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Viktor Korchnoi vs Anatoly Karpov
USSR Championship (1973), Moscow URS, rd 6, Oct-08
King's Indian Attack: Spassky Variation (A05)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-17-03  Spitecheck: Does anyone know why Karpov played ..b5 here? I think I've seen Spasski play simil.. but it's like Karpov accidentally moved his b-pawn the extra square, being the Queen's Indian fan he is or was back then. The motive of the move seems to be one of not only fianchettoing the bishop but also exchanging black's wing pawn for white's "central" c-pawn.

Spitecheck

Dec-18-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Chessgames.com, the score to this game appears to be incorrect. Both "Korchnoi's Chess Games" and "The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov" give the sealed move 41.h4 as the last move of the game. Korchnoi resigned without resuming.
Dec-18-03  Spitecheck: 41. h4 is also the last move in Larsen's pre-appendix of his book on the 1978 match.

Spitecheck

Dec-18-03  solstys: why does korchnoi resign? chessmaster gives the position as equal. any ideas?
Dec-19-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: My information concurs with Eggman and Spitecheck. Korchnoi sealed 41.h4 but later resigned without further play. In the position at move 41 Black could play 41...♗e3; 42.♕g2 (42.fxe3 ♕xg3+; 43.♔h1 ♕xh4+; 44.♔g1 ♕g3+; 45.♔h1 ♘xe3) and 42...♕d1+ and 42...♗xf2+ are good follow-ups.
Aug-06-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Spitecheck> Korchnoi is a regular contributor to ECO and the young Karpov may have been trying to get his opponent out of the book. It is actually quite a good move. It is an extended fianchetto that also prevents pc4. Spassky may have played it in a simul but he also played it in a WC match - against Petrosian in 1966.
Mar-06-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I remember reading Karpov's annotations of this game long ago -- he wrote something like "after 2...b5, Korchnoi gave me an angry look, and it became clear I could not avoid a real battle. Nevertheless I think it is a sound move."

Positionally the game is very interesting -- Karpov sacrifices a pawn but leaves his opponent with very bad pieces. After move 24 white's bishop never stirs from a1!

Mar-06-06  Jim Bartle: Just to look at, not for pure chess reasons, I like the position after 37...Qc4, with pieces filling the a2-g8 diagonal.
Nov-17-09  Praxis: 41. ...Ne3, wins.
Feb-25-10  Marmot PFL: <Spitecheck> Karpov was to play in the Candidates so he tried <to play well without putting all my cards on the table in the opening. Korchnoi had surprised me with opening novelties in some of our games and I decided to do the same this time>.
Feb-25-10  goldenbear: <Praxis> I agree. <Benzol> says Be3, and he is always right it seems, but I don't see how that wins. Ne3, however, should win: if Qh3, then Qd1+.
Feb-26-10  maelith: Impressive game here by Karpov.
Feb-26-10  raychandler: This was actually the second time Karpov played 2. ... b5 after 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3

The first time was against Anthony Saidy in San Antonio in 1972. He won a fine positional masterpiece. He seemed to handle this pseudo-Queen's Indian set up well.

Mar-07-10  SPINK: GOTD this one
May-15-10  Eric Farley: 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 is actually the Polish Defense Deferred. The "pure" Polish Defense is 1. d4 b5. Spassky played the "pure" against Petrosian in 1966 and could've drawn the game but as he desperately needed a win he pushed the envelope and lost.
Dec-09-10  Everett: Feb-25-10<    goldenbear: <Praxis> I agree. <Benzol> says Be3, and he is always right it seems, but I don't see how that wins. Ne3, however, should win: if Qh3, then Qd1+.> After 41..Ne3 42.Qh3 Qd1+ 43.Kh2 and how does black continue? He has two pieces hanging. Of course white's qside pieces are terrible.

At least <Benzol> shows some lines. Still, after 41..Be3, even if white does not take the bishop, he's got serious problems with his qside pieces.

Dec-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <After 41..Ne3 42.Qh3 Qd1+ 43.Kh2 and how does black continue? He has two pieces hanging.> One line is 43...Qe2 44.hxg5 Qxf2+ 45.Kh1 Qe1+ 46.Kh2 Qe2+ 47.Kh1 Qd1+ 48.Kh2 Qxb3 49.gxh6 Qa2+ .
Dec-09-10  kingfu: Korchnoi is an expert in the English with c4. b5 prevents this line.

What is the final consensus?

Did Korchnoi resign a game where he might have drawn?

Dec-09-10  Everett: <Kingfu> Seems both minor piece moves to e3 for black win. Thanks <Sastre> and <Benzol> for the lines.

This is remarkable play by Karpov, yet subtle restriction of his opponents' pieces (Nb3 and Ba1) is very typical of his style. I hope to find the time to analyze the game properly to see where white went wrong. Any particular candidate moves?

Dec-09-10  goldenbear: <Everett> Do they? Looking at it today, I am not so sure. 41.Ne3 allows the unexpected 42.Nd2!, and I can't see anything particularly decisive for Black, although after Qa8 certainly Black is better. Probably <Benzol> had it right in the first place, as I suspected.
Dec-09-10  goldenbear: <Everett> Also, in Sastre's line I had intended 44.hxg5! for Black, winning the queen (on account of the threat of g4!), instead of Qxf2+. You work it out...
Mar-07-13  Poisonpawns: 42..Bf4! and frustration caused Korchnoi to resign. 40.Qf1? is blunder,40.Qb2=
Sep-28-14  Everett: <Poisonpawns: 42..Bf4! and frustration caused Korchnoi to resign. 40.Qf1? is blunder,40.Qb2=>

Between the time control/trouble and the many traps in this position, Korchnoi can hardly be blamed for not finding the toughest defense. I'm curious what the comps say to <40.Qb2 Qd1+ 41.Kg2 h5!?> this looks like trouble for White, and things start getting weird after <42.Nc5 h4 43.Ne4 Bf4!?> with lots of interesting lines and dastardly traps.

Sep-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <keypusher: I remember reading Karpov's annotations of this game long ago -- he wrote something like "after 2...b5, Korchnoi gave me an angry look, and it became clear I could not avoid a real battle. Nevertheless I think it is a sound move.>

Did Korchnoi ever play a game with anyone where he <didn't> give his opponent and "angry look"?

Sep-29-14  RookFile: Not sure what Korchnoi had to be angry about. Spassky played like this against Petrosian in the World Championship, so it's not like b5 is a joke move. It's possible that Korchnoi hoped to play some sort of delayed English setup involving c4 from white. That's gone now that black played ...b5.
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