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Boris Spassky vs Viktor Korchnoi
Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977/78), Belgrade YUG, rd 18, Jan-11
French Defense: Advance. Euwe Variation (C02)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-04-07  beginner64: Not sure if white resigned on time? (Though it is the 41st, not 39th move). Black is definitely threatening (Be4, Be3), but am not sure if is decidedly winning.

White also has an active attack after d5 (threatening e6+).

Aug-04-07  nescio: <beginner64> 41.Qc3 will have been the sealed move. Spassky and his second(s) must have come to the conclusion that it was hopeless after 41...Bd2 42.Qa3 Be4 and indeed it doesn't look like an enviable situation.
Jul-07-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: The 18th and final game of the match. According to a contemporary press report in the Times newspaper:

"Spassky resigned the adjourned game after the first move today. With an angry wave of his hand, he strode out of the hall as soon as the referee disclosed the move, which he had sealed in an envelope when the game was adjourned yesterday.

He did not shake hands with Korchnoi or say one word to him. The defeat was doubly bitter for Spassky for he had spurned the offer of a draw from Korchnoi on the thirty-third move."

Jul-07-10  Petrosianic: Spassky claimed that the position wasn't lost, but that he had resigned in protest over Korchnoi's behavior (which isn't worth recapping here). Keene claimed, on the tape he released about this match, that in fact Spassky was lost, but he declined to prejudice the listener by giving any variations. (No, I'm not kidding!).
May-29-11  Ulhumbrus: On 24 ...Na2 White does not to draw after repeating moves by 25 Rc2 Nb4 25 Rc1 Na2 and so relinquishes the c file

An alternative to 27 Kf2 is 27 g3 clearing the square g2 for the manoeuvre Nf3-h4-g2-f4-h5-f6

May-31-11  Ulhumbrus: On 24 ...Na2 White does not want to draw after repeating moves by 25 Rc2 Nb4 25 Rc1 Na2 and so relinquishes the c file

An alternative to 27 Kf2 is 27 g3 clearing the square g2 for the manoeuvre Nf3-h4-g2-f4-h5-f6

Oct-27-14  Ulhumbrus: As 29 hxg6 allows Black's QB to enter the game this suggests keeping White's h5 pawn by eg 29 Kg2 and now how is Black going to get his QB into the game?

It is possible that 28...g5 upset Spassky by appearing to taking over the attack on the king side but perhaps this was only so if Spassky allowed Black's QB to enter the game by 29 hxg6

Nov-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: A possible continuation: 41.Qc3 Bd2 42.Qa3 Qh4+ 43.Rg3 Be1+ 44.Kxe1 Qxg3+ 45.Kd2 Kg7 ... and Black is certainly winning, though White should probably play on...
Feb-06-17  Howard: In CL&R, Stean stated that the final position should have been fed to Chess 4.7, which was a leading chess computer at the time, adding that he would like to have seen its "objective verdict" on Spassky's claim that he final position was not lost for him.

So...was the final position lost for Spassky ?

Feb-06-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: After 41.Qc3 (the sealed move) Bd2! White is certainly lost, or close to it; ...Be4 and then ...Qh4+ are coming, and the white king gets hammered.

If Spassky had sealed 41.Ke1 (only good move according to Houdini) then his king avoids the danger and Black's bishops are adequate compensation for the pawn. This may or may not be what Boris meant when he said it wasn't lost.

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