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A game that put Karpov ahead - briefly

The world title match between champion Gary Kasparov and challenger Anatoly Karpov appears headed right down to the wire. Going into today's 22nd encounter the 24-game match stands 10-10, each player having won three games with the rest draws. The struggle has been a seesaw one. Karpov won Game 2, Kasparov retaliated in Game 4, then the challenger took the lead again in Game 5, which we showcase today. Kasparov forged ahead in mid-match with a pair of wins, but Karpov tied it once more. It takes six victories or 12 points to win the match, with each win worth one point and a draw a half point. Should it end 12-12, Kasparov retains his title.

In Game 5, Kasparov resorted to the Gr"unfeld Defense, and Karpov selected the Classical Exchange Variation, in which White obtains a broad pawn center, subject, however, to great pressure. Karpov varied from accepted theory by capturing a somewhat tainted pawn. Kasparov soon obtained a strong initiative that enabled him to advantageously recapture the pawn. Then when simple play and good technique would probably have won, he embarked on a series of dubious adventures. With immaculate defensive technique, Karpov beat back the attack and punished Kasparov for his hubris. Despite its flaws, the game was a tense, exciting, hard-fought clash, and a real crowd pleaser.

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Gr"unfeld Defense

Karpov Kasparov 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-KN3 3. N-QB3 P-Q4 4. PxP NxP 5. P-K4 NxN 6. PxN B-N2 7. B-QB4 P-QB4 8. N-K2 N-B3 9. B-K3 O-O 10. O-O B-N5 11. P-B3 N-R4 12. BxP ch (a) RxB 13. PxB RxR ch 14. KxR (b) Q-Q3 15. P-K5 Q-Q4 16. B-B2 R-KB1 17. K-N1 B-R3 18. P-KR4 Q-B2 19. B-N3 B-K6 ch 20. K-R2 Q-QB5 21. R-N1 (c) P-N3 22. R-N2 Q-Q4 23. Q-Q3 N-B5 24. R-N1 P-QN4 (d) 25. K-R3 P-QR3 26. N-N1 (e) PxP 27. N-B3 R-Q1 28. P-R4 PxBP 29. QxP Q-K3 30. K-R2 PxP (f) 31. R-N4 N-Q7 32. RxP (g) N-B8 ch 33. K-R3 R-Q8 (h) 34. Q-B2 R-B8 35. Q-K2 P-KR4 36. B-K1 (i) Q-Q2 (j) 37. QxP R-R8 (k) 38. QxP ch Resigns

A.Though this wins a pawn, the move has been frowned on by theory. Black's compensation is manifestly obvious. White's extra pawn is doubled, and Black enjoys good piece mobility, a clear initiative, and a queenside pawn majority.

B.Preferable to 14.QxR, N-B5; 15.Q-B3, Q-N3, aiming for 16.... Q-N7 with Black for choice.

C.Karpov defends well. He develops his rook with the point that 21.... QxRP favors White after 22.R-R1, Q-N6; 23.QxQ, NxQ; 24.RxP.

D.Kasparov is in his element. Note 25.RxP?, NxP!; 26.BxN (QxB?, NxP ch) R-B7 and 27.... QxP mate follows.

E.An intelligent decision, immediately yielding a pawn to activate his pieces. Anyway, Black threatened simply 26.... R-Q1, ganging up on the queen pawn.

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F.The beginning of a dreadful adventure that transforms a probable win (based on the extra queenside pawn) into a certain loss. 30.... R-Q4 was simple and sufficient to maintain his advantage.

G.Naturally not 32. QxB, N-B8 ch.

H.Continuing his coffeehouse va banque attack. The champion was already very short of time.

I.This simple effective retreat convincingly demonstrates that Black has overplayed his hand.

J.This and the next are outrageous time-pressure blunders, but it was already too late for sanity to save the game.

K.With the forlorn hope of 38. RxR, PxP mate. Had the Black king stood on KN2 instead of N1, this last-gasp tactical shot would have been successful.


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