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Boris Spassky vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Spassky Candidates Semifinal (1974), Leningrad URS, rd 6, Apr-24
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation (B18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Argh, above it should read, "All very well, says Kasparov, but the Patriarch missed 44…b5!!." What a stupid typo!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Kasparov spends a good portion of his interview on chesscafe commenting on the Spassky-Karpov match. Without an official championship, he considered it crucial to establishing Karpov as a champion.

His main point is that Spassky underestimated Karpov, who was improving daily, and this game supports that view.

Spassky had several opportunities to draw, none of them easy, but he chose instead a speculative 47 b4 which gave him no chances for creativity.

I would have liked to see the minor piece ending that Botvinnik mentions. Finding 44...b5!! would have been very surprising over the board, and Spassky may well have drawn this crucial game, and kept in the match.

Spassky had previously shown great skill in a bishop versus knight

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Spassky vs Fischer, 1966

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Looked up which of Spassky games, if any, are in the "Good B vs. bad N" Chapter of <Positional Chess Handbook> by Israel Gelfer. Found two, the Spassky-Fischer, 1966 game given by <tamar> and Spassky vs Ljubojevic, 1979. Incidentally, these game collection are bound to be useful:

Game Collection: Positional Chess Handbook I

Game Collection: Positional Chess Handbook II

Apr-14-06  sitzkrieg: Instead of 25. Nd2 Kasparov recommends Qb5. With the line 25. ..e4 26. Nh2 (..) Qe6 27.bxf6 nxf6 28 qb7 rd7 29 Qb4 Nd5 30 Qc5 Rd6. f.e. cant white play Rxe4.
? Wins a pawn. I see white has some vague mate threats after that but nothing substantial so why does Kasparov think it is a line for easy equality?
Aug-28-06  notyetagm: <bishop: ... Spassky should not have gotten into this predicament in the first place. The passed d-Pawn can be strong or weak, in this case it turned out to be weak.>

Yes, Capablanca said that the passed pawn increases in strength -and weakness- as it advances up the board.

May-31-07  acirce:

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One of the best moves in the match. I remember it made an enormous impression on me. Its strength was clearly underestimated by Spassky, who was possibly hoping for 23..Bd6? 24.dxe6 Rxe6 25.Qxe6! fxe6 26.Rxd6.

Of course, the pawn sacrifice is only imaginary; 24.Nxe5?! Qxe2 25.Rxe2 Bd6 26.Rde1 Nxe5 27.Bxe5 Bxa3, but Black leaves his opponent with a seemingly powerful passed pawn in the centre. Alas, only seemingly; it will be securely blocked by the knight, and in the endgame it will become an appreciable weakness. This method of 'circumventing' a passed d6-pawn in the Grünfeld Defence was one that I used in my Seville match against Karpov (1987), but for the mid-70's such an interpretation was a revelation, an important step forward in the understanding of chess.> -- Kasparov, OMGP V

Nov-05-07  RookFile: According to Mednis, errors from Spassky in this game included 27. Ne4, 35. Rc4, 36. f4, 39. Kxg3, 42. Bd4 and 44. Kg2.

Apparently, due to these 6 inaccuracies from Spassky, Karpov was able to win.

Jun-11-08  Sergey Sorokhtin: 2keypusher! after kasparovs 44...b5!! is draw))) very simple )) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "...3) the win is the most difficult if White tries by 46 Bb4+ Kc6 47 Kf3 not to allow the Black pawn to reach a3. “ “Now chasing after the a5 pawn throws away the win: 47…Kb5? 48 Be7! Kxa5 (or 48…Ne5+ 49 Kg3 Nf7 50 Kf3! [Why not 50 Bxf6?] Kxa5 51 Ke4 Nh6 52 Bxf6 a3 53 Bxg5 Nxg4 54 Bc1 a2 55 Bb2 Kb4 56 Ba1 Kc2 57 Kc4 Nf2 58 Kb4 Kb1 59 Bd4 Nd3+ 60 Nb3 with a draw.

