Victor Korchnoi began aggressively but soon ran into trouble in game 14 of the world chess championship match in Merano, Italy. When the game was adjourned, with Korchnoi sealing his 46th move in an envelope, champion Anatoly Karpov had an overwhelming position and an almost certain win. Experts on the scene were predicting that Korchnoi would resign the game without resuming play today.
Korchnoi began to run into trouble with an aggressive pawn advance on his 10th move that led to intense tactical play before he had castled and finally allowed Karpov to gain a strong foothold in the center of the board. Karpov's advanced king pawn, a potential liability, rapidly became an asset after it made two quick captures and landed eyeball to eyeball with Korchnoi's king in a position where the champion did not dare to recapture it. The problems became intense around Karpov's 13th move, which Korchnoi considered for more than an hour before replying. This got him into time trouble (each player is allowed 2 1/2 hours to make his first 40 moves), and his 16th move, made under heavy pressure, almost constituted a blunder that he had to waste another move rectifying.
The position became hopeless after Korchnoi was forced to sacrifice his knight on his 41st move, and observers were surprised when he sealed his final move. "This is absurd," commented U.S. grandmaster Robert Byrne.
The moves of game 14 are given below.
White: Karpov; Black: Korchnoi. 1. e4, e5; 2. Nf3, Nc6; 3. Bb5, a6; 4. Ba4, Nf6; 5.0-0, Nxe4; 6. d4, b5; 7. Bb3, d5; 8. dxe5, Be6; 9. Nbd2, Nc5; 10. c3, d4; 11. Bxe6, Nxe6; 12. cxd4, Ncxd4; 13. Ne4, Be7; 14. Be3, Nxf3 ch; 15. Qxf3, 0-0; 16. Rfd1, Qe8; 17. Nf6 ch, Bxf6; 18. exf6, Qc8; 19. fxg7, Rd8; 20. h4, c5; 21. Rac1, Qc7; 22. h5, Qe5; 23. h6, Qxb2; 24. Rd7; Rxd7; 25. Q:a8 ch, Rd8; 26. Qxa6, Qe2; 27. Rf1, Rd1; 28. Qa8 ch, Rd8; 29. Qc6, b4; 30. Qa4, Qd3; 31. Rc1, Qd5; 32. Qb3, Qe4; 33. Qc2, Qxc2; 34. Rxc2, f5; 35. f4, Kf7; 36. g4, Rd5; 37. gxf5, Rxf5; 38. Rd2, Rf6; 39. Rd7 ch, Kg8; 40. f5, Rxf5; 41. Re7, Nxg7; 42. Rxg7 ch, Kh8; 43. Rc7, Kg8; 44. Bxc5, Rg5 ch; 45. Kf2, Rg6; 46. Be3 (adjourned).