Monday, October 25, 2010

Sixty Memorable Annotations

#4: Aagaard- van der Berg, Wijk aan Zee 2001

61. ... Bd8

The position is now objectively drawn, but I was very determined to win. My long-term plan consisted of winning the a-pawn, winning the bishop for my pawn and, eventually, winning with rook and bishop against rook. Let us evaluate the position. I will not win the a-pawn, I will not win the bishop and, even if I did, the position would still be a theoretical draw. That would be the objective evaluation.

Real life experience, however, tells us something completely different ....

Jacob Aagaard, Excelling at Chess (Everyman Chess 2001)

Evidently Viktor Korchnoi, notorious for playing on in almost any position regardless of how drawn it might be and irrespective of the strength of his opponent, knew exactly what Aagaard was getting at. Consider, for example, the position at the adjournment of the 9th game of the the Belgrade Candidates' Final of 1977/78. In his book on the match, Ray Keene wrote ...

The best that White can get is the theoretically drawn ending of rook and bishop against rook. Nevertheless, this would offer some practical chances, but it soon becomes apparent that even a symbolic triumph of this nature is beyond the capacity of White’s position.

Korchnoi vs Spassky: Chess Crisis, Allen & Unwin 1977

... but nevertheless it was a full thirty moves before Vik agreed to split the point.

This wasn't a one-off instance of Korchnoi stubbornness either. Of the position after 91(!) moves of the fifth game in Baguio, Raymondo observed ...

Here the game was adjourned for a second time. Korchnoi has made no progress in the last twenty moves but now had a chance to consult reference books and analyse the position thoroughly … Alas they merely confirmed the position was a draw.

Karpov – Korchnoi 1978: The Inside Story of the match, Batsford 1978

... yet once again it was another thirty-odd moves before the game ended.

Naturally, game 25 of the 1978 World Championship was no different. Here's RDK, once more (source as above):

The position is now a book draw but, unperturbed by snoring from the audience, Korchnoi plays on for another fourteen moves before bowing to the inevitable.

I'd include an example from my own games at this point, but I don't have one so I can't. There's a moral for me there, I think.

Sixty Memorable Annotations
1: Fischer-Sherwin, New Jersey Open 1957
2: Polugayevsky-Tal, Soviet Championship 1969
3: Simen Agdestein

1 comment:

ejh said...

Maybe, but Petrosian won two world championship matches and he rarely played a move more than he was obliged to.