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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi
"Anatoly Would" (game of the day Mar-07-2008)
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978), City of Baguio PHI, rd 14, Aug-19
Spanish Game: Open. St. Petersburg Variation (C82)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-07-08  Cibator: The pun won't mean much to anyone under 40 .... or maybe even 50. And anyway, "woodn't" it be more appropriately applied to a Karpov defeat?

Incidentally, Natalie Wood was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko in San Franciso. She'd have been 70 this year.

Mar-07-08  Knight13: <Knight13: <Manequinho: wouldn't 49...Ra8 be better and give drawing chances?> Better, but not enough. White could send his king on a hike to d5/f5 and push that e-pawn or b7 or something and if Black checks he'll eventually run out of checks, etc. like king at f5 after rook checks DUDE WHATEVER the point is White can use his king and still win, just that it'll take a bit longer.> Oh and he also needs to also worry about White's f-pawn pushing down the board besides the king.
Mar-07-08  mistreaver: <knight13: i suck at chess> are you kidding or what
Mar-07-08  mworld: definitely goes down as one of my favorite games to play through!
Mar-07-08  cuppajoe: < A philosophical point: is chess finite or infinite?>

The game of chess has a finite number of legal positions. The reason it feels infinite is that that number is somewhere between 10^43 and 10^50. Admittedly most of those are stupid moves, but that's more than enough to keep a person occupied for several thousand lifetimes.

Sep-27-08  Woody Wood Pusher: 30.Rxd5! exchanging Rook for Bishop + Pawn and better play...classic Karpov.

The transposition from opening to endgame is almost seamless, and white's dark bishop becomes a monster!

After 32..Rd8 33.Kxf3,Rd5 34.Rxd5,cxd5 Karpov was planning 35.a3,g6 36.Kg3,Re8 37.f4 and if 37..Rf8 38.e6.

Apr-11-09  WhiteRook48: A simple deflection! This was a massive attack by Karpov anyhow
Dec-29-09  Mr. Bojangles: Damn Karpov was good, better than good back in da day.
Dec-30-09  M.D. Wilson: Other than the Karpov-Kasparov 1984 Match, this one is perhaps my favourite. Both players were under enormous pressure, but for different reasons. Some of the incidents during the match were quite funny, even more so than the Fischer-Spassky antics in 1972. It was amaazing that Korchnoi was able to win five games in this match, because in the previous three years, Karpov lost only a handful of games out of near one hundred (?). Korchnoi's wins show that he was probably better than Karpov in the endgame in 1978, but these loses only made Karpov a better player. This match was the closest Korchnoi came to achieving the Title, but young Karpov, who was still to reach his peak, was standing in the way when it counted most.
Dec-30-09  Petrosianic: <Other than the Karpov-Kasparov 1984 Match, this one is perhaps my favourite.>

You like that one? Half the games GM draws and the curtain rung down before the end?

But I agree about 1978. It was possibly the best match of all time. All the soap opera of Fischer-Spassky, and a more exciting over-the-board struggle. One of those rare matches where the winner's reputation took a hit.

Jan-01-10  M.D. Wilson: I like the tension of the '84 match and the controversial ending, but the '87 match was also interesting and had excellent games, well, all the KK matches did. The '78 match was interesting because Korchnoi played so well yet lost and Karpov hadn't reached his peak and still won.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: the 84 match was a bit of a snooze. it was interesting, and important, because people could see a new chess force had arrived, and he was not a favorite of the Politburo. But match is marred by all of the draws--Kasparov's wearing out Karpov by producing some 35 or 40 draws.

The subsequent 24 game matches they played exhibit a much higher quality of chess.

Jan-03-10  M.D. Wilson: The 1984 Match catalysed Kasparov's chess development. Iron sharpens iron.
Mar-18-10  Bobwhoosta: <M.D. Wilson>

Well put.

Mar-18-10  BarcelonaFirenze: In my opinion, in 1978 Korchnoi was probably the strongest player in the world. We must remember that behind Karpov was the whole soviet chess machine... I think that, also, in the decisive game, Karpov broke the agreement about the presence of the parapsycologist that so much bothered Korchnoi...
Mar-18-10  Petrosianic: <In my opinion, in 1978 Korchnoi was probably the strongest player in the world. We must remember that behind Karpov was the whole soviet chess machine...>

Why does that make Korchnoi stronger? Because he had weaker adjournment analysis? I don't follow the argument.

