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Anatoly Karpov vs Johann Hjartarson
Candidates Quarterfinal (1989), Seattle, WA USA, rd 2, Jan-30
English Opening: King's English Variation. General (A20)  ·  1-0



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Given 13 times; par: 73 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-25-04  pencuse: An excellent game by Karpov. White gives rook with 19. Nxd4! which removes black's white-square bishop to use weakness the weak white squares of black.
Sep-06-05  Everett: Starting with 16.Bxd4, Karpov shows how to win positionally with the dragon as white. Black decides to walk into mate instead of suffer the march of two connected passers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: If 35...Ra4, then 36.Rb1 (Karpov gives 36.e4 Rb4 37.e5 Ng4 38.e6 Rxf5 39.e7 Nf6 40.Be4 as winning for White, but it is unclear to me what happens after 40...Rxf2 41.Kxf2 Nxe4+ and 42...Nd6) 36...Rc8 37.Nd6 Rb8 38.Nf7+ Kg7 39.Nxg5.

Perhaps 43...Kh8 instead of 43...Kg6.

After 45.f3, White threatens mate with 46.Bg4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <wwall>
<Perhaps 43...Kh8>
Seems pretty late to try to save it. If 43...Kh8, White can simply push the d-pawn with 44. d5, etc.
Aug-21-09  Rubenchik: Excellent game
May-28-10  Wyatt Gwyon: It's amazing to see how Karpov exploits little positional mistakes.
Jun-06-13  whiteshark: IM Andrew Martin has annotated this <timeless> game in a video:
Dec-13-16  RookFile: 13....b6 is sometimes good, and sometimes bad. Here it's bad, because it weakens c6 and allows Karpov's later Qc6. Soltis says that a reasonable course for black was 13....a5 14. b5 Nd4
Mar-11-21  fisayo123: First decisive game of this Candidates match

17. Qc6! is a really powerful move anticipating a not at all obvious exchange sacrifice. Black's position becomes very unpleasant very fast.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Black might as well have resigned instead of 43...Kg6.
Nov-13-21  PJs Studio: Wow!!! Karpov was one of the greatest of all time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LittleKibitzer: <Opening Tips> White exchages off the dark squared bishop, which had little scope. The exchange sacrifice is fantastic! The knight sits on c6 and brings a lot of pressure on the position. It makes me think of the close relation between the chess terms, <blockade> and <wedge>. There's a point where a piece like a knight is a blockader, but when it's further into the opponent's territory, it creates more of a wedge, cramping the opponent and putting pressure.

Exchanging the rook for black's light squared bishop is profound. It's known in the English that white's light squared bishop is powerful. Here we see proof in this exchange sacrifice. When white plays 35.♖c1, it's perhaps simply to prevent a check by black's rook, which would tie down the strong bishop. It's interesting to see the noble rooks coordinating in order to accommodate white's strong light squared bishop.

May-03-23  SChesshevsky: <LittleKibitzer: The exchange sacrifice is fantastic!>

Yes, looks Karpov at his best. A positional monster. Think all those Kasparov games helped to even increase his ability to find opportunities.

Think a major idea behind the exchange was the backward c-pawn. Which is the only thing stopping white getting a nice passed d-pawn with plenty of help to advance with the, as you mentioned, very strong LSB. Plus his other pieces.

Then, maybe luckily, when he snags the f-pawn getting connected passed pawns. He just consolidates his position and it's probably over.

Game actually feels a lot like a Catalan. Though trying to remember if there ever was an exchange sac over there to produce a passed pawn. Think there was a Carlsen-Karjakin but not sure if it was a Catalan.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LittleKibitzer: <SChesshevsky> A fantastic and much appreciated insight! I quickly searched your reference. I found this game, which is in fact another English Four Knights, a similar variation: Carlsen vs Karjakin, 2010
In this game, I noted the exchange 14.♘xb5 followed by ...cxb5, thus removing the c-pawn as mentioned. Subsequently, white gets a passed d-pawn, supported by the light-squared bishop.

Much thanks for these insights! It's helpful!

May-04-23  SChesshevsky: <LittleKibitzer> Thanks for finding the 2010 game. Seems to show Carlsen's early interest.

In trying to track down the game I had in mind, I did find some with a similar theme. Passed qside pawn supported by LSB:

Carlsen-Karjakin, 2019 Lindores Abbey
Carlsen-Rapport, 2022 Tata Steel

And c-file exchange sac, Carlsen-Giri Tata Steel 2022.

But those weren't the game I was thinking of. With a little help, found it Karjakin - Carlsen, Norway Chess 2021, a Sveshnikov. Exchange sac for qside passed pawn.

I think there might be a post game interview on YouTube. But given how I blundered the original description, might not want to count on that.

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