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MATCH STANDINGS
Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal Match

Viktor Korchnoi5.5/9(+2 -0 =7)[games]
Tigran V Petrosian3.5/9(+0 -2 =7)[games]

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal (1980)

For this match, Korchnoi qualified by reaching the Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977). Petrosian qualified from the Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979). The three other quarterfinals were the Hübner - Adorjan Candidates Quarterfinal (1980), Portisch - Spassky Candidates Quarterfinal (1980) and Polugaevsky - Tal Candidates Quarterfinal (1980). In all four matches, the winner was first to get 5.5 points. The matches were held in order to select a challenger for Anatoly Karpov, the World Champion.

Photo: http://binaryapi.ap.org/bd4d065eccb...

Velden, Austria, 8-25 March 1980

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 GM Korchnoi 2695 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 5½ 2 GM Petrosian 2615 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 3½

Chief arbiter: Harry Golombek.

Korchnoi advanced to the Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1980).

 page 1 of 1; 9 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½701980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD94 Grunfeld
2. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½161980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE46 Nimzo-Indian
3. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½511980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalA11 English, Caro-Kann Defensive System
4. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½451980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
5. Korchnoi vs Petrosian 1-0461980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½381980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE12 Queen's Indian
7. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½381980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalA11 English, Caro-Kann Defensive System
8. Petrosian vs Korchnoi ½-½201980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalE12 Queen's Indian
9. Korchnoi vs Petrosian 1-0441980Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates QuarterfinalD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-25-17  ZonszeinP: Чwhat a pity

The last chance Petrosian had to prove he was (always) a better player than Korchnoi

Jan-25-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It is very sad that Petrosian died so young, at 55. His knowledge of chess was so comprehensive that I can imagine him, like Smyslov, reaching a Candidate's Final in his 60s.
Jan-25-17  ZonszeinP: A genius!
Jan-13-21  Allanur: < But another factor is that Petrosian was in his 50's when this match was played, while Korchnoi, though almost as old, was at his peak >

Korchnoi peaking late is a myth created and believed by those who look at statistics only. In 1977 and 1980 encounters, Petrosian outplayed him but lost due to blunders or missed wins. Polugaevsky (1980) and Spassky (1977) was similarly head to head with him even though Spassky was playing far below his peak play, Korchnoi's luck was in a miraculous level (or to put it in skill measurement, we can say he was more concenteated, less deteriorated). Kirchnoi was not playing better chess than he used to play, his chess did not improve, he did not peak. Just his opponents deteriorated more than Korchnoi did. This "Korchnoi peaked at late 40s" myth should not even exist in a forum like this. Only those who look at scoresheets may believe such nonsense. Korchnoi of 60s was putting forth better resistance against players of higher caliber.

And that old Korchnoi was almost too hard for Karpov. Fischer, as Korchnoi told in 2015, was really in a class by himself, especially in 70s. Spassky and Karpov said Karpov would have dethroned Fischer in 1978, but I doubt it. Even 1981 version of Karpov was not in the level Fischer demonstrated to be. But hey, then Karpov would had been completely different that the one he has been

Jan-13-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Kirchnoi was not playing better chess than he used to play, his chess did not improve, he did not peak. Just his opponents deteriorated more than Korchnoi did.>

<Spassky and Karpov said Karpov would have dethroned Fischer in 1978, but I doubt it. Even 1981 version of Karpov was not in the level Fischer demonstrated to be.>

You're taking everyone else's deterioration into account here, but not Fischer's. As early as 1973, Fischer's friends were noting that, unlike his previous layoffs, he was no longer familiar with the latest innovations, and fearing that he'd never play again.

Whether Karpov 1978 could beat Fischer 1972 is not the question (that matchup could never happen).

As for Korchnoi not peaking, he did quit drinking around that time, and resolved some annoying personal problems. It's quite possible his play did actually improve in the 70's.

Jan-14-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: With Fischer you're talking about somebody who went from 1800 to US Champion in 1 year. Replaying some games that he may have missed would not have been Mount Everest for him.
Jan-14-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caparlsen: <As for Korchnoi not peaking, he did quit drinking around that time, and resolved some annoying personal problems. It's quite possible his play did actually improve in the 70's.> I'd say that Korchnoi reached his peak by 1978. In his title match against Karpov he missed some wins, and, in my opinion, his play in the series of games that led to his leveling the score (5-5) was way superior to Karpov's. Strange enough, after this feat, he was clearly outplayed in the 32th and last. He blamed the parapsychologist. We'll never know.
Jan-14-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caparlsen: For a numerical comparison between Korchnoi's and Petrosian's ELO evolution:

https://2700chess.com/players/korch...

https://2700chess.com/players/petro....

