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Viktor Korchnoi vs Boris Spassky
Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977/78), Belgrade YUG, rd 13, Dec-28
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-16-04  offramp: Korchnoi built up a massive position and then went a bit beserk. He seems to have thought that there was some kind of mate on h8.
Aug-16-04  Deck: To understand the horrendous blunder of this game, one must understand the tense and wild circumstances of the match. Spassky was desperate after losing to Fischer several years earlier, Korchnoi was in the heat of the Soviet chess circle, and feeling incredible pressure from the USSR after defecting. This is not even mentioning Spassky's abnormal (and cheating) behaviour which included playing entire games from the rest box behind Korchnoi's back (the "invisible opponent" using the demonstration board onstage), refusing to talk to Korchnoi or come to games on time, wearing ski goggles and a sun visor to several games and trying various other unsound and unsportsman-like tricks. Just how was Korchnoi expected to concentrate when his family and life were being persecuted and he couldn't even play a fair game of chess?!
Aug-16-04  Deck: I just realized that Raymond Keene, the legendary GM and author (not to mention Korchnoi's second in several key matches) kibitzs on this site. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his lasting contributions to the game -- he is a wonderful chess personality who has hit homes across the globe with his valuable insights. Thanks GM Keene! (hopefully we can talk sometime..."
Premium Chessgames Member GM Keene might stumble across this game if he keeps up with "Recent Kibitzing", but if you want to contact Ray Keene, go to the Raymond Keene page where he will undoubtedly read your post. He has been very open and friendly with the kibitzers here on a variety of topics.
Aug-17-04  molinov: <offramp>: my guess would be that Spassky didn't realise that the bishop would defend the rook and not that he thought that Rh8+ was checkmate.
Oct-03-13  Howard: Yes, Korchnoi had a horrible optical illusion at the board, and that's how he mistakenly sacrificed his queen. It was the third of FOUR straight games that he lost to Spassky in this match, and it thus helped Spassky cut Korchnoi's earlier five-point lead down to just one point.

The 14th game (Spassky's fourth straight victory) was definitely his best win of the match.

May-19-14  capafischer1: Raymond keene was a decent grandmaster, but to call him legendary is absurd to say the least.
May-19-14  Howard: I agree with that last comment. Granted, Keene had the distinction of being only the second English player to become a GM (the late Tony Miles beat him to it by a year or two), and he was probably one of the world's top 60-70 players in the mid-to-late 1970's, but to call him "legendary" is an exaggeration.
May-19-14  Petrosianic: It's hard to judge people who are known most for their writing. Would you call Fred Reinfeld "legendary"? (I think I would). How about people like Harry Golombek, George Koltanowski, C.H. Alexander, William Hartston, or Herman Helms? Legendary? Yeah, maybe.
May-19-14  snarky: Every time I see Korchnoi pop up on this site I can't help but remember a person who used to (perhaps still does) post in kibitzer's corner with a picture of VK in her(?) avatar. This was maybe 8 years ago. I haven't been to KC in ages but that person's posts were, ummmm, memorable.
May-19-14  Shams: I've never even heard of Herman Helms.

Sherman Helmsley, though, that guy is a legend.

May-19-14  Petrosianic: Helms lived into his 90's and edited the American Chess Bulletin for nearly 60 years. He was a hugely big name in his time, but not as well remembered now.

How about Larry Evans? Would people consider him a legend?

May-19-14  Shams: The editor of a chess magazine is, I think it's safe to say, not a "legend". Harold Ross is a legend. William F. Buckley, legend. After that the list of legendary editors is vanishingly short.

The only listed person I'd call a legend is Koltanowski, for the obvious reason.

May-19-14  Shams: Actually, I take it back. If Koltanowski gets in due to his amazing blindfold prowess than I think GM Keene gets in too-- not as a player or a writer, but as a plagiarist. He's like the modern Gilgamesh of plagiarism, so epic is he in this regard. It's a shame GM Keene has me on ignore as he'll miss me anointing him a LEGEND!
May-19-14  Petrosianic: Legendary Editors are defintely few. Especially now, when Chess Life has had scores of forgettable editors in the last 30 years, but nobody with much clout since Burt Hochberg.

Howard Staunton is another. He was a big name player, of course, but a lot of his clout came from his magazine.

I really don't know about Helms. He was sort of a legend in his own time, but not afterwards. He put down few roots.

May-19-14  Shams: Burt Hochberg, another household name! I loved his "Why do checkmates...suddenly appear..." jingle. :)
May-20-14  Howard: Shams....Helms helped edit the famous book on the New York 1924 tournament. That's how I became familiar with his name. Excellent book !
Feb-08-15  Estoc: At move 29 Korchnoi was in awful time trouble, with just minutes to play until move 40. This, in addition to the reasons <Deck> mentioned, is why he blundered away a won position.

I can't remember where I read this (it may have been a GM Keene account), but I think Korchnoi hallucinated that the black rook was still on f7, so of course Rh8 would have been checkmate. But then 33...Bxf5 happened, and Korchnoi realized that wasn't the case at all.

Mar-04-16  edubueno: I cannot understand very well, why Spassky played 22...Bf6 instead of the natural 22...e5
Feb-06-17  Howard: This game, in my view, was another example (See my comments to Game 10 of the match.) of the of the biasness that Keene and Stean showed towards Korchnoi in their coverage of this match in CL&R.

More specifically, in the intro to this game, they state that this game was almost "too painful" to annotate. Then, at the end, they state that after the game, Korchnoi filed a protest against Spassky sitting in his private box during the game, emerging only to make moves.

Translated: if Korchnoi made a horrible blunder in this game, the excuse that Spassky's strange behavior during the game, was the cause of it sounds like little more than a cheap excuse, if you ask me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: 32...?

Monday puzzle material? Or no? I say yes. What say you?

Sep-06-22  edubueno: The position after move 31 is equal, but very sharply. Published analysis from Raymond Denis Keene are not fair. The proposed sacrifice 32. Bb2 Qxe3+ 33. Kb1 Rb8 34. Bxf5 Nd2+ 35. Rxd2 Rxf5 36. Rxh7 Rf1+ 37. Bc1 Rxc1+ 38. Kxc1 Qa3+ 39. Qb2 Qxb2+ 40. Rxb2 Kxh7 allowed complete equalization after 41.b5 cxb5 42.Kd2 Kg6 43.Ke3 Re8+ 44.Kd4 Re4+ 45.Kxd5 Re3 46.Rg2 Rd3+ 47.Kc6 Kf5 48.Kb6 Ke4 49.c6 Rc3 50.Rb2 Rxg3 51.Rb4+ Kf5 52.Rxb5+ Ke6 53.c7 Rc3 54.Kb7 Kd7 55.Rd5+ Ke6 56.Rg5 Rb3+ 57.Kc6 Rc3+

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