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Anatoly Karpov vs Lev Polugaevsky
Karpov - Polugaevsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1974), Moscow URS, rd 8, Feb-03
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Modern Line (B92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-26-06  danielpi: <Boomie> Good point. I still think 8.
Dec-21-08  notyetagm: 33 ♗b6-c7

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33 ... ♖e5-c5

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34 ♕c4x♖c5! <desperado>

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The <DESPERADO> 34 ♕c4x♖c5! works for Karpov (White) in this position because the Black b8-rook is <EN PRISE>, *suspending(!)* the <NORMAL RULES OF PIECE SAFETY> which are in effect 99% of the time on the chess board.

Normally White would just lose material (♕ for ♖) by playing 34 ♕c4x♖c5! ♘d7x♕c5, but now White can play 35 ♗c7x♖b8 and instead White has won ♖♖ for ♕.

Like I said earlier, the Black b8-rook being <EN PRISE> *suspends* the <NORMAL RULES OF PIECE SAFETY>, making it profitable for White to "lose" material with 34 ♕c4x♖c5!, because White knows that he is going to pick up a whole rook(!) next move with 35 ♗c7x♖b8.

Dec-21-08  notyetagm: Wow, I really like Karpov's <DOUBLE ROOK LIFT> in this game.

16 ♖a1-a4

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18 ♖d4-d2

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So Karpov's idea with the <ROOK LIFT> 16 ♖a1-a4 was to bring the White a1-rook to the d2-square(!), where it bears down on the <BACKWARD> d6-pawn and the <WEAK> d5-square from a safe distance!

Dec-21-08  M.D. Wilson: Polugaevsky was a master of the Sicilian, but Karpov beat him consistently in these types of positions, and at such a young age. It would have been facinating to see Fischer play the Sicilian against Karpov. I would have been no mean feat.
Dec-21-08  positionalgenius: karpov is an amazing player.
Dec-21-08  notyetagm: <M.D. Wilson: Polugaevsky was a master of the Sicilian, but Karpov beat him consistently in these types of positions, and at such a young age.>

Yes, Karpov beat Polugaevsky's Najdorf three that's 3(!) times in their 1974 Candidates Match, with the 6 ♗f1-e2 system against the Najdorf.

Karpov vs Polugaevsky, 1974
Karpov vs Polugaevsky, 1974
Karpov vs Polugaevsky, 1974

Dec-21-08  notyetagm: <M.D. Wilson: ... It would have been facinating to see Fischer play the Sicilian against Karpov. I would have been no mean feat.>

Yes, it would have been great to see Karpov and Fischer battle it out in the 6 ♗f1-e2 Najdorf, just like Karpov and Polugaevsky did in 1974.

Sep-22-09  WhiteRook48: why the 17 Rd4?
Nov-25-09  M.D. Wilson: Karpov vs. Polugaevsky: a contrast of practical chess and preparation. Karpov was perhaps one of the last great player who did not devote most of his energies towards off the board preparation; players from Kasparov onwards led this new paradigm shift, although players like Geller and Polugaevsky were among the early pionneers, now it is the norm.
Jan-11-10  Ulhumbrus: 18...Bxb3 concedes the bishop pair whereas 18...Nc4 acquires it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Please see the posts beneath

Fischer vs Larsen, 1971

for a list of games with great positional sacrifices (mostly exchange sacs) by Fischer.


Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: All this talk about Fischer not being able to sac misses the point of Fischer's genius. Fischer's strength was his TECHNICAL SKILL.

Yes, he could sac.
Yes, he could defend.
Yes, he could see tactics.
All world champs do these things well.

But Fischer reigned supreme in TECHNICAL SKILL.

Here are a few examples:
72 Match vs Spassky - The Alekhine Defense that lead to the R&B&P vs R&4 P's ending? How about the famous Fischer ending vs Taimanov? Fischer had R&B vs R&Kt and was down a pawn--winning the game. Remember the Fischer ending vs Petrosian in 1971 where Fischer had R&B vs R&Kt. Fischer was up a pawn, but all his pawns were on the color of his bishop. It certainly looked like Petrosian had a fortress.

I could go on.

Mar-13-10  Everett: <NM> Yes, his technical skill is widely hailed as second to none, and I would venture this is why he may not have felt that special fireworks were necessary to get the job done. With an endgame superior or, at worst, equal to the best in the world, he knew that straight-forward, accurate chess would serve him well.

It is because of those characteristics, however, that made Karpov such an interesting opponent for Fischer. Endgame skill may actually be a wash, and they would have to go at it in the middlegame.

Aug-01-10  birthtimes: "Karpov was perhaps one of the last great player who did not devote most of his energies towards off the board preparation;"??????????????????