<I think that, also, in the decisive game, Karpov broke the agreement about the presence of the parapsycologist that so much bothered Korchnoi...>

I think ultimately that's why Korchnoi wasn't the strongest, and why he never became world champion. He got rattled too easily. Recall the candidates final against Spassky, where he whipped him so badly that Spassky retreated into his relaxation box for the whole game, and Korchnoi went to pieces over that and lost 4 games.

As for this match, it was one of the great slugfests, but I don't know how much actual credit it reflects on either player. Karpov had been nearly invincible since winning the title, but Korchnoi beat him 5 times, and let him off the hook in several more games. Ditto for Karpov, who had several dead-won games where he inexplicably let Korchnoi off (I'll never know how Karpov avoided winning Games 20 and 22). In the end, I think Korchnoi's reputation increased (for coming as close as he did), while Karpov's reputation took a hit (for failing to beat the point spread), which is why Korchnoi won the Oscar that year.

But in the end, it was the ease with which Korchnoi could be thrown off his game that killed him. Compare that with Botvinnik, who played training matches where he had his opponent blow smoke in his face, just to train in dealing with adverse conditions. Korchnoi lost Game 8 just because Karpov wouldn't shake his hand, which got him so upset that he tossed out all his opening prep, and played an impromptu opening disaster. He was an aggravating guy to root for.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: After losing to Karpov in Bagui City in 1975, Korchnoi was just 3 years older, and Karpov was just 3 more years experienced. I don't see how VK could suddenly be better than Karpov in 1978.

I think the hot temperatures of the Phillippines in the summer of '75 hurt Karpov more than they did Korchnoi. Karpov, of the delicate constitution faded as the match went deep into its second month. He might have beaten Korchnoi more thoroughly had the match been somewhere else in '75.

Mar-19-10  acirce: Karpov and Korchnoi didn't play a match in 1975. They played matches in 1974 (Moscow), in 1978, (Baguio City), and in 1981 (Merano). Karpov of course won all three.
Mar-19-10  slomarko: <acirce> tries to pose like some sort of super knowledgeable kibitzer but like usual the doesn't know too much about the topic he's smarting off about. Korchnoi and Karpov played 4 matches not 3. The first was a training match in 1971, in Leningrad.
Premium Chessgames Member
Mar-19-10  Poulsen: According to Jeff Sonas' calculations Korchnoi has had 3 +2800 performances in his insanely long career.

Karpov has had 21 (twenty-one!!).

You can like Karpov or not, but by any reasonable measure anyone can come up with Karpov simply stands out as one of the most formidable players of all time.

Mar-19-10  Petrosianic: All true, but at the same time, if you look at the games of this match, Korchnoi might very easily have won it. So many games could, and maybe should have ended differently than they did. So many games make you beat your head against the wall and wonder why. I mentioned Games 20 and 22. How in bloody blue blazes did Korchnoi miss 55. B-B7ch in Game 5?? The first time I glanced at that diagram, the move jumped out at me. The move he played was so ugly. In Game 7, probably both players had winning positions before it ended up drawn. In Game 17, Korchnoi not only blew the win, but found a way to turn it into a loss at the last minute. Add Game 25 to Karpov's missed opportunities. How did he not win that??? Really exciting match. One of the best for thrills. But not the very best quality play. Part of the reason for that is probably the pressure on Karpov. Even if you don't like the guy, the thought of what would have happened to him had he lost isn't pretty.
Mar-19-10  Poulsen: <Petrosianic><Even if you don't like the guy, the thought of what would have happened to him had he lost isn't pretty.>

Very true, in that case it's safe to say, that Breznev wouldn't have put a medal on his chest :-)

Mar-19-10  Kazzak: Didn't know that Karpov is a billionaire, that must be eating up Kasparov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <Korchnoi and Karpov played 4 matches not 3. The first was a training match in 1971, in Leningrad.>

Do you know what the result of this was, the training match, if the games can be had?

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