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Viktor Korchnoi vs Mijo Udovcic
"A Wrench in the French" (game of the day Jun-07-2016)
October Revolution 50 (1967), Leningrad URS
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  1-0



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Given 54 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: "Pins and needles,needles and pins-it's a happy man that grins" Ralph Kramden.

A rare double pin on move 23 by white.

Nov-14-05  Dres1: this is a cool old man
Nov-14-05  TigerPawns: 17...Kf8 looks strange, but 17...O-O is in fact not much fun after the simple attacking move 18. Qg4 when the immediate threat 19.Bxh6 must be met by weakening the king side and being subject to prolonged pressure.
Nov-14-05  YouRang: Udovcic must have felt like a pin cushion during this game.
Nov-14-05  Marvol: <blingice: Why does white's dark bishop never get taken?>

Well apart from move 22, it is not that hard.
At move 23 black would lose the queen; at move 24, black would also lose the queen after 25 Nxe6+; at move 25, it is check; 26 attacks the queen; 27 is check; if 28...Bxb4 then 29.Rf3+ mates or wins the queen (and still mates :P); 29 attacks the rook; and by move 30 I don't think it matters anymore.

But at move 22 it seems a valid alternative to capture the bishop. After 22...Bxb4 and the obvious recapture 23 Qxb4+, Fritz embarks on a long and rather tactical variation. The main point seems to be that black is very tied up... in many variations white threatens to win a pawn or a piece with Qa5.

Nov-14-05  BARROCCO: You know, 17..Kf8 was a real bummer for Black. The King's Rook only suffocates. And in England, a wrench is called a spanner, and 19. Qg4 really made the span from Queenside to Kingside. Great game for Mr. Korchnoi!
Nov-14-05  Hesam7: IMO 23... g5 is the main mistake on Black's side. Before that Black's position is difficult but not lost.
Mar-23-06  Daodejing: Also a "classic"!

Korchnoi has a lot of fun by analysing this game in his lesson on Fritz 9.

Jul-19-06  notyetagm: Korchnoi playing the Korchnoi Gambit against the French.

This game is a pinning masterpiece. I particularly liked 29 ♕g4-h4!, with a wicked <CROSS-PIN> of the Black e7-bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Wow, what a game! I didn't know there even WAS a Korchnoi Gambit -- usually Korchoi grabs pawns rather than giving them up. 23. Qh4 is indeed amazing.
Jul-20-06  notyetagm: <keypusher: Wow, what a game! I didn't know there even WAS a Korchnoi Gambit -- usually Korchoi grabs pawns rather than giving them up. 23. Qh4 is indeed amazing.>

Yes, this is a really great game by Korchnoi.

Jul-20-06  diagonal: (usually) Victor Korchnoi grabs pawns rather than giving them up *lol* - and he paid a lot for grabbing (poisoned) pawns.

Well, contrary to many other players Korchnoi is NOT looking for the rules (to a routine down to perfection), he is looking for the "exception of the rules":

This game is most certainly one of VK's top-ten ever.

Jul-20-06  A.Alekhine: GM Larry Christiansen annotated this game in Chessmaster 10th edition..
Oct-02-06  notyetagm: This game should be called <The Immortal Pinning Game>.

Never before have I seen a game in which there is simply pin (22 ♗b4 g6 23 ♕h4! <pile on the pinned Black e7-bishop>) after pin (25 ♗b5+ ♗d7 26 ♘xe6! <take what the pinned Black d7-bishop doesn't defend>) after pin (30 ♕xh6 ♗xb5 31 ♖g3 <pile on the pinned Black g7-rook>).

An incredible pinning masterpiece.

Mar-23-07  tatarch: notyetagm--I totally agree. Black has a piece or pawn pinned, more or less, on every single move for his last 10 moves. Fundamentals!
Apr-25-07  SNoland: 13...Nc5 instead of 13...h6 seems to solve some of blacks issues. If 14. Bh7 then Qh4 for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: From the <My Life for Chess> CD

Kortchnoi starts to replay his white game against Mijo Udovcic, which begins 1.d4 e6 2.e4 :

<Well, some time ago the then world champion Mikhail Botvinnik said that a young player had to arrange his opening repertoire in a way that he would never have to play against himself. What does it mean? It means that if I play the Grunfeld with black against d4 and the French Defence against e4, I should not play against the French myself. Somehow I had to avoid openings which I play myself. But I got tired of playing closed openings and decided to take the challenge. The guy wanted to play the French against me, I take it! But if possible I would avoid the most modern lines.>

Sep-11-08  jovack: udovic just got completely stranded with his pieces clumsily defending
Jan-21-09  notyetagm: A <PINNING> masterpiece.
Jan-21-09  notyetagm: 23 ?

click for larger view

23 ♕g4-h4! <pin: f8>

click for larger view

23 Qg4-h4! Black e7-bishop pinned against Black f8-king.

Apr-21-09  Alphastar: <notyetagm> It's the pinnacle of Korchnoi's career!
Jun-30-09  WhiteRook48: 23 Qh4!! the e7-bishop is also pinned to the black queen
Dec-10-09  SPINK: combo after combo after combo
Jan-08-10  Bolgoljubov: Notes from Victor Korchnoi:

This tournament was one of two held in the honor of the 50th Anniversary of the USSR. The strongest took place in Moscow and was won by Leonid Stein. The second took place in Leningrad and was won by Victor Korchnoi with Ratmir Kholmov in second.

Korchnoi said there was some talk of Bobby Fischer being invited to play, but that it would have been ideologically disastrous if Fischer or another westerner had won a tournament to commemorate the founding of the Soviet Union. So he/they were not invited.


Korchnoi said he wanted to avoid playing the main lines of the French, so as to avoid playing against himself. (Botvinnik's coaching advice)

8. 0-0 cxd4 Korchnoi said sacrificing the pawn here was Efim Geller's idea and that Geller had played it previously against him in blitz games.

A similar game played that year was:

Furman vs Uhlmann, 1967

13… h6 More accurate was g6.

20. Ba5 Paul Keres suggested 20. h4 followed by h5 so as to prevent black from freely playing g6 and Kg7. Korchnoi’s idea was to play Nd4 followed Nb5 blockading the black queenside then slowly preparing the attack on the kingside.

22. Bb4 if 22… Bxb4 23.Qxb4 Qe7 24. Qxb6 axb6 25. Rxc8+ Bxc8 26. Rxc8+ Qe8 27. Rxe8+ and white has a won position.

24. Qh4 "and black is bound arm and foot", according to Korchnoi. With the threat of Bxg6 and Qf6+.

If 26… Bxb5 27.Ng7+ Kf8 28. Nf5 and the bishop can’t be defended. 28… Nc8 29. Rxc8 Qxc8 30. Bxe7+ Kg8 (30… Ke8 Nd6+) 31. Qg4+

31. Rg3! And the rook can’t be defended. If 31…Qe7 32 Qh8+

Source: "My Life for Chess" by Victor Korchnoi - Chessbase DVD Lecture Series, 2005

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Game Collection: Moscow 1967
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