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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi
Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974), Moscow URS, rd 6, Sep-27
Russian Game: Classical Attack. Chigorin Variation (C42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-15-06  alaTurca: This is the famous game where Karpov played this old variation of Petroff and Korchnoi's attack on the White King failed. Eventually his flag fell. I do not remember a second modern game with this variation. Anybody?
Aug-15-06  aw1988: With 10. Qb3? It is also quite modern.
Aug-15-06  alaTurca: I mean this whole setup with Re1-c3-Qb3. In this line c4 is usually used to undermine the knight on e4.

The location of White Queen invites a kingside attack here. White side should be a good defender I guess.

Aug-15-06  aw1988: As far as I know, it's been played before, or certainly with similar ideas. Chessgames database is always incomplete (not their fault nor ours) but here's something that could help: Games Like Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974
Jan-09-08  talisman: it certainly has been played before. Lasker-Pillsbury 1895. Pillsbury crushed him.
Jul-23-09  whiteshark: <aw1988> True, but have you seen any more recently games played on top-level with this line?
Feb-26-14  whiteshark: "In the sixth [game] I again adopted an experimental opening which I prepared all by myself just before the game. Already I did not particularly trust my seconds (Osnos and Dzhindzhikhashvili). But, at home by myself, I had looked into the position insufficiently deeply. The idea was correct, but involved a pawn sacrifice which I wasn't keen on. At home it seemed to me that I could solve the problem while keeping material equality. But at the board I realized that the line I had prepared contained a flaw.

In order to overcome my inner resistance, my unwillingness to sacrifice a pawn, <I wasted a whole hour at the board !> I obtained a promising position, but could still not rid myself of a feeling of mental uncertainty. From an excellent position I lost literally within a few moves. Though few remember this game in the Petroff and practically no one pays it serious attention, I can testify that Karpov really earned his victory at the board."

-- Korchnoi, Chess is my life, 1978, p.108

I wonder on which move he thought for an hour?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <aw1988: ..Chessgames database is always incomplete (not their fault nor ours)...>

Society is to blame.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Korchnoi never seemed to trust his seconds. Perhaps he should have worked on his own. He was just too paranoid.
Feb-26-14  Sally Simpson: Hi whiteshark:

"I wonder on which move he [Korchnoi] thought for an hour?"

Going by the note you posted and Korch swithering on the pawn sac it was possibly here.

Karpov had just played 12.h3.

click for larger view

This could have been the flaw he mentioned except Karpov played it, Korchnoi did not see it coming.

In his bedroom Korch may have only looked at 12.Qxb7. (he did mention he looked at it 'insufficiently deeply'.)

So now Black has the chance of playing without the sac. Bxf3 and Rb8.

A new position to look at OTB or go into his home analysis with the White pawn on h3. Again a new position to study.

That is the ingrediants for an OTB dilema where a player fights against his inner self.

Sac the pawn or not sac the pawn.

Feb-26-14  whiteshark: <offramp> Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you... ;)
Nov-26-14  joakimvitriol: 1."It is no surprise that Korchnoi thought more than 30 minutes before playing Bh4." Hartston Keene - Karpov-Korchnoi 1974
after 16...Bxf3 according to this book he only had 10 minutes left on the clock

2. after Nbd2 threatening to take twice on e4 exploiting the pin modern theory solves the problem without sacking the pawn indeed with 11...Na5

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Black played 11...Kh8 as in Capablanca vs B Kostic, 1919.

click for larger view

Capablanca had now played 12.Nf1?.
Hartston & Keene, and the kibitzers at the 1919 game, say that after 12.Nf1 Kostich could have played 12...Bxf3 13.gxf3 Nxf2 14.Kxf2 Bh4+ 15.Ng3 f4

click for larger view

"with a strong attack". So instead of the poor move 12.Nf1, which people had known for 50 years to be a bad move, Karpov played 12.h3! (See the diagram from Mr Simpson earlier).

Kortschnoi played 15...Bh4.

click for larger view

Hartston & Keene make this comment:
<This is the normal square for the bishop in this variastion, but after Karpov's reply <Korchnoi sank into deep thought>, unable to find any way of continuing the attack....> At the end of the same note they add, <It is no surprise that Korchnoi thought more than 30 minutes before playing ...Bh4.> There followed 16.Re1 Bxf3.

click for larger view

<Already Korchnoi had <only 10 minutes remaining in which to make 25 moves>...>

So it seems Kortschnoi used his time up mainly on moves 15 and 16.


Even is such bad time trouble Kortschnoi still had the wits to find 24....Re4!

click for larger view

But Karpov ignores it.


After 31.Rxe6

click for larger view

Kortschnoi lost on time.

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