1977 Candidates Matches

CYCLE 10: 8-Man Knockout

Six qualifiers from two Interzonal tournaments, plus two seeds play knockout matches, with the winner playing a World Championship match against Karpov in 1978.

(Black background indicates black in the first game)

             123456789012
Korchnoi     101  6
Petrosian    010  5
    
             123456789012
Polugaevsky  1  6
Mecking      0  5
    
             123456789012 34 56
Spassky      10  1  8
Hort         01  0  7
    
             1234567890
Portisch     1011011  6
Larsen       0100100  3
    
             1234567890123
Korchnoi     111110  8
Polugaevsky  000001  4
    
             123456789012345
Spassky      010111  8
Portisch     101000  6
    
          123456789012345678
Korchnoi  11111000011  10
Spassky   00000111100   7
    


THE PLAYERS

# Player Country Status
1 Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi Stateless Seeded, lost previous Candidates Final
2 Boris Spassky USSR Seeded, replaced Bobby Fischer
3 Lajos Portisch Hungary Qualified from Interzonal
4 Lev Polugaevsky USSR Qualified from Interzonal
5 Vlastimil Hort Czechoslovakia Qualified from Interzonal
6 Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian USSR Qualified from Interzonal
7 Henrique Mecking Brazil Qualified from Interzonal
8 Bent Larsen Denmark Qualified from Interzonal

  • At this time, the seeded players consisted of the loser of the previous World Championship, and the loser of the previous Candidates Final. Korchnoi, as loser of the 1974 Candidates Final, was therefore seeded. As "loser" of the 1975 World Championship non-match, Bobby Fischer should have been the other seed, but declined to play. In his absence, the last seed fell to the losers of the previous Semi-Final matches, Petrosian and Spassky. As Petrosian had already qualified for the Candidates independently, though the 1976 Biel Interzonal, it went to Spassky by default. Had Spassky declined also, the next ones in line would have been the losers of the 1974 Quarterfinals. Since three of these (Polugaevsky, Mecking, and Portisch) had already qualified from the Interzonal, Fischer's spot would have gone to Robert Byrne, if Spassky had declined.


    THE QUARTERFINALS (Best of 12)

    Il Ciocco, Feb-Mar '77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    Korchnoi 1 0 1 6
    Petrosian 0 1 0 5

    Lucerne, Feb-Mar '77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    Polugaevsky 1 6
    Mecking 0 5

    Reykjavik, Feb-Mar '77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
    Spassky 1 0 1 8
    Hort 0 1 0 7
    When the match was tied at 6-6, 2-game mini-matches were played until someone won. There was a new draw for colour at the beginning of each of these mini-matches, which is why both players have two Whites in a row near the end.

    Rotterdam, Feb-Mar '77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    Portisch 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 6
    Larsen 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3


    THE SEMI-FINALS (Best of 16)

    Evian, Jul '77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    Korchnoi 1 1 1 1 1 0 8
    Polugaevsky 0 0 0 0 0 1 4

    Geneva, Jul-Aug'77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
    Spassky 0 1 0 1 1 1 8
    Portisch 1 0 1 0 0 0 6


    THE FINALS (Best of 20)

    Belgrade, Nov-Dec '77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
    Korchnoi 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 10
    Spassky 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 7

    This match featured one of the more bizarre disputes in Candidates history. At the beginning of Game 10, Spassky, losing badly, and trying to calm his nerves, began spending all his time in the relaxation box set up for him at the side of the stage, analyzing from the demonstration board, and only coming out to make his moves. Korchnoi, insulted tried to stop this behavior, and Spassky actually forfeited Game 12 when the arbitration committee initially ruled against him. Korchnoi game the forfeit back and continued the fight, but went to pieces in the dispute, losing 4 straight games, one by hanging Bishop and Queen in succession. Eventually the dispute was solved by moving the demonstration board. and Korchnoi pulled himself back together to win, but his tendency to come unglued over small disputes did not go unnoticed in the 1978 Championship Match.


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