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Jan Smejkal vs Anatoly Karpov
"Battling Bishops" (game of the day Dec-04-2013)
Leningrad Interzonal (1973), Leningrad URS, rd 16, Jun-25
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen Variation (B46)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-21-08  mikecy: A masterpiece example about Karpov game, especially after Be7 and Qf6 capturing defence and prospect attack positions at the same time and the magnificen move of Qf8 game was directed for the final result.
Sep-07-08  Woody Wood Pusher: This is one of the most impressive endgames I have ever seen. I cannot even begin to imagine playing against Karpov, what a beast!
Sep-07-08  drukenknight: Can 57 Qd2+ save this?
Sep-07-08  Woody Wood Pusher: <Can 57 Qd2+ save this?> I haven't carried out an exhaustive analysis of course, but my guess is....NO


Dec-15-08  blacksburg: <Gypsy - I have noted that traditional Anglo/American endgame theory relies too havily on oposition and strethes it far beyond its useful range.>

i agree, and i think it's because the simple opposition is such an easy idea to teach, even though it's just a really simple example of corresponding squares. ever since i read "my system", i've agreed with nimzo that the term "opposition" is useless and that ideas like the "reserve blockading square" are much more practical.

Jul-29-10  birthtimes: If the bishop was on d5 instead of b7, White would have 50.Qxf2 Bxf2 51.Kf5 g4 52.Bc4 which prevents Black from queening his shortside pawns...
Dec-04-13  morfishine: Clerical error


Dec-04-13  independentthinker: Can someone explain how the game would continue if white takes the bishop and black queens with white's pawn stuck on the 7th rank? I can't find the win. Just lots of checks.
Dec-04-13  independentthinker: Oh I think I see it - wait until the white king moves to the 8th rank infront of the pawn and then start marching the king.
Dec-04-13  Karpova: <independentthinker>

In principle, you prevent queening by bringing your ♕ close to the pawn. White will have to protect him with his king and with check you force him on the first rank in front of the pawn, then you have one move to bring your king closer, until both ♕ and ♔ attack together, e. g. after 1...Qf6+

click for larger view

2.Ke8 Kg4 3.Kd7 Qf7 (to pin the pawn) 4.Kd8 (to prevent Qe8) 4...Qd5+ 5.Kc7 Qe6 6.Kd8 Qd6+ 7.Ke8 and Black again has time to bring the ♔ closer.

Just an illustration of the general mechanism which is based on reaching this position:

click for larger view

Dec-04-13  fishcat: 46. Bb7 makes it look like White thinks he's winning.. surely not? He'd have to neutralize Black's 2:1 kingside pawn majority AND support the pawn pushing to a7 somehow to have a chance... so why not just repeat positions?
Dec-04-13  Ratt Boy: The position at Move 72, with Black to move, would be a pleasant Tuesday puzzle.
Dec-04-13  Karpova: <fishcat: so why not just repeat positions?>

Smejkal probably tried to win due to the tournament situation - The first 3 players qualified for the Candidates matches. This was the penultimate game and Smejkal was behind Byrne so he needed a win to have a chance to overtake him. A draw would not have sufficed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: black queens first and with CHECK. Then the queen can defeat the long pawn. It looks like white fumbled this one earlier.
Dec-04-13  JohnBoy: Excellent GoTD choice.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: This is one of the best games I've ever seen. Phenomenal play by AK.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Is the theory behind 9. Na4 that 9...b5 is met with Nb6, where black can't take the knight without allowing 11. Nxe6 with discovered attack on the black queen, followed by 12. Nxg7+?
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: How to win in a difficult situation? It seemes to me that Karpov in this game was a inheritor of Laker's way of playing even more than of Capablanca's...
Jul-11-18  SpiritedReposte: Such a pure endgame finish.
Aug-02-18  tonsillolith: If <48. Kxg5>, then <48...Qxg3+ 49. Kxh5 Bf2!>, and the simultaneous mate threats Qh4 and Qg6 can't both be parried.
Aug-03-18  Granny O Doul: A Russian newspaper column annotating this game at the time titled it "the Knight's Move"; that referring to 43...Bd4. I didn't get then nor yet how it resembles a "knight's move".


Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Hi Granny, do you have the Russian original? "Knight" as a chess piece in Russian is конь (horse), but knight in the feudal sense can be кавалер, so maybe it means a real gentlemanly, noble, refined move (presumably because he didn't jump all the way back with Ba7???)
Aug-04-18  Granny O Doul: CHC, no, I just saw the story recounted in Wade/O'Connell's early collection of Karpov's more or less complete games. I'll check if the book ever turns up.
Oct-05-20  fisayo123: I'm pretty familiar with this Bb4 line. The opening was played with a more modern touch, like something from the 2000's and not the 1970's.
Mar-01-22  Nosnibor: Rerouting the Queen by 30.Qe2 looks stronger with the idea of playing Qf3 and Qf7 should Black relinquish control of the f file. This could then be followed with Bc4
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