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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi
"French Cooking" (game of the day May-01-2015)
Training Match (1971), Leningrad URS, rd 6
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Main Line (C09)  ·  1-0



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Given 81 times; par: 45 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-11-09  mcgee: >>The sheer amount of calculation needed after 23. RxB amazes me.<<

More remarkable that Karpov surely had to foresee the belter 20 Rd2 and then the subsequent second exchange sacrifice (or at the very least have the idea in mind) as soon as he let rip with 16Bxg7+. This and Karpov's win against Huebner at Tilburg in 1982 suggest to me that he has both uncanny and overlooked tactical abilities and that his positional style is at least partly a matter of pragmatic choice

Jan-11-09  vanytchouck: What is also funny about this game is that at this time (1971), Korchno├» and Karpov were friends !
Jan-11-09  WhiteRook48: Typical Korchnoi... stubborn to the very end!
May-14-09  WhiteRook48: OUCH!
Jan-04-10  returnoftheking: Strange that Karpov did not include this game into his "best games" books - not in the ones I have at least. Maybe it had to do with the game being played in a (secret) training match?
Nov-27-11  serenpidity.ejd: brilliant game by karpov ala kasparov!
May-01-15  waustad: This is what happens when the game is the important part part, not the pun. Wow.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The two players learned a lot from this training match. For the next dozen years they dominated world chess.
May-01-15  dfcx: The two black rooks sat watching the whole time till the end. Very interesting game.
May-01-15  FairyPromotion: What a gem! "Double exchange sacrifices" may not sound so cool, but pulling them off usually means a brilliancy. They mostly revolve around passed pawn combinations and obtaining the bishop pair, but here Karpov strips the black king from it's defenders in order to initiate a mating attack. Funny that 9 out of blacks final 11 moves are king moves, while the rooks remain as spectators throughout the game.
May-01-15  morfishine: Quite an interesting game though as mentioned, its hard to see how White makes progress after <27...Qxe4>

This one appears to not only have been cooked, but baked, sauteed, fried, boiled, steamed, roasted and grilled.

Well done!


May-01-15  Travis Bickle: Nice game back in 1971, but Bobby Fischer didn't play The French Defense. ; P
May-01-15  Petrosianic: Good point, Trav. And Pete Rose didn't play chess at all, so it's doubly so (here, let me just tighten the straps on that straitjacket for you). Good job identifying the year that the game was played, though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The king is hunted...and caught.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I wrote to <VK> and asked him what he thought the best western version of his name was.

He said the best Best Western he had ever seen was at Gravenstraat 12 - 16 Amsterdam.

Probably a misunderstanding.

May-01-15  thegoodanarchist: 16. Bxg7+! is a great zwischenzug, which I expect took Korchnoi by surprise.

I've said it before, one of the main things that separates super GMs from the rest of the world's titled players is their use of zwischenzugs.

Jun-05-15  Candy Man: Beautiful play by Tolya.
Jan-06-16  Joker2048: I so much enjoy when I'm looking at karpov playing .. Genius.
Jan-06-16  cunctatorg: Well, it is indeed a beautiful game by Karpov but I sense that -back then- Korchnoi was checking Karpov's determination, courage and self-control...; he might also check his own self-control under hard conditions...

Regarding the friendship-hostility stuff, they weren't friends, once they were in good terms, then they became enemies and eventually they came to openly respect one - each other in the midst of a funny situation where both are hardly trying to balance admiration and envy!... However both were able to participate (together with Spassky) at a chess-proper celebration of Wolfgang Unzicker's 80th birthday; things are more complicated than just funny and intriguing, me thinks...

Nov-27-17  Kishorebodhe: Didn't Korchnoi see the inevitable checkmate coming? Brilliant game by Karpov.
Jul-17-20  gnosophil: terrible game from korchoi. he did not castle, instead of developing his pieces including the rooks he ruined the pawn structure in front of his king. any strong player would be happy to sac his pieces to bring the black king to the open and hope for a check mate in future.
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Korchnoi repeated the opening experiment against Short 16 years later and managed to win with 10..Bd7

Short vs Korchnoi, 1987

In the game, Korchnoi could hardly lose with 17..Qe3+ but as it was a training match he played to win with 17..Bf5.

22..Qd4? (22..Qb6! gives the King more vital air) was a big mistake allowing a winning combination from this position:

click for larger view

23 Rxf5! Kxf5 24 Bd3+ Kf4 and now 25 Qe2! is a killer:

a) 25..Qe3 26 g3+ Qxg3 27 Nf1 Qh3 28 Qe7! Raf8 29 Qd6+

b) 25..Qg1+ 26 Nf1 Rae8 27 g3+ Qxg3 28 Qd2+

Not easy to spot - hence this would make a good puzzle. Karpov missed it and played 25 Qd6+

Only Korchnoi's suicidal 27..Kxh4? lost the game.

Feb-06-21  Gaito: Although this game was supposed to be a friendly training game, the computer readily discloses the fact that there were quite a number of blunders by both sides. The first critical position is shown in the follwing diagram:

click for larger view

Korchnoi played 22...Qd4?? which looks natural, but according to Stockfish 12 that was a terrible mistake, and 22...Qb6 should have been played, with equalilty. For example: 22...Qb6 23.Rxf5 Kxf5 24.Bd3+ Kf4 25.Qe2 Rhg8, and in spite of the apparently exposed placement of Black's king, White is unable to force any mating attack, and the computer evaluation is 0.00.

Feb-06-21  Gaito: Another critical moment of the game is depicted in the following diagram:

click for larger view

Karpov played the seemingly natural move 25.Qd6+??, but the computer believes that it was a blunder, throwing away all the acquired advantage. According to the engine, correct was 25.Qe2! with a very high evaluation in White's favor (+4.51). For instance: 25...Qe3 26.g3+! Qxg3 27.Nf1 Qh3 28.Qe7! Qxh4 29.Qe3+ Kg4 30.Qe6+ Kf3 (30...Kf4 31.Qf5 mate) 31.Nd2+ Kf4 32.Qd6+ Kg4 33.Qb4+ Kg3 34. Nf1+ (Diagram below):

click for larger view

White has a forced checkmate in 7 more moves, according to Stockfish12.

Feb-06-21  Gaito: The last critical moment of the game is shown in the following diagram:

click for larger view

Korchnoi answered the check with 29...Kxh4??, which turned out to be the final blunder. The saving clause was 29...Kf4!, according to the computer engines. A sample variation: 29...Kf4! 30.g3+ Kf5 31.Bd3 Kg4 32.Be2+ Kf5, and White has nothing better than perpetual check.

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