Jan-14-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: There is something that many commenters either seem to miss, or ignore, while making comparisons. Players help each other improve, especially at the top level. The greatest loss of the missing Fischer-Karpov match is that they would have improved each other (cue a few Fischer fanatics here, who will claim he's far beyond learning from contemporaries,) but this seems completely inarguable to me.

Sorry if that has been said before, and better.

Perhaps the best argument for identifying a stagnant period in the 70s was the fact that the top players kept playing each other - it takes new blood, along with robust WC-type match play, to advance the game and create challenges for the experienced. With all that in mind, Korchnoi really is amazing, always pushing himself to stay in front of theory.
Jan-14-21  W Westerlund: Caparlsen: Korchnoi did not blame Dr (?) Zukhar for the last game because Zukhar was not present. It was a matter of him not controlling his nerves nor his paranoia. In this 'it is now or never' moment Korchnoi was too paranoid to plan the 32th game with any of his secondants. So, he played the Pirc and it was terrible - I suppose that Karpov had a won position after 15 moves or so (and certainly after e5!).
Jan-14-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <He blamed the parapsychologist. We'll never know.>

There's a psychological moment in a match when someone levels the scores after chasing their opponent for a long time. The pursuer wants to catch his breath and regroup, and feels a little washed out and listless at that point.

That's why in 1966, when Spassky leveled the scores after 13 games of chasing, Petrosian came back hard in the next game, determined to play for a win, even if it meant some risk. Spassky played a well-analyzed line that led to a solid but passive position for Black, and the rest was history. Spassky said after the match that not taking a time out after Game 19 was his biggest mistake.

Korchnoi had been chasing Karpov for 22 games. Actually managing it is a huge turning point.

Jan-16-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I'm curious. What exactly would Fischer learn from Karpov?

On the other side of the coin, Gligoric noted that Fischer was the world's greatest expert on the Najdorf Sicilian since 1958, so there were one or two things Fischer could teach Karpov there.

Jan-16-21  Allanur: < You're taking everyone else's deterioration into account here, but not Fischer's. > Those whose deteriorations I talked of was already post-physical youth e.g. Petrosian, Spassky and Polugaevsky. Whereas Fischer would still had been in his youth years. Korchnoi was also as old as both Petrosian and Polugaevsky, but that was his difference: somehow he deterioated less than them.

I think neither you nor me disagrees that Petrosian outplayed Korchnoi both in 77 and 80, only to miss wins.

Spassky, who had been being repressed psychologically, as narrated by Tal in 1987, was also still head to head with him but lost mainly due to outright blunders. In a sense, we really can asserte Korchnoi did not peak. He just deteriorated less than the ones he used to lose to in his younger years.

<As early as 1973, Fischer's friends were noting that, unlike his previous layoffs, he was no longer familiar with the latest innovations, and fearing that he'd never play again> * In early 1977, Korchnoi said "Fischer is au courant with the latest chess theory" (not verbatim, but something with that meaning). It was said after he visited Fischer at his home. * In 1978, Fischer travelled to Yugoslavia, met Gligorich. The two were negotiating a million dollar match. Gligorich also said Fischer was familiar with the developments in chess. Also, there are some narrations of Fischer playing blitz with a GM in early 80s and defeating him easily. In all likelyhood, Fischer might been familiar.

Jan-16-21  Allanur: < I'm curious. What exactly would Fischer learn from Karpov? >

To begin with, Karpov would have been top of the iceberg. The entire Soviet chess system would have taught if someone taught. Then, in the 4th game of the 72 match, Fischer was taught something in his favourite line - Fischer-Sozin attack. So, no need to degrade anyone or exalt anyone.

Then, what is meant by "players help each other improve" is, each encounter brings new preperation, new ideas and new novelties. That is how they improve each other. That is how players who were very sharp in teen years transform to be somewhat balanced players in later years. Encounters give you a lesson, as Fischer himself said in 1992.

If Karpov and Fischer played in 75, Karpov would have been different.

Imagine how the 84 encounter affected Kasparov!

Jan-17-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Karpov said he really booked up on Alekhine's Defense for the match. Had Fischer played it, maybe Karpov wins the first game. The problem is, with Fischer, you don't get a second game. Fischer was well aware of the help Spassky got in 1972 and would treat Karpov the same way, avoiding the repetition of openings. Imagine how Karpov would have felt if he sits down at the board and Fischer opened with 1. f4 - after months of preparing for 1. c4, 1. e4, etc.
Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: When a player's opponents consistently play poorly, as was the case in the 1981 Candidates cycle, then you have to think that it's not just dumb luck. Korchnoi seemed to be quite adept at messing with his opponents in his later years, leading them to situations where they were not comfortable, a la Lasker (who he claimed as his role model).
Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Korchnoi seemed to be quite adept at messing with his opponents in his later years,>

Yes, but not as much in 1981, where he was in trouble in all three matches, as in 1978, where he sailed through two of them and was never in trouble in the third.

Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <The two were negotiating a million dollar match.>

According to Chess Life & Review, the match was a done deal. They never did retract or correct the story, or explain why the match didn't happen.

<Also, there are some narrations of Fischer playing blitz with a GM in early 80s and defeating him easily.>

The story is that Fischer won a lot of blitz games from Peter Biyiasas, but nobody's ever seen any of the games, or even seems to know where the story comes from. Maybe Biayasas himself, but who knows?

Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: <1978, where he sailed through two of them>

Being 5-0 in wins after seven games in the Candidates semi and 5-0 after ten in the final was almost Fischer level considering the opposition, even if Spassky caught up a bit to lose only 4-7.

Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: The Korchnoi-Spassky match was a weird one. Korchnoi was sailing along, with a 5-0 lead. Spassky was so crushed by it that he couldn't even face him, and started spending all his time in his relaxation box, and analyzing on the demonstration board. And <Korchnoi> went to pieces over this, and lost 4 straight games, one in which he just hung his Queen. But he did pull himself together and manage to win the match by a comfortable margin. But you know Karpov took note of how easy it was to rattle Korchnoi.
Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Being 5-0 in wins after seven games in the Candidates semi and 5-0 after ten in the final was almost Fischer level considering the opposition,>

In some ways better. After starting 6-1 against Polugaevsky, when Korchnoi lost a game, he didn't wear himself out trying to run up the score as much as possible. He just sat back, and made Polugaevsky come to him. He couldn't do it, and the remaining games were drawn, saving that energy for another day.

Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Simple pragmatism, the ideal formula in a set match.
Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Allanur> Spassky and Karpov said Karpov would have dethroned Fischer in 1978, but I doubt it. Even 1981 version of Karpov was not in the level Fischer demonstrated to be.>

But chessplayers' performances vary over time. There have been many top players who have had a run of good games for a year or two, well beyond their typical playing strength. Mamedyarov (2800+ from Jan-2018 through Jan-2019 and ranked #2 at least some of the time, now 2770 and ranked #8-#9) and So (2800+ from Jan-2017 through Aug-2017 and ranked #2 at least some of the time; now 2770 and also ranked #8-#9). immediately come to mind.

Caruana, the current #2, has dipped above and below 2800 in recent years. Rated 2800+ from May-2016 through Aug-2017, he dipped below 2800 (granted, not by much) between Sep-2017 through Dec-2017, was ranked 2800+ in Jan-2018 before dipping below 2800 in Feb-2018 and Mar-2018 but has been rated 2800+ and ranked #2 since.

Great players all, then as now and, although the 2800 threshold is arbitrary, it shows the difficulty of maintaining a high rating and ranking over a considerable period of time. So you are apparently assuming that Fischer would have maintained or even exceeded his playing strength in 1971 and 1972 through 1978, and that's not necessarily a valid assumption, even if he had continued to play regularly. After all, he had achieved his goal of becoming WCC and it's not clear that his motivation to remain at the top would be as great as his motivation to get there.

And, as you said that Korchnoi said, Fischer was really in a class by himself in the <early> 1970s (that's all the evidence we have), but that doesn't mean that he would have been in a class by himself in 1978. We simply don't know, although of course we can all have opinions..

Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: <Petrosianic>--I was talking mostly about 1981, when it seems that Korchnoi didn't win it so much as his opponents lost it. I think we can all agree that Korchnoi's play in the 1981 cycle was nowhere near as good as three years before--Korchnoi himself said that the quality of the play in the Hubner-Portisch match was higher than any of his own. What I suspect happened is that he put on a performance similar to that of Lasker in the 1924 New York tournament, where he was lost at some point in about half the games he played but only lost one. As he aged and lost much of his ability to penetrate to the deepest levels of a position, perhaps he compensated somewhat by learning how to better size his opponents up, creating situations (on and perhaps off the board) that his adversaries couldn't handle.
Feb-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Caissanist>, could well be; certainly I concur that overall, Korchnoi's play in the 1980 cycle did not give that feeling that he should inevitably challenge Karpov, while I recall the final as being more a match in which Huebner let potential victory slip from his grasp than a clear-cut win overall by Viktor the Terrible.
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