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Garry Kasparov vs Lajos Portisch
"Very Garry" (game of the day Aug-17-2017)
Niksic (1983), Niksic YUG, rd 4, Aug-28
Queen's Indian Defense: Kasparov-Petrosian Variation. Petrosian Attack (E12)  ·  1-0


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Given 69 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-23-13  Tigranny: I feel that this game is better than Game 24 of 1985, but definitely not better than Kasparov-Topalov. It just seems to have more beauty in it with the double bishop sac, along with it being Game of the Day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Tigranny: I feel that this game is better than Game 24 of 1985, but definitely not better than Kasparov-Topalov. It just seems to have more beauty in it with the double bishop sac, along with it being Game of the Day.>

But it isn't a double bishop sacrifice, because Kasparov picked up Portisch's bishop on d5 after he played Bxh7+. It's a single-bishop sacrifice. In fact after 20....Kg8 it looks like you're in the middle of a double-bishop sac. When I first saw this game I immediately focused on 21.Bxg7 for just that reason. I'm sure lots of other rotten players did the same. And it appears from the commentary here that 21.Rh5 may have been stronger than the sacrifice anyway, and Portisch certainly missed some better defenses.

Frankly I've never really understood the love for this game. Young Kasparov played lots of better ones, I think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here's a really good post by sneaky from 2005 explaining how different this game is from the classic two-bishop sacrifice.

<A common double bishop sac works like this:

It starts off with Bxh7+ (conceivably Bxh2+ but this is much more rare, so I'll describe it from White's point of view here.) After ...Kxh7 (usually forced) comes Qh5+ and ...Kh8. Then the second bishop is given up: Bxg7, and in light of Qh8# it must be captured, so ...Kxg7, and then usually comes a check to get the king over to the h-file, and finally a rook lift to threaten Rh(something)+ which brings down the house.

That is your garden variety double bishop sac, seen in countless games starting with Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889 but also see Koltanowski vs Defosse, 1936 and G Kuzmin vs Sveshnikov, 1973 for more examples of the common form this sacrifice takes.

This game on the other hand does not fit that mold at all.>

Of course, the fact that the game isn't a chessic cliche makes it better. But I've still never been able to get that enthusiastic about it (and I have no trouble getting enthusiastic about Kasparov games).

Mar-03-13  Tigranny: <keypusher> Sorry. I just realized now that you said it was just one bishop being sacced. Possibly overrated I guess now.
Sep-27-13  Shams: Why has 15.c4 not gained any traction, I wonder? I've only been able to find one other game: Kozul (2590) - Gofshtein (2530), Nova Gorica 1997 1-0 ( In that contest Black played 15...Na5 immediately instead of trading on c4.

Shredder seems happy enough with Garry's pawn sack, here...

Oct-29-14  SpiritedReposte: Good pun as this is definitive Kasparov style. Sacrificing material, getting the initiative and pressing for the win.

Much like Fischer, maybe you don't like Kasparov's personality, but its hard not to like his chess.

Nov-14-14  kia0708: SHOCK & AWE !
Jan-18-15  G Kasparov: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. Nc3 Bb7 5. a3 d5 6. cd5 Nd5 7. e3 Nc3 8. bc3 Be7 9. Bb5 c6 10. Bd3 c5 11. O-O Nc6 12. Bb2 Rc8 13. Qe2 O-O 14. Rad1 Qc7 15. c4 cd4 16. ed4 Na5 17. d5 ed5 18. cd5 Bd5 19. Bh7 Kh7 20. Rd5 Kg8 21. Bg7 Kg7 22. Ne5 Rfd8 23. Qg4 Kf8 24. Qf5 f6 25. Nd7 Rd7 26. Rd7 Qc5 27. Qh7 Rc7 28. Qh8 Kf7 29. Rd3 Nc4 30. Rfd1 Ne5 31. Qh7 Ke6 32. Qg8 Kf5 33. g4 Kf4 34. Rd4 Kf3 35. Qb3

Jan-19-15  RookFile: I know that white won a lot of games with this a3 system. The question is what to do about it. I think Korchnoi had the right idea. Play g6. Portisch might have played 7.....g6, for example. It aims to transpose the game into an a Gruenfeld where white has been not as aggressive in the center.

Kasparov vs Korchnoi, 1983

Jan-02-17  paavoh: @ <shams> Sorry for the tardiness of my reply, but it seems Black tends to exchange pawns on d4 right away after Rad1, before White can repeat Kasparov's idea. Black also follows up with Bf6 and the matters become more even.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <<Keene> i have always admired him-occasionally disagreed with him but never felt envy at all.>

I can't believe that any and all chess players wouldn't have envied Kasparov a little at some point.


