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Dragutin Sahovic vs Viktor Korchnoi
Biel (1979)
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System (C07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-09-17  Pawn Slayer: I went for the finish 45...Rh8+ 46 Kxh8 Rd8+ 47 Rf8 Rxf8#.

Otherwise, the same.

Korchnoi was a monster.

Feb-09-17  gofer: Rf3 is god-like. It separates Kg4 from defence by its rooks and the king from defending its rooks. Rather unwisely white's king has gone on the rampage and is now surrounded.

Black now has a simple mate threat...

1 ... h5+ 2 Kxh5 Rd8 3 ... Rh8+ 4 ... Rxh4#

But what can white do to stop this?! The threat of mate can be avoided, immediately but not for long...

<39 ... h5+>
<40 Kxh5 Rd8>

41 hxg5+ Kf5
42 Kh6 Rh3+
43 Kg7 Rd7+
44 Kg8 Kg6!
44 Rf1/Rf2 Rd8+
45 Rf8 Rh8+!
46 Kh8 Rxf8#

41 Rh1/Rh2 g4!
42 any move Rh8+ (Kxg4 starts the sequence a move earlier!) 43 Kxg4 Rg8+
44 Kh5 Rf5+
45 Kh6 Rh8#

<41 Kg4 gxh4>

click for larger view

Black plays the waiting game. The poor rooks on e1 and e2 have no chance to go to a good file. The d and f files are guarded. The g file just loses the rook to a discovered check. Rc2, Rc1, c5 and b5 really don't do much!!!

<42 Rh2/Rh1 Rg8+>

42 Kxh4 Kf5!
43 any move Rh8#

<43 Kh5 Rfg3!>

White has a few spite checks available but there is really nothing that can be done...

<43 Rf1+/Rf2+ Ke6!>

<44 Kxh4 R3g7!>

click for larger view

White is up a pawn, in a "rook and pawn end-game", but still its...

Game over...

Feb-09-17  clement41: At first I went 39...h5+ 40 Kxh5 Rh3!? threatening 41...Rxh3# but after 41 Kg4 Rxh4+ 42 Kg3 there is no decisive blow. I then saw 40...Rd8 but not the entire line.
In the end black mates with at least 3 ways, my favourite being 45...Rd8+ 46 Rf8 Rh8+ 47 Kxh8 Rxf8#

Apart from this endgame combination, white got outplayed rather early, getting this weak pawn on e3 while black's d5 IQP looks more like an asset than a liability. 25 Bxe4!? I assume this is an attempt at a fortress after 25...Rxf3 26 Bxf3 , that was acknowledged by Korchnoļ as effective.

Feb-09-17  The Kings Domain: First thought of the text move but missed 40) ... Rd8 so I decided on the more mundane 39) ... Rf5. Nice finish by the terrible one.
Feb-09-17  saturn2: <dick50> After 39..Kg6 white has h5+ and the kingside remains blocked.
Feb-09-17  kb2ct: Wonderful


Feb-09-17  gofer: I was wondering if <41 ... gxh4> was really the way to go!? It looks good, but I thought perhaps there might be wriggle-room for white!

<42 Ra1! ...>

click for larger view

This POTD just seems to keep giving. But there is still a simple mating sequence...

<42 ... Rg8+!>

43 Kh5 Rg5+ (Kxh4 Kf5 mating)
44 Kxh4 Kf5! (Kh6 Rff5 mating)
45 Ra5+ b5 (Rh2 Rg8! mating)
46 Rxa6/cxb5 Rg4+
47 Kh5 Rh3#

click for larger view

Feb-09-17  LIzzard: Did anyone else get stuck on 40: gh4+ for black? I couldn't make it work, but just fell down that road....
Premium Chessgames Member
  mjmorri: Give Korchnoi a couple Rooks and some Pawns and let him loose.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I guess black also wins with 45...R-h8+.
Feb-09-17  YouRang: <mjk: Is 40...Rd7 more accurate?>

No, it's actually much less effective since white's king then has 41.Kh6 to prevent being mated on the h-file. In contrast, 40...Rd8! 41.Kh6? Rh8#.

