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Viktor Korchnoi vs Anatoly Karpov
Hastings (1971/72), Hastings ENG, rd 14, Jan-13
Torre Attack: Classical Defense (A46)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-16-05  mcgee: Classic psychological warfare by Korchnoi. Karpov's constant refusal to withdraw his queen to d8 in response to Korchnoi's unobtrusive opening evokes Capablanca's steady unravelling against Lasker's Spanish exchange chicanery at St Petersburg 1914. Even when Karpov has a chance to get back into it (23 Rdf1?!) he seems to be playing in a mental fog.

Korchnoi asked Karpov after the game if he had not forseen the combination leading to the win of the exchange with 22 Nc7. Originally Korchnoi said that Karpov felt that giving up the exchange was his best practical chance; more recently he has said that Karpov was not very forthcoming when asked the question (subtly different). But it is hard to evade the general impression that Karpov was on the back foot and struggling the moment Korchnoi got the Torre/Trompowsky into action.

This was such a convincing win for Vik that one wonders if he should have played this more often in 1974 against Karpov and perhaps broken the habit of a lifetime and thrown in quite a few 1.e4 s in that Candidates match - the positions in this game are not a million miles away from those that White can attain in the Closed Spanish and the Caro-Kann. Two of Karpov's favourite openings with Black, but Korchnoi looks well at ease here.

Jun-18-06  Everett: If 37...Nxg2 then 38.Be6+ and 39.Qh5 leading to mate.
Nov-27-11  serenpidity.ejd: Karpov is queenless!
Dec-14-12  outplayer: 32..Nxg6 is objectively bettter than 32..Qxg6.
Mar-02-13  whiteshark: game related picture:
Mar-29-14  Granny O Doul: I remember somewhere reading this annotation to the petite combinaison-initiating 37.Ng2: "a move that drew applause from the audience". In other words, "good job, Viktor! You saw the same thing we saw!"
Dec-17-15  cunctatorg: Why not 21... Rec8 and only then 22... Nf8, saving the exchange?

I guess that 21... Rec8 22. Nc4 b5 ... but I really don't know...; another option would be 21... Rac8 with a weakened queen-side...

Jul-02-16  cunctatorg: I am positive that there must be a satisfactory answer to the question of mine since ... December 2015!...

The point is that I sense that White has fine play at the semi-open g-file but I can't find the exact moves...

Oct-30-17  mcgee: Regarding the query above, Stockfish found the beautiful 21...Rec8 22 Nf5!! If 22..Bf8 23 Nexg7!! Bxg7 24 Rxg6!!

I say this but Korchnoi may well have included this line or something similar in My Best Games With White (I'll check when I get a chance)

The whole point is that Black has played the whole opening and early middlegame as if it is a Closed Ruy Lopez; he doesn't have that luxury because White has castled long and already started attacking. Because Black's pieces are all awkwardly bunched up and uncooordinated, Black's material advantage is worthless after 21..Rec8 22 Nf5 gxf5 23 Rxg7+ Qxg7 24 Qxh5. White is threatening immediate mate and Black has to shed at least a rook in order to stop it.

So in the circumstances, Karpov giving up the exchange with 21..Nf8 probably was the best practical bet (admittedly none of this is easy to see, at least it wasn't for me)

A good point Korchnoi made annotating this game (which I highlighted above) is that Black should have really tried to move the queen back from f6 to d8 early on in the game. Again, Karpov is playing it as if it is a Closed Ruy Lopez when the queen simply doesn't belong on f6. A black knight on f6 and a black queen on d7 could have made White's g2-g4 advance far less easy than it was.

Mar-17-20  tigreton: The main mistake from Karpov is 14 ... c5, because it locks down the bishop on b7, and lets the kingside defenceless. It was better to play 14 ... c6. Nice breakthrough by White with the unstoppable g pawn.

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