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Yasser Seirawan vs Garry Kasparov
Chess Olympiad (1986), Dubai UAE, rd 8, Nov-23
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights Variation. Petrosian System (D91)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  A.G. Argent: Yeah, I agree that with all those rook moves on the 1st and 2nd ranks (lost count at 18 or so) Seirawan was indeed just vamping and pushing wood, waiting for K. to show himself. Not too pretty or imaginative but, I suppose, against G. Kasparov, a W is a W.
Mar-24-08  lentil: Took me a long time to find the win here. I think it's: 62 ... c2 63 Rh1! d2 64 g8Q c1Q (..d1Q? 65 Qc8+ Kd5 66 Rxd1 cdQ 67. Qd8+ ) 65 Rh6+, mating
Dec-20-08  wweiss: Phenomenal endgame play by Seirawan! Kasparov can play a sequence that leads to him being a rook up w/ 62...d2, but he gets mated. 62...d2 63.g7 c2 64. g8Q! cxd1Q 65. Qc8+ Kd5 66. Qd7+ Ke5 67. Qd6#
Mar-19-09  bunbun: wweiss, in your line what happens after 66.) ...Kc4
Jun-24-09  WhiteRook48: after 10 e3 white has sealed the route of the g7-bishop
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Riverbeast: Yes, Kasparov was done in by a 'win at all costs' mentality. It seems very often in chess, the most dangerous position is a slightly better position (or a position you think is slightly better) don't want to give the guy a draw, and very often you end up pressing too hard and losing.

An opportunistic 'win' for Seirawan, but more of a loss by Kasparov.>

All true. Kasparow's (fresh world champion at the time) desperate winning attempts have to be seen in connection with England's 4:0 win vs Iceland in the same 8th round. England took over the lead.

Finally USSR won the good medal with a 4:0 last round win vs Poland*, being 0,5 board points ahead of England team.

For more details

* <However there were quite serious suspicions (unsolved until today) that the Poles were forced not to disturb the Soviets because of obvious political reasons.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Great game. Looks like Kaspy has a draw, but one exchange too many opens it up for white. The black bishop is locked in the entire game, very instructive.
Aug-24-10  eightbyeight: What exactly is the point of White shuffling his rooks around for ten moves (37-47)?
Aug-24-10  BwanaVa: My guess...White has as good a position as he can get. If he tries to break through, he opens holes for black to penetrate and suddenly the black bishop has a diagonal to operate on. So he marks time with his rooks, essentially passing and daring Kasparov to force the issue and accept the consequences. The comments above about the disadvantages of a small edge, plus the burdens of "having to win" in team competitions, are right on point.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <eightbyeight> et al: There was nothing positive White could undertake; all he could do was mark time, awaiting any active tries by Kasparov.

<JohnBoy> Kasparov's energetic play in this game neutralised any pretence of a White initiative. This line, beginning with 5.Bg5 and 8.Nf3, was my primary choice against the Gruenfeld for over twenty years, even against strong GMs. It bears similarities to the Exchange QGD, though I have doubts now over whether it really offers White much. The last game I played this, Victor Mikhalevski annihilated me in 2001.

Oct-06-11  serenpidity.ejd: This game is entitled: HOW I WON WITHOUT A FIGHT.
This is one example of a game where one player is only playing for a draw and yet gets a bonus when his opponent pushes his luck too far.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <serenpidity.ejd: This game is entitled: HOW I WON WITHOUT A FIGHT. This is one example of a game where one player is only playing for a draw and yet gets a bonus when his opponent pushes his luck too far.>

Could also be entitled: KASPAROV LOST.

… but guess that would be too pedestrian for Kasparov’s fans, we need to make it Seriwan’s fault.

(how dare he try and win)

Oct-06-11  dx9293: Agreed, diceman!

"Playing for a draw" when you think your opponent might overpress and give you winning chances is a perfectly valid strategy when one really wants to win a game. You have to know the temperament of your opponent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AnalyzeThis: Another way of saying the same thing is that a secret of chess is not to try too hard. In the NFL they call that "take what the defense gives you". Kasparov for the most part put up his usual strong defense, so you don't see Seirawan going for the win until late in the game.
Jan-17-13  Everett: I think Kasparov's 9..Qd6 put the early 9.b4 under a cloud. In later iterations, Seirawan and others would play 9.e3 and wait for a better opportunity to play the minority attack on the q-side. Still, there seems to be nothing special for White in this line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett> Haven't seen anything to change my view of 8.Nf3; two years ago in an online blitz game, I tried 8.Qd2, but after 8....h6 9.Nf3 exd5, White doesn't even get the assorted tactical chances which can arise after 8....exd5 9.Qe3+. This variation should promise Black full equality and the two bishops are a long-term advantage.
Apr-24-14  solskytz: The way I understand it, the Nc5 was a guarantee against losing the game for white.

The knight couldn't be exchanged without giving black something to worry about - the protected passed pawn.

Black had one of his own throughout the game, to be sure... but it was impossible to bring any further black forces to support it.

GM Seirawan certainly played the R maneuvers banking on an obvious draw and waiting for Kasparov to either acquiesce, or go crazy, which he did. It was pretty obvious that black, from his attacking position on the a-file, had no answer to the advance of the g-pawn near the end. Kasparov was simply gambling.

This situation, of sitting at a dead drawn position against a player two classes your senior, is a familiar one. You sit there doing nothing, with a calm poker face, and watch as the other guy strains and strains, thinks and thinks, reddens... and ultimately acts against common sense and good judgment, takes one risk too many, and just loses.

Apr-24-14  solskytz: I suppose that the reason to the loss is exactly Kasparov's gambling plan, presented in moves 54 and 55.

On the 54, a move along the 7th rank or ...Rh6 should hold easily

And probably too, in move 55, any retreat to the three last ranks would still be enough to hold.

Seirawan sees and seizes his chances as soon as they appear, with the excellent 55. g4!

Indeed, take what the defense gives you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> Completely agree with your assessment of this line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR> For an opening with underlying strategic similarities, how about Dreev's favourite 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Bd3 g6? Novikov often tries the idea after 7....Nd7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> I would be happy with that for Black (I played it once, not knowing much about it, and drew) and would be unhappy as White. I'm not a big fan of giving up the bishop pair.
Mar-05-15  Howard: In response to the December 2007 inquiry as to whether this game is analyzed anywhere, there is, of course, Informant 42.

Another source would be Seirawan's excellent Chess Duels, for the game is annotated there, too.

Apr-24-16  Howard: By the way, I still remember some real crap that Alburt wrote about this game in Chess Life. He argued that Kasparov had a significant advantage even before the game started because the Gruenfeld variation that he employed here against Yasser, "had been researched for him" by a whole squadron of Soviet grandmasters.

And then when the game was out of the books, Alburt went on to say that "thrust on his own resources" Kasparov's opening advantage dissipated. "He knew he had a positional edge, but he didn't know how to use it", Alburt ludicrously claimed.

In other words, Alburt was just taking another potshot at his former home country.

Do me a favor, someone. Run this game through Rybka or Houdini---at one point did Kasparov's game start drifting downhill? It probably was not right out of the opening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Howard> Until move 47.Rdd1 the position was evaluated drawish. Then the result England-Iceland 4-0 became known which made England clear first. It was then that Kasparov took risks to win. The other 3 games in USA-UDSSR were drawn.
May-25-18  Toribio3: I salute both players for their bravery! Kasparov pushed too much for a win. In the end, he lost for his adventurism.
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