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Viktor Korchnoi vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1981), Merano ITA, rd 13, Nov-05
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  1-0



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Given 16 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-14-03  KnightBlade: Why didn't Karpov play 38...♖f6?
Jul-14-03  Benjamin Lau: The black rook is pinned to the king by the white queen.
Jul-15-03  KnightBlade: Oh, I knew that :D:D:D:D
Jun-25-04  ConLaMismaMano: Analisis by G.M. Pablo Ricardi (2553) for those who can read in spanish:

Partida No 401. Merano 1981. Blancas: Korchnoi, V. Negras: Karpov, A. Ortodoxa. 1.c4 e6 2.Cc3 d5 3.d4 Ae7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Af4 c6 6.e3 Af5 7.g4! (Una idea de Botvinnik para constreñir el juego del negro en el flanco rey.) 7... Ae6 8.h3 Cf6 9.Cf3 0-0 10.Ad3 c5 11.Rf1 Cc6 12.Rg2 Tc8. (Petrosian ante Botvinnik prefirió 12...cxd4, pero tampoco solucionó los problemas de la posición y perdió la partida.) 13.Tc1 Te8 14.dxc5 Axc5 15.Cb5 Af8 16.Cfd4 Cxd4 17.Txc8 Dxc8 18.exd4 Dd7 19.Cc7 Tc8 20.Cxe6 fxe6 21.Te1 a6 22.g5 Ce4 23.Dg4. (Pero no 23.Axe4 dxe4 24.Txe4 Dd5.) 23...Ab4 24.Te2 Tf8 25.f3 Df7 26.Ae5 Cd2 27.a3 Cxf3 28.g6! hxg6 29.Ag3! (Impide el recurso de Ch4+ y pone de manifiesto el engorro en que se encuentran las piezas negras.) 29...Ae7 30.Tf2! (Todavía era pronto para 30.Axg6 Ch4+ 31.Axh4 Df1+ 32.Rh2 Axh4.) 30... Ce1+ 31.Rh2 Dxf2+ (Forzado, ya que 31...Cf3+ 32.Rh1 deja sin recursos a las negras.) 32.Axf2 Cxd3 33.Dxe6+ Tf7 34.Ag3 Cxb2 35.Dxd5 Af6 36.Ad6 g5 37.Db3 Axd4 38.De6 g6 39.De8+ Rg7 40.Ae5+ Axe5+ 41.Dxe5+ Rh7 (1-0)

Sep-04-04  clocked: What was the clock situation when this sequence of errors was made?

27.a3?! (f4)
28.g6? (Bg3)
29... Be7? (Nh4+)
31.Kh2? (Kg1 or Kh1)
32... Nxd3? (Rxf2+)

Jun-29-06  KingG: Korchnoi actually gave Karpov a chance to draw the game with 28.g6?, but luckily for him, it wasn't taken. The saving move was 29...Nh4+!, and then 30.Kh2(30.Qxh4 Qf3+ 31.Kh2 Qxd3 ; 30.Bxh4 Qf1+ 31.Kh2 Bd6+ 32.Bg3 Rf2+! 33.Rxf2 Qxf2+ 34.Kh1 Qxg3 ) Nf3+ 31.Kh1 Nh4 32.Qxh4 Qf3+ 33.Rg2 Qxd3 34.axb4 Rf1+ 35.Kh2 Qd1 36.Qd8+ Kh7 37.Qh4+ 1/2-1/2

So instead of 29.g6?, Korchnoi should have played the immediate 29.Bg3!. The difference is after 28.Bg3 Nh4+ 29.Kh2 Nf3+ 30.Kh1 Nh4, White has 31.Bxh7+! Kxh7 32.Qxh4+ Kg6 33.Rf2

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: My favourite move in this game is 18.exd4. Most players might have recaptured with the knight, so as to blockade the d5-pawn. VK captures with the pawn so that he is still threatening Nc7. After he plays Nxe6 black would like to recapture with his queen but he can't owing to Bf5.
Nov-19-06  s4life: <KingG The saving move was 29...Nh4+!, and then 30.Kh2(30.Qxh4 Qf3+ 31.Kh2 Qxd3 >

Black is dead here as it follows 32.Qxh7#.

