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Anatoly Karpov vs Wolfgang Uhlmann
Madrid (1973), Madrid ESP, rd 12, Dec-11
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Main Line (C09)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-31-08  just a kid: <helios727>Queenside 42...Rb1+ 43.Kd2 Rb2+ 44.Kc3 Rc2+ 45.Kb3
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: This game is a marvelous example of Karpov at his best: solid opening play, fundamentally sound strategy, nothing flashy, just strong move after strong move. Here he displays textbook play against an IQP, and the victory was especially meaningful as Uhlmann is a devout French specialist. Byron Jacobs in "Starting Out: The French" suggests 24 ... Kf8 covering e7 as an improvement.

Doubled Rooks on the seventh are always good. =)

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Yes, <tpstar>, I believe, (and I lear'ed this from previous game) that rook(s) on the seventh, is called Pigs on the Seventh!
Sep-27-09  BadKnight: can anybody explain why white played 11.Bh4? is it a common book move in this line? apparently it looks like white is losing a tempo for nothing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I think the idea of 11 Bh4 is simply to trade off the d6 bishop.

He used almost the exact same strategy in Karpov vs G Kuzmin, 1973 exchange dark square bishops, take over e file, win!

Sep-27-09  Open Defence: In many of these French Tarrasch end games.. once the Black DSB has gone its end game hell
Aug-02-10  igiene: It seems that 12..Qb6 or 12..Bc7 are much better ideas than 12..Bh5 (perhaps yet an decisive error, purposeless time-consuming move)
Aug-02-10  igiene: Still better is 12..Re8 followed by 13..Qb6, an improvement found by Uhlmann over 12..Bh5(Vogt-Uhlmann 1974)
Oct-23-12  bystander: Although white is blockading the IQP with a knight and black is trading it's pieces, which according to IQP-theory the side with the IQP should not do, the game is well balanced for a long time.
Oct-23-12  bystander: At move 16 and 18 I prefer Nd4x for black.
Oct-23-12  bystander: 26..b6 does not look to good to me, because white can double it's rooks without much counterplay for black. What about 26..Rc2?
Oct-23-12  bystander: My computer prefers 29..Kh7 above 29..h5. 29..Kh7 looks like a waiting move to me and maybe g4 in this line is not so strong as in the actual game. Any thoughts about 29...Kh7?
Oct-23-12  Marmot PFL: In this similar game Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974, one difference is that black plays a6 instead of a5, preventing Bb5, so white does not gain control of the e-file.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: An amusing pendant to this disaster for Uhlmann, that great connoisseur of the French, is that in his last game with Black in Madrid, he switched to 1....g6 as his response to 1.e4 in Kaplan vs Uhlmann, 1973.
Dec-04-13  nummerzwei: 22...Rac8 is better (Karpov).
The text allows White to show his idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Karpov's 22.g4! keeps the Black Bishop out of f5, where it would have had a good defensive role. Instead it must retreat to g6, which is much more limited. Uhlmann was *the* great Master of the French in his generation - along, perhaps with Petrosian and Korchnoi.
Aug-18-16  joddle: I remember seeing this game annotated in the first chess book I ever owned, "Beginner's Chess Course" by Enno Heyken.

Very instructive game, especially the endgame with the invasion of the 7th rank.

20... Qxb2 21. Nb5! is particularly nice with the dual threats of Nb5-c7 and Re1-e2.

Nov-05-17  skemup: Black problems start with ..18a5. White bishop on b5 helps white rooks on controlling e - file and suppourts their invasion on 7th rank (it controls d7 square also, so black cannot play ..24 Rd7 for example). Exgchanging black knight which was controling e7 square and restraining bishop in some way was big mistake. Black obvioulsy did not sense the danger. Pawn move ..22f6 probably would be better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenwabi: Starting at move #25, GM Michael Stean annotates this game in his great book, SIMPLE CHESS.
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Another Karpov game from the time he was a world championship contender that is held up as an example of his invulnerability but which does in fact suggest some fallibilities.

click for larger view

The Karpov of he mid-1980s would surely play the precise 27 Rb7! when Black faces the dismal choice of ceding the c-file by 27..Rb8 28 Rc7 Rc8 29 Rac1 or the passive 27..Rd6, since Uhlman cannot countenance 27..Rc2 28 Rxb6 Rxb2 29 Ra6 Rd2 30 Rxa5 Rxd4 31 Bc6.

