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Andrei Istratescu vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov Istratescu Match (2005), Bucharest ROU, rd 3, Mar-22
Russian Game: Nimzowitsch Attack (C42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Istratescu’s <17. a4!?> was an extraordinary conception, sacrificing a pawn in front of his own King to gain the opportunity to bring his Queen (without exposing it to exchange) to the d3-square, where it would be on the diagonal pointing to h7. The sacrifice generated a strong initiative. After Karpov erred with <29. … d5?>, the White attack became decisive.

Although it did not throw away his winning advantage, Istratescu’s <33. Rh3?!> was inaccurate, allowing Karpov (already down the exchange for a pawn) to give up his Queen for both White Rooks. Istratescu did also pick up a couple of Black pawns (on d5 and b7) during that tactical phase, so he emerged with a winning material advantage of Queen and one extra pawn vs. Rook and Bishop in this position after <36. Qxb7>:

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Nevertheless, by including a check with <33. Rh8+>, Istratescu would have obtained a position with a whole extra Rook (for one pawn) after the further <33. … Kf7 34. Rh5 Qe4> (Here, the intermediate check with <34. … Re1+ 35. Ka2> would only have left the <Black> King more exposed than with the Rook on e7.) <35. Qxe4 dxe4 36. Rf5+> winning the Bishop on f8. In this line, Karpov almost certainly would have resigned immediately, rather than extending a fairly credible resistance to move 74, as in the game.

Despite the one inaccuracy, this was a very fine game by Istratescu, with the pawn sacrifice (<17. a4>) making an especially aesthetic impression.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Let's start with 75. Qd2+ forcing 75 ... Kh4:

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1) 75 ... Kg6? 76. Qc2+

2) 75 ... Kg4? 76. Qd1+

3) 75 ... Kh5? 76. Qd1+ Rg4 77. Kf5

Next a quiet move closing in with 76. Kf5:

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The threat is 77. Qh2#, and the Qd2 prevents 76 ... Ra5+. 76 ... Kh5? 77. Qd1+, and 76 ... Ra3? 77. Qh2+ Rh3 78. Qf4+ Kh5 79. Qg4+ mates. So Black must play 76 ... Kg3 or 76 ... Kh3, but then 77. Qd3+ forces the King back to h4, due to 77 ... Kf2/g2/h2 78. Qc2+. Now 78. Qc2 wins:

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Another threat of 79. Qh2#, and 79 ... Ra3? 80. Qh2+ Rh3 81. Qf4+ again. Black can only play 78 ... Ra5+ 79. Kf4:

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The mate threat is 80. Qh2#; 79 ... Kh5/Ra3 80. Qh7#, 79 ... Kh3 80. Qc3+, and 79 ... Rf5+!? 80. Kxf5 avoids stalemate.

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