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Anatoly Karpov vs Jan Timman
Montreal (1979), Montreal CAN, rd 2, Apr-12
Pirc Defense: General (B07)  ·  1-0



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Given 24 times; par: 64 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: Karpov's other game against Timman at this tournament shows that he is not just a positional pansy gurly-man, but can lash out with he-man tactics as well as anyone: Timman vs Karpov, 1979
Apr-05-05  notyetagm: Nice game by Karpov.
Apr-05-05  notyetagm: Nice <petite combination> in the notes: 27 ♖xa5! ♖dd7 because if 27 ... ♕xb2?? 28 ♖b1 traps the Black queen.
Apr-05-05  notyetagm: And I really like the whole g4-♘g3 maneuver, <"massively overprotecting e4"> just as offramp commented above.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One thing to watch out for in Karpov's games is that he likes to keep his pieces close together - sometimes 5 pieces in a 3x2 rectangle.

But if you look at Fischer's games, he likes to keep his pieces far apart!

Apr-05-05  paladin at large: <offramp>Karpov likes to keep his pieces close together because he was raised in Russia where it is very cold. They are huddling for warmth and he is considerate for their welfare, expecting as he does, great things from them.
Apr-05-05  paladin at large: I apologize <offramp>, I found your observation interesting. I must have had too much wine with dinner ......
Apr-05-05  Shams: <paladin at large> your joke was funny! drink wine and post here more often, I say.
May-28-05  Catfriend: One of my favorite Karpov games!
<hintza> Reminds you of something?

We just played with <hintza> this variation:) Do I have your permission to post here our game with some analysis and comparison to Karpov-Timman? We both made some very instructive positional blunders, so thought it's a good idea! And feel free to publish your victory also!

May-28-05  hintza: OMG I actually played quite a lot of Timman's moves without ever seeing this game. You have permission to post our game up until where I digress from Timman's moves, after which you have to go for one of the following clichés: 1."And the rest is simply a matter of technique" or words to that effect;

2."And White won in X no. of moves";

3."At this point the gamescore becomes illegible, but for the record White went on to win convincingly".

Here, meanwhile, is my Karpovian brilliancy:


1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nxe4 4.Nc3 Nxc3 5.dxc3 Be7 6.Nxe5 0-0 7.0-0 d6 8.Nxf7 Rxf7 9.Qf3 Qf8 10.Bxf7+ Qxf7 11.Qxf7+ Kxf7 12.Be3 Nc6 13.Rfe1 Bf5 14.Re2 Re8 15.Rae1 Bf6 16.Bf4 Rxe2 17.Rxe2 Ne5 18.f3 h6 19.Kf2 g5 20.Be3 a6 21.b3 Kg6 22.h3 Bd7 23.f4 Nc6 24.fxg5 hxg5 25.c4 Nd4 26.Rd2 Nf5 27.c5 Nxe3 28.Kxe3 Bc6 29.cxd6 cxd6 30.Rxd6 Bxg2 31.c4 Bxh3 32.b4 Kf7 33.c5 Be7 34.Rb6 Bg2 35.a4 g4 36.Kf4 Bf3 37.Rh6 a5 38.c6 Bxc6 39.Rxc6 bxc6 40.bxa5 Bc5 41.Kxg4 Ke6 42.a6 Kd5 43.Kf5 Ba7 44.Kf4 c5 45.Ke3 Kc4 46.Kd2 Kb3 47.a5 c4 48.Kc1 c3 49.Kd1 Kb2 50.Ke2 c2 51.Kd3 c1Q 52.Ke4 Kc3 53.Kd5 Qe3 54.Kc6 Kc4 55.Kb7 Qe7+ 56.Kc6 Qc5+ 57.Kd7 Kd5 58.Ke8 Ke6 59.Kd8 Qd6+ 60.Kc8 Qb8#

What? Immodest? Me?? Never!

