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Boris Spassky vs Anatoly Karpov
Montreal (1979), Montreal CAN, rd 13, Apr-28
Queen's Indian Defense: Miles Variation (E12)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-06-04  ArturoRivera: In a very similar game (just the opening) Spassky was Black, and his oponent wich was Miles, played a little bit more inteligent with 5.-h3 preventing to double pawns and loose a bishop, this trap is so bad for white beacause it not only doubles pawns and weakens the kingside, but also looses the exchange beacause in my opinion a bishop is more than a Knight.
Oct-27-05  chesscrazy: Spassky has played Miles before and Miles plays Bf4 extremely often. Here Spassky copies the idea (move 4) but ends up losing.
Oct-27-05  chesscrazy: Here are my thoughts about this game: 6.Nc3 was a bit dubious because Black can immediately trade white's bishop for black's knight (bishops aren't always better than knights). 7...d6 was a good move because Karpov sees that white will have the 2 knights so he begins making anti-knight moves to take away the knight's good squares. (Black us not in a hurry to capture white's bishop) 9.0-0 is not the best move. Better was 9.Qc2 followed by 10.Be4. 15...a6 is very good. Karpov is following the Steinitz formula wonderfully! Black is now going to blast open the center so the power of the Bishops will be felt. 19...c5 is a good move(blasting open the center). 23...Bxc3! is a good move but may cause a bit of confusion. Why was Karpov fighting so hard to keep the bishops and all of a sudden giving them up? I think the answer is that now Karpov wants to have a better pawn structure and let that eventually lead to a material advantage. 31...Bxf3! is trading advantages again. 34...a5 is zugzwang!!! All this led to a win by Karpov!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Bf4 just looks like a bad idea all the way around.
Oct-30-05  chesscrazy: <OhioChessFan> Bf4 is not necessarily a really bad idea.
Oct-30-05  euripides: Miles beat Spaasky twice with this line in 1978. No wonder Boris was impressed.
Oct-30-05  euripides: 26 Ng1 looks more like Karpov hmself or Petrosian rather than Boris. The question is, why not 26 Rxd6 ? I gues the answer is something like 26....Bxf3 27 gxf3 Re2+ followed by Rxd6 and Ne5.

The economy of means with which Karpov then controls the position deserves comparison with Capablanca.

Nov-12-05  ajile: I've seen this idea for White where he even plays h3 before Bf4 so he can drop the bishop back to H2 if necessary. The bishop on the h2/b8 diagonal can be surprisingly strong.
Jan-06-06  hayton3: Trademark Karpov. He brings about an early endgame having acquired the advantage of the two bishops which he then transforms into a slightly better advantage: doubling White's pawns by taking the knight on c3 with the bishop.

He then sacrifices a pawn to ensure he has the more active rook in the endgame and follows up by exchanging his remaining bishop for Black's only active minor piece - his knight.

The resulting position of knight and better pawn structure versus bad bishop forces Spassky to seek active counterplay with an ensuing loss of time and pawns by which juncture Karpov has a winning endgame.

Jun-13-09  marknierras: Zugzwang for white on move 35... There are no moves that has a neutral result; great lesson in constricting opponenet!
Dec-24-09  BISHOP TAL: bxc5 seems like like a unnateral move to me, I would of gone dxc5 trying to get rid of the weak pawn karpov saw better, how far I wonder.
Sep-29-13  Ulhumbrus: Spassky tries to do without the move 6 h3 but fails almost hopelessly after 9...g6!! (accepting a weakening of the black squares in anticipation of the capture ..Nxg3 removing White's dark squared bishop) 10 h3?. Instead of 10 h3 a better choice seems 10 Nd2 0-0 11 f3 Nxg3 12 hxg3 which is also better for Black but avoids reducing so much the value of White's pawns
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <euripides: 26 Ng1 looks more like Karpov hmself or Petrosian rather than Boris. The question is, why not 26 Rxd6 ? I gues the answer is something like 26....Bxf3 27 gxf3 Re2+ followed by Rxd6 and Ne5.>

In the tournament book, Karpov gives 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 Bxf3 Ne5. Black threatens to win the bishop by ...Re2+ and ...Re1+ and of course Re6 is unplayable.

Karpov goes on, by way of example I think, <29.f4 Nf3+ 30.Kg2 Rxc3 31.Rd5 Nd4 32.Rxc5 Rb3 33.Rd5 Rb2+ etc.>

Interestingly, my engine just shreds (sorry) this analysis. After 29.f4? (the computer finds the much stronger 29.g4!, trying to bring the bishop to life) Nxc4! again threatens ...Re2+ and ...Re1+, so 30.Rd8+ is forced. 30...Kf7 31.Bd3 Ke7! 32.Rd5 Nb6! forces 33.Re5+ Rxe5 34.fxe5 a5 and Black has a won ending.

By contrast 29.f4? Nf3+? 30.Kg2 Rxc3 31.Rxa6! gives White good chances for a draw. Why should White waste several moves taking Black's c-pawn when he can grab the a-pawn immediately?

To go back to the original question, it does appear that 26.Rxd6 is stronger than 26.Ng1.

Apr-30-16  Howard: One of the top 30 games of the first half of 1979, according to Informant.
Oct-23-20  fisayo123: 28...Ke7! was an incredibly deep move by Karpov that Spassky seriously underestimated
Feb-20-21  tbontb: After the Q exchange the ending is clearly better for Black. The tempting 23. Nd5 fails after ..Bxd5 24. cxd5 Rb8, perhaps explaining why 22...bc5 was played. Instead 23...Bxc3 cedes the 2Bs but cripples the White pawns. As noted above, Spassky's 26. Ng1 is the losing move under severe pressure; better (though still good for Black) is 26. Rxd6. After 30...Rc1 with advantage the Zugzwang is not long in coming.

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