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Garry Kasparov vs Anatoly Karpov
Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1987), Seville ESP, rd 2, Oct-14
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Fianchetto Lines (A29)  ·  0-1

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-07-08  Tomlinsky: Karpov: "I recall that Kasparov's use of the English Opening in this match was unexpected for me. However, strange as it may seem, it was I who managed to produce a surprise at the start. In any case, in the present game my opponent thought for over one and a half hours over his tenth move! It is interesting that the novelty, which had such an effect on Kasparov, was prepared by me as far back as the end of the 70's for my match in Baguio. But at that time it had remained unused.


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9...e3!?

It was precisely this move, suggested in his day by my long time second, Igor Zaitsev, that plunged my opponent into seep thought. Previously Black had automatically taken on f3; Incidentally, I had played this in the fourth game of the match."

"In principle, the point of the thrust e4-e3 lies in upsetting the harmonious development of White's pieces, driving a wedge into his position. Though this idea is not original, I was convinced it had not been played before in the present situation. But how surprised I was one day, when, upon opening the Chess in the USSR magazine, I saw the game Berndt - Seitz, played nearly ten years before the duel in Seville."

Mar-16-08  whiskeyrebel: This is the first game in Karpov's book on the English opening, which I think I learned quite a bit from.
May-29-08  Cinco: <Sometimes top-ranking grandmasters play strong moves which they themselves find hard to explain. Furthermore it is virtually impossible to prove even in post-mortem analysis that these moves are objectively strongest. Despite this, they help to solve the problems in the particular context of the game. They leave their imprint on the whole of the subsequent struggle; they give it its essential character. By detecting such moments in games by top players, you can dramatically increase your understanding of chess. One example is the second game of the fourth Kasparov-Karpov World Championship match, Seville 1987. After the well-known opening moves 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Bg2 O-O 6.O-O e4 7.Ng5 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Re8 9.f3, Karpov employed a novelty: 9..e3!?

What is White's best response? The task that faces him is exceptionally complex. Kasparov found an outstandingly good solution, clearly the best solution to any opening problem in the entire match: 10.d3! d5 11.Qb3!! Such moves are often conceived not in home analysis but over-the-board, under strong emotional pressure. Many commentators could not understand why Karpov never repeated his novelty after winning the game. The explanation is simple: Kasparov refuted the novelty over the board - his 11.Qb3 is very powerful. I was Kasparov's second in that match, and I can definitely assure you of this.

-- Sergei Dolmatov in Dvoretsky/Yusupov: "Opening Preparation">

Karpov's side of the story: "After 9. f3, I played 9e3, which leads to absolutely unusual complications with a lot of variations. And, actually, nobody repeated this variation after, even me. But we spent a lot of hours analyzing the position, and we couldnt make a clear decision who was better after 9e3."

Sep-21-08  Woody Wood Pusher: Great game, GK finding d3! and Qb3! at the board was impressive stuff, but that ultimately just makes the victory even sweeter when your opponent plays at such a high level. The AK-GK matches were the best of all time.
Jun-29-09  Knight13: 18. Bxf6 wow giving up the powerful bishop for that knight on f6 which isn't really doing anything!

Definitely missing something!

Aug-20-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Colonel Mortimer: That knight was coming to e4 and then to the outpost at d2 - game over. Kasparov's move prevented this while allowing his own knight which really isn't doing anything to take up a position on e4 where it blocks the rook from protecting its own pawn at e3; resulting in its eventual capture and countering any threats down the e file
Sep-26-09  Astardis: I'd just love to see a video of Kasparov's reaction after e3. His rich facial expressions are so amusing. I imagine it something like wide opened eyes followed by some head shaking with a couple of doubtful looks at his opponent in between. Certainly his hand approaching the board several times in order to make a move that would easily refute such a bad move. Then slowly getting into thinking that it might not at all be such a bad move. More head shaking to come during the next 90 minutes, for sure :)
Jul-20-11  Mimchi1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Macp...

Analysis of Game 2 by Karpov himself. Highly recommended.

Nov-07-11  Hesam7: <Many commentators could not understand why Karpov never repeated his novelty after winning the game. The explanation is simple: Kasparov refuted the novelty over the board - his 11.Qb3 is very powerful. I was Kasparov's second in that match, and I can definitely assure you of this.> -- Dolmatov

<After 9. f3, I played 9�e3, which leads to absolutely unusual complications with a lot of variations. And, actually, nobody repeated this variation after, even me. But we spent a lot of hours analyzing the position, and we couldn�t make a clear decision who was better after 9�e3.> -- Karpov

Dolmatov overstates White's case. In fact Kasparov's own view is much closer to Karpov's. After 14. f4:


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<<This position is a difficult one for Black to play, since any change in the centre, blocking one White bishop, will make the other extremely dangerous. If 14. ... Bg4 there follows 15. Nf3 Nc6 16. h3!, and there is no time for 16. ... Qd7.> -- Makarychev

For example 16. ... Bxf3 17. Rxf3 d4 18. Bb2 (Gulko - Korneev, Montreal 2006). Of course the exchange of bishop for the knight is advantageous to White, but the e3-pawn still separates his two wings, and the situation remains unclear - hence the popularity of 16. ... Bg4!?> -- Kasparov in "Modern Chess, vol. 3.

