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Nigel Short vs Garry Kasparov
Corus Group A (2000), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 6, Jan-22
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-26-07  AAAAron: Short got lucky!
Jan-01-09  KingG: Well, according to Kasparov, he was the one who got lucky. Supposedly 25.Rd1! was winning for White, although the endgame after 25.Rd1! Rd5 26.Rxd5 cxd5 27.Qa2! d4!(not 27...Qc4? 28.Qa5! ) 28.Qxa6 Bxa6 29.Ra2 isn't completely trivial.

< Like his fellow countryman Michael Adams in round four, Short had specially chosen the Closed Sicilian to avoid his opponent's feared prepared lines. And like the encounter with Adams, Kasparov looked decidedly uneasy at the board - with Short taking the initiative with a speculative pawn sacrifice in the opening.

"There was no concrete idea behind my sacrifice," Short explained later during the post mortem with Kasparov, "but I was sure you would find one and that gave me confidence." Kasparov just laughed. As a result, Short now had his opponent, in his own words, "by the short and curlies" and came close to a win. "Optically, it looked good for White - which it probably was," said Short during the press conference after the game. "But technically, it was hard.">

Jun-12-11  BobCrisp: <Kasparov's funny reaction>

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: At Linares 1999 Kasparov had played 6..Nf6 against Adams and gone on to win a nice game; this time he tried 6..Nd4. 13..f5!? was very risky but taking the pawn with 13..Nxe5 14 fxe..Bxe5 15 Bh6..Bg7 16 Bxg7..Kxg7 17 Qf2..f5 18 Ne4..Nxc2 19 Rc1..Nd4 20 Nxc5 looks strong for White as well.

Short explained Kasparov's choice (13..f5) as follows: "Strategically very risky. In general Garry doesn't like being attacked. He likes the initiative and has a tremendous sense of it. He calculates much better than I do so he gets more nervous because he sees more."

Kasparov said he was hoping for something like 15 Nc4..Qa6 16 Bxc5..Rd8 17 Nd6..Rxd6 18 Bxd6..b5 with counterplay but this just seems like wishful thinking; Short's 15 Nxc6 seems much stronger keeping the light-squared bishop weak. 20 Rfe2 would have maintained White's edge without allowing Kasparov to "muddy the waters" with 20..Rxb3!? though White still was better. It is unclear whether 25 Rd1 would have been significantly better than Short's 25 Rd2 (see post above - Kasparov thought 27..d4! would have been good enough to draw. 28 Qe2 looks like it may have been an improvement maintaining some winning chances.

Short after the game:
"Optically the whole position looked very good for White- and probably it was- but it demanded a huge amount of precision. I played most of the game very well but it only took one small inaccuracy to give Garry a chance. Garry takes all his chances- it's not the first time I've had a winning position against Garry."

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Kasparov was not at his best in defence, but he was not one to overlook a chance at salvation, once provided.

This game serves as an object example for armchair quarterbacks of just how difficult it can be to win a game from a top player.

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