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Boris Gelfand vs Anatoly Karpov
"Cooking The Rooks" (game of the day Apr-24-2019)
Linares (1994), Linares ESP, rd 8, Mar-05
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Panov Attack. Main Line (E54)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-31-03  Open Defence: This is an interesting game, it shows how the Caro-Kan leads to Nimzo-Indian (e3) variations or what used to be the Isolated Queen Pawn or IQP system but is now not so as Black plays Bxc3 to result in hanging c and d pawns for White
May-08-04  Everett: Karpov's use of his bishop to block off files is especially pronounced in this game, limiting Gelfand's options, and making communication betweens his opponent's pieces more difficult.

See black move 32, 40, 49

Jan-08-05  OneArmedScissor: Karpov at his best.
The simple moves are amazing. How he so easily redeploys his pieces is simply amazing.
Jul-04-05  chesed: Aaah! Simply Karpov! This game is my favorite! I just love the defensive maneuvers. Yes, the bishop really did play a very important role throughout the game. Karpov defeats Gelfand with deadly precision.
Jul-04-05  farrooj: My favorite karpov game is the one where he leaves an open file for the oppenent on the queen side but blocks every counterplay on that file. You can check it on my profile
Jun-14-07  Troller: Great game. I remember following this tournament - Karpov went 7/8 against the elite after this game.

There is probably an alternative to 24.Bxg6, but maybe after 23.-,b5 Black already had the initiative. As Seirawan stated about White's 24th: "If this is White's best, he has erred in reaching this position." After 33.-,f5 it is clear that White is getting crunched. Trapping the rook in the end is really rubbing it in, guess Gelfand was so demoralized he hadn't even seen it.

May-29-08  sfairat: Why didn't White at any point play Rh3 threatening Rh8#? If nothing else, it would have tied down Black's queen to defending the blocking pawn on f6 for a while.
May-31-12  GrenfellHunt: Can anyone explain the classic Karpov-style 17...Nf8? Rybka likes 17...Qxa2 here (d/13).
May-31-12  tonsillolith: <Can anyone explain the classic Karpov-style 17...Nf8? Rybka likes 17...Qxa2 here (d/13).>

To me it looks like he wanted the knight over on g6, and f8 is a good way to get there. On d7 the knight might get in the way of rooks using the d file.

Why did Karpov move the knight right at the time he did? From the course of the game, it looks like one reason is that the f8 square was an appealing square for the queen to retreat to if it came under fire from White's pieces, like it did by the rook on f3.

One explanation for Rybka preferring Qxa2 over Ndf8 is that computers are often known to love winning extra material, even if it gets them in a tough position. Winning small amounts of material at the cost of positional concerns is not at all Karpov's style.

May-10-14  PJs Studio: So many of Karpov's games display impenetrable defensive coordination of forces. It's his hallmark of course.

I'm always intrigued by his play because he is the best in the world at all the techniques I suck at.

May-10-14  capafischer1: Karpovs play is simply unique. He kills your counterplay then grabs more space than you then suffocates your pieces with deadly accuracy and wins your rook at the end. Fischer vs Karpov would have been awesome.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: In this game, Karpov traps Gelfand's rook.

In the same tournament, he also trapped Polgar's rook:

Karpov vs Judit Polgar, 1994

Apr-24-19  The Kings Domain: Blast from the past from the good old days. An aging Karpov shows one of the top young players of the day how it's done.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: Ah, Karpov!

Once a very young unhappy player came and said to me: "I made no mistakes, but I lost anyway. I was just crushed."

He showed me the game, and I commented "It is a little like you move around with your queen too much, and get nothing else done."

A Danish player, Krause, wrote in 1938 a book "About the initial position in chess", where he concluded that it was a draw.

So, to lose you must make at least one mistake.

Time and statistics have supported that conclusion, but still, there are times - like in this game - where you hear the winning player say

- "Mistakes"? Well, actually you never really understood what was going on as well as I did. So, it rather like your whole game became one big collective mistake.

Moving around with your queen too much? Somehow just not, when you are Karpov.

Qd8-c7-d6-a3-f8-d8-e8-f8-b4-d8-f4-e4-e3-b6 0-1


Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: he always did play great at Linares.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Troller> <There is probably an alternative to 24.Bxg6, but maybe after 23.-,b5 Black already had the initiative. As Seirawan stated about White's 24th: "If this is White's best, he has erred in reaching this position.">

24.Bxg6 was definitely not the best option to put it mildly. And with all respect to Karpov, his 23...b5(!?) could have become a source of big troubles for him, if Gelfand would have reacted more properly with 24.c5! The trade of Bishop for Knight on g6 just gave up the Bishop pair for nothing and left the light squares to black Bishop, which has become a monster a bit later in the game.

Apr-24-19  actinia: this is my favorite tournament and result. I remember the day I got Inside Chess in the mail with the tournament report. this was soon after the PCA/FIDE split and karpov destroyed kasparov in this tournament.

looking back, the level of play was not as high as today. one game karpo's opponent simply blundered a rook. but the drama and dominance is pretty unparalleled.

Premium Chessgames Member
  freewheel: Your game title is most appropriate. Thanks for the funny insight.
Apr-24-19  Martha Stewart: This is one of those humbling games for me. I don't have the cerebral capacity to understand half of the moves. I'm going to quit and go back to checkers.
Apr-24-19  cunctatorg: It seems to me like a masterpiece of defense and counter-attack.

Someone would object: "If only Kasparov had the white side!!..." to which I'd answer: However Gelfand did so...

Apr-24-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 d 22 dpa done

1. = (0.00): 11...h6 12.Bh4 Nc6 13.a3 Be7 14.Rc1 Rc8 15.Bd3 Na5 16.Ne5 Nc6 17.Nxc6 Bxc6 18.Ba6 Rc7 19.Qd3 Rd7 20.Ne2 Rc7 21.Nc3 Rd7

2. = (0.13): 11...Nc6 12.a3 Bxc3 13.bxc3 h6 14.Bh4 Ne7 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Bb3 Qc7 17.c4 Rad8 18.d5 exd5 19.cxd5 Bxd5 20.Rc1 Bxb3 21.Qxb3 Qd6 22.Qa4 a5 23.Qh4 Ng6 24.Qxh6 Qxa3 25.Rc6 Qb2 26.Qe3 Rfe8 27.Qxb6 Qxb6 28.Rxb6 Rxe1+ 29.Nxe1

Apr-24-19  The17thPawn: Never seen this Karpovian gem before. A bit embarassing really to have missed such a boa constrictor crush over a top flight GM.
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