V. Korchnoi - R. Fischer 








 

Vicktor Korchnoi (2680) - Robert J. Fischer (2750) 
[E97]
  World Blitz Championships, 
  Herceg Novi, (YUG) / 1970.  

[A.J. Goldsby I (1999)]


The following is one of the most beautiful of all King's Indian Defense games. 

  It is an outstanding  MODEL GAME!!   

For years, GM's would look at this game and only shake their heads wondering where White went wrong. It embodies some of the best KID ideas.


1. d4 Nf62. c4 g63. Nc3 Bg74. e4 d65. Be2 0-06. Nf3 e57. 0-0,  
The main line, White just develops naturally. 

          [ White can't win a pawn, thanks to a double attack. 7.dxe5 dxe5; 8.Qxd8 Rxd8
             9.Nxe5?!
Nxe4!10.Nxe4 Bxe5; "="  (This is a standard trap in the K.I.D.) 
             The position is equal, or Black is slightly better. 

             The other main alternative here is: 7.d5,  which is the Petrosian System. ].  

 

7...Nc68. d5,  
With this move, White stakes out a claim for space on the Queenside. (He also gains a tempo by hitting the Black Knight on d6.) 

GM Andy Soltis says, in his sublime book, "Pawn Structure Chess," that with a Pawn on d5, White's natural or organic play is on the Queenside. Therefore, Black's play must be on the King-side! White's best lever, (after preparation) is Pawn/c4 to c5. Black's best lever, (after reasonable preparation); is f7 to f5. 

Normally if one side dawdles with his pawn break, he can expect that the initiative can and will pass to the other player!!! 

          [ The two other alternatives here are: 8.Be3!?, {Diagram?};  or 8.Bg5!? ].  

8...Ne7
;  
This is the 'Classical' King's Indian. It is also called the << Main Line >> King's Indian. 

I prefer the name, "The Mar del Plata Variation." It is so named because Bobby Fischer first introduced this line into tournament praxis at the South American resort of Mar del Plata, Argentina; in the late 1950's. 

The plans here are very clear. With a pawn on d5, White's play will be on the Queen-side, the side on which he has more space. (Tarrasch, one of the all-time greatest and one of the original GrandMaster's said, "Always attack on the side where you have more space!") Black's play therefore MUST be on the Kingside! 

9. Nd2,  
The Main Line here for nearly 30 years. Probably the primary idea behind this move is to transfer the Knight to the Queenside, where White knows his play will be. The other benefit of this move is to allow White to play f2-f3, anchoring his pawn on e4 and making his King slightly more safe. 

          [ 9.Ne1; is the older line, formerly the main line. This line also enjoyed a resurgence 
             of popularity in the 1990's. 

             9.b4, is called the 'Bayonet Attack,'  and is the modern way of handling this variation. 
             This move did not become really popular until the eighties, and now (the late nineties) 
             has almost completely supplanted 9. Nd2, as the main line. ]  

 

9...c5!;  
With this move, Black plays to gain a little more space. He wants to slow down White's Queenside play, before proceeding on the Kingside. White's natural lever, and one of his primary sources of counterplay, is c4-c5. Black just made that impossible.

10. a3 Ne8;  (Maybe - '!')  
Black must get his counterplay on the Kingside rolling now as soon as possible. 

Any delays will mean that his initiative and Kingside play will be too slow. Speed is of the utmost importance on the K.I.D. Usually in the King's Indian Defense, White's attack on the Queenside comes first! 

Very often a decision point is reached. Black must decide to either try to defend and keep the material balance, OR to pursue his own attack on the Kingside. Normally, the MAJORITY of the time, Black should pursue his own attack, even at the cost of material losses. The King's Indian Defense is not an opening for half-measures or for the faint of heart!! 

11. b4 b6;  
It is normally not good to allow White to gain a protected passed pawn. (Which is what happens after b4xc5, d6xc5.) 

The main strategy (here) is to barricade the Queenside, to maybe slow White down just a little; then throw yourself fully into a Kingside attack. 

12. Rb1!? f5;  (Maybe - '!')  
Black must get this lever in as soon as he reasonably can. 

Pawn breaks (generally) provide organic play/counterplay.

13. f3
,   
A common move in the King's Indian. White anchors his pawn chain and tries to make it difficult for Black to attack his King. 

          [ 13.Bf3!? ]   

 

13...f4;  
Black will almost never play f5 x e4. 

This is because it gives BOTH of White's Knights the excellent e4-square! 

