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Robert Huebner vs Lajos Portisch
Huebner - Portisch Candidates Semifinal (1980), Abano Terme ITA, rd 9, Aug-19
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-06-07  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 22...Kd7. 22...d5 prepares to mix it up magnificently by ...d4. The text makes the move Nc5 more effective.
Oct-06-13  Howard: Chess Life referred to this as "one of the most exciting games in the history of the Candidates matches", and that was probably a pretty apt description.

Incidentally, perhaps someone can help clarify something here......Chess Life, as I recall, stated that Portisch made "a heart-breaking blunder on the last move of the time control" and suggested an alternative 40th move which apparently would have held the position.

Any idea what that was ? I don't have that particular issue anymore.

Oct-06-13  Olavi: 40...Qf4, but analysis suggested 41.Rf3 to be strong.

However that may be, Hübner sealed 41.Qg4+ and Portisch resigned without resuming.

Oct-17-13  Howard: Thanks for the info ! Remind me to look at Volume 29 of the Informant, which (naturally) has this game. Maybe it analyzed 41.Rf3.

At any rate, it appears that at least 41.Rf3 would not have lost outright.

Mar-09-14  Howard: Oops ! I meant "at least 41. Rf3" might not have won outright, had Portisch played 40....Qf4.

This game was a tragedy for Portisch. He definitely had the much better position earlier, and had he won this game, then he would not only have had a one-point lead with only three games left to go, but he would even have had White in two of those three.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Here's the game annotated by the German weekly news magazine <Der Spiegel>:
Jun-17-14  offramp: Game 9, August 19th 1980. All previous 8 games had been drawn!

After 24.Kc1...

click for larger view should now have played 24...Qxc3!

Black later plays 30...Qh3,

click for larger view

but after 31.Nxe5+! black's king comes under a massive attack.

After 33...Ke6,

click for larger view

Hubner should've played 34.Rxe5+!!

Black is suddenly back in the game! But 37...h6 misses white's main threat -

click for larger view

White should now have played 38.Qh5+! .

After 40.Rb3?

click for larger view

... 40...Qf4! would probably draw.

In the final position white wins:

click for larger view

41.Qg4+ Kh7 42.Qf5+ Kg8 43.Rg3+ Kf8 44.Qh7 .

A bit of a tragedy for Portisch - but Hubner I think played quite well, found some crucial moves and deserved to win, all in all.

Jan-28-16  Howard: Didn't Portisch miss a likely win here ? Anyone wanna go over this game with Rybka, or something comparable ?
Jan-28-16  Retireborn: <Howard> My notes suggest 24...Qxc3 wins for Black, or later 30...Bxc4 31.Rxc4 Ke6 32.Kb1 Qh3 33.Bc7 Rxb2+ 34.Kxb2 Bxf6 35.Bxd6 e4+ gives Black good winning chances with an extra pawn and the white king exposed.

After 31.Nxe5+! the winning chances are all with White, although neither side plays very accurately after that.

Jan-29-16  Howard: Thanks much !

By the way, what do you notes say about

Chess Life branded it a "serious error", but I don't recall why.

Jan-29-16  Retireborn: My notes give 11.a3 d5 12.e5 Nfe4 as equal. 11.g5 b4! looks equal too, but I wouldn't say 11.g5 is a mistake, it looks as good as anything.
Jan-30-16  Howard: Just what are these "notes" that you have----just wondered.
Jan-30-16  Retireborn: For the 1980 semifinal matches they are mostly from the New Chess Player, a short-lived British rival to Informator which ran to 10 volumes from 1978-1980.

Unfortunately I no longer own them, but I seem to remember a lot of the annotations to these matches were by Tony Miles.

Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: Games like this can go either way, but it's great they happen. Never thought of Heubner as a buccaneer but this is proof he can be !!!
Jun-13-18  Howard: According to Jack Peters in his CL&R coverage of the match, Portish should have played 25...Qxc3, arguing that that move probably would have won.

As I see it, the match basically hinged on this game. Had Portisch won it--as he probably should have--he would have had not only a one-point lead with just three games to go, but he would have had an extra White, too.

Aug-07-18  RookFile: Fortune favors the bold. Huebner the buccaneer? Well, in this game, he was!
Jun-27-20  Howard: So, according to Stockfish, Portisch’s position was already lost after 39 moves. If i remember correctly, Chess Life stated that Black was “almost safe” at that point.

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