*hides under his copy of <How Karpov Wins>*

May-28-05  Catfriend: It's even more embarrassing than I thought it would be... Ok, after this shame I surely can show our Pirc fight! I'm going to analyse it and post it here tomorrow!
And maybe I"ll offer our Matulovic gambit game for a daily puzzle - Nxf7!
Jun-01-05  Catfriend: So, here's the promised game:
Catfriend-hintza, time control 8/0

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6
<So, the Pirc defence is played. Tired of all sorts of Italian, Sicilian etc., hintza chooses a less played alternative!>

4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O
<Karpov’s games convinced me this variation is really worth playing!>

6. Nge2 c6 7. O-O?! Nbd7
<Careless play by white! 7.h3 was needed here, as 7..Bg4 wouldn’t be pleasant enough.>

8. h3 a6 9. Bg5! h6
<Copying Karpov, a useful move. The slight weakness on h6 will be used to gain time. Just a note – during all the opening, I don’t play Rfe1, I want that rook where it is, supporting f4. Later, we see it helps the attack.>

10. Be3 Qc7 11. Qd2 Kh7 12. Rad1 e5!?
<An aggressive approach to the position:). Perhaps black doesn’t feel comfortable enough, and wants to gain space? Anyway, here I don’t think such a lash-out promises my friend a lot. My response continues the restriction policy.>

13. g4 b5! 14. f4? exd4?
<A shameful moment! Black plays the best move, 13..b5, threatening to push Nc3 far far away to b1, with good play on the Q-side. Hintza found the correct plan in several seconds, even without seeing Timman’s play! What did I do? Oh shame and horror… After seeing Karpov-Timman, after analysing and memorizing it, I didn’t notice the move, eager to play the aggressive f4… Even the short time control is no excuse.. Luckily, I’m not the only one who plays this game ;) After playing the excellent 13th move, Hintza chose not to punish me for my grave positional blunder, giving me salvation!>

15. Nxd4 Bb7
<Now, 15..b5 would be answered by 16.Nce2, with solid position. So, taking d4 with the knight was by far the best choice. Also, Be3 stands now as a central piece in white’s camp. Bb7 is a logical move in the Pirc, pursuing the idea of piece-pressure on the pawn-center! Exactly what we have here. After the previous shameful mistake, I’m more careful. But perhaps it isn’t needed, and 16.g5!? is quite good.>

16. a3 d5!?
<Interesting choice by Hintza. Although the knight is pushed to a bad position, the pressure in the center is somewhat relieved.>

17. e5 Ne8
<According to my computer, 18.h4 with h5 is the correct plan here, but during the game I chose a more positional, calmer approach.>

18. b4 c5
<The idea was to lock the Q-side, but I missed several “details”..>

Jun-01-05  Catfriend: 19. bxc5 Nxc5
<My intention was to play 19.Ne2, and start a K-side storm. However, I thought 19..d4 would be disastrous. Stupid me! 19..d4?! 20.Bxb7 Qxb7 21.bxc5 dxe3 22.Qd7 with some advantage. Once again, I was lucky, choosing blindly the best line.>

20. Nxd5(!) Bxd5
<20.Bxd5 is by no means a mistake, but Nxd5 is even better.>

21. Bxd5 Rd8 22. Bf3? Qc8
<White misses a much better move! 22.Nc6! Ne4 23.Qg2 Nc3 24.Nxd8 Nxd1 25.Rxd1 Qxd8 26.Bc5 Rg8 27.c4 is very good! 22.Bf3 threatened Nxb5 hence black’s move.>

23. Qe2 Nc7
<The long-awaited fight is about to begin. e5 looks dominant, but it has to die! Taking it isn’t really healthy anyway. 24.f5! Pries the f-line, and that rook on f1 becomes very strong.>

24. f5! Bxe5 25. Nc6 Rde8?
<I suck in chess!! I… didn’t see Bxc5. 25..Rxd1 26.Rxd1 Re8 27.Bxc5 Bd4+ 28.Nxd4 Rxe2 29.Be2 and though white faces a very good endgame, the R+2B must yet prove their superiority to a queen!>

26. Nxe5?? Rxe5 27. Qf2! Ne4
<Attacking both f-line and g1-a7 diagonal. Note that Rf8 is protected only once, while after if f-file opens, it’s going to be attacked twice. The next several moves are more or less forced.>

28. Bxe4 Rxe4 29. fxg6+ Kxg6 30. Qf6+ Kh7 31. Qxh6+ Kg8 32. Qg5+ Kh7 33. Rf6 Re6<(only move)> 34. Qh5+ Kg8 <The idea wasn’t draw by repetition or itme pressure, of course. I hoped for 34..Kg7, where 35.Bh6+! Kxf6 36.Qg5# is a pretty final touch. I mentioned it to Hintza – his reply was “Kg7 in your dreams”!>

35. Qg5+ Kh7 36. Rh6+ Rxh6 37. Qxh6+ Kg8 38. Bd4 Ne6

<38..Ne6 allows immediate mate in 1, but it’s over anyway. The best defence was 38..f6 39.Qg6+ Kh8 40.Bxf6+ Rxf6 41.Qxf6+ Kh7 42.Qf7+ Kh8 (Kh6 43.Rd6+ Ne6 44.g5 Kxg5 45.Rd5+ with mate in 3) 43.Rd7 >

39. Qh8#

An instructive fight, with several shameful misses as well as some pretty good moves.

