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Anatoly Karpov vs Gata Kamsky
Alekhine Memorial (1992), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Nov-??
King's Indian Defense: Normal. King's Knight Variation (E60)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-12-09  Everett: <notyetagm>

FYI, <aulero>'s comments are almost directly lifted, verbatim, from Secrets of Spectacular Chess. A shame he didn't site properly.

Feb-12-09  WhiteRook48: <morpstau> must not realize how powerful Karpov was in chess back then
Apr-17-09  WhiteRook48: funny
Sep-25-09  WhiteRook48: 54 Kh3 Qc3+ 55 Bf3+
Jun-16-12  Howard: One of many games that I've been meaning to play over, especially after seeing Kasparov's extensive notes in Volume V of MGP. But there's at least one other book which makes interesting observations about this game.......Andy Soltis' book of the 100 greatest games of the 20th century.

To keep this point fairly brief, this
finely-tuned game of Karpov's does NOT make the Top 100 list. However, Soltis acknowledges the game in an unusual way. In this volume, he gives roughly 15 additional games that did not make his T100 list and explains why....

....for this game, he concedes that in terms of the finesses involved, this "may have been Karpov's greatest game". But he goes on to state the overall game is "not aesthetically pleasing", however. In other words, it's a bit boring and characterized by typical, extensive Karpovian manuevering. Well-played ? Absolutely ! Interesting/exciting? Not exactly.

On a final note, a book reviewer on Jeremy Silman's website makes the perceptive point in reviewing this book that (get ready for this one!) NONE of Karpov's games made the T100 list.....unless you include three games on the list all of which he lost! The reviewer states that Soltis was never one of Karpov's greatest fans and seems to believe that this fluky occurrence (no Karpov wins' making the Top 100) was no accident.

Dec-03-12  SirChrislov: <Howard> Every author has their own eye for excellence. From the book:

<"Perhaps Karpov's greatest for its accuracy and finesse. But the game simply lacks the sparkle and energy of a beautiful game. It is akin to a finely tuned calibrated machine-not a work of art.">

I can agree with Soltis except for the "not a work of art" part. It is a work of Karpovian art as opposed to say, a Kasparov masterpiece. The game is skillfully conducted and Soltis awards it five(!) exclamations despite the fact it didn't make his "100 Best".

Dec-03-12  Blunderdome: Of course it's beautiful.
Dec-19-12  SirChrislov: <Blunderdome> Beautiful as far as strategic depth, yes indeed. It's a flawless performance by white, and black did not defend at all bad. A masterpiece demo of the Karpov style.
Mar-11-13  Westcoast: I appreciate all commets, but dont share it at all. This game is incredibly. And is a Karpov's style definitely. Is notable on all its fases. And talking about strategy and tactics I think is the best all times game that applicates the theme of attraction. First is attracted a knight, and later all pieces are attracted, a bishop, two rooks. In this way this game is just unique. Also is a game against the rules of chess. White attack and succeed by the queen side against the rule to play foward the most advanced pawn, which was the "e" one. The control was since the side where black is theorically stronger. I sustaine like once said Pete Townsend: is un uncanny masterpiece.
May-10-14  PJs Studio: I saw this game 20+ years ago and had forgotten it. I stumbled across it today as a reference to Karpov's ability to let his opponents taste the initiative before luring them in for the kill.

I truly believe this game is a positional masterpiece. Karpov grips the talented Kamsky like a python and convincingly crushes him slowly. Fantastic play by GM Karpov

Nov-01-14  krippp: Been studying chess for 9 years, and this game struck me more than any game has for a long time.

Would be nice to see what moves AND PLANS the "not energetic enough" critics suggest instead. What they seem to be missing is that THERE IS NO "ENERGETIC ATTACK" here; Kamsky's defense is very masterful, and Karpov's play is probably as energetic as GOOD play could be here.

Maybe Kasparov has shown some "energetic" improvements in OMGP V (I don't know). But while a quick analysis with Stockfish 5 does suggest some more aggressive moves as "better" than Karpov's moves, in the end those suggested lines lead to worse situations than Karpov's play. An example is <25.a3 ?!>, instead of <25.Qd2!> which stops Black's counterplay AND ATTACKS (his queenside-pieces). I don't see how allowing counter-play can be seen as "more energetic"; it just begins to look ugly after your masterful opponent finally FORCES you to respond.

I think Karpov understood this game better than Stockfish. And DEFINITELY better than Andy "barely GM" Soltis. I think Soltis' critique shows an unprofessional lack of understanding. Prefer reading Lasker, Euwe, or some other top players, instead.


About Karpov's "missed mate in 5 with <52.Qxf7>". I think Karpov simply chose the prettiest checkmate there was. Kg3 Kh3 was simply beautiful, visibly showing what Karpov's main-plan was, instead of <52.Qxf7 and resigns>, which looks more like merely winning on material.

Nov-01-14  Everett: Karpov likely didn't miss anything. His 52nd is a simpler move and also leads to mate. No need to calculate complicated lines when a simple win is available. One must think of the energy saved for other games as well.
Oct-20-15  eyalbd: A strategic masterpiece by Karpov.

He explains his ideas in this video:


Oct-20-15  Howard: GOTD ? It's debatable, in my view, but I'm going to nominate it right now.
Mar-20-18  Stratic: I am very glad to have come across this game. I have greatly studied the games of Morphy, Alekhine, Fischer, Kasparov, Nehzmetdinov, and a few others, but I've never devoted any serious study to Karpov. I seem to have blundered here; if many more of Karpovs games are played in the same style as this one, he may be the closest great to my own style of play. His only moves in this game which did not suggest themselves to me instantly were those extremely technical retreats and a few move orders I should have sorted in proper time. I shall have to study them all. I do well with Morphy's games too, but had not ever seen these two as players of similar style... I would be proud indeed if very soon I could emulate the both of them at the same time.
Mar-20-18  Howard: Someday I gotta study this game to understand why it's been so hyped so much. Took first place, by the way, in the Informant volume which featured it.
Mar-20-18  NBZ: The first time I played through the game, it just looked strange, with White's queen shuttling restlessly back and forth along the c1-h6 diagonal. It is only after seeing the rest of the game, and how effectively Black's counterplay was thwarted, that you begin to realize how clever these manoeuvres were.
Mar-29-18  Stratic: I think that the very fact that you must look so closely at this game is responsible for any amount of hype. White's pawn development and the backbone of his attack reminds me of the simple yet inexorable attacks of Morphy and Fischer, but there is such an abundance of patience and subtlety that it at first seems absurd. That is a bit rare and it can be quite an interesting exercise to discover the sense in it.
Nov-14-18  pencuse: Actually this game is derived from the Neo-Grünfeld defence, but is classified as King's Indian. Kamsky has played Grünfeld defence many times as black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: To protect one offside piece (24...Bb2), Kamsky is forced to move another piece offside (25...Nc2).
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Two chess giants trading blows.
Sep-15-22  nok: 26.Kh1 -- 27.Bg1!

Pure Karpov.

Sep-15-22  Dionysius1: If 53...Qd3+ then 54.Bf3+ Qxf3+ 55.Qxf3#. Is that combining defence and attack or what?
Jul-02-23  nikrj: A strategic masterpiece by Karpov! A game to study carefully and to play over and over it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Kamsky was age 18 here, not yet at his peak. Still, a marvelous game.
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