Korchnoi-Spassky ends in 4-4

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Korchnoi-Spassky match in ElistaHe hadn't played a classical game of chess since 2002, so Boris Spassky needed a few games to get warm. In the second half of his match against Viktor Korchnoi he played much better, beating his opponent in games 5 and 7. In game 6 he was also better but blundered terribly. The two legends ended their match yesterday with a quick draw.

Photo © Official site

The match between 10th World Champion Boris Spassky and former World Championship contender Viktor Korchnoi was the final event in the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the union between Kalmykia and Russia. The two played a total of eight games in Elista from December 17th until 27th, for a prize fund of US$ 20,000. The time control was 90 minutes + 30 seconds per move.

Games 5-8

The second half of the match was very different from the first, and it was Boris Spassky who dominated in games 5, 6 and 7. In the first encounter after the rest day the 10th World Champion crushed his opponent with the black pieces in just 26 moves. In an English Opening that quickly became a reversed Taimanov Sicilan, Spassky played aggressively with ...f5 and ...g5. To avoid an avalanch of pawns on the kingside Korchnoi sacrificed a piece, but with less space he kept on struggling to find good squares for his remaining arsenal. Three strong black minor pieces decided the game quickly.

Then, in game 6, Spassky again reached a promising position. From a modest Four Knights he manoeuvred strongly in the middlegame, creating a passed d-pawn by tactical means. However, in what looks like timetrouble, he first dropped a pawn and then bigger material in just two moves - a pity.

Also in game 7 Spassky outplayed Korchnoi in the early middlegame - a nice knight manoeuvre on move 21 and 22 yielded the bishop pair. It's not clear whether Black's advantage in the ending was enough to win the game, but his position was clearly easier to play. After a few inaccuracies Korchnoi lost a pawn, and then forgot about the clock and lost on time ("for the third time already this year!" he lamented during the press conference). Spassky had levelled the score again.

After all this excitement the two legends had seen enough, and they agreed a draw after 11 moves in the last game. A quick draw in a Petroff - normally something we'd disapprove of, but in this case fully deserved. The job was done, the crowd finished cheering. As I'm typing this, I'm watching Bruce Springsteen and Bono singing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, because 25th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is on Dutch TV. Two fantastic performers together on one stage, doing what they do best. It was a similar pleasure to see Korchnoi and especially Spassky at the chess board facing and fighting each other again, like in their best days.

Match score


Games 5-8

Game viewer by ChessTempo


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