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Garry Kasparov vs Ulf Andersson
Moscow (1981), Moscow URS, rd 6, Apr-12
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner. Rubinstein Variation (E42)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: This is an absolutely amazing game. The key moment is the positional exchange sacrifice, for that matter highly typical for Andersson, in move 13 signalling that Black's plan is <to voluntarily spend the entire game defending> and as it turns out, for over 80 moves at that.. Annotation is from Polugayevsky's and Damsky's <The Art of Defence in Chess> (a fine book I highly recommend).


<By sacrificing the exchange (the first defensive procedure) for White's (future) central striker, Black at the same time guarantees himself permanent control of e5, which enables himself to blockade (the second defensive procedure!) the centre and White's kingside.>


<Passive defence, allowing Black to commence blockading action. After the outwardly more active 17..Ne5, the d6-pawn would have been inadequately supported and the knight at f6 not too secure. Now, in addition, the invasion square c7 is prophylactically defended...>


<Of course, this is not an attacking move, but simply... prophylaxis. The possible advance of the white g-pawn to g5 with control over f6 has been nipped in the bud. And, given the opportunity, Black intends to strengthen the blockade on the dark squares, by placing his pawn at h4 and hence controlling g3.>


<Preparing a prophylactic defence of the slightly weakened g6-pawn.>


<It would have been a bad mistake to exchange on d4. The doubling of White's pawns would have been an insignificant prize to pay for the lifting of the blockade and the increased activity of his pieces.>


<Black continues to maintain the status quo.>


<In anticipation of an attack on the b7 pawn - which will happen sooner or later - Black prophylactically defends it.>


<By overprotecting his g6, Black forestalls a possible sacrifice here with a strong attack.>


<Convinced that there is no prospect of an attack on g6, White switches to the idea of the e4-e5 breakthrough.>


<It too is forestalled!>


<Exploiting an opportunity to simplify the position somewhat. With the exchange of all the knights Black's blockade on the dark squares will become as though absolute.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: 33..Qd8

<Delaying the invasion of the rook at c7 and preventing the invasion of the queen at b6, which, in view of the weakness of the d6-pawn, would have hindered the regrouping of the black pieces.


<For the third time, but by no means the last, the bishop appears at e5. Its blockading strength has grown to the maximum, even though White now penetrates onto the seventh rank.>


<Now the threat of a counterattack on the dark squares restricts the white queen, and does not allow it to go to the queenside. For example, 39.Qa7 Qg3, and White cannot take either the rook or the b7-pawn because of 40..Bd4+ 41.Kh1 Be5 42.Kg1 Bd4+. Nevertheless, Kasparov himself called 39.R1c2 a 'sound time-trouble' move, and an alternative suggestion of his is given at the end of the game.>


<The time has come to switch to more active defence. If White accepts the pawn sacrifice (46.bxa5 bxa5 47.Rxa5) he opens a way for the black rook into his position.>


<Black again sticks to waiting tactics.>

52.Rf2 Bf6

<Breaking the combined 'glances' of the white pieces at f7 (in reserve White still has Be6 in combination with Rc7 and Qa7).>


<Of course, not 58..Qxa7 59.Qxf6+, breaking through the defensive barriers with an easy win.>


<In principle, a major achievement for White. He has forced the exchange of queens and rid himself of the spectre of a counterattack, but... The blockaded nature of the position is retained, and will the exchange advantage suffice for a win?

63..Bd7! 64.Be2

<At this point White evidently decided that after the exchange of bishops Black would tie up his opponent's forces by a counterattack on the b4-pawn.>


<Winning also a pawn, but as compensation both black bishops become threatening.>


<Draw agreed.

Although later analysis showed that White did not exploit all his chances (thus stronger was 39.h4! Qh6 - if 39..Qd2 40.R1c2 - 40.g3, while in Kasparov's opinion 64.Bxd7 would also have given a win - 64..Rxd7 65.Rc8 Rb7 66.Rfc1 Kf6 67.R1c7 Rb6 68.Ra8 or 65..Ra7 66.Rb8 Ra2 67.Rb1 Kf6 68.Rxb5, and the b-pawn cannot be stopped) Black was nevertheless awarded a special prize for his defensive skill: such was the diversity of defensive ideas that he displayed in this game.>

Nov-16-04  skeet: This really is a nice game. Certainly one to study.
Nov-17-04  Where is my mind: <Acirce>,Thank you for the recommendation and the annotation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Yes, <acirce>, thank you very much. I had never seen the game before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: You're welcome! The exchange sac on e3 is something of a speciality.. Karpov vs Ulf Andersson, 1975

During his live comment on the Swedish Championships this year Andersson drew some laughter by telling us on a position although quite different from these: "An exchange sacrifice like that must be played without thinking"

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Black's king's bishop in this game is like a f&^%ing monster!
Dec-07-04  EnglishOpeningc4: What an epic game 83 moves of hard fought battle. Why isnt this in a colection yet?
Jan-25-06  AlexandraThess: And this is my favourite game.Ulf shows us that defence is a much harder and more beautiful art than the attack.I reccomend this game for all young players.It is so sad that nowadays there aren't players like Ulf!
Jan-25-06  alicefujimori: <acirce><The exchange sac on e3 is something of a speciality>Yeah...I think Kasparov has learnt from that too. Look at this game that never had any kibitzing before.

Karpov vs Kasparov, 1990

Jan-01-13  Wyatt Gwyon: Probably one of the greatest defensive masterpieces of all time.
Jul-15-14  madlydeeply: hmm so I can sac an exchange and plant a minor piece on a center square... playing psychout... hoping opponenet will overpress. I'm going to try that for the heckofit.
Jan-05-15  GoldenBird: I think Andersson is one of the players of the 'failed' generation (People after fischer but before new players like Kasparov came into the scene) Although extremely talented, he never got a shot at the world title.
Dec-21-16  Howard: Regarding Goldenbird's comment, it was alleged back in the 70's and 80's that Andersson actually did NOT want to qualify for the Candidates, even though he was certainly capable of having a crack at it.

See his game against Kasparov at the 1982 Interzonal for more info. Timman, incidentally, made the above point in a NIC article once in which he showed the final position from that 1982 game.

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