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Anatoly Karpov vs Leonid Stein
USSR Championship (1971), Leningrad URS, rd 8, Sep-25
Sicilian Defense: Classical. Anti-Fischer-Sozin Variation (B57)  ·  1-0



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Given 44 times; par: 71 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-25-05  GufeldStudent: Somehow 12...Qc7 seems wrong to me. Why is it necessary? Perhaps a5 or Bg4. The first has the idea of playing a4, getting rid of the isolated pawn, and if Na4 Rxa4 (perhaps Ba6 can be played at times). The second just develops with tempo
Jan-25-05  Rama: Karpov makes 47 moves, 10 of them with his Queen! The way I saw it, GufeldS, after Kh1 white was threatening the advance of his f-pawn; Qc7 guards against this by supporting e5. Na4 and Rae1 add to the pressure on e5 by opening the Bishop and occupying the file. But then he changes his mind and plays on the Q-side.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One thing should be borne in mind: this was played in the relatively early days of 6....Qb6, another contribution to theory by Pal Benko.

The type of central pawn position c6/d6/e5 after Black's 11th can arise from the Taimanov/Kan(Paulsen) lines in which Black has recaptured ....bxc6; Black often must play a waiting game, anticipating White's active possibilities rather than undertaking anything positive himself, though if White overplays his hand, as in most cases in the open Sicilian, the over-aggression can rebound with disastrous consequences.

Sep-15-05  Runemaster: At move 35, Karpov has an attractive lineup of pieces on the 'b' file. I think his most famous example of such an arrangement was on the 'a' file more than 10 years later, so it took him a long time to learn to get his pieces another file to the left.
Sep-15-05  who: which game are you talking about?
Sep-15-05  Runemaster: Kasparov vs Karpov, 1984

<who> Position after Black's twentieth move.

Sep-15-05  who: Very cool!!!
Mar-29-08  outplayer: The game is slow because the attack is in the queenside. It is difficult to guess the queen moves. The knight stays a very long time at a4 and then jumps to c5-b7-d8-f7; it is an amazing manoeuvre.
Jul-03-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I spent the whole game wondering when the f pawn would advance and it never did! Stein chases Karpov's queen all over the place and although it draws out the game, ultimately it does more damage to his own position than Karpov's so it seems a pretty weak idea.
Feb-20-09  M.D. Wilson: This is a fantastic game. Stein was a great player, but Karpov really shows his stuff here: active prophylaxis.
Jun-02-11  Everett: More restriction from Karpov, ending with the immobilization and destruction of Bc8. Moves 43.g3 (luft, limiting black's N) and 44.Rc1 end the game.
Feb-22-13  Everett: Some of these early Karpov Sicilian's resemble Adam's best games.

It is interesting to note that Karpov almost never played any open Sicilians before 1971, preferring the Closed and Bb5(+) lines, presumably to stay out of theory and get a playable game. IMHO, this move to the Open Sicilian, and an inability or unwillingness to switch back to his older preferences when meeting Kasparov's Schveningen, is curious. I wonder if he ever considered going back to these old lines where he seemed to feel so at home.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Everett> Interesting observation. Once he switched to the open lines around 1971 he did OK!

Repertoire Explorer: Anatoly Karpov (white)

But not, as you point out, against Kasparov. I suspect Karpov just didn't believe that the closed lines and Rossolimos were as good as 3.d4.

I wonder if he wrote about the switch to open Sicilians in any of his books.

Feb-22-13  Everett: <keypusher: <Everett> Interesting observation. Once he switched to the open lines around 1971 he did OK!

Repertoire Explorer: Anatoly Karpov (white)

<But not, as you point out, against Kasparov. I suspect Karpov just didn't believe that the closed lines and Rossolimos were as good as 3.d4.> >

You are likely right. Seems the Alapin, Rosso, and Closed were more his speed, though. Perhaps his "handlers" didn't think it best?

Apr-14-14  capafischer1: Karpov just strangles blacks position.
Apr-14-14  RookFile: Should black have played an early ....d5 in the opening? In the good old days, I thought that was what black was trying to do in the Sicilian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: While the appellation 'Anti-Fischer-Sozin Variation' is true, Benko should bear the name as its chief advocate in the good old days.

The line 6....Qb6 took some of the fun out of the Fischer-Sozin for White, as he no longer gets the regulation attack against the king, with play taking a quieter turn--though this was hardly a problem for Karpov.

May-09-14  Everett: Karpov at his slow-chess best here, inexorably sliding down the board like a glacier.
Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: This was a commanding crush over Stein, who was a brilliant star in his own right.
Feb-19-17  cunctatorg: Five games between Anatoly Karpov and Leonid Stein, two Karpov's wins and it seems to me that Karpov was extremely inspired by Stein's opposition; the quality of these two wins is magnificent!!
Oct-04-20  fisayo123: Super game by Karpov. 32... d5 was a bit too optimistic by Stein, in light of the dangerous passer and white still having a DSB.

41. Nxb7! is a superb way to force resignation into a winning endgame instead of the tempting bxc7

Jan-14-22  jerseybob: <perfidious: .....The line 6....Qb6 took some of the fun out of the Fischer-Sozin for White> That's for sure, which is probably why Fischer called the move "roguish" in his book. In Fischer-Benko 1959, Bobby tried 7.N4e2 and won a wild attacking game. Against Saidy in '66 he played 7.Nb3, leading to a very tough game. In Karpov's approach,7.Nxc6, after Stein finally committed with 11..e5!? white's game suddenly had a focus and Karpov brilliantly brought home the win. But black has to commit at some point and white's position is flexible enough to adjust.
Jan-14-22  SChesshevsky: < The line 6....Qb6 took some of the fun out of the Fischer-Sozin for White...>

Yeah, probably a bit. But, in general, the Fischer-Sozin Attack never seemed to offer much of an attack. Seems Fischer mainly extracted some sort of substantial positional concession versus any sort of real threats against the king. Get the feeling that was probably mostly due to opponents not taking advantage of the slow Bc4 setup. Maybe because of a bit of surprise and also respect for Fischer's ability.

Benko's ...Qb6 might be a bit of an over reaction to the Bc4 "threat". It does appear to gain a tempo but seems more a mirage. Since the ...Qb6 is really not well placed and usually has to move. Plus, as Karpov shows, the simple Nxc6 gains back a tempo and maybe arguably weakens black a bit as well.

Not sure where today's theory stands on the Fischer-Sozin, but I think it wasn't very long after Fischer's day that other, maybe better, responses to that Bc4 Sicilian was offered.

Jan-15-22  jerseybob: <SChesshevsky: < general, the Fischer-Sozin Attack never seemed to offer much of an attack.> It took a lot of losses for players to realize that! And even in those games where 6.Bc4 didn't lead to much of an advantage, having an implacable opponent handling the white pieces led to many wins, like in Fischer-Zuckerman 1965, where black had a nice position but slowly lost the thread of the game. That was a very "Carlsen-like" win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Plaskett: Highly unusual and crwative strategy from Karpov.
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