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Viktor Korchnoi vs Lajos Portisch
USSR vs. Rest of the World (1970), Belgrade SRB, rd 3, Apr-02
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-27-03  Resignation Trap: Summary by George Koltanowski in Chess Life & Review:

"Korchnoi had much the better game against Portisch at adjournment. Maybe he didn't do his homework or felt there was no need to, but on the resumption of play, the wily Hungarian had prepared a trapthat won the Exchange, and eventually Korchnoi turned down his king."

Now to round four:

Portisch vs Korchnoi, 1970

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: This game was bad luck for Korchnoi. In the opening he simply forgot to make 8.c3 and played 8.h3 allowing to trade his light-squared Bishop for Knight. It is playable line for white and there are players, who play 8.h3 knowingly but it is very unpleasant thing for any orthodox confessor of Closed Ruy Lopez if this occurs unintentionally (I know this very well from my own experience). But Korchnoi played excellently after this small opening accident and achieved clearly better game. Unfortunately, immediately after adjournment he simply blundered an exchange and lost the game quickly. It was his only but decisive loss in his mini-match against Portisch.
Mar-06-06  RookFile: I do find 8.h3 to be a curious move
in this position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <RookFile> One possible idea is 8.h3 Na5 9.d4 exd4 10.e5 with initiative of white.
Oct-02-10  paladin at large: Language like "poor Korchnoi" and "unfortunate blunder" might lead one to believe that Portisch would normally have little chance against Korchnoi; however, they matched up very well against each other over the years. This encounter was a tough middlegame for both sides. Portisch played steadily over a long stretch and handled the endgame superbly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Slow-moving, patience-wrecking strategic battle, where it feels like each piece weighs a ton. In other words, typical closed Spanish.

Between moves 37 and 42, I thought Black could not play Bf5 because of Nxh5. When White plays 43.Nf1, that makes Bf5 possible. I find Koltanowski's summary (quoted by <Resignation Trap> below) odd. It suggests that, in the course of six moves, Korchnoi never saw Bf5? Was he not aware that he was defending against it?

In this position:

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if 48...Qxf6 49.Ne4 followed by 50.Nf6+, wherever the queen moves (if 50...Qxf6 51.Nh6+).

From then on, Portisch returns the exchange for a promising endgame, and exploits the weakness of Korchnoi's queenside pawn structure. What a terrific positional player.

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