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Alexander Grischuk vs Garry Kasparov
Russian Championship 2004 (2004), Moscow RUS, rd 11, Nov-27
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B90)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-27-04  themindset: obviously kasparov had no intentions to play for the win, he gained a definite advantage out of the opening, only to hand it back to white in exchange for simplifying the game into a more drawish position. incredible tournament by kaspy, the haters must really be hating right now.
Nov-27-04  Spassky69: Kaspy had the two bishops and could have done alot more in this game. Booo! :)
Nov-28-04  barbababa: Quotation from chessbase " ... and the Sicilian Najdorf between the two leading players Kasparov (black) and Grischuk. The novelty came from Grischuk on move 15, and about ten moves later he had a clear advantage. Although the young Super-GM pushed hard he was unable to overcome the black defence and the game ended after 39 moves in a draw. " Why not 29. Ng3 or 29. Ng7 and white wins a pawn or gets a dangerous passed pawn ?
Nov-29-04  arthurv: Yes it was a tremendous effort by Kasparov, but at the same time I think the other players had too much respect for him.
Nov-29-04  freshstart: Why not 19 ... b4 for Kasparov?

It looks like a good move - it pushes the knight back, and the white centre is vulnerable. Why waste time with Rc8?

Nov-29-04  AdrianP: <Freshstart> <Why not b4 for Kasparov> Quite. It even looks like it wins a pawn: 19...b4 20 Ne2 Bxe4, whereas GM Shipov was apparently recommending 19...b4 20 Ne2 e5!?. I gave a dangerous (for black) line on the Russian Championships page on the latter while I was watching it and will put a detailed post here when I've finished having a look at both lines.

The pragmatic answer may be that Kasparov was surprised by Grischuk's offer of a pawn and it does not make much difference playing Rc8 then b4 rather than b4 immediately.

Nov-29-04  freshstart: The "offer" of a pawn looks like either a mistake or an elaborate bluff.

As soon as black played 19...Rc8 white was quick to protect the pawn with 20. Bg2, and then captured the Knight on f6 when it joined the attack.

Kasparov was perhaps scared of ghosts in this position.

Does anyone have an example of how white can take the initiative after 19...b4 20. Ne2 Bxe4 ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Might be he was scared of ghosts, but White does get definite compensation by the lines that are opened towards Black's king. 19..b4 20.Ne2 Bxe4!? 21.Bg2 Bxg2 22.Qxg2 and then Ng3 and Rhe1 while ..Be7 is impossible, leaving Black's king in the centre. What do you think? It's generally not the kind of position Kasparov likes.

Did Grischuk have better winning chances later on after he won the pawn? He played it safe in time trouble and exchanged down to a peaceful position where Black's activity should be enough to hold the draw easily, although I would probably have played on until the time control. Maybe 37.f5 eliminating the f4-weakness and trying to create a passer.

Nov-29-04  AdrianP: <Freshstart>

On b4 20 Ne2 e5!? I originally thought (and posted) as follows "For an example of some scary stuff...

b4 20. Ne2 e5!? 21. fxe5 dxe5 22 Be3 Bxe4 23. Rxd7! Kxd7 24. Qxf7+ Be7 25.Bg2!! Bxg2 26. Rd1+ Kc8 27. Qxe7 and only Fritz would enjoy playing that position..."

On ...b4 20 Ne2 Bxe4 I originally posted:
"b4 20. Ne2 Bxe4 Bg2 Bxg2 Rc8 Ng3 then Rhe8 and White has very good compensation." (ideas of Nf5 and some pressure on the half open central files).

I am having a look in more detail at both lines, but so far I think the above is broadly right.

Nov-29-04  maoam: <freshstart>

After 21.Bg2 Bxg2 22.Qxg2 Rc8 23.Ng3 White can preserve the initiative with Rhe1, f5, Nh5 etc. In my opinion White has enough for the pawn.

Nov-29-04  freshstart: < AdrianP / maoam >

Thanks gentlemen.

These are excellent ideas.

However, I must say that as black has his queen and Queens Rook (once it moves to c8) pointed at white's king, along with mobile pawns on the "a" and "b" files, I wouldn't disregard Kasparov's chances after 19...b4

It would definitely have made the game a more exciting spectacle!

Dec-09-05  DP12: The fact is that to take the pawn looks suicidal to me.<< After 21.Bg2 Bxg2 22.Qxg2 Rc8 23.Ng3 White can preserve the initiative with Rhe1, f5, Nh5 etc. In my opinion White has enough for the pawn>> Right or at least close because maybe N might go to f4 or g3. And what is black going to do in the meanwhile? he can't really hope to attack(only Q and maybe N and R can play) and he can't ever castle because he can't move the bishop. Therefore, the logic of taking on e4 is opening up lines on you sitting king for a pawn. Does not sound too smart.
Sep-14-06  positionalgenius: Grischuk lets Kasparov off the hook in this one.He should play on,this is still possibly a win.Good game though.
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