Apr-11-08  Knight13: <My favourite move in this game is 18.exd4. Most players might have recaptured with the knight, so as to blockade the d5-pawn. VK captures with the pawn so that he is still threatening Nc7.> Me, I don't care about the c7 threat since it doesn't do much. And I still hold that Nxd4 is better because it places the knight on a better square, and that Nc7-xd6 in my opinion is giving up a good piece for black's worst one.
May-06-08  KingG: <s4life> <Black is dead here as it follows 32.Qxh7#.> I'm not sure what position you are talking about. I don't see any possibility of 32.Qxh7# in the analysis I posted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <KingG> I guess that <s4life> have thought that you was talking about 28...Nh4+, i.e. without inserted text moves 28...hxg6 29.Bg3. Of course, with Pawn on g6 there would be a mate on h7.

Btw, 28...Ne1+ seems to be playable too.

Jun-06-12  lost in space: Seems to be not a very convincing win of VK
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The QGD is known as the World Championship opening. Kortschnoi plays a very aggressive version of it here. Black plays Charousek's move, 3...Be7.

click for larger view

The advantage of this move is that after the normal 3...Nf6 white plays 4.Bg5 and the c1-bishop is on quite a good square. After 3...Be7 he cannot immediately develop that c1-bishop; he has to try something else.

Here Kortschnoi tries a very aggressive plan which I believe was first used by Botvinnik in his efforts to defeat the Mount Rushmore-like Petrosian in 1963.

The game has the unusual feature of both sides attacking each other on the kingside, the opposing pieces threading through each other rather like as in <Hive>.

Position after 26.Be5

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After 29.Bg3

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GM Ray Keene wrote:
<Karpov misses an opportunity in the tangled complications. He should have played 29 ... Nh4+!! when 30 Kh2 Nf3+ just repeats and attempts by White to improve are unsuccessful, for example 30 Bxh4 (30 Qxh4 Qf3+ and 31 ... Qxd3) 30 ... Qf1+ 31 Kh2 Bd6+ 32 Bg3 Rf2+ 33 Rxf2 Qxf2+ 34 Kh1 Qxg3 and Black is out of danger.>

Note that white's 31st move was 31.Kh1, not 31.Kh2. Correction submitted.

Dec-11-15  analysethat: Nice finishing combination by Korchnoi with 37. Qb3 forcing open the diagonal and then driving the king to g7 setting up the fork. The motif with Qe8+ was there since the bishop landed on d6, but being a mere mortal I would not have guessed at this at move 37.
Dec-11-15  Howard: One of the best games of the match---if that was any consolation to Korchnoi.
Dec-11-15  cunctatorg: Korchnoi won back then two wonderful games in a very impressive and creative manner; personally I would prefer more his extraordinary and lovely win in the Ruy Lopez (with Black of course) despite the mutual overlook at the very last move of the time control ... but Korchnoi insists to never mention these two brilliantly conducted wins.

The truth is that he had also been defeated in other two games due to extremely poor play from his part and the more important fact imho is that his play at Meran had been characterized by extreme fluctuations...

Well, he prefers to find consolation in his explosive and perfect (!?!) win with Black against Anatoly Karpov more than a decade later where he defeated an even much more mature and self-confident Karpov (at the peak of his powers) who had also played a magnificent game!!

Dec-11-15  cunctatorg: Imho Korchnoi's 18. ed4 seems to be 18. ed4!?! and his 20th move is 20. Nxe6!?! He seems to trade "his best piece for Karpov's worst one" and he obtains a very dangerous attack!!...
Dec-11-15  Howard: Too bad about Korchnoi's horrendous start, where he scored only one draw out of the first four games. If not for that, he might have made a fight out of the match.
Dec-15-15  cunctatorg: People -and Victor Korchnoi himself- tend to forget this match or characterize it as a Korchnoi's failure, the so called "massacre at Merano", which is only partially true; however Korchnoi achieved his most overwhelming victories over Anatoly Karpov there (this very game and the fifth one, an open Ruy Lopez) and at Dortmund at 1994, not at the previous two matches between K vs. K...

