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Anatoly Karpov vs Boris Spassky
Karpov - Spassky Candidates Semifinal (1974), Leningrad URS, rd 5, Apr-22
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bernstein Defense (E59)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: One of the few times after Game 1 that Spassky got a clear advantage in this match. After 29...Bc6?, Karpov's 30 Qd6! simultaneously threatened the bishop and 31 Be5. Spassky bailed into a pawn-up ending with 30...Qd4+, but Karpov's 32 a5! and 33 Be5! gained White a draw.

In OMGP V, Kasparov writes that Black "would have obtained a great and apparently decisive advantage by 29...h5!" (Shades of Game 4 in Spassky-Fischer.) 30 h3? loses to 30...Nxe4, and 30 Qd6 is met with 30...hg 31 Be5 Qe1+ 32 Bf1 Qe3+ 33 Kh1 Qxf3+ 34 Bg2 Qf2 35 Qxf6+ Qxf6 36 Bxf6+ Kxf6 37 e5+ Kxe5 38 Bxb7 c4 (Tal). Kasparov also gives a long line beginning 30 Be1 Qb2 to show that Black also wins there. I am not convinced, but I need to look at this with Fritz to say more.

I wonder -- did Spassky just flat-out miss 30 Qd6 as Kasparov suggests, or did he not think his position was so great in the first place? I suspect he saw 30 Qd6 but thought reaching an ending with an extra pawn (but with his opponent holding the bishop pair) was the best he could do. He also may have underestimated 32 a5.

Anyway, a very interesting game, and I recommend Kasparov's analysis of it in OMGP V -- he gives a great overview of the opening <tabiya> stretching all the way back to Bronstein vs Euwe, 1953 and all the way forward to I Sokolov vs Kasparov, 1999.

Dec-31-12  Timmanesque: Timman analysed this game in 1974 (he was present at the match), adding that after move 28 both players had about 2 minutes per move left to reach move 40. Spassky used up 8 minutes for 29...Bc6. Timman, too, gave 29...h5 as a better attempt.
Feb-24-18  edubueno: Spassky y la nimzoindia. Van por caminos opuestos. Finalmente las negras se salvan por poco, podían haber perdido el final.
Jan-13-19  woldsmandriffield: Spassky had a habit of getting promising positions on the Black side of this opening in candidates matches but only drawing - see his encounters with Lajos Portisch in 1977 and 1980 (Portisch stuck with the White side throughout his career).
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