14. a4 g5; (Maybe - '!') 
As soon as he can, Black must open lines on the Kingside. The main way he does this is with a "Pawn Storm." (Some writers refer to this as, "The Pawn Avalanche.") 

If Black wastes any time, he often will find White's attack on the Queen-side irresistible. 

15. a5 Rf6!;   
This Rook is going to g6, where it will cause tremendous problems to White, and his King on the g-file. 

16. bxc5!?,   
White opens the b-file with this move. 

          [ After the continuation: 16.axb6!? axb6; 17.bxc5 bxc5;  White has no real targets to attack. ]

 

16...bxc5;  (Correct.) 
Capturing towards the center. 

17. Nb3!?,  (Hmmm.) 
This is a very "normal," square for this Knight in the KID. But somehow it just does not seem to work here. And it is also very difficult to suggest any real improvements. 

          [ Maybe better is: 17.Qa4!? ]   

 

17...Rg618. Bd2 Nf6;  {See the position on the js-replay board.} Getting another piece to the King-side.

Now Black is all ready for his g5-g4 pawn break. 

19. Kh1,  (Hmmm.) 
Getting the King off the g-file is a good idea, since there is a Rook there. 

          [ 19.h3?! Seems to block the attack, but will just open more lines after h7-h5, Nf6, and then 
             g5-g4.  It also obviously weakens all the squares on the Kingside, especially the dark squares. ]   

 

19...g4;  
Black does not waste time, but immediately pursues his Kingside plan. 

20. fxg4!?,   
This is very bad. (Or at least, it looks that way.) It opens lines to the Kingside. 

But White is having BIG problems. Bobby has the ideal situation:  White's attack on the Queenside is going nowhere right now, and Black's attack on the King-side is faster. This is every KID players' dream!  

 

          [ But White cannot play: 20.Ra1!?, '?!/?'  20...g321.h3 Rh6; White is dead.    
            All Black has to do is set up to sacrifice at h3. 

            This position is what a good friend of mine used to call, "A Can-Opener." ]   

 

20...Nxg421.Rf3,  
White is trying to defend his King. 

   [ Maybe better is: 21.h3!? Ne3; 22.Bxe3 fxe3; 23.Rf3 Bh6;  but the pawn on e3 is annoying to White. ]   

 

21...Rh6!;  
Forcing a further weakening of White's Kingside.

 

*****

Most of the time, I teach all my students ...  NOT  to tamper with their King-side!  GM's know this, yet a Super-GM, (Korchnoi was one of the 5-best blitz players in the world when this game was played.); is about to majorly corrupt his K-side. (He is going to push a SECOND pawn in front of his King.) This represents a MAJOR denigration of the squares around the White King. 

So the big question is why would a player, (the caliber of a Korchnoi); do this? 

The straight answer is that White is under an almost inordinate amount of pressure. Black has systematically  FORCED  White to move the Pawns around his King, so that he COULD attack them!  
(And the squares around them.) 

*****

 

22. h3 Ng6;   
Now this Knight joins the fray. Black threatens the harassing move Knight at g6 to h4. 

23. Kg1, (Defense.) 
Now White is threatening to take the Knight on g4, now that the pin on the h-file has been lifted. 

          [ 23.Bf1?!, is probably too passive. I have noticed that when I play the computers, they really kill 
            me when I get very passive. I have also noticed that very few top Grand-Master's take completely 
            passive positions. ]  

 

23...Nf6
Black should not feel bad about this Knight retreat. It is only a temporary loss of time.   

          [ 23...Nh4?;  An unsound sacrifice. 24.hxg4 Nxf3+; 25.Bxf3 Qh4; 26.Nb5, "+/-" ]   

 

24. Be1,  (Poor White.) 
To prevent ...Nh4. 
(But notice while this looks forced, White will regret not being able to use this square in the coming flight of his King.) 

          [ 24.Ra1 Nh4; {Diagram?} is embarrassing to White. Now White is forced to play: 25.Rf2 Rg6-->  
      
     (K-side pressure) when White is under a tremendous attack on the King-side. ]

 

**********

korch-fisch_rp1g0-ap01.jpg, 42 KB

    The position is Black to play. What move would YOU make? 

***

24...Nh8!(Maybe - '!!') 
A maneuver that was made famous by Nimzovich. This Knight is headed for g5, (via f7); to set up a sacrifice on h3!  (A truly wonderful move!!) 

