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Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi

Sicilian Defense, The Dragon Variation

The modern form of the Dragon was originated by German master Louis Paulsen around 1880.It was played frequently by Henry Bird that decade, then received general acceptance around 1900 when played by Harry Nelson Pillsbury and other masters. It has fallen a out of fashion with current grandmasters. Never the less gorgeous games have been played with volatile play for both sides such as this game between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi.

PGN ANALYSIS
Cinematic Video

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jQuery(document).ready(function($) { var selector = '#' + "rpbchessboard-63e0c013043de-1" + ' .rpbchessboard-chessgameAnchor'; RPBChessboard.renderPGN($(selector), {"pgn":"[Event \"Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final\"] [Site \"Moscow URS\"] [Date \"1974.09.18\"] [Round \"2\"] [White \"Anatoly Karpov\"] [Black \"Viktor Korchnoi\"] [Result \"1-0\"] [ECO \"B78\"] [Annotator \"Mac\"] [PlyCount \"53\"] [EventDate \"1974.09.16\"] [SourceDate \"2014.01.17\"] {Anatoly Karpov is known as one of the greatest grinders in chess history. He would acculumate small advantages little by little and outplay his opponents with superior knowledge and understanding but in this game he shreds Korchnoi’s dragon Siclian.} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 {[#]This is the move that gives the Dragon Sicilian its name. The Dragon has gone through periods of popularity but it has generally been sidelined from the top levels of chess for the last decade. There are of course many other moves in this position that Black could try as well.} (5... a6 {This leads to the Najdorf which is covered in a separate article.}) (5... Nc6 {[%cal Ye7e6,Yf8e7, Ye7e5] This is known as the Classical variation. Black develops in typical Sicilian style, with their bishops usually going to e7 and d7.}) 6. Be3 Bg7 { [%csl Gg7][%cal Gg7d4] This is the famous dragon bishop. It aims across the center and eventually points towards the queenside which can be very useful if white castles queenside.} 7. f3 (7. Be2 {White can also avoid a lot of the complications by developing simply and castling kingside.} Nc6 8. O-O O-O 9. Nb3 Be6 10. f4 {For example, this is a popular way for the game to continue.}) 7... Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 Rc8 11. Bb3 Ne5 12. O-O-O Nc4 {#}(12... h5 { Nowadays this is considered the best move in the position. The resulting positions are extremely complicated. White will often sacrifice the g and h pawns to open up the kingside. In return black can often sacrifice their rook on c3 to loosen up white’s king. This opening is not for the faint of heart!} 13. Bg5 Rc5 14. Kb1 (14. g4 hxg4 15. f4 $5 Nc4 {With counterplay})) 13. Bxc4 Rxc4 {[%csl Rg6]} 14. h5 $1 {[#][%cal Gh5g6] In situations like this in which both sides are racing to land their attack first, there is no sense in trying to hold on to the h-pawn. It does more good gone rather than on the board.} Nxh5 15. g4 {[%cal Gh1h7]} Nf6 16. Nde2 $1 {This is a strong prophylactic move. It takes away the targets on the long diagonal and reinforces the knight on c3. White is now ready for a kingside invasion starting with Bh6.} (16. Bh6 $2 { [%csl Rd4,Gg7]} Nxe4 $1 {A typical tactical shot that both players should be alert to in these Sicilians. The dragon bishop is waiting for it’s time to shine. White needs to keep all targets securely protected.} 17. Qe3 $1 { The computer prefers this move for white compared to taking on e4 but it’s just a giant mess. It’s probably about equal chances.} (17. Nxe4 Rxd4 18. Qh2 Be5 $15) 17... Rxc3 18. bxc3 Nf6 $13) 16... Qa5 17. Bh6 $1 {There’s no time to waste!} Bxh6 18. Qxh6 Rfc8 19. Rd3 $1 {Another strong prophylactic move! It can be hard finding the right balance between offense and defense when both sides are attacking each other but without any possible sacrifices on c3 working for black, there is not much for them to hope for.} R4c5 $2 {[#][%csl Rg5] [%cal Ra5g5]} (19... Qd8 {[%cal Gd8f8] Trying to bring the queen to the defense of the king would have been best but white’s attack still gives them a clear advantage.}) 20. g5 $3 $18 {It never feels good when the exact move that you are trying to play, your opponent just goes ahead and does anyway. It is brilliantly timed as you will see, the variations all favor white.} Rxg5 21. Rd5 $3 {This devastating interference disconnects black’s queen and rook connection as white prepares to send their knight to d5.} Rxd5 22. Nxd5 Re8 23. Nef4 $1 {[%cal Yf4d5,Yd5f6] Once again the only move to give white an edge. Karpov prefers to bring his final piece into the attack.} Bc6 24. e5 $3 (24. Nxf6+ {It’s too early to cash in white’s activity and control on the kingside. Black will be able to escape to the center if white rushes things here.} exf6 25. Qxh7+ Kf8 $15) 24... Bxd5 (24... dxe5 {This is the most natural alternative to the move played in the game but it fails in fantastic fashion after the following moves.} 25. Nxf6+ exf6 {[%csl Rf4]} 26. Nh5 $1 {[%csl Gg7] [%cal Gg1g8]} gxh5 27. Rg1+ {[%csl Rg8]} Kh8 28. Qg7#) 25. exf6 exf6 26. Qxh7+ Kf8 27. Qh8+ {Black resigned here. There is no defense to Nxd5+ and then Re1 winning.} 1-0","nboSquareSize":50,"idoSquareSize":50,"nboCoordinateVisible":true,"idoCoordinateVisible":true,"nboColorset":"greenvintage","idoColorset":"greenvintage","nboPieceset":"new-set-mac","idoPieceset":"new-set-mac","nboAnimated":true,"nboMoveArrowVisible":false,"nboMoveArrowColor":"b","pieceSymbols":"native","navigationBoard":"frame","withFlipButton":true,"withDownloadButton":true}); });

Anatoly Karpov vs Viktor Korchnoi

Sicilian Defense, The Dragon Variation

One of the best known rivalries in chess was between Karpov and Kasparov, two of the greatest players of all time. However, even before Karpov’s rivalry with Kasparov, was his rivalry with Korchnoi. Korchnoi was a tenacious player known for playing in uncompromising fashion. In this game Korchnoi takes his chances with the Dragon Sicilian. This opening has a slightly dodgy reputation and can lead to wild and complicated games. Karpov shows his true prowess in this game as he dismantles his opponent’s dangerous opening en route to a convincing win.

The Dragon Karpov Vs Korchnoi
Anatoly Karpov
Viktor Korchnoi
Moscow, USSR
17 SEP 1974
Sicilian Defense, The Dragon Variation

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