World Chess Championship Match: Fischer vs. Karpov
Bobby Fischer stopped playing serious chess after beating Boris Spassky in their World Chess Championship Match in 1972. In 1974, Anatoly Karpov qualified as the challenger for the next match against Bobby Fischer. The latter, however, refused to defend his title. On April 3rd, 1975, Karpov was declared the 12th World Champion. In his book “Memoirs of a Chess World Champion”, Karpov writes:
“I don’t know how Fischer feels about it, but I consider it a huge loss that he and I never played our match. I felt like the child who has been promised a wonderful toy and has it offered to him but then, at the last moment, it’s taken away.”
But what would have happened had Bobby Fischer played Anatoly Karpov in 1975? Would Fischer have been able to defend his title or would Karpov have won the match?
To cut a long story short – Sadly, we’ll never know the answer. However, it is still tempting to speculate about the outcome of the match which never took place.
In his latest chess video, IM Valeri Lilov takes a closer look at an interesting two-part article on chess.com in which the author claims that a four-game match between Fischer and Karpov took place in a parallel universe. IM Lilov investigates these 4 games as he is very impressed by the game’s quality. Even if all the games are fictional, it is still highly instructive to analyze them as they reflect the playing style of both players very well.
We’ll see great positional play by Anatoly Karpov vs. strong dynamic play by Bobby Fischer. Who will have the upper hand?
Game 1 – Parallel Universe 1975: Karpov, Anatoly – Fischer, Bobby
The game starts with the moves 1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.dxc5 Na6 5.g3 Nxc5 6.Bg2 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9.Re1 Be6 (see the diagram on the right).
Karpov goes for a calm and positional line in the English Opening. He does not want to allow Fischer to play dynamic chess. Still, Fischer managed to bring all his pieces to active squares and puts pressure on Karpov’s pawn on c4.
10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.cxd5 – changing the structure of the game. White has more space now. 11…Bf5 12.Nd4 Be4 (see the diagram on the left) – Having less space, Black wants to exchange some pieces.
Karpov took the bishop by playing 13.Bxe4. It is important to mention that Fischer set a little trap for Karpov. Had Karpov played the move 13.f3 (avoiding the trade of the light-squared bishops), Fischer could have countered with 13…Nd3! (see the diagram on the right – cutting off the connection between White’s queen and knight) 14.exd3 Bxd4+ 15.Be3 Bxe3+ 16.Rxe3 Bxd5 and Black is a healthy pawn up.
13…Nxe4 14.f3 Qa5! – Another typical move for Fischer. Instead of moving his knight away, he goes for a tactical solution. Of course, if White takes the knight with 15.fxe4, Black has 15…Bxd4+ and White can’t take the bishop as his rook on e1 would be hanging.
15.Nb3 Qb6+ 16.Kg2 Qf2+ 17.Kh3! (see the diagram on the left).
At first glance, it looks like Karpov is in serious trouble. Fischer’s queen invaded into White’s camp and drove Karpov’s king out of his comfort zone. On closer inspection, however, Fischer’s queen is in great danger. First of all, his knight on e4 is hanging, so he has to retreat it – 17…Nf6. Now, Karpov plays 18.e3! (see the diagram on the right) and suddenly, Fischer’s queen runs out of squares. Karpov plans to play Rf1, trapping the queen.
Did Karpov succeed with his positional strategy?
In the game, Fischer finds a brilliant dynamic answer to not lose his queen and stay in the game. What would you play here with Black?
Watch the full video in order to see Fischer’s move and listen to IM Valeri Lilov’s great explanations.
On top of that, Lilov also presents the other three games of this four-game World Chess Championship Match.
Conclusion – World Chess Championship Match: Fischer vs. Karpov
So far, we saw strong positional play by Anatoly Karpov and powerful counterattacks by Bobby Fischer who was a brilliant dynamic chess player. The latter exploits every single opportunity to defend tactically against Karpov’s attempts to get a positional advantage.
How will the parallel universe match between Karpov and Fischer end?
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