At these previous matches Korchnoi scored seven victories (two plus ... five!!) but generally Karpov was able to put a much more stubborn resistance, he had lost these games in the "deepest" and prolonged endgame -with the exception ,that is, of one or two games that he lost due to relatively weak play... Here, at Merano 1981, Anatoly Karpov had been suffered two crushing defeats at the very middlegame from Victor the Terrible... Well, to crush Anatoly Karpov twice in the middlegame of a WCC match is remarkable and an absolutely greatest task to achieve...


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <cunctatorg: ..Here, at Merano 1981, Anatoly Karpov had been suffered two crushing defeats at the very middlegame from Victor the Terrible... Well, to crush Anatoly Karpov twice in the middlegame of a WCC match is remarkable and an absolutely greatest task to achieve...>

Kortschnoi won two games in Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981).

The first was Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981), game 6.

Karpov might have won that game with

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Karpov's other loss in the 1981 match was Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1981, but he could have drawn that by playing

click for larger view


At no other point did Karpov have a lost position in the match.

Dec-15-15  Petrosianic: <cunctatorg> <Well, to crush Anatoly Karpov twice in the middlegame of a WCC match is remarkable and an absolutely greatest task to achieve...>

I take it we're using "crush" as a synonym for "win", even though that's not what it means to most people.

Dec-16-15  cunctatorg: Correction;

Well, to defeat Anatoly Karpov twice in the middlegame of a WCC match is quite remarkable and an absolutely greatest task to achieve...

I had pointed out that "I would prefer his (Korchnoi's) extraordinary and lovely win in the Ruy Lopez (with Black of course) ... DESPITE the MUTUAL overlook at the very last move of the time control"...

I never denied the obvious and well known fact that Victor Korchnoi had suffered a crushing defeat at Merano 1981 by Anatoly Karpov, the "so called massacre at Merano"; I just pointed out that this is partially true and by this I mean that the previous matches didn't exhibit defeats of Anatoly Karpov at the middlegame (with the exception of one or two games that Karpov had lost due to relatively weak play, an opening surprise perhaps or whatever...) and this is a remarkable achievement; no opening surprises or relatively weak play by Karpov here, just "normal" mistakes due to intense and overwhelming pressure by Korchnoi's part...

Well, I guess that i) the overlook of the move 29... Nh4! at this very game, ii) the mutual overlook at the very last move before the time control in the Ruy Lopez (an -otherwise- brilliantly conducted game by Korchnoi's part) and of course iii) the heavy Korchnoi's overall loss at this match are the reasons that this remarkable (imho) fact is generally neglected...

Dec-17-15  Howard: The other Korchnoi victory was the sixth game, not the fifth one---contrary to a comment made two days ago.
Dec-17-15  cunctatorg: Agreed, point taken but my memory stands not so badly after more than 34 years! Sixth, not fifth game and after all Korchnoi started as White the disastrous first game of that match, a brilliant and very convincing and impressive Karpov's game, a real masterpiece. Therefore Korchnoi had the White in the fifth game also etc.

Anyways, trying to further clarify my point (and my observation or even question) I'll formulate it as follows; Korchnoi didn't really crush Karpov in two games of this match but he certainly outplayed him during the middlegame so that Anatoly Karpov had to resign before the endgame phase of these two games.

What is so remarkable about that? After all Karpov outplayed Korchnoi during that match and he defeated him heavily in four or five games while Korchnoi almost defeated himself in a Petrov... Anyways Karpov played obviously (much?) better in Merano 1981 than he did in Moscow at 1974 or in Baguio at 1978 and -also obviously- Korchnoi's play was much more unstable; however Korchnoi was able to outplay twice Karpov during that match in a manner he didn't in the previous matches, as I stated above; in the previous matches he defeated Karpov is seven games but Karpov was able to defend until a long endgame with the exception of a miniature-game in the 1974 match (for which Korchnoi criticized Karpov's performance and weak play) and one game in the 1978 match where Korchnoi started with 1. g3!?, a firework perhaps or whatever, where Karpov reacted below his standards... In the 1981 match Korchnoi was able to outplay his opponent twice (as I stated above) despite the relative difference in their performance and this seems really remarkable to me, that's all...

Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: After the premature 28 g6? Karpov could also equalise with 28..Ne1+

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