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Viktor Korchnoi vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978), City of Baguio PHI, rd 13, Aug-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation. General (D37)  ·  0-1



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Given 38 times; par: 79 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-06-04  offramp: 56.♕h4?? was a big blunder from Kortschnoi, right before the time control and while he held a small advantage. Almost any other move would have been all right, such as 56.♕c5.
Oct-03-07  notyetagm: <offramp: 56.h4?? was a big blunder from Kortschnoi, right before the time control and while he held a small advantage. Almost any other move would have been all right, such as 56.c5.>

Yes, in time trouble, Korchnoi uncorked 56 ♕d4-h4??, as shown below.

Position after 56 ♕d4-h4??:

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What is the tactical liability of this move? The White h4-queen has <NO RETREAT(!)>. The White h4-queen cannot retreat onto the White side of the board from h4 because its retreat is blocked by the White h3- and f2-pawns. And since the White h4-queen cannot move forward onto the Black side of the board either, the White queen can move -only- laterally along the 4th rank.

And so Black (Karpov) ruled out even that possibility with 56 ... ♖e7-e4!, and the White h4-queen is nearly <TRAPPED (NO RETREAT(!))>.

Position after 56 ... ♖e7-e4!:

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To meet the threat to the White h4-queen, White must <BLOCK> the 4th rank from the Black e4-rook to his h4-queen with 57 f2-f4 (57 ♘d3-f4?? loses to the <PIN> 57 ... ♗c7x♘f4).

Position after 57 f2-f4:

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But as Kasparov points out in his excellent "Predecessors" volume on this game, White could not have picked a worse time to move his White f2-pawn. Why? Because 57 f2-f4, which White had to play to save his queen, left behind the White e3-pawn and now Black simply piles up on this dark-squared and <BLOCKADED> White e3-pawn with 57 ... ♗c7-b6!.

Position after 57 ... ♗c7-b6!:

click for larger view

Largely due to the presence of <OPPOSITE-COLORED BISHOPS>, White has no decent way to meet the threat to this dark square e3 and his position collapses!

So Korchnoi was just cruising along with the draw in hand when he uncorked 56 ♕d4-h4??. After this blunder he was dead lost, because Karpov was able to combine the tactical ideas <TRAPPED PIECE>, <PIN>, and <OPPOSITE-COLORED BISHOPS> into a winning combination.

Dec-22-07  notyetagm: Game Collection: Shield backward pawn on open file with piece

Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978

Position after 31 ... ♘b6-c4:

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Apr-09-08  Knight13: I prefer Black after 31...Nc4. Before that I just found the Alekhine Gun lined up on d-file by black quite amusing but then letting White play e4 is not amusing...
Apr-22-08  Riverbeast: Instead if 43. d5 (played in time pressure) white should win with the simple 43. Bxc6
Jan-31-11  Whitehat1963: Super-complex battle!
Sep-21-11  Capabal: The trap was set up by Karpov, counting on Korchnoi's time trouble. In the moves leading to 56. Qh4, Korchnoi had only one and a half minutes on his clock, while Karpov had 40. Karpov was taking his time, hoping Korchnoi would end up playing Qh4 to defend the pawn. In his autobiography, he says:

<I had in mind an unassuming trap which I wasn't counting on too much, but I decided to lead my opponent into it; maybe in his haste he'd fall for the bluff. Korchnoi saw that I was planning something and bit into the board as if he could devour it with his eyes. Then I advanced leisurely; he advanced instantly. Again I took my time; he didn’t waste a second of his in response. I gave him the impression that I was attacking a pawn. He sensed something was wrong, but time was running out. He began twitching and defended the pawn with his queen. And right then and there the trap snapped shut: the queen was caught.> (Karpov on Karpov p. 138.)

Sep-22-11  Shams: What an epic struggle. Good story <Capabal>.
Jun-04-12  Kinghunt: This game has the honor of being the only World Championship game where black plays Na8 - and wins! In my database, there are 7490 games where black plays Na8, and white scores 68%. But Karpov shows that he can break all the rules of chess, and still win.
Jun-04-12  Petrosianic: You never actually demonstrated that there was a rule against playing Na8, you only cited a 68% number.
Jun-05-12  Kinghunt: <You never actually demonstrated that there was a rule against playing Na8>

I thought it was obvious. <A knight on the rim is dim.> What does that make a knight in the corner?

