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Boris Spassky vs Viktor Korchnoi
Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977/78), Belgrade YUG, rd 10, Dec-16
French Defense: Winawer. Positional Variation (C19)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-15-07  Oprenovic: it seems 37.Rc3 was a mistake, white should have maybe played 37.Be7 not allowing black queen to put itself on d8-h4 diagonal. white advantage looks considerable but i cant see a way to win, seems black is quite holding his fortress... 38.g3 was perhaps yet another mistake, id like to know whats the problem with 38...Qxh4 here, but even after 38...Qxa5 in the game is black suddenly feeling happy 52.Qxa6 is probably losing, hopeful was 52.Bb4 and after 52...Qf1 53.Be1! here is one interesting line: 53...Rc7 54.Dd6 Rc1 55.Qf8+ Bc8 56.Rxa7+ Kxa8 57.Qa3+ Ba6 58.Qxa3 and this surely should be a draw
Oct-17-09  whiteshark: <51.Qxc4> looks playable.
May-31-11  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 32 Bc5 is 32 c5 preparing the advance a6. On 32 c5 a6 33 c6 offers a pawn in return for an attack on the black squares
Apr-18-13  Olavi: Some games make a strong impression for purely aesthetic reasons. I find the sequence of white moves from 10.Rb1 til 20.Be3 (or even 26.a5) beautiful. I wonder whether people unfamiliar with the rules see it that way.
Apr-18-13  Petrosianic: This was the first game that Spassky began playing from his box and doing all his analyzing on the demonstration board. As a result, he was very short of time before the first time control, which may explain 37. Rc3. From what I remember hearing, he was so short of time that he actually had to come and sit down at the board during the time scramble.
Mar-04-15  crchandler: In the original notes to the game in CL&R, I recall that Keene labelled 27. ... Ne7 a mistake. He advocated 27. ... Nh6, threatening to entomb the white rook on g5 and possibly exchanging off the powerful bishop on f2.
Feb-06-17  Howard: Spassky's 10.Rb1 made the Informant top-10 as far as opening novelties went.
Feb-06-17  Howard: Korchnoi was in severe time-trouble from moves 37-40.

More specifically, Spassky's 37.Rc3 was a mistake, as CL&R pointed out back in the day, for it allowed Korchnoi to play 37...Qd8 forking both of Spassky's rook pawns.

But....Spassky was also in time trouble, which is why he replied (Get this!) 38.g3??. This move not only doesn't protect the KRP, but it makes 38...Qxh4 even stronger than it otherwise would have been!

But, alas, Korchnoi was blitzing his moves too fast, and that's why his queen went for the other unprotected RP.

Incidentally, this match (as well as the subsequent 1978 WC) was covered in CL&R by Keene and Stean, and their coverage of both matches was, quite frankly, rather biased in favor of Korchnoi.

To give one example, regarding Korchnoi's blunder of 38.Qxa5 (when he clearly should have taken the KRP instead), they state that Korchnoi had probably "expected a genuine defense of the KRP" but when Spassky mistakenly played 38.g3, Korchnoi "didn't have time to make a the adjustment" in his train of thought" and thus he captured the wrong pawn.

In other words, they were just trying to nonchalantly give an excuse for Korchnoi's mistake.

May-26-23  King.Arthur.Brazil: I guess that 64. e6 fxe6 65. fxe6 Ra6 66. Kf7 would lead to a tied game.

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