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Anatoly Karpov vs Lev Polugaevsky
Karpov - Polugaevsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1974), Moscow URS, rd 6, Jan-30
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Modern Line (B92)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-06-05  sitzkrieg: @ Euripides/ I read it but the fact remains that u were intentionally incomplete in ur post at this page..
Aug-06-05  euripides: <sitz> I simply continued the discussion on the appropriate page.
Aug-06-05  sitzkrieg: Yup and werent complete in ur post at first. When u want to prove a point it is strange to with hold information in ur argumentation..
Aug-06-05  euripides: <sitz> I'm not responding further to this silly attack. Readers who want to know what I think about the 15th Spassky-Fischer game are referred to the game page.
Aug-06-05  sitzkrieg: U were not responding for i never asked u anything i just noted some facts and gave my opinion on them. If u call that an attack i laugh..
Nov-24-05  AdrianP: Re this game and the suggestion of 27 Rxf6!? with a strong attack - Kotov, "Play Like A Grandmaster" reports -

"The GMs in the press centre were having a lively discussion about the possibility of an exchange sacrifice on f6 ... and decided that White would have a dangerous attack. 'Sacrifice? Why?' was Karpov's reaction when he came into the press centre straight after the game. 'There is a regrouping available that underlines straight away the hopelessness of Black's position.' Then he indicated the plan which leaves Black with no hope - Bf4 to make room for the Q, which reaches g3 via f2, then Nf5 and doubling Rs on the f-file. Black simply cannot withstand this massive pressure." (Kotov, TLGM p. 70f).

If correctly reported, it's an interesting insight into Karpov's thinking - one can be sure that e.g. Kasparov would immediately be looking at Rxf6!? and calculating long variations, whereas Karpov lets the position on the board speak for itself, sensing (a) a critical weakness; and (b) that he can swiftly bring huge pressure to bear on the weakness and, thereafter, intuiting that this will be sufficient to turn up a win.

Nov-24-05  AdrianP: Playing through the game continuation, one can hardly disagree with Karpov - it's almost eerie the way in which all Karpov's pieces slot into position, most of them moving with gain of tempo.
Nov-24-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <AdrianP> Thanks for the account from Kotov, I had not seen that before. It was about this time Karpov was quoted as saying "Sacrifice if it is good. But bridges I do not burn."
Sep-01-06  kavalerov: Here's what Karpov had to say in his "Best Games" collection (1996) about 27. Rxf6:

"Later I discovered that in the press centre Furman was at this very moment proving that an exchange sacrifice leads to victory for White: 27 ♖xf6! gxf6 28 ♗h6 (threatening 29 ♕e3) 28 ... ♕c2 (or 28 ... ♘d3 29 ♗xf8) 29 ♖c1 ♕d3 30 ♕c5!. But when I played 27. ♗f4 my trainer contentedly commented, 'and that is good as well'. In fact, the threat of e4-e5 contains Black's activity, while the b4-knight finds itself out the game."

Sep-01-06  kavalerov: PS When I wrote that I hadn't seen <Lawrence>'s comment. But since it's not totally irrelevant to quote exactly what Karpov said, I'll leave it up.
Sep-07-08  Woody Wood Pusher: black must drop the knight to defend against mate with 40.Qe5, powerful finish.
Dec-21-08  M.D. Wilson: 34. Bc1! keeps the pressure up. Karpov really dominated Polugaevsky, a master of the Sicilian, especially in these sorts of positions. 9-0, with a host of draws, is a really damning stat, given Polu's strength and high regard among the chess elite in the USSR. Karpov really took chess to a new, higher level.
Dec-21-08  ughaibu: Sure, but only four of his wins were against Polugaevsky's Sicilian.
Dec-21-08  M.D. Wilson: Well, all the better for Karpov.
Jan-11-10  Ulhumbrus: After 26...Qc6 White would like to get his Queen back into the game. One way is to use the diagonal g1-a7. However the diagonal g1-a7 is obstructed by White's QB on f4. This suggests moving the bishop on f4 so as to clear the diagonal. The move 27 Bf4 clears the diagonal g1-a7 whereupon White's Queen can use the diagonal to get into play by means of the manoeuvre Qa7-f2-g3.
Jul-29-10  birthtimes: Karpov: "I understand analysis as a process of finding that essential truth, which, given a chance to develop, will create wholeness" (from page 85 in "Karpov on Karpov" 1990).

Be guided by "principles which are intrinsic to the game. These are the internal laws by which the game lives" (ibid., p. 86).

Jul-08-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I wish <chessgames.com> would give pages to these old Candidates' Matches as it has done to the World Championship matches.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <offramp: I wish <chessgames.com> would give pages to these old Candidates' Matches as it has done to the World Championship matches>.

...And they have! Thanks!

May-17-20  Ulhumbrus: If we assume that White's b2 pawn is less valuable than White's c2 pawn and that therefore the capture 18...Qxb2 is less justified than the capture 17...Qxc2 is justified this suggests 18....Qc5 eg 19 Qxb7 Rfb8
May-17-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Ulhumbrus>
I don't see the justification here for the premise: at move 18, both the b and c pawn are on the second rank and not playing a big role yet.

I don't see how the premise leads to the conclusion. Suppose it's true that the b-pawn is less valuable, it doesn't mean it's completely valueless. And even if it is, one still has to decide which is a better spot for the queen, b2 versus c5. Moreover, even 18...Qc7 looks playable.

