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Viktor Korchnoi vs Lev Polugaevsky
Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1977), Évian-les-Bains FRA, rd 3, Jul-06
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran. Wade Variation (D47)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-09-06  BabyJ: Exceptional endgame play by Korchnoi!
Sep-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: The page for this match (Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1977)) states: "The English seconds had prepared a toxic 15th move Bh7+, increasing Korchnoi's lead to 3-0" (the source for the quote is cited).

I was wondering what was so terrific about 15.Bh7+. Since the position looks fairly even, perhaps it's the fact that playing the position with the black pieces is harder than playing it with the white pieces. Therefore, "toxic" is an appropriate word choice.

Consider the position after 18.dxc5:


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Polugaevsky played the seemingly natural 18...Bxc5 and his problems began. But Stockfish keeps the 0:00 evaluation after either 18...Bxe4 or 18...Nxc5. The latter took me aback, until I realized that 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.Bxc5 Rfc8 and black's position is flawless.

Oct-06-16  Howard: Fusilli, we meet again! (We just "met" over some comments from the 1980 match between these same two players.)

At any rate, CL&R stated back in 1977 that according to the late Robert Byrne, 18...Nxc5 would indeed have been correct. (It doesn't comment on the alternative 18...Bxe4 though.)

Korchnoi's novelty 19.Rad1 immediately gave him an advantage, and Polu had to think for half an hour on his next move, of 19...Bxe3.

He still could have held the game, however, but failed to do so. Marin analyzes this game, incidentally, in his excellent Learn From the Legends.

Oct-20-17  paavoh: 26. - Rc1 spelled disaster for Black as he could not extricate his Rook from the first row easily. Thus, White King could penetrate.
Jun-09-20  cwcarlson: 57...♔e1?+-; 57...♔d3/e3 58.♘h5 ♔d4 59.♘f6 e3= Houdini 6.02. This game is analyzed in Mihail Marin's Learn from the Legends, pages 386-394.

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