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A candidates' semifinal game that Korchnoi should have postponed

Viktor Korchnoi did all the right things for 51/2 games in his World Championship Candidates' semifinal match against young Soviet star Gari Kasparov. He won the first game convincingly with an opening innovation that indicated he seemed to be well prepared for the match, both technically and psychologically. In the next four games he never seemed to be in danger of losing as he neutralized Kasparov's vaunted attacking prowess.

The sixth game also started well for the Soviet defector, who established an opening advantage. Then, seemingly frustrated at not being able to beat down Kasparov's resistance, he gambled recklessly and eventually lost the two-day, 77 -move struggle after committing several uncharacteristic errors. Hindsight now indicates that he should then have opted to take the one rest day which each player was permitted instead of conforming to the prescribed schedule and starting Game 7 the very next afternoon.

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That game, which we examine today, features a precise and delicate touch by Kasparov and a sophisticated technique we would usually associate with his opponent. Korchnoi, underestimating either his opponent's technique or the difficulties involved in drawing the endgame, put up surprisingly feeble resistance.

With back-to-back wins, Kasparov took the lead for the first time in the match, and he went on from there to close out the scheduled 12-game contest in decisive fashion, 7-4. That earned him the winner's share of the purse, which was set by the match sponsors, Acorn Computers Ltd., at (STR)20,000 (about $30, 000), with (STR)12,000 going to the loser.

This match, incidentally, drew three times the number of spectators as the other semifinal, in which Vassily Smyslov of the Soviet Union defeated Zoltan Ribli of Hungary, 61/2-41/2. Their prizes were (STR)10,000 and (STR)6,000, respectively.

Kasparov and Smyslov will now meet, probably in February or March, for the right to challenge their countryman, Anatoly Karpov, for the world title later in the year.

Catalan Opening Kasparov Korchnoi 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-K3 3 P-KN3 P-Q4 4. B-N2 PxP 5. N-KB3 B-Q2 (a) 6. Q-B2 P-B4 7. O-O B-B3 8. QxBP QN-Q2 9. B-N5 R-B1 10. BxN NxB (b) 11. PxP BxN 12. BxB BxP (c) 13. Q-N5 ch Q-Q2 14. N-B3 (d) QxQ 15. NxQ K-K2 16. P-QN4 (e) BxP 17. NxP R-B2 18. KR-B1 R-Q2 19. QR-N1 B-Q7 (f) 20. R-B2 KR-Q1 21. BxP (g) K-B1 22. N-B6 R-B2 23. R/1-N2 R-Q3 24. P-QR4 B-K8 25. R-N1 N-Q4 26. B-R8 R-B1 27. B-N7 R-B2 28. R-B4 N-K2 29. N-K5 B-R4 30. R-N5 N-N3 31. N-B6 R-Q8 ch 32. K-N2 B-K8 33. P-R5 N-K2 34. P-R6 NxN 35. RxN RxR 36. BxR R-R8 37. R-N8 ch K-K2 38. R-N7 ch K-Q3 39. B-N5 B-B6 40. RxP B-B3 41. R-Q7 ch K-B4 42. B-Q3 P-R3 43. R-N7 R-R6 44. P-R7 K-Q4 45. P-B3 K-Q3 46. R-N6 ch Resigns (h)

A. Normal for Black is 5. . . . P-QR3, to follow with P-QN4 and B-N2 as soon as White recaptures the gambit pawn. The text is seldom played but quite playable.

B. Somewhat nonchalant. Either 10. . . . PxB or 10. . . . QxB would have avoided subsequent problems involved in the recapture of the BP, which made it necessary for Black to exchange his Queen Bishop.

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C. Korchnoi must have felt that with material equality and Bishops of opposite color, he would have little difficulty in holding the draw.

D. Not 14. QxP, QxQ; 15. BxQ, R-QN1; 16. B-B6 ch, K-K2; 17. P-N3?, because of 17. . . . B-Q5, winning the exchange.

E. It is likely that Black overlooked the strength of this poisonous pawn move in his prior appraisal of the position.

F. Here 19. . . . R-R1 loses to 20. N-B8 ch, K-Q1; 21. N-N6.

G. White now has a winning advantage.

H. After 46. . . . K-B2, 47. R-R6, the QRP is a candidate for promotion. Kasparov displayed remarkable tenacity and technique in nursing his passed pawn to victory.