Endgame Riddle: Kurajica vs Karpov, Skopje 1976

by Karsten Müller
3/11/2022 – Anatoly Karpov, World Champion from 1975 to 1985, was famous for being able to exploit tiny advantages in the endgame, and an often cited example for these skills is a seemingly drawish endgame with opposite-coloured bishops which Karpov managed to win against the Croatian-Bosnian Grandmaster Bojan Kurajica in Skopje 1976. But Karsten Müller wondered where Kurajica went wrong and whether Karpov's play was indeed as flawless as it seemed - and invites ChessBase readers to take a close look at this famous endgame.

Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play

Rules of thumb are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb.


Bojan Kurajica vs Anatoly Karpov, Skopje 1976


In the middlegame opposite-coloured bishops favour the attacker because the bishop of the attacker can target points which the bishop of the defender cannot defend. But endgames with bishops of opposite-coloured bishops have large drawish tendencies because the bishop of the defender is able to control points the attacker cannot attack.

Still, Karpov was able to win the endgame with opposite-coloured bishops after exchanging queens on move 32. But where did Kurajica go wrong? And was Karpov's play flawless or did he also make mistakes?

What do you think? Please share your analyses and thoughts in the comments!


Karsten Müller is considered to be one of the greatest endgame experts in the world. His books on the endgame - among them "Fundamentals of Chess Endings", co-authored with Frank Lamprecht, that helped to improve Magnus Carlsen's endgame knowledge - and his endgame columns for the ChessCafe website and the ChessBase Magazine helped to establish and to confirm this reputation. Karsten's Fritztrainer DVDs on the endgame are bestsellers. The mathematician with a PhD lives in Hamburg, and for more than 25 years he has been scoring points for the Hamburger Schachklub (HSK) in the Bundesliga.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register