Brilliant Games : Karpov vs Korchnoi 1974

Nov 10, 2012, 12:00 AM |

As part of my improvement program I am looking at some of the greatest games in history. See my blog for other games. The games and commentary for each move are taken from the book, 'Winning Chess - Brilliancies' by Yasser Seirawan. 

The whole game will be broken down into separate diagrams (5 moves) to make the process more manageable. I will post a new diagram every day or two. If you want to follow this game as I work through it then tick the 'tracking comments' box at the bottom of the blog and I will post when each stage is complete.

Slaying the Dragon

After the 1972 World Championship, Fischer felt the current format allowed the leader to coast to victory with a series of draws. He proposed a 'first to 10 wins' format (as in the 1886 championship), in theory leading to more exciting and interesting chess games. He had many supporters but this would be a logistical nightmare with the possibility of a 'never ending' match. After much debate FIDE proposed a 'first to 6' format but Fischer wasn't interested. A 5 Million dollar match prize fund was still not enough to twist Fischer's arm and forfeited his crown in 1975. This meant the 'candidates' match in 1974 between Korchnoi and the new rising star Anatoly Karpov became the FIDE Championship by default. It was a hard fought match with Karpov winning in the end 12.5-11.5. The match started with a draw when Karpov drew first blood in game 2 with this scorching victory.

Following his loss, Korchnoi gave up playing the Dragon for the rest of his career. Several years later he defected to the West. Later in 1978 and 1981 Victor Korchnoi again became the FIDE challenger to Anatoly Karpov.