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 1) A Knight in the corner is forlorner.

2) A Knight in the corner is a loner.

3) A Knight in the corner is a stoner.

4) A Knight in the corner is a mourner.

5) A Knight in the corner is a foreigner.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <Kinghunt:
This game has the honor of being the only World Championship game where black plays Na8 - and wins!>

Was also on f8, (talk about centralization)
of course, it doesn’t help that a horrific blunder was made which had little to do with the knight.

I thought it was obvious. <A knight on the rim is dim.> What does that make a knight in the corner?>

When your knights in the corner, call the Coroner.

If you like rhymes:
<A knight on the rim is dim> but in the corner your chances are slim.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <When your Knight's in the corner, call the Coroner.>

Brilliant! =)

A Knight on the rim is grim
So you should be nicer to Jim

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: This should be GOTD sometime.
Nov-25-16  offramp: We are still waiting for the ...Na8 proof.
Apr-22-19  wordfunph: terrible exposed king by "Victor The Terrible".
Apr-29-20  joddon: 24 rd6 is in my opinion a very amateur decision....having played Fischer through the 60s...Korchnoi had a close chance at winning and almost did, cus by playing good players one becomes good....gave Karpov a lot of trouble throughout every move in this match....but restricting the Queen in a middle game at this point put him back, I think something in the crowd scared him and went downhill from here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun-28-22  cormier: depth=47 | Komodo 2901.00
+1.21 38. Bf1 Qd7 39. Bxc4 dxc4 40. Rxc4 h5 41. Qc2 Bh6 42. Ng2 Qxh3 43. Rxc6 Rxc6 44. Qxc6 Qf5 45. e4 Qg4 46. Ra6 Kg7 47. Qe6 Qxe6 48. Rxe6 Bd2 49. d5 g5 50. d6 h4 51. e5 Ba5 52. Ne3 Bb6 53. Ng4 Rf4 54. Re7+ Kf8

+0.45 38. Qc2 Qe8 39. Nxg6 Rdf6 40. Nxf8 Qxf8 41. Rca1 Rxf2 42. Qxf2 Rxf2 43. Rxf2 Qe7 44. Rf3 h5 45. Raf1 Kg7 46. R1f2 Kh8 47. Rg3 h4 48. Rgf3 Qb4 49. Bf1 Qe1 50. Rf4 Qxe3 51. Rxh4+ Kg8 52. Rf4 Kh8 53. Kh2 Nd6 54. Rh4+ Kg8 55. Rg4+ Kh7 56. Rf6 Ne4 57. Rxc6 Qd2+ 58. Bg2 Qxd4 59. Bxe4+ dxe4 60. Re6 Qf2+ 61. Kh1 Qf3+ 62. Kh2

Jun-28-22  cormier: depth=34 | Komodo 2901.00
+0.65 37... h5 38. Nd3 Bh6 39. Rca1 Kh7 40. e4 Rf7 41. Qc2 Rd8 42. Ra7 Rxa7 43. Rxa7+ Rd7 44. Qa4 Rxa7 45. Qxa7+ Bg7 46. Nf4 Nd6 47. Qe7 Qf8 48. Qxf8 Bxf8 49. Ne6 Be7 50. exd5 cxd5 51. Bxd5 Bf6 52. Bc6 Kg8 53. d5 Kf7 54. Kg2 Nf5 55. Kf3 Nd4+ 56. Nxd4

+0.70 37... Be7 38. Rxc4 dxc4 39. Qxc4+ Kh8 40. Be4 Bg5 41. Nxg6+ Kg7 42. Ne5 Qxh3 43. Qa6 Rc7 44. Qb6 Bd8 45. Ra7 Re7 46. Rxe7+ Bxe7 47. Qb7 Qe6 48. Bxc6 h5 49. f4 Kh6 50. d5 Qf6 51. Kf1 Kg7 52. Qb2 Kh6 53. Qg2 Qf5

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