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Korchnoi-Spassky Candidates 1977: Viktor Takes Boris Deep

  • NM GreenLaser
  • | Jul 2, 2011
  • | 8989 views
  • | 30 comments

Viktor Korchnoi was born March 23, 1931 in Leningrad, USSR. He was a candidate for the World Championship ten times from 1962-1991. He won the USSR Championship four times from 1960-1970. Korchnoi never won the world title, but has been considered the best player to never have won the title. Earlier, the same had been said of Paul Keres. In 1976, Korchnoi stopped residing in the USSR. He escaped in or defected to the Netherlands. Two years later, he made his home in Switzerland. His second place in the Candidates Matches of 1974 left him seeded into the 1977 matches. His first match was against Petrosian, the former World Champion. In 1971, Korchnoi was required to lose his match with Petrosian. Now, free of Soviet bosses, he defeated Petrosian 6.5-5.5. Korchnoi then defeated another Soviet player, Polugaevsky, 8.5-4.5. The next step was a match with Boris Spassky, the former World Champion. Spassky was now living in France and playing under the Soviet flag. Korchnoi had lost the 1968 Candidates Match final to Spassky 6.5-3.5.

Spassky’s path to the match was opened by the refusal of Bobby Fischer to play. After Fischer declined to defend his title against Karpov in 1975, he was still seeded into the next cycle. Fischer did not return. Spassky was the next in line as a reserve from the 1974 matches to replace Fischer. Korchnoi and Spassky were joined by six qualifiers from the Interzonals. Spassky got by Hort after extra games broke their tie. Spassky then defeated Portisch 8.5-6.5. This put Spassky in the final match with Korchnoi in Belgrade.

The Korchnoi-Spassky of 1977 consisted of 18 games. Korchnoi won five out of the first ten games. Spassky won the next four games. Two draws followed. Korchnoi won the next two. The final score was 10.5-7.5. Korchnoi won seven games. Spassky won four games. There were seven draws. The Winawer Variation of the French Defense was a major part of the match. It was used by Korchnoi (as Black) six times. He won three, lost one, and drew two games with that line. Selected from the match is game seven. Spassky was already behind by two points and that was to play a role in the players’ stategies.


Comments


  • 3 years ago

    leonelcm

    Very interesting and illustrative article, thanx for sharing...

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    Theoden, If 47...Rxf6 48.Rxf6 Qxf6 49.Qxf6 gxf6 and White wins. If 48...gxf6 49.Qxd5+ trading queens wins. Zoroastre1of1 is correct that exchanging pieces does not help Black.

  • 3 years ago

    Zoroastre1o1

    Taking this pawn doesn't change the outcome. Exchanging all major pieces remaining, White is still winning the Kings and pawns endgame. Very simple at that level of play.

  • 3 years ago

    Theoden

    Why did not Black play 47...Rxf6?

  • 3 years ago

    bolshevikhellraiser

    I beleive Keres to be the best player never to become World Champion. I've come to this conclusion, because Keres defeated more World Champions than Korchnoi, and Keres has a 4 to 1 score w/ 12 draws against Korchnoi making him better hands down.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    Zoroastre1o1, we could go on forever, but that's what comments are for. You mentioned Tal and Fischer. Tal said that Lasker was the best ever. Fischer did not include Lasker in his top ten in one article, but he later changed his mind. Opinions are varied. The opinions of top players are the best worth reporting. I have little or no need to promote my opinion over theirs or any of my readers.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    gilligan, the title is clean. The word deep is a reference to the depth of Korchnoi's play. There are other uses of deep in sporting contests. It could apply to deep water. It could refer to a long fly ball in baseball. By analogy these can be used for a complicated chess game.

  • 3 years ago

    PUMAPRIDE

    i think ivanchuk was the best player who never became world champion. Ps was this game also in korchnois books my best games with white?? its fun i didnt understand than this game and i still dont understand it. lol im so bad

  • 3 years ago

    Morph27

            Korchnoi_1955

  • 3 years ago

    gillligan

    "Viktor Takes Boris Deep", geeze keep it clean.

  • 3 years ago

    mobidi

    @ NM Green Laser @ Zoroastre101-Great,Great Viktor-of course he IS the best PLAYER in the chess history!

  • 3 years ago

    Zoroastre1o1

    HM Green Laser,

    Yes, interesting comment. As we have not common or absolute criterium to measure chess performance this is a question of interpretation, gut feeling and existential sensitivity. It puzzles me, for example, that Spassky could laugh about lack of talent by Korchoi who defeated him in this match... Who is the clown after a while ?