Black should still win after 40...Rd7, but the immediate mate threats have been lost.

Feb-09-17  YouRang: <ChessHigherCat: It would have been more dramatic to play 45...Ra1+ 46 Kxa1 Re1+ 37. Rc1 Rxc1# although I admit it's slower>

You have your board coordinates turned around and some misnumbering. :-)

You mean:

45...Rh8+ 46.Kxh8 Rd8+ 47.Rf8 Rxf8#

Feb-09-17  YouRang: <LIzzard: Did anyone else get stuck on 40: gh4+ for black? I couldn't make it work, but just fell down that road....>

Black's rook is under attack, so if 40...gxh4+

click for larger view

Then 41.cxd5

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Making the winning line(s) even more impressive was that 40...h5+ was probably the last move before the time control and Korchnoi was likely in time pressure (he often was) so everything needed to be calculated with very little time on the clock.
Feb-09-17  stst: Let W take the R on d, Kg6 and h5# next:
40.cxR (no other better move, nothing to attack Black K) h5#, as W K can go nowhere. The instant h5+ will be a long wind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <stst>
39...Kg6 <40. h5+> and then 41. cxd5.
Feb-09-17  stst: yeah, err on blind, Black still has to go h5+ first to block WP to go up.
Feb-09-17  diagonal: This game has been part of a Master Class / Lecture 'Korchnoi' - with Daniel King and Yannick Pelletier at Biel last year: (10:54 - 19:14)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Excellent choice for the daily puzzle!
This was one of Korchnoi's excellent games that I was not aware of until now.
Feb-09-17  Henrychn: Kasparov wrote in his book "Test of time": "Korchnoi often causes battle in endgame and wins "
Feb-09-17  zanzibar: <Henrychn> can't find the exact passage, but I remember Korchnoi writing somewhere that he felt he handled the opening very well, and couldn't be outplayed if the endgame was reached. But he felt that he sometimes (often?) drifted in the middlegame, having difficulty finding the correct plan (or somesuch).

I think this is from <Chess Is My Life>, aka GoK, but I'm not sure.

Feb-10-17  LIzzard: YouRang: - Thanks - I was either 1/2 a sleep or am dumb as a box of rocks....
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Korchnoi chose the most efficient mate in two with 45...Rg7+ rather than the cheeky mate in 3 starting with 45...Rh8+ (which is what Nakamura, for example, would have picked.) Or maybe 45...Rd8+ 46.Rf8 and there 46...Rh8+, even cheekier.
Feb-12-17  yadasampati: <HeMateMe> Indeed. See my previous remark.
Feb-27-17  Saniyat24: Korchnoi and his Rook-pawn ending....just fantastic....My mother retired from her bank job of fifteen years and we used to play many many chess games...used to have tournaments where the first to 10 points(draws included)will be the that I had a chess book(Indian-Bangla) where the writer focused on Fischer-Spassky, Karpov-Korchnoi and Karpov-Kaparov World Championship. I really liked Korchnoi's attacking style and tried to imitate his play with his English and Semi-Benoni openings....all those crazy psychologist stories, and Korchnoi telling, 'Oh, God forgive them'. Incredibly he leveled at one I wished Korchnoi could be World Champion. Karpov seemed to me the worst villain ever. I still remember what the writer said about the Karpov-Kasparov World Championship...'Karpov hugs like a bear, while Kasparov strikes like a cobra,'...Kasparov creates initiatives whereas Karpov waits for his opponents mistakes. Now that I have grown up and watched how Karpov presented Kasparov a book while he was in prison, he is not a villain anymore...but among all other chess players Korchnoi still holds a special place in my heart.
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