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Boris Spassky vs Lajos Portisch
Portisch - Spassky Candidates Quarterfinal (1980), Mexico City MEX, rd 1, Mar-30
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B25)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-18-09  Helios727: When they say "Event ct" what does the "ct" mean?
Premium Chessgames Member
  shalgo: <When they say "Event ct" what does the "ct" mean?>

I think it is meant to stand for "Candidates' Tournament."

This game was the first game in the Candidates' quarterfinal match between Spassky and Portisch. The match ended as a draw: each of them won one game and there were 12 draws. Portisch was declared the winner because he had won more games as black. In effect, this game decided the match.

Mar-02-12  King Death: < shalgo: This game was the first game in the Candidates' quarterfinal match between Spassky and Portisch.... Portisch was declared the winner (of the match) because he had won more games as black. In effect, this game decided the match.>

This tiebreaker wasn't great but it was better than one used in the next cycle. One player was sent home by the spin of a roulette wheel!

Portisch's move 6...e6 became standard to avoid a lot of the kingside play that White always used to get after 6...e5 when f4-f5 was often played, even as a sacrifice (Spassky vs Hort, 1978). Now nobody plays this variation of the Closed Sicilian anymore.

Nov-25-13  Howard: Chess Life analyzed this game back in late 1980, as I recall. Still remember playing it over on my pocket chess set while in my college dorm room one evening.

Regarding the tiebreak rules, they went as follows....if after ten games the score was tied, then the two players would play a two-game tiebreaker (regular time controls). If that didn't settle it, an additional two games would be played.

That would therefore make 14 games in total, and if the score was still tied then whoever had won the most games with Black would be declared the winner. If that wasn't enough to determine a winner, then the last player to have won a game would be the winner.

Rather strange way to break a tie, but then Spassky and Portisch had agreed to all this before the match started--thus, it was fair.

As an earlier kibitzer mentioned, Portisch won Game 1 (this game) and he'd had Black. Thus, he was already at an advantage right from the get-go ! Spassky won the ninth game, but.....he'd had White. The other 12 games were drawn, and Spassky thus had to go home.

Dec-31-14  poorthylacine: TO KING DEATH: "...Now, nobody plays this variation of the Closed Sicilian anymore."

sorry, KING DEATH, but my love for Spassky encouraged my to find: Spassky- Timman, Hambug 1982, 1-0, where this variation was played again by Spassky himself!...

Dec-31-14  poorthylacine: TO KING DEATH:
but maybe the game I quote was played BEFORE the one of the Spassky-Portisch match, so to be sure, I quote another one, played at Tilburg 1983, to be sure it was later: Spassky- Van der Wiel 1-0 too!!
Dec-31-14  poorthylacine: But what happens with me, even I am not drunk? 1980, then 1982, no need to add a game of 1983!!
Dec-31-14  Petrosianic: <Spassky and Portisch had agreed to all this before the match started--thus, it was fair.>

Sort of. Yes, the match was fair to both Spassky and Portisch, but was not fair to the public.

However these rules, odd as they are, are a lot better than those for previous candidates, which would have decided this match on a coin flip. That never happened until 1983 (sort of), but as far as I know, those tiebreak rules were always around.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <poorthylacine> Drunk or sober, games played in 1982 or even 1983 don't disprove KingDeath's claim.
Oct-22-18  Howard: This encounter was a positional gem by Portisch. A bit difficult to understand, but if you spend some time with it, you'll understand his moves.
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