Apr-27-17  siggemannen: I wonder if those stats are correct. Karpov usually won against Portisch but the stats say 62%
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Yes, <siggemannen>, it does look odd, as compared against <CG>'s stats:

In favor of Karpov +13 -2 =27

<CG> is reporting 42 games, whereas <MillBase> only had 17 games.

Let me double check...

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: So, perhaps I had the percentage backwards - i.e. Karpov won 62% of his games against Portisch.

Here's the <MillBase> breakdown (from SCID's Player Info window):

This is definitely from Karpov's pov (point of view):


Results for all games:
White: 61.76% + 5 = 11 - 1 10.5 / 17

Black: 58.33% + 4 = 13 - 1 10.5 / 18

Total: 60.00% + 9 = 24 - 2 21.0 / 35


I admit, I haven't used the Player Report before, and easily could have the pov backwards.

It actually makes more sense, though I would have programmed it from the player's pov whose generating the report.

OK, Portisch is better than Smyslov, about equal to Larsen and Gligoric, slightly worst than Korchnoi and Petrosian, and so on.

I think I should delete the post - partially to erase my mistake, but mostly because it's a misleading post.

I'll leave this one as a mea culpa - and thank <siggemannen> for the correction.


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Oopf! I also now see that the <Player Report> is only done for one color at a time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Let's try this again, sorry about the screw-ups on the first round.

I restricted the selection to just Portisch's games before 1990, so that we have the stats for his best years.

The percentages are from the opponent's pov:

Portisch as White:


1: 37 1959-1988 51% 2690 Spassky, Boris V
2: 33 1969-1989 47% 2660 Timman, Jan H
3: 27 1963-1983 28% 2660 Larsen, B
4: 25 1971-1989 36% 2645 Ljubojevic, Ljubomir
5: 22 1961-1983 43% 2640 Petrosian, T
6: 22 1960-1986 45% 2600 Gligoric, Svetozar
7: 20 1961-1989 40% 2705 Tal, Mikhail
8: 17 1972-1989 56% 2755 Karpov, A
9: 17 1970-1989 35% 2640 Andersson, Ulf
10: 16 1961-1989 47% 2655 Korchnoi, Viktor


Portisch as Black


1: 31 1957-1986 61% 2640 Spassky, Boris V
2: 26 1964-1986 52% 2660 Larsen, B
3: 21 1960-1978 52% 2600 Gligoric, Svetozar
4: 20 1971-1989 73% 2675 Timman, Jan H
5: 19 1969-1989 58% 2640 Andersson, Ulf
6: 18 1965-1986 58% 2645 Petrosian, T
7: 17 1975-1989 62% 2755 Karpov, A
8: 17 1959-1987 44% 2620 Smyslov, Vasily
9: 16 1965-1988 47% 2665 Korchnoi, Viktor
10: 14 1967-1985 46% 2620 Hort, Vlastimil


Well, the basic conclusion still stands, a formidable player he was during the 70's/80's (and beyond).

Although Timman seems to have his number when Portisch was Black.


Aug-17-17  Ironmanth: Crisp and clean! Well done, Garry!
Aug-17-17  ColeTrane: it's nice to have Garry back in action these days.... guess he gave up on politics for the time being. can't blame him
Premium Chessgames Member
  Keyser Soze: 21.g7 !! Great game. But this game was GOTD more than once, huh?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Even without the charts produced by <zed>, it is clear to the knowledgeable observer that Portisch was a redoubtable force at the highest level; in my opinion, he displayed a certain psychological instability at crucial moments, which evinced itself in world title qualifiers on several occasions. By the late 1960s, Portisch was one of very few players outside the Soviet Union who could compete with their elite.
Aug-17-17  Pantagruel: Nice choice of game of the day, obviously in observance of the return of Garry Kasparov to tournament play after over a decade of absence. At St. Louis he showed that he can still hang with the world's best, although he's rusty and slow. I see great potential if Garry decides to reenter the scene. I hope he does, because it's great to see him back, and he's a true living legend.
Aug-17-17  The Kings Domain: Very Anderssen-like victory by a young Kasparov here on the brink to the top. Nice sacrificial flourish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: nice king chase!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Dec-07-17  MariusDaniel: Great chess moves by GM Garry Kasparov!
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