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Anatoly Karpov vs Svetozar Gligoric
"Svetting Bullets" (game of the day Apr-04-2011)
Leningrad Interzonal (1973), Leningrad URS, rd 13, Jun-21
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Breyer Defense (C95)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-08-08  JuliusCaesar: A typical Karpovian squeeze. Karpov is happy to exchange bishop for knight on g7, knowing full well that Black's dark-square bishop is worse than useless in the ensuing position. I rather suspect that games like this one made an impression on Fischer.
Apr-19-08  M.D. Wilson: I agree.
Jun-23-08  M.D. Wilson: Impressive game by the young Karpov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: "Breaking a Svet"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: There's a puzzling moment in here, after <37...bxc4>:

click for larger view

Of course White can play 38.Bxc4, but he refrains with <38.Be2>. Looks odd to Ol' Patzer Eye here, but maybe there's some counterplay involved.

So Black replies <38...Ra8>, and now White plays <39.Bxc4>. The resulting play doesn't look like Karpov gained anything by luring the rook to a8.

Unless there's something incredibly Karpovian in the whole concept, all I can figure is that this is a clock maneuver close to the time control at move 40. First Karpov surprises Gligoric by not taking the pawn, then hits him again by taking it on the next move. Saves White a little time on the clock, and might cost Black a few seconds.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I saw the same conundrum as <Phony Benoni>. I think that Karpov initially rejected 38.Bxc4 because of 38...Rc8; 39.Rb4 (Nd2!?,Bd8!?) ,Bd8 and the dark square Bishop comes to life after ...Ba5. Could well prove worth a pawn. So why did he take a move later? My only guess is that Karpov saw something he had missed earlier. I don't know what that might have been because I'm just an Ol' Patzer Eye myself.
Apr-04-11  AGOJ: If I am not mistaken Karpov annotated this game in one of his books (I lost my copy, so I can't check). maybe the answer to Phony's question is there.
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  Chessical: Karpov's notes as given in "Karpov's Collected Games" by David Levy states: "<38. Bxc4> is not good because of 38...Bd7 and on 39. g5 Black answers 39...Bg4! 40.gxf6 Bxf3 41. Bd3 g5!" These notes must have been written prior to 1974 when the book was completed.
Apr-04-11  DWINS: <Phony Benoni and An Englishman>, I'm not a master or anything, last rating was 2 to the negative 7, but I have Houdini 1.5a running on a rocking computer. Houdini liked 38. Bxc4 until it got to depth 24 and then switched over to 38. Be2. Here are the final results:

0.27 (depth 30) 38. Be2 Kf8 39. Kg2 Rc8 40. Kg3 Ra8 41. Bxc4 Bd8 42. Bb3 Ra6 43. Nd2 Ba5 44.Bc4

0.27 (depth 30) 38. Bf1 Kf8 39. Kg2 Be7 40. Kg3 Ra8 41. Bxc4 Bd8 42. Bb3 Ra6 43. Nd2 Ba5 44. Bc4

0.05 (depth 30) 38. Bxc4 Bd7 39. g5 Bg4 40. gxf6 Bxf3 41. Bd3 Ra8 42. c4 g5 43. hxg5 hxg5 44. c5

-0.13 (depth 30) 38. Bc2 Bd7 39. g5 Bg4 40. Kg2 Bxf3+ 41. Kxf3 hxg5 42. hxg5 Bxg5 43. Rb4 Bc1 44. Rxc4

It appears that 38...Bd7 is the key. 38. Bxc4 and 38. Bc2 both allow 38...Bd7 and the g4 pawn cannot be protected and must advance to g5. Then Black plays 39...Bg4 threatening to take the knight and then win the g5 pawn which virtually forces White to play 40. gxf6. The resulting positions seem to be virtually even according to Houdini.

Note that in the game continuation and in Houdini's top two lines, White doesn't take on c4 until Black moves his rook making Bd7 impossible.

I'm not sure if this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but I think we're a little further along in our understanding of this position. Thank you both for pointing out this position as I had a great time studying it.

Apr-04-11  DWINS: Oops, I see that <Chessical> beat me to it. It's nice to see that Houdini is strong enough to come up with the same analysis as one of the all-time great chess champions. It just goes to show that having a strong chess engine is an invaluable study tool.
Apr-04-11  scormus: Masterful and mature play by Karpov. The analysis by <DWINS and others> gives a example of just how much he was on top of things in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Chessical / DWINS> Thanks! That explains it nicely.
Apr-04-11  Artemi: this game reminds me of the first game of the Fischer-Spassky rematch in 92'...the best game of the match as if time have not passed away....but after that Bobby somewhat collapse!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: How about this line!!:

63...♖xd7 64 ♘xf6+ ♔f7 65 ♘xd7 ♔e6 66 ♘xe5!! ♔xd6 67 ♘f7+ wins yet another piece with the nimble steed.

Apr-04-11  Lil Swine: wonderful game by Karpov.
Apr-04-11  tommy boy: Is the pun taken from Megadeth's track "Sweating bullets" ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I wouldn't be surprised, but the expression far predates the track. Literally it means sweating profusely, but the idiomatic implication is of a person being nervous or apprehensive.

Considering what happened to Gligoric in this game, it seems appropriate.

Apr-04-11  WhiteRook48: if 52 Nh7, can white still win?
Apr-04-11  Oceanlake: How about 14 ...Bf6 followed by g6?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Well done, <Chessical> and <DWINS>! It's astonishing that such a quiet move as 38.Be2 should so undermine Black's position. It's almost a computer move.
May-29-12  birthtimes: Karpov prevents Black's f5 with 15.Bh6! and c4 with 18.b3! The Master at work!
May-29-12  Everett: <DWINS: <Phony Benoni and An Englishman>, I'm not a master or anything, last rating was 2 to the negative 7, but I have Houdini 1.5a running on a rocking computer. Houdini liked 38. Bxc4 until it got to depth 24 and then switched over to 38. Be2. Here are the final results:>

Just creepy seeing how good Karpov was.

Aug-29-15  SpiritedReposte: Karpov 101
Jul-26-16  Howard: The latest issue of New in Chess analyzes a couple positions from this game, very extensively.
Sep-08-17  Toribio3: Masterpiece!
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