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Boris Spassky vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Spassky Candidates Semifinal (1974), Leningrad URS, rd 8, May-01
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-22-10  AnalyzeThis: I don't think Bobby Fischer would have defined success as losing in the world championship, but winning the US Championship and getting eliminated in 4 Candidates cycles.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <AnalyzeThis> Are you related to <Travis Bickle>? You guys keep on showing up on the same posts with pro-Fischer sentiments, never or rarely <speak> to each other, and have movies that have Robert DeNiro as lead characters as monikers... Just curious.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <Petrosianic> You will agree that Korchnoi, of course, was partially responsible for Spassky "lack of success" in the 70's and early 80's!
Jun-22-10  Travis Bickle: <Petrosianic> I'll take the word of a great Grandmaster like Viktor Korchnoi over your pazter observations.
Jun-22-10  Travis Bickle: <Everett> I think you're either a lousy detective looking for clues in all the wrong places or a paranoid conspiracy theorist that thinks Elvis is still alive to suggest that me and Analyze This are the same person.
Jun-22-10  4tmac: Spassky never was quite the same. But then again, if I saw my opponent calmly & quickly play N-B3 in the face of what I thought was a strong h-file attack....All I know is it would have been freakin awesome to see Bobby try to break this Caro-Kann.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <travis bickle> thanks for the confirmation.

<4tmac> Spassky was never the same after winning the title in '69, which is the main reason why Fischer did so well in '72.

Jun-22-10  Travis Bickle: <Everett: <travis bickle> thanks for the confirmation.> You're welcome Inspector Clouseau.

Jun-23-10  AnalyzeThis: Hilarious. I only post here 1 or 2 times a month these days. I'm starting to think that is too many.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <AnalyzeThis> since you two say nearly the same things, redundancy does become an issue.
Nov-30-10  Ulhumbrus: One of White's problems is that Black's Queen enjoys access to the square f4. This suggests playing Rd4 to keep Black's Queen out of f4, eg 24 Rd4 instead of 24 h6, or 25 Rd4 instead of 25 Rh1, or 26 Rd4 instead of 26 Rxh6
Nov-30-10  Ulhumbrus: Two of the difficulties in the way of White's attack are that firstly, Black's Queen enjoys access to the square f4, and secondly, White's N on e3 is out of play because Black's b5 and e6 pawns deny it the squares c4, d5 and f5. The first difficulty suggests playing Rd4 so as to keep Black's Queen out of f4, eg 24 Rd4 instead of 24 h6, or 25 Rd4 instead of 25 Rh1, or 26 Rd4 instead of 26 Rxh6

As for the second difficulty, Spassky later plays Nc2, and this suggests playing Nc2 earlier in order to bring the knight into play on d4 or b4 and c6 eg 24 Nc2 instead of 24 h6 or 25 Nc2 instead of 25 Rh1 or 26 Nc2 instead of 26 Rxh6.

After 23 d5 a6 another alternative is 24 Ng2 eg 24...exd5 24 Rxd5 (attacking the g5 pawn) 24...f6 25 Qd2 Ne5 26 f4 gf 27 Nxf4 or in this variation instead of 25 Qd2, 25 Qe6+ Rf7 26 Rgd1 Ne5 78 f4 gf 28 Nxf4.

Also on 23 d5 a6 24 Ng2 exd5 the N on g2 can come back to e3 at once or later eg 25 Ne3 or 25 Rxd5 f6 26 Ne3 or 25 Rxd5 f6 26 Qe6+ Rf7 27 Ne3 Ne5 28 Nf5

Jun-24-11  Ulhumbrus: Both sides have their g pawn on their respective fourth ranks. However whereas White's g4 pawn weakens f4 and gives Black's Queen access to f4 Black's g5 pawn does not give White access to f5, as Black's e6 pawn covers the f5 square. That is why the Black g5 pawn concedes less to White than the White g4 pawn concedes to Black. If Black had no pawn on e6 covering f5, White's attack might win.
Mar-13-15  offramp: <jamesmaskell: According to Polugayevsky and Damsky, <he [Karpov] stood so badly that in the press centre a 'consultation' of two ex-World Champions Euwe and Tal, 'actively supported ' by grandmasters Bondarevsky, Taimanov, Tinman and Kotov, predicted a 'swift end'>. This was before Whites 23rd move.>

After 22...hxg5

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I have a feeling that this is another case of the press centre overstating the case, over-egging the pudding! White is better but what makes his position so good that he'll be able to knock over black in a few moves? There is not much there!

