FIDE awarded him the grandmaster title at age 30 (1980) but Kupreichik could have achieved it much earlier had he , according to Soviet chess officials of the time, shown more ‘discipline’ in his approach to the game. But Kupreichik was an artist , and that meant that the search for beauty was a higher priority than mere practical results.
It is therefore entirely understandable that Kupreichik’s first 3 appearances at the USSR championships (1969, 1973, 1976) saw him finish in last place each time. Playing for mate is never a good strategy against strong grandmasters. Never the less, Viktor matured with age and so did his results, pleasing the Soviet authorities.
At the USSR championships of 1979 and 1980 he won 5 games in a row each time, and finished a respectable 6th place in both. Finally, in 1980 he won a series of strong tournaments (Reykjavik, Plovdiv, Medina del Campo) and FIDE could no longer deny him the title.
Selection of tactics and games
Starting today, and continuing over the summer months, I will present a large and varied selection of Kupreichik’s best games and tactics. I doubt that there has ever been a grandmaster who has won so many games in less than 25 moves!
Tactics (Part I)
Kupreichik,V – Ree,H Groningen 1977White to play and win!
Platonov,I – Kupreichik,V Moldova, 1977Black to play and win!
Kurpreichik,V – Short,N Telex 1981White to play and crush!
Yakov Estrinparticipated in the World Correspondence Ch not less than 4 times, even winning the title in the ’72–’76 cycle. Even more impressive, therefore, how Viktor so quickly tears Estrin’s position into shreds.
A closed opening is no guarantee that one will get a solid position, as Viktor’s opponent soon realizes. Breaking open the centre with some flashy tactics, it was not long before the White King was in the cross hairs.
The Caro Kann is supposed to be a solid opening, but this game demonstrates what can happen if Black forgets to castle early! First a surprising Knight sacrifice, then an exchange, and finally the Black King can not escape mate!
In this game Black succeeds in castling, but it does little good as Viktor uncorks a crushing attack with his surprising Knight sacrifice on f6. Black’s Q-side pieces were all spectators to the massacre.
What does when get when two attacking players meet? Poor Planinc’s King was forced to wander about after Viktor’s speculative sacrifice. Black’s King got caught in a mating net. Beautiful!
A topical line of the Sicilian in the 1970’s with Viktor castling long and throwing his pawns forward on the other side of the board. Black gets no counterplay and soon resigns before Viktor can sacrifice on g6!
Kupreichik,V – Sveshnikov,E Turkmenistan 1978 B30 (1 – 0)
Kupreichik,V – Magerramov Latvia 1978 B82 (1 – 0)
Kupreichik,V – Zaichik,G Armenia 1978 B92 (1 – 0)
Kupreichik almost always played his King Pawn in the opening, and despite the opponents’ prep, there seemed little to stop Viktor from getting the attacking game he wanted. Here Sveshnikov’s uncastled King is the victim.
Black did not want to play passively and seemed to be with the initiative, but ran out of gas and then it just took a few incisive moves for Viktor to create mating threats. Inspiring!
Yet another Sicilian massacre! Castling long and throwing up the King side pawns seems to be a recipe for success! Black does not even reach move 20! Ouch!!