Jun-01-05  hintza: Very nice notes <Catfriend>! Truly shameful play by moi though even though I never play the Pirc. <I mentioned it to Hintza – his reply was “Kg7 in your dreams”!> LOL! I remember now! I had of course seen your nice little mating variation. <Hintza found the correct plan in several seconds, even without seeing Timman’s play!> Ah yes, the one positive I take from this game is that I did indeed find Timman's plan OTB. Right, I think I will look at your notes more deeply and maybe if I find the time I can annotate the "Black is OK!" game!


Jun-01-05  Catfriend: lol OMG ... Oh well, I deserve that:)
*Hides under his screen*
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I was playing over this game when I was reminded of another game by a grandmaster whose style is often analogized to Karpov's:

click for larger view

Petrosian-Stahlberg, Zurich 1953, after 28 Nf3.

click for larger view

Karpov-Timman, Montreal 1979, after 24...Be8.

Appropriately enough, Karpov's position looks just a little more aggressive and a shade less solid than Petrosian's. Karpov went on to win in 38 moves; Petrosian took 67.

Mar-17-06  notyetagm: Like watching a master play an amateur.
Nov-15-06  chesed: I disagree with you keypusher Karpov's position is more solid. There's such harmony between the pieces.
Oct-31-07  chesed: I was very young when I first saw this game in Chessmaster. It was a 'Rate my play'. (guessing Karpov's next move) Haha it even described Karpov's style of play as a 'boa-constrictor approach'. (I was like so coool!)

Karpov won this game without a fight. That's just amazing. From then on I observed all of Karpov's games. The way he plays is that the pieces seem to land at the right place at the right time. Hehe play his games in Fritz at fast speed and you'll see what I mean.

I was so passionate about chess at that time. Yeah when I saw this game I really realized how beautiful chess is. And Karpov became one of my favorite players along with Capablanca and Petrosian.

I admire dazzling tactical play but as Karpov would put it, I get less satisfaction when I do that than when I play positionally like this. Because to me, it's appreciating the art of the game.

hey guys have you seen Karpov's annotation of this game? It's so cool.

hey you guys should also see

Gelfand vs Karpov (1994), Linares, Nimzo-Indian opening

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: A game known for being a textbook example of prophylaxis. One would expect White to advance advantageously on the kingside with f5 or g5 but Karpov simply squeezed Timman into positional horrors, ultimately rounding up the weakened queenside.
Aug-25-08  JuliusCaesar: Positional and tactical are not two mutually exclusive concepts. At this level, the latter is merely a function/result of the former. Ultimately, you either play positionally or you don't. For example, if you play the King's Indian, you have to play sharply (tactically, if you like) to have any chance at all; otherwise, you'll be overrun in the centre and on the q-side. By temperament, Karpov is not attracted to such openings (neither was Petrosian). He prefers piece deployments that lend themselves to a 'slower' maneuvering game. That's where he excels.
Aug-25-08  Woody Wood Pusher: 17...b4 seems the beginning of black's positional nightmare! What happens to the black queenside? It just melts away and Timman has to resign. This is a remarkable way to beat such a strong GM.
Dec-17-11  ozmikey: A quintessential Karpov game, with a number of subtle touches (22. Qc2! to prevent the knight getting back into play by 22...Nc5 (23. b4), bring the queen off the d-file, and continue the overprotection of e4 - not bad for one move!).

Karpov's notes, in the tournament book, are superbly comprehensive and very instructive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GlassCow: Neat position after black's 24th. Timman's position looks like utter chaos and Karpov's looks tidy and orderly. Especially like the aesthetics of the knights and bishops in the position.
Sep-29-13  Ulhumbrus: One objection to 7...Na6 is that it does not put pressure on White and make him worry about how to maintain his centre eg after 7...Nc6 or even 7...ed
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