The fourth game of the world chess championship match in Merano, Italy, was adjourned yesterday after 40 moves with challenger Victor Korchnoi caught in what looks like a hopeless position. Korchnoi is already trailing world champion Anatoly Karpov by a score of 2 to 0. The match will go to the player who wins six games.

Korchnoi began optimistically, and after an exchange of knights on move 19 he seemed to have a small but not a winning advantage. He evidently overestimated this advantage and launched a rash kingside attack that only consolidated Karpov's position and endangered Korchnoi's king. When the game resumes today, Karpov seems sure to secure two linked passed pawns on the queenside, after which a victory should be a matter of routine technique.

Following are the moves of the fourth game in the Karpov-Korchnoi match. They are printed in the descriptive notation that has been made official by the U.S. Chess Federation. In this system, squares are lettered horizontally from a to h, going from white's left to right, and vertically from 1 to 8, going from white's back row up to black's back row. The first moves of today's game in the old notation would be: 1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. N-KB3, N-KB3; 3. NxP, P-Q3; 4. N-B3, NxP; 5. P-Q4, P-Q4.

White-Karpov Black-Korchnoi: 1. e4, e5; 2. Nf3, Nf6; 3. Nxe5, d6; 4. Nf3, Nxe4; 5. d4, d5; 6. Bd3, Be7; 7. 0-0, Nc6; 8. Re1, Bf5; 9. Bb5, Bf6; 10. Nbd2, 0-0; 11. Nf1, Ne7; 12. c3, Ng6; 13. Bd3, Nd6; 14. Bxf5, Nxf5; 15. Qb3, b6; 16. Qb5, a6; 17. Qd3, Qd7; 18. Ng3, Nxg3; 19. hxg3, a5; 20. Bg5, Bxg5; 21. Nxg5, Rfe8; 22. b3, Rad8; 23. Nf3, f6; 24. Nd2, Kf7; 25. Nf1, h5; 26. Rxe8, Rxe8; 27. Qf3, Rh8; 28. Ne3, Ne7; 29. Re1, g6; 30. Qf4, Kg7; 31. g4, g5; 32. Qf3, hxg4; 33. Nxg4, Qd6; 34. g3, c6; 35. c4, f5; 36. Qe3, Ng6; 37. c5, Qd8; 38. Ne5, bxc5; 39. Nxc6, Qf6; 40. Qe6, cxd4; 41. Qxd5, sealed move.