    Rubinstein, I missed that one. Yes, he developped intense combinative style with iron mastering of endgames. He could have been, given the chance, a champion for a while. But this was before hypermodern revolution  shook the ground in chess thinking.

    Future chess fan, witnessing other era, will thing of us as clumsy chessplayers and thinkers, maybe. See, Morphy, sure was gifted with as great combinative skills as that of Fisher or Tal, for example, but the fact remained that he played against players that had no clue about positional thinking. There the line is drawn by Steinitz (follower of the French Philidor), the first with positional system. Importance of the pawns struture, like that of peasants in the chinese revolution.

    For present era, I draw the line with Botwinnick, for systematic study of every phases of the game, and also physical, mental, psychological preparation. Systematic, scientific.

    Yet imaginative play have something to say. And contribution fromoriental thinking. Tai Chi and yoga are great for chess players! Anand is there and Chinese champions are coming !

    Excuse my apparent lack of modesty. I am relatively weak chess player but French writer and philosopher. I surely know many things you do not, my friend. And you know things I don't.

    But thinking to better level is not about things, it is about style. More or less developped. Some style of thinking would prove more promising than other, in a larger time span. Conventionnal prove solid only for a while. I like innovative challengers.

    I would also try to draw your attention to my post upon the topic of imagining the best world championship match that have not took place, or dreamt championship in all, like in a dreamt world or some parallel universe. I choose a Tal (from 1961) with a Fischer (of 1970-72) but talk there also about Keres, Bronstein and so on... In fact, this was only kinship of this present topic with that one that drew my involvment here.

    thank you all and I remain open for furter debates...

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    cookie3, you have a point!

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    Zoroastre1o1,  At any point in chess history, there is a player who without holding the world title, is believed to be the best. In 1889, Tarrasch may have been stronger than Steinitz. Around 1910, Rubinstein may have been the best. Perhaps, the champion Lasker was better. We could go on and on through the years. Keres and later Korchnoi have been described as the best players who never won the title. That does not mean a player is the best in the world, "just" the best not a world champion. Keres was able to play in championship cycles, but failed to win the title. Reshevsky thought that Keres was too nice to be the best. Reshevsky himself was considered the best by some in the early fifties. Rubinstein was unable to get a match. In any case, the best players who played in different eras are too "tall" for me to pick the tallest. I think of it as being asked to decide which of a number of seven foot+ tall basketball players is the tallest. I am too short to see the tops of their heads. In this article, I was reporting the opinions of others, including some really "tall" players.

  • 3 years ago

    cookie3

    Is it just me, or, after that last post, does all the other posts seem really small?Laughing

  • 3 years ago

    Zoroastre1o1

    According to my  incomplete but still vast knowledge of recent chess history, I want to state that Korchnoi was never, really,  the best player in the world, while Paul Keres was, indeed, I think, the best, in between 1945 untill 1960, yes, in effect the best.

    Remember that the summit of any mountain is very narrow, and you can have only one that is the best, in a designated precise time.

    Fischer, I think, was in effect the best individual player for all the sixties and reaching a bit more, to conqueer the crown. He avoided major breakdown by dodging away, and then Karpov and Kasparov took over. Korchnoi is just the other K, the one who never made it.

    Before him, as best who never was crowned is Keres, indeed, then Bronstein. I feel I can argue this position with many arguments.

    Korchnoi was really strong player but never the best.

    Thanks listening.

    Jacques Perreault

    added: In his own book, "Chess is my life", Korchnoi pretended feeling he was the strongest after fischer withdrawal. But he failed to prove his sense by losing to Karpov. Yet his route is very impressive. He defeated Petrosian, fading, then Polougaevsky, one of the strongest, and then this Spassky, a bit fading and depressed after losing so astonishingly by Fischer's wit. You can swim like a whale, but still treated like a fish, this is somewhat sobering.

  • 3 years ago

    jpd303

    love it good stuff... 2 of my favorite players...hey you mentioned the winawar in the intro but showed a queens gambit...i basically only play the french and would love to see annoted games of 2 of my favoirite players going head to head...

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    cookie3, Thanks for reading and commenting. My schedule for articles is flexible. I aim for a weekly article on (or about) Saturday. If it shifts more, it may indicate a vacation. I just don't care to announce in advance when I am not home.

  • 3 years ago

    cookie3

     I would just like to express my gratitude!  I look forward each week to your articles: and they always are informative w/ great feedback from you!  THANK YOU!

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    Morph27, thanks for the pictures. The Fischer-Korchnoi game must be from Zagreb in 1970. Fischer was White and 27 years old. I don't remember the name of the arbiter or the clock.

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