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Anatoly Karpov vs Yasser Seirawan
Skelleftea World Cup (1989), Skelleftea SWE, rd 8, Aug-??
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Central Variation. McDonnell Defense (D20)  ·  1-0



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Given 13 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-26-07  Whitehat1963: Typically brilliant prophylactic tactics from Karpov. What's the critical sequence?
Apr-26-07  Ulhumbrus: It is not obvious that by weakening the point g6, the move 22...h6 exposes the h6 pawn to attack . The reason is that the move h5 then forces the g6 pawn to move on pain of capture whereupon the point f5 becomes available for White for the move Nf5 attacking the h6 pawn.
Apr-27-07  olav dalkeith: see Chessbase at:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: This is probably the game mentioned in the recent chessbase article. Note Karpov's offer of a pawn in the endgame: 27. h5! which Seirawan declines. If Seirawan accepts the gambit, play might go: 27. ... gxh5 28. 28. b3 h4 29. g4 Rb4 30. Rh2 Nc5 31. Rxh4 a4 32. Nxa4 Nxa4 33. bxa4 Rxa4 34. Rxh6
Apr-20-09  Everett: <Whitehat1963> After 29.Ne2 white is threatening to Nd4-Nf5. Once black prevents this with 29..c5, white is happy to return to Nc3 with two new squares to exploit. Pretty simple and brilliant.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Seirawan in his new book Chess Duels highly praises Karpov's great technique in this game. He gives 23.g3 two exclamation marks because it almost puts Black in zugzwang. The only White move he criticizes is 29. Ne2, since Nd1-e3-f5 would win more quickly.
Apr-02-14  Nerwal: <Seirawan in his new book Chess Duels highly praises Karpov's great technique in this game. He gives 23.g3 two exclamation marks because it almost puts Black in zugzwang. The only White move he criticizes is 29. Ne2, since Nd1-e3-f5 would win more quickly.>

In several instructional books like Aagard's Excelling at positional chess and Romero's Creative Chess Strategy, we get the sycophantic assessments of 29. ♘e2! and 29. ♘d1?. Aagard then proceeds to give the variation 29. ♘d1 gxf4 30. gxf4 ♖b5 31. ♖h2 (not Romero's 31. ♔g4?? f5+) f5 32. e5; well, this looks almost winning for white as black is just busted if he doesn't sac on e5 since ♘e3 and ♖d2/g2 are coming, and therefore Seirawan seems quite right to criticize 29. ♘e2.

Karpov making the wrong positional choice sounds like blasphemy. But he won before move 40, so maybe he wasn't wrong, but not in a pure chess sense (as often, noticed Dvoretsky). 29. ♘e2 was perhaps a practical choice; after 29. ♘d1 Karpov may have thought he would have to calculate some concrete lines before the time control. Meanwhile 29. ♘e2 c5 30. ♘c3 is slower and safer; if black hadn't collapsed in a horribly difficult, passive position, which was already quite likely, then Karpov would have simply adjourned in a still highly favourable endgame and his helpers would have been able to work out a winning plan.

It would be interesting to know what Petrosian or Carlsen could have done as black after 31. ♖d5. Maybe it's not as hopeless as the game made it look like.

Jun-04-15  Howard: So exactly where did Seirawan go wrong in this game?!
Aug-12-17  Howard: To repeat and to rephrase...where was the point of no return for Yasser?

I have a copy of Creative Chess Strategy, but don't know offhand where it is. If I remember right, however, the author isn't really clear as to where Yasser went wrong.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <Howard> 31...Rxd5 is pretty much the losing move, I think. Keep the rooks on with 31...Rc6 and White is more active but it would be difficult to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Howard>
<To repeat>
There are some free online resources for computer analysis of a chess position, such as

So no need to ask and repeatedly nag the forum to analyze positions for you anymore.

Aug-14-17  Howard: I don't mean to "nag the forum", but granted, maybe I should be more careful about asking for help on certain positions.
Aug-05-19  Howard: First and foremost, thanks very much to the thoughtful person who posted the computer analysis !! I ain't kidding---it is much appreciated.

For the record, Creative Chess Strategy states that 7...Nf6 would have been a better move than what was actually played. It cites Miles-Rachels, 1989 as an example of that move.

Aug-05-19  SChesshevsky: It appears Seirawan makes it tough on himself after 16. Rxd1. As by 24...Ke8, arguably white has the better king, better rook, better knight, and even better pawns. Though black's probably not losing, it's not hard to imagine he could be after one or two even slight inaccuracies. One place I might look for improvements could be somewhere around move 15 to 20.
Aug-08-19  Howard: Oddly, Creative Chess Strategy gives "29.Ne2!" an exclamation mark, while Stockfish (see above) recommends instead 29.Nd1.
Aug-08-19  Olavi: Karpov wrote in New in Chess 7/1989 that he abandoned 29.Nd1 because of 29...gxf4 30. gxf4 ♖b5 - see Aagard. Now he would have 31.Ng3, and for Karpov having to passivate the rook with 31.Rh2 would be unacceptable. Is there a real difference? I think, for Karpov, forcing the weakening of d5 clinched it.

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