What kind of nonsense is this??? How do you think Karpov destroyed Polugaevsky in this match, followed by Spassky and Korchnoi????

Karpov knew the weaknesses of those he played against, and played accordingly...

May-14-11  Everett: <birthtimes> Karpov was not a player to play differently per opponent. He played his own way. Like many, including Fischer, Kasparov, etc., he took the situation at the board first and foremost. Choice of openings is one thing, actual play is another.

Karpov's one weakness in fact is opening prep, but this was smoothed over by the help of the chess establishment when he was champ. Even so, he played positions that suited his style during his reign, and demanded his own peculiar understanding to gain wins.

Personally, I still like <NM>'s comment above. Fischer's strength is technical chess, and after looking at Karpov's chess, Karpov had the same trajectory of becoming a beast in technical chess by his late 20's. Both were terribly strong in the endgame when younger, but really honed their game later. Another thing the two had in common was the willingness to give up the initiative temporarily; Fischer for material, Karpov for position.

If Karpov has one strength that really stands out, to me, it is RESTRICTION, a near-mirror image of Kasparov's DYNAMISM. With Fischer's TECHNIQUE, we can combine the three to create the greatest player ever!

Nov-20-11  birthtimes: Everett, did Karpov prepare the Caro-Kann specifically for Korchnoi, Kasparov, or Fischer? No, he prepared it specifically for Spassky, so you are incorrect when you say that Karpov was not a player to play differently per opponent. Actual play cannot be separated from choice of opening, for each opening is part of actual play...
Nov-20-11  King Death: <Everett> One comparison Botvinnik made was between Petrosian and Karpov. I think he stated that Petrosian made sure everything was secure in his own position before starting active play, but Karpov played more actively.

Some of this discussion misses the point IMO. No player can be this strong without incorporating all of these skills to some degree and what Nimzovich called prophylaxis is part of any modern grandmaster's tool kit.

Aug-26-12  Everett: <birthtimes: Everett, did Karpov prepare the Caro-Kann specifically for Korchnoi, Kasparov, or Fischer? No, he prepared it specifically for Spassky, so you are incorrect when you say that Karpov was not a player to play differently per opponent. Actual play cannot be separated from choice of opening, for each opening is part of actual play...>

You make a good point there, and I can only respond by saying that this was probably a professional decision made more by his seconds (Geller in particular) than anyone else.

Strangely enough, Karpov was not a fan of the C-K in his younger days. "Too passive," was his reasoning.

Aug-26-12  Everett: <King Death> I cannot but agree with you. However, it sometimes helps me break down moves into two values.

1. how does this move or plan improve my activity and potential (A), and 2. how does this move hinder my opponents potential and activity (B)?

If we give each value a scale of 1-10, and each move can have a value written as A/B, then Karpov average play is 4/8 or something like that, more restrictive of his opponents play than worried about his own activity. Kasparov is likely the reverse, like 8/4.

Another way to look at it, is, on a scale from 1-10, Karpov was happy to have a general army activity at a 5 but kept his opponent's army at a 3 at best. Kasparov would be 9 on the activity scale, and 5-6 for his opponent. It's like their games were played on different frequencies.

Jul-14-14  Everett: Domination B over N, and the c-pawn will cost Black a piece.
Nov-08-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Everett> You have been able in a few paragraphs to explain what I have failed to do with precision. The example regarding RESTRICTION v DYNAMISM is the best I have ever encountered!! I had been trying to express the same point by referring to Karpov's play as ultra-positional (strategic) as opposed to Kasparov's or Tal's that I referred to as tactical-combinatorial. One can see why my explanation was failing to 'hit the mark' as we all know that all super GMs are excellent at strategy. And only from excellent positions can one launch tactics. Karpov was brilliant at tactics and combinations though he preferred and prefers to "strangulate" opponents; a bit like a serpent. Tal was also positionally brilliant. Therefore I have always had problems trying to explain what you have expressed beautifully and succinctly.#
Nov-10-14  tranquilsimplicity: To be more precise, the splitting of a Chess move between options (A)[dynamism] and (B)[restriction] and attributing a value of 1-10 for each. And thereby expressing the tendencies of dynamism as opposed to restriction.

Perfectly explained!#

Feb-26-16  clement41: Pretty rare endgame!
May-08-17  Saniyat24: don't remember any game where at the end two bishops and two knights remained near the end...Karpov was precise and methodical...Polugaevsky gave a good fight, but when Karpov's Queen captured Polugaevsky's black Rook on the 34th move,it was all but over... very good comparison between Karpov and Kaparov <Everett>
May-08-17  Howard: FYI, there were three games in the 1975 U.S. championship in which two bishops opposed two knights--with other pieces being involved too--and in all three of these cases, the player with the two knights won!

Lombardy remarked about that, in fact, in a 1975 article in "CL & R".

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