The problem is solved by an unexpected knight manoeuvre: 47…Ne5+! [after the last few variations, …Ne5+ is hardly unexpected, but whatever] 48 Kg3 Nc4 49 Be7 (49 Bc3 a3 50 Bxf6 a2 51 a6 Kb6 etc. leads to the same positions) 49…a3 50 a6 a2 51 Bxf6 Kb6 52 Kf3 Kxa6 53 Ke2 (or 53 Ke4 Ka5 54 Kf5 Ka4 55 Kxg5 Kb3 56 Ba1 Kc2 57 Kf4 Kb1 58 g5 Kxa1 59 g6 Ne5! [Nice!!] 60 g7 Ng6+ 61 Kg5 Ne7 62 Kf6 Ng8+ 63 Kf7 Kb2 64 Kxg8 a1/Q [winning from here was my second endgame lesson]) 53…Kb5!" ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
47.Kf3 is big mistake. 47.Be7!= ( Sergey Sorokhtin). Veri simple draw))))

Jun-14-08  The Rocket: Why 43 rc5 from Karpov?, and then 45 rc8?!, seems that it just wastes time, Chessmaster Gm points out that instead of 45 c5, that the rook should imediately take the d6 pawn which seems to be the most logical move but intstead karpov moves his rook up and down and then plays Knight e5.

It could not be that it was time trouble before reaching adjournment because they were past move 40 so does anybody know why karpov wastes two moves?.

Oct-10-09  birthtimes: "With his usually fine antimaterial nose, Karpov wants more than 43...Rxd6 44. Rxd6+ Kxd6 45. b4 where White has chances for a draw because little material is left and Black's pawns can be attacked by the bishop."

How Karpov Wins, 1994, p. 303.

Oct-10-09  birthtimes: After 25. Qb5 "I don't see what White has after the fairly obvious 25...e4 26. Nh2 Qe6 27. Bxf6 Nxf6 28. Qxb7 Rd7 and Black wins back the b-pawn or wins the d-pawn."

How Karpov Wins, 1994, p. 302.

In spite of this comment by Mednis, if after 29. Qb4 Nd5 30. Qc5 Rxd6, then it is important to note that White does have a structural endgame advantage in that he has a 2-1 pawn majority on the queenside compared to a 3-2 Black majority in the center, which would be easier for White to defend than for Black...

Oct-10-09  birthtimes: If 18. c5 then 18...Nf6 19. Qc2 Nd5 20. Ne5 Bf6 21. Nc4 Qc7 and White has a backwards d-pawn on a half-open occupied file, and the pawns on d4 and c5 are blocking White's bishop. Black should at least be able to draw this game without any difficulty...
Oct-10-09  birthtimes: 39. Re4+ Kd5 40. Re7 Kc6 41. Kxg3 b5 42. axb5+ Rxb5 43. Re3 Ne5 44. g5 fxg5 45. Rc3+ Kd7 46. Bc1 looks like it holds for White for the draw...
Apr-29-16  Howard: 34...Rb8!! was called "vintage Karpov" by the excellent book Karpov: Endgame Virtuoso, though I don't recall, offhand, why. Remind me to look it up when I get home.
Mar-23-17  ughaibu: Howard: Are you home yet? If so, please look it up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Vintage ughaibu!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tamar: Vintage ughaibu!>

Plus ca change....

Sep-20-17  edubueno: 20 d5! cxd5; 21 Cd4 Dg6; 22 exd5 cxd5; 23 Db5!
Aug-07-18  Howard: GM Alex Fishbein analyzed this ending almost a year ago in American Chess Magazine, and he pointed out an error that Kasparov had made.

Remind me (again) to look it up when I get home later today.

Aug-08-18  Howard: Now, that I've FINALLY gotten around to digging out my copy of Endgame Virtuso...

... the book gives double exclamation points to both 33...a5 and 34...Rb8. To the former move, the book states that Karpov purposely fixes White's pawn on a5, so that it can't move, plus he also prevents White from playing his b-pawn to b5.

As for 34...Rb8!! Karpov was apparently threatening to open the b-file by pushing his b-pawn, but the book seems a bit vague on that point.

Not only that, Karpov was to shortly later move his rook to c8, therefore not bothering to pry open the b-file just yet

Fishbein, incidentally, states that Kasparov made an analytical error at one point. Remind me to dig out that ACM issue...

Oct-06-18  SpiritedReposte: Karpov endgame always crispy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Howard> Have you dug out that ACM issue? Asking for ughaibu.
Aug-02-19  Chesgambit: 17.Qa5! 23. e5! 25.Nd2? ( Qb5=(
25. Rc8 black better
Apr-03-20  paavoh: I enjoyed the defensive maneuver 15.- Be7 to 19.-g5. That totally killed any aspirations of a White King side advance. Active defence!
Sep-26-20  fisayo123: 23... e5!! is an unbelievable move which is on brand with Karpov's chess.
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