When the clock tolled against Kasparov
Challenger Anatoly Karpov got the jump on champion Gary Kasparov in the second game of their world title match in Seville, Spain, and went on to fashion a 4-3 lead in the first seven games. Six victories or 12 points are necessary to win the match, with wins counting a full point and one-half point for each draw. In the event of a 12-12 tie, the 24-year-old champion retains his title. The match being played in the Lope de Vega Theater fittingly enjoyed its full share of drama: Karpov, playing the black pieces, sprang a bit of prepared analysis to stun Kasparov. The 36-year-old former champion then played a strong game in which his central pressure on the open files neutralized Kasparov's attempt at counterplay.
The real surprise, however, occurred with Kasparov's 26th move. Both players were short of time, and Kasparov made his move but unaccountably neglected to depress his clock. Strict adherence to the rules prevents the chief referee or any spectator from calling attention to this, and Karpov is not required to do so. As a result, Kasparov lost three valuable minutes before catching on to why Karpov, also short of time, was not moving. This prevented the normally resourceful champion from making a fight of it.
Though most chess mavens, including me, expect Kasparov to succeed in defending his title, it is noteworthy that no less an authority than former titlist Boris Spassky opined to me a couple of months ago that he favored Karpov. He felt that the champion was squandering his energies on activities not germane to chess - in particular his chess political activism in attempting to dethrone FIDE president Florencio Campomanes. English Opening Kasparov Karpov 1. P-QB4 N-KB3 2. N-QB3 P-K4 3. N-B3 N-B3 4. P-KN3 B-N5 5. B-N2 O-O 6. O-O P-K5 7. N-KN5 (a) BxN 8. NPxB R-K1 9. P-B3 P-K6 (b) 10. P-Q3 P-Q4 11. Q-N3 N-QR4 12. Q-R3 P-B3 13. PxP PxP 14. P-KB4 N-B3 15. R-N1 Q-B2 16. B-N2 B-N5 17. P-B4 (c) PxP 18. QBxN PxB 19. N-K4 K-N2 20. PxP QR-Q1 (d) 21. R-N3 N-Q5 22. RxKP QxQBP (e) 23. K-R1 N-B4 24. R-Q3 BxP 25. RxR RxR 26. R-K1 R-K1 (f) 27. Q-R5 P-N4 28. N-Q2 Q-Q6 29. N-N3 B-B6 (g) 30. BxB QxB ch 31. K-N1 RxR ch 32. QxR N-K6 33. Resigns (h)
A.An alternative plan is 7.N-K1, intending the maneuver N-B2 and N-K3, aiming to control Q5. Then if Black plays BxN in answer to N-B2, White recaptures with his QP to augment the pressure on the half-open Q file.
B.A theoretical novelty uncorked by the challenger specifically for friend Kasparov. The psychological and practical advantage gained (Kasparov consumed 80 valuable minutes before deciding on his reply) probably led to Karpov's victory. The gambit of a pawn is more apparent than real, since after the reply of 10.PxP, White's double isolated bishop pawns are subject to siege and the advanced one is certain to fall. Still, White's best chance might be to play 10.PxP and, if 10.... P-Q3, to immediately return the pawn with 11.P-B5, PxP; 12.P-K4, intending P-KB4 and P-K5. White's mighty center and kingside pawn majority are more impressive than Black's majority on the opposite wing.
C.Kasparov characteristically strives for counterplay, which here fails against Karpov's accurate defense. More discreet would have been the move 17.N-B3.
D.Black completes his development and guards his Q3. Black's strong centralization delineates the seamy side of the White position.
E.Black would now welcome 23.N-Q6, RxR; 24.NxQ, RxQ; 25.NxR, NxP ch, since his extra queenside pawn would ensure an endgame victory.
F.Black now threatens both 27.... RxN and 27. ... B-Q6. An awful position for White, who has now had less than a minute to complete 14 moves.
G.A sockdolager, since 30.RxR, Q-B8 mates. Longer is 30.R-KN1, R-K7; 31.N-B1, RxB; 32.NxQ, R-KB7 ch 33.R-N2, R-B8 mate.
H.Since 34.Q-B2, Q-Q8 ch mates.
International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times. His columns appear on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.