(It is also very interesting to note that the computers STILL do NOT find this move, even after 20 minutes of thought!!)  {A.J.G. 12/21/99} 
{ Of course - circa 2012 - most good engines find this play rather quickly. - ye olde editor  }

 

25. Rd3 Nf726. Bf3 Ng527. Qe2 Rg6; (Possibly - '!')   
The  "Primary Tactical Threat"  now is 28...Nxh3+, winning a pawn. 

28. Kf1, {Diagram?}  - A meandering King. - 
A viable defense may no longer be possible. 

 

          [ 28.Kh1!? Bd7; 29.a6 Qc8; 30.Na5 Bxh3; 31.gxh3!?,  This looks forced. 
            (Or 31.Rb7 Nxf3
; 32.gxf3 Bg2+; wins for Black.)   31...Qxh3+; 32.Qh2 Qf1+; 33.Qg1 Rh6+!
            Both QxQ and QxR/d3 also win. 34.Bh5 Rxh5+; 35.Bh4 Rxh4+; 36.Rh3 Rxh3# ]   

 

28...Nxh3!; (Maybe - '!!')  
A very nice move, denuding the White King. 

An interesting note is that several minutes into the analysis of this game under ChessBase 7.0i, many of the top commercial programs are recommending the entirely bogus 28...Ba6? (!!) 
{A.J.G.} 07/06/00.  

29. gxh3 Bxh3+30. Kf2 Ng4+!31. Bxg4,   
Not much choice here. 

 

          [ 31.Kg1? Ne3+; 32.Kh1 Bf1; 33.Qd2 Rh6+; 34.Kg1 Qg5+; 35.Bg2 Bxd3
             (35...Bxg2
; also wins.)   36.Rb2 Bf1; "-/+"  {Diagram?} ugly ... For White, that is. 
             (
Or  36...Qh5; "-/+wins too. ]   

 

31...Bxg4;  

 White Resigns.  0 - 1 


(Black has a winning attack. I.e.,  
  32. Qc2, (Hmmm.) 
Probably the best move.

   [ 32.Rh3!? Bxe2; "-/+or 32.Qf1 Qh4+; 33.Kg1 Bf3+!; 34.Bg3 Qxg3+; 35.Qg2 Qxg2# ].  

 

32...Qh4+33. Kf1, {Box?} 
Probably forced, again! 

   [ 33.Kg1?? Bd1+; 34.Rg3 Qxg3+!; 35.Bxg3 Bxc2; 36.Kf2 fxg3+; 37.Kg1 Bxb1; "-/+
     or 33.Rg3, Computer give-away. (What computers do in lost positions.)  33...Qxg3+; 34.Kf1 Qe3!
     35.Qg2 Bh3; 36.Rb2 f3; 37.Qxh3 Rg1#
].  

 

33...Qh1+!;   
Keeping an eye on the White King. 

34. Kf2 Qh2+(Nice.)   
Not a hard move to find. Just for starters, you have a skewer that will win the White Queen! 

   [ Also winning was: 34...Bf6!?;  i.e., 35.Rh3 Qxh3; 36.Qd3 Qh2+; 37.Kf1 Qh1+
     38.Kf2
Bh4+; 39.Qg3 Bxg3#
].  

 

35. Kf1 Bh3+!; (Maybe - '!!') Very nice. 
(Black ignores a free Queen ... to deliver a CHECK-MATE!!) 

   [ 35...Qxc2; "-/+"  was also good enough to force the average White player to Resign! ].  

 

36. Rxh3,  
Forced. 

   [ Or: 36.Qg2 Qxg2# ].  

 

36...Rg1#;  

A pretty mate. (White is overwhelmed with his material riches, yet loses the game!) 

This game is extremely beautiful. The average Master plays Tournament chess his entire life and hopes to create only a few gems like this, if at all. It is all the more amazing to realize that this game was played 
by both players at the time limit of: ...... Game/05 minutes!!! 

At the time this game was played, Fischer & Korchnoi were probably (easily) both in the Top Ten in the World in five-minute play. 

I first annotated this game in 1999, but re-annotated it very thoroughly just recently. {A.J.G.} 07/06/00   (And again in June, 2002) 

 0 - 1

Maybe one of the prettiest five-minute games of chess ever played!!! It is also a model game ... and teaches - better than just about any other game I have ever found - the basic ideas and concepts of this very hard to learn defense! 


  This game was first posted on my web site on June 18th, 2002.
(Updated on: July12th, 2002)


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  Copyright (c) {LM} A.J. Goldsby I 

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 1995-2011. 
  Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2012.  All rights reserved.  


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