Karpov was strong in waning `Battle of the Bulge'
When Anatoly Karpov lost the 16th game of the recent world championship, falling behind a full three points in the 24-game match, no one gave him a chance to make a serious fight of it. Aided largely by some prepared analysis and an overconfident or naive Gary Kasparov, the former world titlist won the 17th game, featured today. It shows Karpov at his finest, a positional advantage nursed to fruition by a merciless and exacting technique. The question that has to be asked is why Kasparov played the same moves that had enabled him to equalize easily in the 15th game. Was he without sufficient guile to suspect that Karpov would not have an improvement, or would waste the White pieces and settle for a draw when the match was running out? Or was he beginning to think he was invincible? Whatever the reason, he was punished for his hubris. Kasparov, as White, missed a win and eventually went down to defeat in an error-filled 18th game and Karpov won the 19th for his third consecutive win, again obtaining a great advantage from the opening: Lo and behold, the match was even.
Kasparov showed his mettle by pulling himself together to draw the next two games and then winning impressively in the 22nd game in what was arguably the best game of the match (featured in our last column). Two more draws concluded the match, enabling Kasparov to win 12-11 -- a half point more than he needed to retain the title.
A final reappraisal of the match is that Kasparov has the greater genius and the superior creative imagination, but that Karpov's fine technique and fighting spirit combined to make this one of the most exciting world championship matches on record. Gr"unfeld Defense Karpov Kasparov 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-KN3 3. N-QB3 P-Q4 4. N-B3 B-N2 5. Q-N3 PxP 6. QxBP O-O 7. P-K4 B-N5 8. B-K3 KN-Q2 9. R-Q1 N-QB3 10. B-K2 N-N3 11. Q-B5 Q-Q3 12. P-K5 (a) QxQ 13. PxQ N-B1 14. P-KR3 (b) BxN 15. BxB BxP 16. BxN PxB (c) 17. B-Q4 B-B5 18. O-O P-QR4 (d) 19. KR-K1 P-R5 20. R-K4 B-R3 21. B-K5 P-R6 22. P-QN3 N-R2 23. R-Q7 B-B8 24. RxBP B-N7 25. N-R4 N-N4 26. RxBP KR-Q1 27. R-N6 R-Q4 28. B-N3 N-B6 29. NxN BxN 30. P-B6 B-Q5 31. R-N7 (e) Resigns
A.Karpov's novelty. In the only game played between world champion Mikhail Botvinnik and Bobby Fischer, Varna Olympiad 1962, the former played 12.P-KR3, without conspicuous success. Fischer obtained a winning position but allowed Botvinnik to escape with a draw. Fischer never forgave himself for this signal lapse from grace.
B.This represents the real improvement, a positional pawn sacrifice resulting in a very favorable ending based largely on Black's weak pawns and the knight on QB1, which is hors de combat.
C.Even worse for Black would be the interpolation of 16.... BxN ch; 17.PxB, PxB; 18.R-Q7; e.g., 18.... R-N1; 19.O-O, R-N7; 20.KR-Q1, RxRP; 21.B-R6 is devastating.
D.Since 18.... P-K4; 19.N-K2 strongly favors White, Kasparov embarks instead on an imaginative bid for counterplay, based on the advance of his QRP and the eventual maneuvering of his bishop to QN7. Against a lesser opponent this strategy might have proved successful, but Karpov's impeccable accuracy scores the point.
E.The culmination of White's play. The passed BP will be escorted to glory. The only try for Black is 31... P-K4, when 32.P-B7, R-KB1; 33.R-N8, R-B4; 34.RxB, PxR; 35.B-Q6 finishes.
International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times.