The Most Important Opening Novelties From The Modern World Championships

1. Karpov – Kasparov (1987 game 5) – 12. Bxf7

So here we have it, the most important theoretical novelty from the world championships. Some of you may disagree with me, but I believe due to it’s popularity and the fact that Karpov challenged the mountain of theory of that time and helped to re-invigorate a line which was long considered dead. The move was long regarded as a poor continuation by the theory of the time. Karpov persisted though and helped to pioneer an incredibly rich and complex way of meeting the classic exchange Grunfeld. By capturing on f7 white gains a pawn but does considerable damage to the light squares. It should of course be noted that the same position occurred in Spassky-Korchnoi 1955.

Kasparov in Kasparov vs Karpov 1986-1987 writes,

The capture on f7 surprised me, of course. All of us Soviet players grew up on Kurs Debyutov by Panov and Estrin, where in black on white it was written that 13.Bxf7+ (after the exchange of pawns on d4) ‘does not give any advantage’, and ‘Black’s position fully compensates for the sacrificed pawn’. The same verdict was given by Botvinnik and Estrin in their monograph on the Grunfeld Defence (1979) and by Karpov himself in the Yugoslav Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (1976).

Since it’s revitalization by Karpov the move 12. Bxf7+ has been played in 300 games and 97 GM games scoring 31.7% for white.

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