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Anatoly Karpov vs Henrique Mecking
Hastings (1971/72), Hastings ENG, rd 6, Jan-04
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation (B92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-18-10  Ulhumbrus: Is there any need for the move 23...g5? After 23...Bb6 White seems not to be going anywhere.
Aug-18-10  Everett: <Ulhumbrus> Doesn't white have an automatic attack after 23..Bb6 24.g5? White's rooks are ready to support the pawns, and black's bishop decided to leave the k-side. Not sure what the computers say, but ..Bb6 wouldn't be my first choice.
Aug-20-10  Ulhumbrus: <Everett> 23... Bb6 connects the Rooks and begins the plan of ...Bc5 and ...b6. On 23...Bb6 24 g5 Kh8 unpins the f pawn and it is up to White to find a way to open lines advantageously if he can. With the Queens off, Black need worry less about mate. Here are two conceivable variations arising from an attempt on White's part to open lines: 23...b5 24 g5 Kh8 25 h5 Bc5 26 h6 g6 27 fxg6 fxg6 and Black occupies the f file instead of White. Or 23...b5 24 g5 Kh8 25 h5 Bc5 26 g6 fxg6 27 hxg6 h6 and without the Queens Black need worry less about a sacrifice on h6. In which case White seems to have no way to make further progress.
Aug-20-10  Everett: <Ulhumbrus> in both your variations, are you giving black two moves in a row? ...Bb6 and ...b5?

Anyway, after 23..Bb6 24.g5 Kh8 25.f6 is what I prefer. 25..g6 is answered by 26.h5 and both 25..gxf6 or most other moves white plays 26.Rcf1 sacrificing a pawn for dominant rooks.

Aug-21-10  Ulhumbrus: <Everett: <Ulhumbrus> in both your variations, are you giving black two moves in a row? ...Bb6 and ...b5?> No, I said that the move ...Bb6 began the plan of ...Bc5 and Bb6. A plan, not a variation.

< Anyway, after 23..Bb6 24.g5 Kh8 25.f6 is what I prefer. 25..g6 is answered by 26.h5 and both 25..gxf6 or most other moves white plays 26.Rcf1 sacrificing a pawn for dominant rooks.> Let us take this a little further. On 26...fxg5 27 hxg5 Bd8 switches the attack to the g5 pawn, unless Black prefers 27...Bd4 eg 28 Rxf7 Rxf7 29 Bxf7 Kg7 30 Be6 Bxb2.

Aug-22-10  Everett: <Ulhumbrus> thanks for analyzing with me.

After your suggested 23..Bb6 24.g5 Kh8 25.f6 gxf6 26.Rcf1 fxg5 27.hxg5 Bd8 28.g6 takes advantage the unprotected Rf8 and the pin on the h-pawn. White seems much better here, so 27..Bd4 is a better try. Even so, white continues 28.Rf6 threatening to double on either file and capturing d6. Black is in deep trouble here.

Aug-24-10  Ulhumbrus: <Everett> On 23..Bb6 24.g5 Kh8 25.f6 gxf6 26.Rcf1 fxg5 27.hxg5 .Bd4 28.Rf6 Kg7 29 Rxd6 Bxb2 White seems unable to attack f7 and h6 so as to overpower either, perhaps because Black's King has joined the defence eg 30 Rd6-h6 Rh8 31 Rh6-f6 Rh8-f8
Aug-25-10  Everett: <On 23..Bb6 24.g5 Kh8 25.f6 gxf6 26.Rcf1 fxg5 27.hxg5 .Bd4 28.Rf6 Kg7 29 Rxd6 Bxb2 White seems unable to attack f7> Really? Does black really want to capture the silly b2 pawn and allow, after the above line, 30.Rdh6 Rh8 31.Rf6 Rhf8 32.Rhf1? The f-pawn will drop and white is still applying pressure. IMHO black should keep his bishop on c5 and hope white misplays basically being a piece up on the k-side
Aug-25-10  Everett: I think I found an improvement from my last line.

After <23..Bb6 24.g5 Kh8 25.f6 <h5 is also possible> gxf6 26.Rfc1 fxg5 27.hxg5 Bd4 <..Bd8 28.g6!> 28.Rf6 Kg7 29.Rxd6 Bxb2 30.Rdh6 Rh8 31.Rhf1! Rhf8 32.Rd6> threatening Rd7.

This is the kind of game that Karpov would win time and again. Even if there is a defense to the pressure, black has no counterplay and white can take his time to find/create weaknesses.

In some lines, however, black can find some play by pushing ..b5. It's an interesting position.

Aug-25-10  Ulhumbrus: <Does black really want to capture the silly b2 pawn> Yes, if White is going to take a pawn himself, for although silly, it is still a pawn. However White's attack on f7 is another matter, because that attack breaks through if it succeeds. As White seems able to overpower the f7 pawn, Black has to find an alternative. Suppose that instead of 24...Bb6 Black unpins the f7 pawn at once by 23...Kh8. On 24 g5 f6 Black is ready once more to begin the plan of ...Bb6 followed by ...Bd4 and ...b6. Now what is White going to do?
Dec-28-10  Everett: I could have sworn I responded to 23..Kh8 a while ago...

Black is in trouble no matter where he goes. After 23..Kh8 I feel both 1) 24.f6 Bxf6 25.Rcf1 and 2) 24.g5 f6 25.gxf6 Bxf6 <..gxf6 then white simply doubles on the g-file as black cannot defend from g8> and white will infiltrate on the c-file with 26.Rc7 followed by Rhc1

Premium Chessgames Member
  naresb: In the entire game, Black didn't capitalise to activate, develop, maneouvere his rooks. In fact some of Black's moves were not timely enough - a bit delayed e.g. 20... Rb8 was needed right from 17th move. Black having exchanged his LSB with White's Nb3 - thus created doubled pawn, should have activated his Rook along 'b' file - forcing White on defence. The delayed move 20... Rb8 allowed White pawns to penetrate on king side.

17... o-o was also untimely and unwarranted especially when White's 'Nd5' and 'f5 were eyeing king side attack. This was also supported by White's un-castled king - enabling king side pawn attack coupled with presence of White's LSB. Considering these factors, Black needed to question himself for short castling.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: His problems stemmed from the opening. 9...Nc6? is a major inaccuracy. 9...Nd7 is normal to answer f5 with Bc4. After giving up the light square bishop White had a strong bind which was never broken.

Karpov is a true master at these bishops of opposite color+ rook endgames, Mecking never had a chance.

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