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Anatoly Karpov vs Lajos Portisch
Milan (1975), Milan ITA, rd 2, Sep-10
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C72)  ·  1-0



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Given 12 times; par: 118 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-15-08  Helios727: How does white go on to win if the game had continued?
Jun-15-08  Marmot PFL: A rook is helpless against bishop + 3 passed pawns. In many positions 2 pawns are enough.
Oct-06-09  goldenbear: <A rook is helpless against bishop + 3 passed pawns> I was once horrified to learn that that is not always the case.
Aug-31-19  cunctatorg: What a turbulent endgame!!

However Anatoly Karpov runs his ship -in the midst of a tempest- like taking a promenade in the sunshine...

Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: A game that is intereting in gauging Karpov's strengths & weaknesses in 1975 - especially as the victory at the time was hailed as a fine, tournament winning effort.

1) The Opening: Karpov gets nothing against the Modern Steinitz until Portisch helps with the unforced 14..Bxc3 ceding the Bishop pair.

2) The Middle game: Karpov finds a creative way to prevent ..f5 and to improve his Queen (21 Qd2, 23 Qf4) and then advances his K-side pawns because of the 4 vs 3 pawn majority. But the slow manouvering fails to punish Portisch's imprecision (eg 27..Rb7 instead of 27..Rf8 allowed 28 g5!). Prevarication becomes the hall-mark of White's play: 31 Qe3 instead of 31 g5; 35 Rd2 instead of 35 Qd5 or 35 g5; 36 Qd4 instead of 36 g5.

3) The Ending: Portisch walks into a tactic with 36.. Qe5? 37 Qxb6! reaching this position:

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Karpov continued 40 Ra1 which was met by the obliging 40..Bf7? 41 Rxa6 Bxc4 after which Portisch was ground down. Instead of the weak 40..Bf7? Black should have gone 40..a5! presenting White with serious technical challenges.

Insteadof 40 Ra1 the move 40 Ke3 may be stronger with the threat of Rd1 nd if Black prevents this with 40..Ba4 then 41 Ra1 b5 42 c5 dxc5 43 bxc5 Kg7 44 g5 followed by f4.

Its been said that in 1975 Karpov had no obvious weeknesses but no player is invulnerable. This game shows he had posiives and negatives in all stages of the game.

Mar-01-21  tbontb: 36....Qe5? is an extraordinary oversight (admittedly, under pressure) for someone of Portisch's class although (as pointed out above) 40....Bf7 seems to be the final error. After this, Karpov is always winning. While 46. Bd4 and 49. Kd5 may offer small improvements on the game, the end result is never in doubt as Black cannot cope with two widely separated White passed Ps.

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