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Anatoly Karpov vs Boris Spassky
Bugojno (1986), Bugojno BIH, rd 8, Jun-04
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense Fianchetto Variation (C76)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-28-06  Helios727: Wasn't there fight left in this game?
Apr-28-06  crafty: 34. ... ♕g6 35. ♕e7 ♖cf5 36. ♗c2 ♖8f7 37. ♕h4+   (eval 4.23; depth 15 ply; 500M nodes)
Apr-05-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 3 ... g6 is probably better than its reputation and here transposes into a standard Modern Steinitz setup with the KN on e7 rather than f6. Karpov's straightforward development represents model play, including the annoying Nc4 which maybe should have been kicked by 13 ... b5. 18 ... f5!? was very enterprising by Black, as 18 ... Be6 & 19 ... f6 would have been quieter. But then Karpov's sacrifice 20. Nfxe5!? worked because 22. Bxh6 was a Discovery on the Be5, and 22 ... Bg7? fails to 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Qg5+ hitting the Ne7 (like the game). Soon White had 2 Pawns for the exchange, but 26 ... Qd6 might have given better chances to hold the endgame, after 27. Qxd6 cxd6 28. Rd1 Rf6 or 27. Rd1 Qxd7 28. Rxd7 Rac8. Black might have intended 27 ... f3 except 28. Qg3 holds. Crafty's line leads to this position:


click for larger view

and White soon regains the exchange, up 3 Pawns.

Apr-05-09  chessman95: <3 ... g6 is probably better than its reputation>

Very true. 3...g6 is a very simple but surprisingly solid way of defending the Ruy, and I'm surprised that more people who complain about all the theory they have to learn don't use it. I consider it much stronger than other 'avoiding' lines such as 3...f5!?, or the Berlin. Black's KB on the long diagonal instead of the usual diagonals as in the Closed Spanish or Classical Defense adds a whole new element to the game that is not easy to beat as white.

Apr-10-09  acirce: Could be wrong but isn't 4.d4 exd4 5.Bg5 considered pretty strong? Obviously truth is concrete, but I suppose the point is that 5..f6 and 5..Be7 6.Bxe7 both leave Black with weaknesses. How do you think Black should deal with this?

Also, Khalifman's gambit suggestion in his "According to Anand" series, namely 4.d4 exd4 5.c3, seems very interesting.

The critical reply should be accepting it, and after 5..dxc3 6.Nxc3 Bg7 7.Bg5, 7..f6 again weakens Black's king's position a bit, which White is quicker to exploit this time, and of course it takes away the f6-square for Black's pieces. Khalifman still treats it as the main line, and after 8.Bf4 he considers <Ne5!> to be <probably Black's best chance to repulse the attack>; now his suggestion is 9.Qd4!? which he analyses to a clear advantage for White.

This analysis from 2003, so I'm sure there have been many new ideas.

Apr-10-09  chessman95: <acirce: Could be wrong but isn't 4.d4 exd4 5.Bg5 considered pretty strong? Obviously truth is concrete, but I suppose the point is that 5..f6 and 5..Be7 6.Bxe7 both leave Black with weaknesses. How do you think Black should deal with this?>

You are right that 5...f6 and 5...Be7 both leave black with weaknesses, but different types of problems of roughly the same effect present themselves in every other variation as well. For instance, in the Closed Spanish black has much more of a problem with space, although the position is more solid. Most people think that the Smyslov is about equal or at worst slightly weaker than other main lines.

Just as some further comments, I went to the pages going into the Smyslov Defense and the 9.h3 main line Closed Spanish and took the draw percents times 0.5 and the win percents (for black) times 1.0, and then added them up. Here's what I got:

Smyslov Defense: 46.15 points for black
Closed Defense: 41.8 points for black

Keep in mind that the Smyslov is much less drawish, so black players often use it to defeat weaker opponents instead of risking a draw in cramped positions that are more solid. However, I am convinced that both variations are about equal for black, and personally I don't think the lines you mentioned are too much of a problem to deal with.

Apr-10-09  acirce: Yes, good points. I still think that at least Khalifman's suggested gambit seems like a bit of a problem for Black, but I don't know, it hasn't been tested much.
Apr-10-09  chessman95: <acirce: Yes, good points. I still think that at least Khalifman's suggested gambit seems like a bit of a problem for Black, but I don't know, it hasn't been tested much.>

Computer analysis seems to say it's fine for black, although if you're right than playing something like 8...Nge7 seems to leave black with a playable position a pawn up.

Apr-11-09  acirce: On 8..Nge7 Khalifman gives <9.Qb3!> stopping Black from castling.

White seems to have enough compensation but is it much more than that? I don't know for sure -- and it is not of much relevance for me as I am not planning to play 3..g6 as Black and the few times I play 1.e4 I am not very likely to meet it either (and I wouldn't have to play extremely precisely anyway).

But people who <do> play it or who think about doing so should take a look at this.

Apr-11-09  VaselineTopLove: what's wrong with 19...Nxf5?
Apr-11-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <chessman95> Here's a reference game where Black met Bg5 with ... f6 and then developed the KN to f7 for a quick ... f5 and equal play = T Palmer vs D Levine, 1989

<VaselineTopLove> 19 ... Nxf5 leaves Black with an isolated Pe5 which might get picked off after 20. Bf4:


click for larger view

If 20 ... e4 21. Bxc7 wins material since the Pe4 is pinned.

Apr-11-09  chessman95: <On 8..Nge7 Khalifman gives <9.Qb3!> stopping Black from castling.>

I'm starting to doubt Khalifman's move recomendations. I would never give 9.Qb3 a "!" as it develops the queen to a weak square (in the Ruy) and after either 9...a6 or 9...g5 the position is at best (for white) equal. In my experience the queen is much more useful staying near home or recapturing in the center than on the queenside.

Keep in mind that I may be wrong, as I don't play the Smyslov Defense as black and I never play that gambit against it as white, so I don't have any experience in that actual line, only similar lines from the Spanish.

Apr-11-09  crwynn: <I'm starting to doubt Khalifman's move recomendations. I would never give 9.Qb3 a "!" as it develops the queen to a weak square (in the Ruy) and after either 9...a6 or 9...g5 the position is at best (for white) equal.>

I don't know if it's that simple, 9.Qb3 is not such a bad move, especially after the bizarre 9...g5? but 9...a6 does seem roughly equal. White can get pressure on the c- and d-files and he has more space, but Black's extra pawn balances this.

However, 1.e4 e4 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.d4 ed 5.c3!? dc?! 6.Nxc3 Bg7 7.Bg5 f6 8.Be3 (I like this better than f4) Nge7 9.h4! a6 10.Be2 looks like more of a serious problem for Black. 10...0-0? 11.h5 is too dangerous, and 10...d6 11.h5 Bg4 12.h6 Bf8 is not much fun at all; one idea for White is Qb3, Nd5, Rac1 (after Black takes on d5) with way too much compensation for the pawn.

That seems to leave 10...f5 or 10...d6 11.h5 f5; then White plays Qb3-a3 or Qb3-c2 and castles long with an attack.

Apr-11-09  chessman95: <9.Qb3 is not such a bad move>

I never said it was bad, but it does not deserve a "!" and it is probably not the best move in that position.

Oct-20-11  Shams: The gambit line <acirce> mentions below, a suggestion of Khalifman's, still hasn't caught on. I've found only one master game, not in the db here but viewable in my link below. Voicu (2286) vs. Malaniuk (2511) Odessa 2006, 0-1. After 8.Bf4 I see four master or near-master games, all Black wins.

http://www.365chess.com/view_game.p...

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