And finally, the position around move 18 looks like a tactically sharp one, where pawn structure is less important than piece activity.

I think 18...Qxb2 was fine and Black went wrong only later on.

May-18-20  Ulhumbrus: <beatgiant: <Ulhumbrus> I don't see the justification here for the premise: at move 18, both the b and c pawn are on the second rank and not playing a big role yet.

I don't see how the premise leads to the conclusion. Suppose it's true that the b-pawn is less valuable, it doesn't mean it's completely valueless. And even if it is, one still has to decide which is a better spot for the queen, b2 versus c5. Moreover, even 18...Qc7 looks playable.

And finally, the position around move 18 looks like a tactically sharp one, where pawn structure is less important than piece activity.

I think 18...Qxb2 was fine and Black went wrong only later on.>

A subcentral pawn such as White's c pawn can advance so as to control central points.

In Lasker's manual of chess he does not give all of the pawns a value of 1 but gives the central pawns a greater value than the subcentral pawns and gives the flank pawns the least value of all. Of course in the endgame the flank pawns will become more valuable.

The second capture 18....Qxb2 adds time lost to that of the first capture ...Qxc2

I have not said that the greater value of the c pawn is a premise from which one may deduce the conclusion but only that the conditional supposition suggests the alternative move.

The suggestion can be taken as possibly true but not necessarily the final answer.

May-18-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Ulhumbrus>
The relative values of central versus wing pawns change over the course of a game. For example, in a pure pawn ending, wing pawns are often more valuable than central ones because they can draw the opponent's king offside.

So, we cannot blindly assert that "a c-pawn is more valuable than than a b-pawn in general." We have to evaluate what role those pawns can play in the given position. That part is missing from your argument.

Second, how do you conclude that moving the queen to b2 is a loss of time compared to moving it to c5? That would have to be based on an idea of which square is closer to the queen's ideal position. On b2 the queen has scope to do useful work, as shown in the next few moves of the actual game where it supports the knight jump to d3. What can it do from c5, other than offer a queen trade?

So your Qc5 is only a suggestion, but still I don't see how an idea of the lower value of the b-pawn would suggest c5 rather than b2 for Black's queen move. What if there had been no pawn at b2 in the position before move 18? On what basis then would you choose c5 over b2 for your queen move?

May-18-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: 26..Qc6 was an error by Polugayevsky and 27 Bf4 a pragmatic choice by Karpov but not the #1 move. But these are somewhat harsh criticisms in the tension of a candidate's match!

26..Qc6 is bad because Black needs the c6 square for the Knight. Karpov's 27 Bf4 is, therefore, best met by 27..Qc2 going back and vacating the square so as to meet 28 e5 with 28..Nc6 29 Qe3 Rb2 and coiunter-attack.

Furman, from the comfort of the press room, was absolutely right: 27 Rxf6! is a killer: 27..gxf6 28 Bh6 Qc2 (he must get the Q to b2) 29 Rc1 Qe2 (the the Q can't guard both b2 and e3: note 29..Qd3 as given by Furman is crushed by 30 Qd7) 30 Qd4 Nd3 31 Qxf6 Qb2 32 Qg5+ Kh8 33 Qg3 and Black is busted since 33..Nxc1 is refuted by 34 e5.

To be fair to Karpov, the top GMs consistently don't play Engine lines. But the notion that he calculated the sacrifice and didn't see the need for it doesn't ring true - he can't have calculated all the variations and whatever the strategic sense of 27 Bf4 it is not an immediate KO blow.

May-18-20  Ulhumbrus: <beatgiant: <Ulhumbrus> The relative values of central versus wing pawns change over the course of a game. For example, in a pure pawn ending, wing pawns are often more valuable than central ones because they can draw the opponent's king offside.>

I did say that the wing pawns would become more valuable in an ending

<So, we cannot blindly assert that "a c-pawn is more valuable than than a b-pawn in general." We have to evaluate what role those pawns can play in the given position. That part is missing from your argument.>

I did not blindly assert that a c pawn was more valuable than a b pawn. I stated what was suggested only if one assumed that it was more valuable.

<Second, how do you conclude that moving the queen to b2 is a loss of time compared to moving it to c5? >

I did not conclude it. I said that it meant an additional loss of time because it was a second move spent after the first move spent

< That would have to be based on an idea of which square is closer to the queen's ideal position. On b2 the queen has scope to do useful work, as shown in the next few moves of the actual game where it supports the knight jump to d3. What can it do from c5, other than offer a queen trade?>

The queen is closer to the centre on c5 while on b2 she has crossed the frontier and may become a target

<So your Qc5 is only a suggestion, but still I don't see how an idea of the lower value of the b-pawn would suggest c5 rather than b2 for Black's queen move. What if there had been no pawn at b2 in the position before move 18? On what basis then would you choose c5 over b2 for your queen move?>

If the value of the b pawn is lesser than the value of the c pawn it means that in return for the concessions of spending time and displacing the queen Black gets less in return for his concessions by taking the b pawn than he gets in return for his concessions by taking the c pawn.

May-18-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Ulhumbrus>
We must agree to disagree. In the given position, I see no relevance about the value of a b-pawn versus c-pawn, I see no reason to see Qb2 as a loss of time, and I see no reason to see c5 as a better square than b2 for Black's queen.

If we are thinking the Black queen is needed for defense, that would suggest <18...Qc7> to put it in a better position to shore up the kingside with ...Qd8. But Polugaevsky's move looks more active to me.

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