Karpov played the casual 27 Rae1 and the game continued 27..h6 28 Rb7?! (better 28 Kf2 when White remains better but has lost some of his advantage) and now Uhlman played the obliging 28..Rd6 instead of the punishing 28..Rc2! The point is that if now 29 Rxb6 Rxb2 30 Ra6 Rd2 31 Rxa5 Rxd4 32 Bc6 Black has 32..Rd2 with counterplay.

The Rd2 move was not possible in the previous line because the Ra1 is so well placed - in the above line, Karpov could have gone 32 Ra8 trading Rooks and pushed the a-pawn.

In 1973-75 Karpov was clearly an elite player but he was not yet complete, just as in 1962 Fischer was an elite player but one who still had weaknesses in his game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Open file instructive game in Stean's simple chess
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  Messiah: 'Proper Anatolysis'
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <woldsmandriffield> I'm studying Karpov right now, and it seems 27.Rae1 is a practical preventative move. Tecnnically 2nd best move but still an advantage:

220: Anatoly Karpov - Wolfgang Uhlmann 1-0 12.0, Madrid Madrid ESP 1973

click for larger view

Analysis by Stockfish 15 - 3 threads max:

1. +- (1.85): 27.Rb7 Rb8 28.Ra7 Ra8 29.Rxa8 Rxa8 30.Rc1 f6 31.Rc6 Rb8 32.Rd6 Bf7 33.Kf2 Kf8 34.Ke3 Rb7 35.Rc6 Ke7 36.Ba6 Rb8 37.Rc7+ Kf8 38.Bb5 Rd8 39.Kd2 Rd6 40.Kc3 Re6 41.Rc8+ Ke7 42.Rb8 g5

2. ± (1.38): 27.Rae1 h6 28.Rb7 Rb8 29.Ra7 Ra8 30.Rxa8 Rxa8 31.Rc1 f6 32.Rc6 Rb8 33.Rd6 Bf7 34.Kf2 Kf8 35.Kg3 Ke7 36.Rd7+ Kf8 37.Rc7 g5 38.Rd7 Be6 39.Rh7 Rc8 40.Rb7 Rc2 41.Rxb6 Ke7 42.b3 Rd2 White is clearly better

(Gavriel, 07.12.2022)

While modern engines do indicate 27.Rae1 might be less accurate than Rb7 - the move 27.Rae1 prevents Rc2 counterplay and from a human fallible perspective this seems a great way to "non controversially accumulate advantages" which is a lot of what Karpov is about. Like Capablanca, take Steinitz's accumulation of advantage theory and turn it into a practical way of winning.

Stean in "Simple chess" gives 27.Rae1 as more accurate than Rb7 because of not allowing Rc2. Stean clearly didn't use modern engines but the sentiment remains valuable for practical human chess. It does require some involved calculation and Karpov with his Petrosian style is not interested in being a calculating monster.

Karpov understands the fallibilities of being human and it seems to me that 27.Rae1 is a simple and effective move dissuading Rc2 - if Rc2 then Re8 mating. Aka "Simple chess"

Prevention of "prophylaxis" moves might be 2nd or 3rd or more best computer moves, but as humans, it is very useful rather than have to go into a maze of "if-thens" and not have any holes in analysis.

Prevention aka Prophylaxis is a very human way of treating the position - try and destroy the opponent's counterplay even if it is not the most accurate - there is often greater clarity. It is also the "Art of War" - maybe stimulating Nimzovich - "put yourself beyond defeat before going onto the attack"

To quote Karpov:

"Let us say the game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don't yield to precise calculations; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory.... I would choose [the latter] without thinking twice. If the opponent offers keen play I don't object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic"

I think what he means by "ruthless logic" is not what modern engines play - he means from a human point of view - use prevention and try and gradually accumulate advantages.

Dec-07-22  SChesshevsky: Guessing Karpov didn't spend a lot of time thinking about 27. Rae1. Doubling rooks on the open file is so natural and in this case with the e8 mate threat costing black a tempo, weak b pawn costing black another tempo, and allowing total invasion to the 7th, hard to see why might spend a lot of time considering something else.

Probably did spend some time making sure no perpetual or tricks against the king. And time figuring ways to cash in on the tempo gains. Mainly best way to dislodge the defending B. But probably knew instinctively 27. Rae1 is both very, very likely winning and most principled.

Jan-13-23  ChessIsLife159753: Great game. I adore the way how Karpov played against Black's light-squared bishop: 22.g4!! not allowing him to reach e6 or d7. Also a nice demonstration of the power of rooks on the seventh rank.
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