Korchnoi-Spassky Candidates 1977: French Winawer Part 1
The final match of the Candidates in 1977 was between Viktor Korchnoi and former World Champion Boris Spassky. Korchnoi won 10.5-7.5. Two-thirds of Korchnoi’s three point lead came from the French Defense, which he used in two-thirds of his games as Black. This accounted for one-third of the entire match. The French Defense was used six times. All six games displayed the Winawer Variation. Korchnoi won three, lost one, and drew two games. Readers have sometimes requested more coverage of the French Defense and in particular mentioned this match.
I have chosen to show the games from this match in which the French Defense was used in two parts. In Part 1 are the two games with 7.Qg4 cxd4 (C18). Game two of the match continues 8.Qxg7 and is the main game. Korchnoi won that game. Within that game is game twelve, won by Spassky, which continues 8.cxd4. Many of the possible alternatives are not shown since they are beyond the scope of one article. The two games are shown with annotations and game references. The Winawer is complex and is a challenge not only to the analytical ability of those facing it, but also to many in the stylistic sense. In Part 2, Spassky did not play 7.Qg4, but used Nf3 or a4 (C19) instead. This more positional approach led to two wins and two draws for Korchnoi.