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Anatoly Karpov vs Wolfgang Unzicker
Milan (1975), Milan ITA, rd 4, Aug-23
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C97)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-24-04  mack: Oof. This is Nigel Short's favourite game by the way, or at least it was in 1989.
Jan-18-05  Mating Net: ...15 g6 is a blunder. It really weakens the dark squares around Black's King and allows 23 Nh6+ followed by the White Q making an appearance on the long a1h8 diagonal.

Those self inflicted weakening moves are the kind I vigorously try and avoid, but usually make anyway.

Jan-18-05  MoonlitKnight: Still, there aren't many players who would exploit that weakness as efficient as Karpov in his heydays.
May-28-05  aw1988: Couldn't black in the final position try for a queenside break with a5 b4 etc?
May-28-05  mack: By the way, this is the wrong game - this one is actually Nosher's favourite: Karpov vs Unzicker, 1974
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <aw1988>
I don't see a good way to defend against the huge kingside attack with 23. Nh6+, etc. For example, 22...a5 23. Nh6+ Kh8 24. Nxf7+ Kg7 25. Qd4+, etc.
May-28-05  aw1988: Aha. Brilliant. Thanks.
Jun-10-05  ughaibu: I imagine something like 22....Ne5 23.Nf6 Bf6 24.Bf6 Nd7 25.e5 e5 26.Ne4 followed by Qh6.
Oct-07-05  Helios727: After 22...a5 23. Nh6+ Kg7 24. Rxf7+ Kh8 25. Qd4+ Ne5, black might be a pawn down, but does white's attack still continue?
Oct-07-05  nescio: <Helios727: After 22...a5 23. Nh6+ Kg7 24. Rxf7+ Kh8 25. Qd4+ Ne5, black might be a pawn down, but does white's attack still continue?>

26.Bxe7 Rxe7 27.Rf8+ Kg7 28.Rg8+ Kf6 29.Rf1+ Kg5 30.Qe3+ and mate in a few moves, I would say.

Jul-08-09  Knight13: <mack: Oof. This is Nigel Short's favourite game by the way, or at least it was in 1989. > Except that Nigel Short cannot play a game like this. Too subtle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Mating Net: ...15 g6 is a blunder. It really weakens the dark squares around Black's King and allows 23 Nh6+ followed by the White Q making an appearance on the long a1h8 diagonal.>

But it's also an absolutely standard move in this system. I've seen ...g6 on the black side of the closed Ruy in games over the last 100 years. Is it really bad in this game? Is it really OK in all the other games?

Aug-07-15  yureesystem: The final position is worth analyzing, Karpov has six pieces pointing to the kingside; there has to be a win.

22...Ne5 23.Nf6+ Bxf6 24.Bxf6 Nd7 25.Nh5! < is much better than 25.e5> 25...Nf6 < 5...gxh5?? 26.Qg5+ Kf8 27.Qg7 mate> 26.Nxf6+ Kf8 27.Qh6+ Ke7 28.Nxe8 Kxe8 29.Qxh7 wins easy; if 29...Nc5 30.e5! dxe5 31.Bg6! black cannot take the bishop because it will lose the queen, black is completely lost. 31...fxg6 32. Qxc7

Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: Researching the database, I get the impression 13. ... Re8 was very popular until this game, with white usually continuing 14. Ne3. Can we say that Karpov's 4. d5 essentially ended this variation for black?
Mar-11-20  Retireborn: <kbob> Certainly 13...cxd4 was more popular after this game, but that might just be a matter of fashion.

Probably Unzicker's real mistake was to faff about with ...Bf8-e7; a more active plan eg 18...Nc5 followed by ...Qb6 and ...a5 might have been OK for him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: This game was played in the Milan 1975
[in purple at the top]. click on it!

that's quite a line of strong GM's in that group! I don't know about the last in the list, but the others were all tigers on the board! To beat any of them would be a fine trophy. This must have been an exciting tourney. Gotta go play thru


Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The first 11 1/2 moves of this game were identical to the players' encounter a year before, Karpov vs Unzicker, 1974 (1-0, 44), a pythonic masterpiece that is famous for the move 22.Ba7!!

Evidently this was Unzicker's attempt to improve on that game. He deviated with 12...Bd7 instead of the prior game's 12..Nc6. Karpov played 10 more moves and Unzicker resigned. This game only lasted 22 moves, half of the 44 moves seen in the prior year's game.

No wonder Unzicker decided to try the French the next time he was Black against Karpov. And he drew that one! Karpov vs Unzicker, 1979. Remarkably, apart from a 13-move draw against Stein, that was the first time in the database that anyone not named Korchnoi ever survived on the Black side of a French against Karpov!

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