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Garry Kasparov vs Lajos Portisch
"Very Garry" (game of the day Jun-26-2007)
Niksic (1983), Niksic YUG, rd 4, Aug-28
Queen's Indian Defense: Kasparov-Petrosian Variation. Petrosian Attack (E12)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: The Jules Verne restaurant--second coming of the Divan?
Oct-02-11  DrMAL: <ray keene: i was never jealous of garry-i dont come into his league as a player!!> My apology, Ray, your comment perplexed me before and I took it wrong way. While he won his last game in the 1985 WC match, Kasparov was otherwise not proud of Karpov vs Kasparov, 1985. Rightfully so, with verification from modern engine I showed there how 23.f5! could have won. Kasparov was doubtless aware of this but without engine it is much more difficult to "prove." And why would he want to do this for game that he won to become WC anyway? This game, on the other hand, was truly one of his very best, cheers.
Oct-28-11  Crazychess1: 21.Bxg7!! is one of my favorites from Kasparov. It really does look like old-time chess. And then to follow it up with something like 22.Ne5 . . . truly elegant.
Oct-28-11  bronkenstein: Kasparov himself comments the game (start from 4:50 If you want to go straight to the beginning) :

Dec-20-11  Nemesistic: Iv just watched an hour or so of a marathon Kasparov documentary called "My Story",and he picks this game out as one of his favourites..

The interviewer/narrator seems really impressed when GK says to him "You'll like this" and shows him the mating possibilities after the bishop sac ( which GK says isn't a sac,because of the resulting position! ).

I was impressed too

Jan-19-12  indoknight: the surprises combo was begin at 17.d5! black cannot 17...Nxc4 because 18.Bxc4 Qxc4 19.Qxc4 Rxc4 20.Ne5!! Rc2 21.dxe6! threatening fork in Rook at d7!
Jun-09-12  Anderssen99: Although 21.Bxg7 is strong and in the true "Kasparovian Style" the alternative 21.Rh5 is even stronger. Is it not?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 21.Rh5 looks really strong. White threatens once again to sac the Bishop on g7 and with much greater effect as the Rook is on the Kingside now in comparison to the game continuation, and moreover Qe4 look like a threat too, especially if black tries to meet Bxg7 followed by Ne5 with 21...Nc4, which leaves him without possibility to cover h7 by Queen from c2. 21...Qc2 is the only way to meet both threats at once I can see but after 22.Qxe7 Qxb2 23.Ne5 with threats like 24.Ng6 fxg6 25.Qe6+ etc. or 24.Qh4 black position is a ruin. After 23...Rc1 24.g4 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 black probably doesn't get a mate but he will be hardly able to liberate his play without loss of a Pawn or two with simple technical win for white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Kasparov comments on his game:
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

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.


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Kasparov on Kasparov: Part I
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