In the common literature, it appears as truth that Karpov missed the winning a6! instead of Rxd1 on move 33, Game 41, in the first Karpov vs Kasparov match. But is the following position, derivate from above, really winning?

[Title "Black to move"]
[FEN "8/P3R1pk/7p/8/r4p2/1N5P/1b3PP1/6K1 b - - 3 46"]

If both sides make the best moves, it is a win for White or a draw?

2 Answers 2


White has to be precise, but I consider this position won.

The general plan Rd7 to prevent the bishop from reaching d4, bring the king to the center (net part of the plan, but this is always a good general plan and tends to restrict black's king), then find a path to get the knight to either b5 or b6. Keeping in mind to not exchange too many pawns or to allow a perpetual, white should (IMO) easily win.


White is winning. White's plan is to bring his king to the queen side and help the a pawn. Meanwhile white can stop black's counter plans with the combination of the points below.

  1. Rook ending after trading minor pieces is winning for white. Exchanging white's knight and a pawn with black's rook is winning for white.
  2. If black's king steps on the 6th rank, white can bring their rook or knight to a6 by first Nc4 and then rook checking on the 6th rank
  3. Another active plan for black is to harass the f2 pawn with Bf6-h4 to gain access to the g1-a7 diagonal. But the moment black's bishop is not holding d4, white's knight will land on d4 and head onto c6 or e6

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