Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Karpov, just before his comeback

In the 16th game of the ongoing World Chess Championship, Anatoly Karpov, varying subtly from his play in the 14th game, seemed to have established a strong positional advantage; but world champion Gary Kasparov dug deeply into his bag of tricks and, aided by almost unfathomable complications and the inexorable time clock, came through to victory. With this win, Kasparov took a three-point lead in the 24-game match. Six victories or 12 points win the match, but if the series ends in a 12-12 standoff, Kasparov retains his title. Thus far, Kasparov's gambling tactics have paid off handsomely for him. It is ironic that, with a three-point lead (considered by everyone to be insurmountable), Karpov went on to win an unprecedented three games in a row to level the score. It may well be that with the match seemingly lost, the pressure was off and he could ``play naturally.''

The 16th game is featured below. Ruy Lopez Kasparov Karpov 1. P-K4 P-K4 2. N-KB3 N-QB3 3. B-N5 P-QR3 4. B-R4 N-B3 5. O-O B-K2 6. R-K1 P-QN4 7. B-N3 P-Q3 8. P-B3 O-O 9. P-KR3 B-N2 10. P-Q4 R-K1 11. QN-Q2 B-KB1 12. P-QR4 P-R3 13. B-B2 PxQP 14. PxQP N-QN5 15. B-N1 P-B4 16. P-Q5 N-Q2 17. R-R3 P-B5 18. N-Q4 (a) Q-B3 (b) 19. N/2-B3 N-B4 (c) 20. PxP PxP 21. NxP RxR 22. NxR B-R3 23. R-K3 (d) R-N1 24. P-K5 PxP 25. NxKP N/5-Q6 (e) 26. N-N4 Q-QN3 27. R-N3 P-N3 (f) 28. BxP QxP 29. Q-B3 N-Q2 (g) 30. BxB KxB 31. K-R2 R-N6 (h) 32. BxN PxB (i) 33. Q-B4 QxN 34. N-R6 Q-K2 35. RxNP Q-K4 36. R-N8 ch K-K2 37. P-Q6 ch (j) K-K3 38. R-K8 ch K-Q4 39. RxQ ch NxR 40. P-Q7 R-N1 41. NxP Resigns

About these ads

A. Finally a variance from the 14th game, when Kasparov interpolated 18. PxP, PxP before playing his knight to Q4.

B. And now Karpov improves. At KB3 the queen indirectly eyes the QNP while affording protection to his king.

C. The same reprise as in Game 14. Karpov sacrifices a pawn, which soon enables him to post a knight on Q6 and also yields him the open QN-file bearing down on the vulnerable NP.

D. Cognizant that passive play would enable Black to regain his pawn and emerge with great positional superiority, Kasparov, with this and his ensuing moves, focuses on the enemy king.

E. In all probability, Karpov now has a strategically won game, but the position is still sticky and full of treacherous pitfalls.

F. 27. . . . K-R1 seems safer. Apparently Karpov calculated that his KRP could not be captured and that 27. . . . K-R1; 28. Q-B2, pinning the knight because of the mate at KR7, might enable White to offer resistance.

G. This natural defensive move, protecting his KB3, may have cost Black the game. There are no money-back guarantees, but it seems Black should have ventured 29. . . . QxN with the idea that 30. N-B6 ch, K-R1; 31. Q-R5, RxB ch; 32. K-R2, R-R8 ch!! (this cute point might have been missed by the players who were already acutely short of time -- of course 32. . . . PxQ is met by R-N8 mate); 33. KxR, NxP ch; 34. K-R2, QxR ch; 35. KxQ, PxQ and Black is a piece ahead.

About these ads

H. No better is 31. . . . QxN; 32. N-R6, N/2-K4; 33. Q-B6 and the threats of 34. RxP, 34. P-Q6, and 34. Q-R8 ch are entirely too many for Black to handle.

I. Better was 32. . . . RxB; 33. Q-B4, RxR; 34. Q-Q6 ch, K-K1; 35. KxR, when White has a pawn plus but Black can still fight on.

J. The stinger that Karpov must have missed. Now 37. . . . KxP; 38. NxP ch and 37. . . . QxP; 38. N-B5 ch costs the queen. As played, Karpov gets a rook and bishop for the queen, but his loose king and uncoordinated pieces soon force his capitulation.

International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier has won or shared the US Open title five times.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.