White starts off with definitely the right move. 23.d4-d5!

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There is a minor threat of Qxb5, because after a black rook goes to b8, then the white queen can go to c6. So Karpov defends that ♙b5 by 23....a7-a6.

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In this position Spassky played 24.h5-h6.

A few moves later comes this crucial position, after 26...Kg8-g7

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Spassky retreated attacked rook all the way back to h1: 27.Rh6-h1. But what about the dashing 27.d5xe6! instead?

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If black takes the offered rook he could end up in trouble.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <offramp> indeed, some nice variations there, a nice position it muck with.
Apr-09-16  offramp: I think <I> mucked up that last diagram. If White had played 27.dxe6 then this would have been the position.

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That offers Black the rook on h6. A whole rook!
Now if 27...Kxh6 28.Rh1+ looks obvious. 28...Kg7.

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29.Nf5+. Now 29...Kg8 is forced, as ...Kg6 allows Rh6#

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That is a fascinating position! White is a rook down but has a strong attack.

Apr-09-16  Howard: But there was no forced win, correct?

Kasparov looked at this position in MGP V, but I don't recall his conclusion.

Apr-09-16  offramp: <Howard: But there was no forced win, correct?...>

Ay. Correct. There is no forced win, ever.

Even looking at the disposition of the pieces, I mean, how could any commentator think that White was going to win in a couple of moves?

Black was definitely WORSE at many points. I don't think he was ever lost.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Kasparov thinks Spassky departed from the correct path with "24 h6!?", calling it "Consistent, but ineffective."

<Spassky's choice, based on intuition, and the motto "Forward Kazimirych!" is in fact an example of an unequal pawn exchange, which relieves Black of his weak pawns and deprives White of his h5 pawn, one which would be very important for the endgame. And this became clear only after no brainstorms were able to demonstrate the strength of his attack...>

How the h pawn becomes a factor is seen by his variation 24 dxe6 fxe6 25 Nc2 Qe5 26 Rge1 Qxe2 27 Rxe2 Nc5 28 Ne1 Rad8 29 Rxd8 Rxd8 30 Nf3

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Not a forced win with the engine assessment hovering around +.60 for White, but difficult for Black, because he cannot do much but passively defend, and the h pawn looms big if g5 ever falls.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <offramp> I think it's best for Karpov to not take the rook in that line and continue developing his other pieces. After the considered line <27.dxe6 Kxh6?! 28.Rh1+ Kg7 29.Nf5+ Kg8> White has <30.Qe3 Qf4 31.Qh3 Qe4+ 32.Ka1 Qxh1 33.Qxh1> which looks pretty forced. The well-placed N combined with the Q will be very difficult for Black to handle. Not sure what the computer says about this but I like White here.

Thus, <27.dxe6 fxe6> is much safer, with play similar to the game.

Dec-07-20  Ulhumbrus: If 20 g4 allows Black to blockade g5 by 20....Ne4 one alternative is 20 Nd2 or 20 Rdg1 first
Dec-07-20  Ulhumbrus: One question is why Karpov plays 30..Kf7. One example of an answer is that Karpov is about to prepare exchanges that may lead to an ending where the black king will be better able to stop a White passed b pawn.
Dec-08-20  Ulhumbrus: The move 20 g4 gives Black's queen access to the f4 square. One alternative is 20 g3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: I recall getting an extraordinary opportunity to question Karpov around 2004, about what he had planned for Bobby if they had had their match. Very quickly he replied, "Oh the Spanish"...I regret though not asking him about the Caro Kann.
Dec-09-20  Ulhumbrus: Suppose that instead of 26 h6 White tries 26 d6 in order to obstruct Black's queen's way to f4. Then one way for Black to lose is 26...Qc5 27 Qf3 Kg7 28 Rxh6 Kxh6 29 Qxf6+ Kh7 30 Rh1+ Kg8 31 Rh8 mate
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