 14.Nb5 Be7 15.Rb1 Qxa2 16.Ra1 Qb2 17.Ra4 (see diagram) white threatens to kill the Queen by 18.Bc1.

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White can save it only by giving up a piece after 17...Ne4 18.Bc1 Nc3 19.Bxb2 Nxd1 20.Rxd1 etc.

Also 13...Qxb2 14.Nb5 Ne4 15.a3 leads to an advantage of white, for example 15...a6 16.Rb1 Qa2 17.Nxd6 Nxd6 18.Bc1 Nb5 19.Rb2 Qa1 20.a4 Nd6 21.Qb3 (see diagram) etc.

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Aug-04-08  alshatranji: I often read about the major weakness in the French being the Queen's bishop. But it was all theoretical until I saw this game. Brilliant. Karpov had a deeper insight than any other player I know of.
Jan-04-10  M.D. Wilson: <Brilliant. Karpov had a deeper insight than any other player I know of.> One of the best ever.
Apr-30-10  A Karpov Fan: Never have I seen a GM's position melt away like Hort's did here. Pure genius from Karpov.
Jul-07-10  igiene: What about the Queen manouver Qb6-Qd8-Qe8, supporting the advance of e-pawn?Black obtain an isolated pawn,like in 3..c5 lines, but without exchange too many pieces.
Nov-19-11  xombie: If you ask me, this is a simple endgame to convert, doesn't really deserve 'brilliant'. I think the errors occured much earlier when black was saddled with the sad d5 pawn and bad bishop. Takes winning, of course, and I am going to study it in some detail.
Dec-19-11  alshatranji: The endgame itself is simple enough. It is the getting there that is pure genius. I think it was Spielman who said, I can see all Alekhine's combinations, but the problem is getting to the same positions. Something to that effect. Black's problem was not simply the d5 pawn, but the weak white-square bishop, and the fact that almost all his pawns are on white squares. Karpov started the conversion to the ending as soon as move 21.Nf4. I don't think there are many grandmasters who can do that.
Dec-19-11  King Death: < alshatranji: The endgame itself is simple enough. It is the getting there that is pure genius...>

It takes the likes of Karpov's grasp of the board to convert this to the clearly favorable ending he reached in the strongest way. Even at 22, Karpov's play had some black magic to it.

<...I think it was Spielman who said, I can see all Alekhine's combinations, but the problem is getting to the same positions. Something to that effect...>

This quote was from Spielmann.

Dec-05-14  drunknite: the usually thorough Honza gives a superficial analysis of the final position. 46...Kc7 stops the B intrusion, and after the invasion: Kc5 then ...d4. Oh its still going to lose but it will take a long time, its not very difficult but black should play on hoping for mistake or time pressure.

The real issue is: doesnt black mess up on move 40?

Dec-06-14  Granny O Doul: I could get the same positions Alekhine got, but I don't know how to set up the chessboard.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: I think it's possible that White could also go after the kingside pawns after 45...Kc7 46.a3 Bg8 47.Ke5
Jul-16-16  zanzibar: Geller gives this game at White's move 38:

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in his "Bishops - Same Color" chapter of his <Positional Chess Handbook>, on p33.

If I were the punning-type, I'd use <Pas des Deux Fous> for this one.

Jan-21-17  clement41: Outstanding feat of mastery by young Karpov! Fischer, at the start of his 20-year-long vanishing stretch and still hugely popular that year, must have been impressed by this game. The bishop endgame (with the possibilities to transition into a pawn endgame of course) is played skillfully and this is highly instructive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: Position after 27...Rxe8

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This game is given in Shereshevsky's <Endgame Strategy> in Chap. 10 which is devoted to the Isolated QP in the ending. He remarks how difficult it is defend an IQP <if> there are other weaknesses in the position. Here, if Black's Q-side pawns were on a7 and b6 it is most likely defensible. But, as it is, the whole Q-side complex of dark squares are weak, especially c5.

What I find really remarkable is that Black finds himself forced into moves he does not want to make. White's immediate plan is to improve the position of his King to f2 where it holds out the Black Rook and invade with Rc7. Black's only answer to this is to exchange Rooks, further exposing his weak Q-side squares by making the invasion of White's King to c5 more possible.

Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: 32.b4! Consolidating his advantage.

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Unfortunately for Black he could not earlier advance his Q-side pawns to dark squares without weakening them even further. The Knight would attack them by Nc6.

Similarly, he would like now to place the K-side pawns on dark squares but the reply to either ...h6 or ...g5 would be 33.Nf5! with a crushing game. He finds himself obliged to put more pawns on white squares (same colour as his Bishop) due to the threat of g3-g4-g5. He's forced to make his own position worse.

Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: 33.g4! Both sides have centralized their Kings, for attack and defence.

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White's next strategem is to create a passed pawn on the K-side diverting Black from the Q-side where White will invade and win the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: 33...Nd7

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I don't like this move but cannot better it. Since he can't put his pawns on dark squares the next plan would be to blockade the white squares so putting the Knight on e7 suggests itself. It just does not work.

33...Ng8 34.g5 Kd6 35.f4 Ne7 36.Kf3

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Or if 35...Bg4 36.f5! gxf5 37.Kf4

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Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: 36...Ne6?!

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Surely this amounts to complete capitulation. Black goes into a horrible Bishop ending voluntarily by exchanging off his best piece.

Where do Black's pieces need to be to put up the most stubborn resistance? I envision Kd6 covering c5 and e5, Bf7 defending g6 and blockading the passed f-pawn and Nc4 covering e5 and threatening to maraud the White pawns or fork the White Bishop and King given a chance.

Therefore I have to change my mind about 33...Nd7! That is a good move to go ...Nb6-c4. Hort's poor move was ...Nf8.

The remainder of the game Karpov finishes with elegance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  manselton: Variation 34...Nb6! 35.Nc6+! Kd6 36.Ne5 Be6 37.Kd4 Nc4 and at least Black is making a fight of it.

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Mar-28-19  RookFile: You are quite right that black should not trade off the knights. The knight is the only piece black has that allows him to confuse the issue.
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