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Viktor Korchnoi vs Garry Kasparov
EUR-chT (Men) 10th (1992), Debrecen HUN, rd 1, Nov-21
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Classical System Misc. Lines (E98)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-03-06  KingG: Strange game. Kasparov plays 9...Ne8, which is probably inferior to the usual 9...Nd7, because it allows a quick 13.c5!. He won a very nice game against Korchnoi just a year earlier with 9...Nd7, but Korchnoi played a few inaccurate moves, and it was a close call, so maybe Kasaprov wanted to try something else.

White quickly builds up a big advantage once the exchange take place on the K-side, and Black is completely lost by the 23rd move, but then Korchnoi goes wrong and plays 24.b5?!, which still gives him an edge, but 24.Bb6! was completely winning. White will just take control of the c-file, and the game is over. For example, 24.Bb6 Ne3 25.Rf2 Nc4 26.Rc1

click for larger view

Now what for Black? To me, Black is lost here.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter, because Kasparov goes wrong immediately with 24...Nxf2?. The best move was 24...Ne3!, which causes White a few problem. White may still be winning after 25.Rc1 Nxf1 26.Kxf1 Rg8 27.Bb6 Rg7 28.Rc7 Qe8 29.Rxg7+ Bxg7 30.Qh5+, but at least Black has some extra material.

But then, sadly, Korchnoi throws away the win again with 27.b6?, when the obvious 27.Qb6 is crushing.(27...Rf7?? 28.Ng5+! is amusing)

After 27...Qxe4, the game is probably drawn, although Korchnoi still has the advantage obviously.

Jun-03-06  KingG: It's such a shame Korchnoi couldn't have won this game to finally crack Kasparov's KID, and to finally beat him with the White pieces. Amazingly, Korchnoi has never beaten Kasparov with the White pieces, and his only win over him ever is on the black side of a QID during their candidates match in 1983.

Maybe the score between them played a factor in Korchnoi's inability to finish Kasparov off, when he was usually very clinical in this line(just see how he crushed strong grandmasters like Nunn, Shirov and Polgar).

Jun-03-06  goldenbear: What if 18.a6 ? 19.Na3 Nf6 20.Nc4 g4 21.Nb6 Rb8 22.Ba7 Bd7 ? Can White convert the exchange in that situation? It seems like Black may have play despite the reduction of material.
Jun-03-06  KingG: <goldenbear> I don't quite follow your line. 18...a6 19.Na3 Nf6 20.Nc4 g4 21.Nb6 Rb8 is fine, but then how can White play Ba7 with the knight still on b6?

In any case, after 21...Rb8, Black will take the bishop without hesitation. Without the light squared bishop, Black's attack is greatly reduced, since White will be able to meet an eventual ...g3 with h3 without fear of the sacrifice ...Bxh3. For this reason, Black often prefers to part with the exchange than with his bishop. For example, Piket vs Kasparov, 1989.

Jun-03-06  goldenbear: Hmmm. I thought White's dark-square bishop is so strong in this variation that it can pass through objects.
Jun-03-06  goldenbear: <King G> It seems to me that a Black pawn on g3 is a serious disadvantage to White in any endgame. However, White can either breakthrough or exchange heavy pieces via the c-file so maybe it isn't as important as the weak pawn at d6. But while the 18.a6 line does concede some initiative to White, it isn't clear to me that Black cannot defend directly, which I thought was the idea behind 9.Ne8 in the first place.
Jun-06-06  KingG: <goldenbear> While it's true that a pawn on g3 would be uncomfortable for White in an endgame, White is likely to win the game on the Q-side long before Black can exploit the g3 pawn. The d6 pawn is also very weak, and will requite constant supervision. It will be difficult for Black to defend since he has very little space on the Q-side.

Defending a difficult endgame isn't really what Black is looking for when he plays the KID.

Jun-06-06  KingG: In any case, continuing your line a bit, after 18...a6 19.Na3 Nf6 20.Nc4 g4 21.Nb6 Rb8 22.Nxc8 Rxc8 23.fxg4 hxg4 24.Bxg4 Nxg4 25.Qxg4, Black looks to be in some trouble to me.

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Jun-08-06  goldenbear: <KingG> Ah, you're right of course but you should have followed your own advice and investigated 21.Bd7 as Black's best response. That makes much more sense and the win there may be problematic, at least practically. Also, my point was that perhaps Kasparov should have believed in Ne8 as a concept. Obviously, Ne8 doesn't afford Black many active possibilities but perhaps it is solid in terms of direct defense. After all, it was invented at a time when counter-attacking with Black was seen as risky.
Dec-03-07  DaveyL: Heh heh, in Kasparov and Keene's book on the King's Indian, Kaspy gives 24. b5 a ! and he says 24. ... Nxe3 is ?, because 25. b6 "wins without difficuclty". Still, what do those two know...

The move to focus on is 18. g4? "With this mistake I deprived myself of the possibility to make a contribution to the treasury of chess art." He gives 18. ... a6! 19. Na3 Nf6 20. Nc4 g4! 21. Nb6 g3! 22. Nxa8. Kaspy then continues with the tremendous shot 22. ...Nxd5!! and then gives a series of variations where Black lays waste to White's position. See Kasparov and Keene "Kasparov on the King's Indian".

Apr-24-15  ToTheDeath: This game is nicely annotated by GM Bryan Smith in this article, suffice to say he doesn't quite agree with KingG's comments.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Sorry to be a bit off-topic. This game is played in Debrecen. Did that town used to have a famous name?
Apr-24-15  ToTheDeath: No idea, but according to wikipedia its the second largest city in Hungary with quite a rich history.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp: Sorry to be a bit off-topic. This game is played in Debrecen. Did that town used to have a famous name?>

Yes, it used to be called Debrecen. Nickname: the Calvinist Rome. Catchy, eh?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <keypusher: <offramp: Sorry to be a bit off-topic. This game is played in Debrecen. Did that town used to have a famous name?> Yes, it used to be called Debrecen.>

I think I was just thinking of its German name, Debrezin. That name sounds exactly the same as the Hungarian name. I am a European and one becomes aware of the many alternative names that towns have.

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