Nov-07-11  Hesam7: Actually in the line given by Kasparov, <14. ... Bg4 15. Nf3 Nc6 16. h3 Bxf3 17. Rxf3 d4 18. Bb2>, using Critter 1.2.1 I came up with a fascinating line: <18. ... Re6 19. Rc1 Ne7 20. cxd4 Ra6 21. Qb3 Rb6 22. Qc2> maybe it is easier just to repeat here <22. ... Nfd5 23. Qb1> 23. Rff1? Rc8! 24. Qb1 Nc3! <23. ... Nf5!> Nimzowitch would be proud! <24. Qa1> the poor piece; but 24. Rff1? hangs the g3-pawn and 24. Kh2 is met by 24. ... Nxd4! <24. ... Rc8 25. Rc5 Rbc6 26. Kh2 Rxc5 27. dxc5 Rxc5>


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And this is an extremely complicated position. The material is equal with NN vs BB but Black has a safer king and much more active pieces. Here is one possible continuation: <28. Rf1?!> 28. Qb1!? <28. ... Rc2! 29. Re1 Nxf4 30. gxf4 Qh4 31. Be5 Qg3+ 32. Kh1> 32. Kg1?? Nh4 and Black mates in the next move.


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Black has full compensation (if not more), one way to force a draw would be: <32. ... Qf2 33. Qb1> forced. Black was threatening Ng3+ & Nxe2 <33. ... f6 34. Qxc2> White has no other way than taking the rook, 34. Bd5+? Kh8 will just make matters worse. <34. ... Qxe2+ 35. Kh2 Qg3+ 26. Kh1> draw be perpetual check.

Maybe White should look for alternative for 19. Rc1. The machine suggests 19. c4 but closing the center seems too anti-positional.

Feb-18-12  King Death: <Astardis: I'd just love to see a video of Kasparov's reaction after e3. His rich facial expressions are so amusing. I imagine it something like wide opened eyes followed by some head shaking with a couple of doubtful looks at his opponent in between. Certainly his hand approaching the board several times in order to make a move that would easily refute such a bad move. Then slowly getting into thinking that it might not at all be such a bad move. More head shaking to come during the next 90 minutes, for sure>

Don't forget the lip curls.

Aug-12-12  Everett: <Hesam7> thanks for posting your research on this position, really enlightening just how nuts these positions can be. Personally, I would never want to play this as White.
Aug-12-12  Hesam7: <Everett: <Hesam7> thanks for posting your research on this position, really enlightening just how nuts these positions can be. Personally, I would never want to play this as White.>

You are very welcome.

White can easily avoid the reverse Rossolimo by using a different move order, for example: 1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg2 and here if Black plays 4. ... Bb4 hoping for 5. Nf3 White responds with 5. Nd5!


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and theory regards this position as very favorable for White. In CG's database there are 125 games from this position and White wins more than half of them with an overall score of 67.6%.

Nov-11-13  Conrad93: 17. c4! is brilliant.
Oct-01-14  SpiritedReposte: Kasparov vs Karpov is almost like a reincarnation of Alekhine vs Capablanca.

Alekhine and Kasparov play very much alike as do Karpov and Capablanca.

Of course chess was treated with more than one match between the big K's.

Apr-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: cg.com: One of the greatest matches of all time and yet this is not GOTD? Several other sparkling wins from this match are also waiting for the honor, with lame matches between weak players getting mentioned just for the puns?
Apr-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Tomlinsky: > posted in2008, thank you for that fine bit of Karpov reminiscence!
Apr-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: And I forgot to mention the fact that 33. Qf2 of course loses to 33...Qd1 with mate next.
Mar-04-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Tomlinsky's Karpov quote is from 'How to Play the English Opening' by Karpov.

When I first read this book, I wasn't very impressed: rather than being a guide to the English Opening, it was just a collection of games.

Latterly, however, I have learned to value Karpov's comments on the English. This is the first game in his book.

May-05-17  Saniyat24: 24...Be2!!
May-05-17  Saniyat24: Karpov was just untouchable in this game...absolutely brilliant...!!
Jan-22-18  Saniyat24: What a steely determined play by Karpov, after his 19th move Kasparov's king seemed to be in no imminent danger. I think Karpov's 21...Nd4 changed the complexion of the game, not by directly threatening any piece but by simple positioning...what a gem of a brilliancy...!
Apr-15-18  Albanius: After 29..Bf3 30 Rxe8 seems to win:
a) 30 ..Qd1+ 31 Qe1 +-
b) 30..Qd7 31 Qe1 Ng3+ 32 Kg1 (hg3?? Qh3+) +-
c) 30..Qd5 31 Bf3 Qf3+ 32 Kg1 Ne3 33 Re3 Qe3+
34 Kf1 W is a piece up
However 30 Rxe8 allows Qf1#
Jul-25-19  carpovius: Irreal chess!
Jul-25-19  PhilPlaysChess: 27.Qa5?? was a blunder in my opinion. Lets see. White starts off with a risky opening, undercored by 4.bxc4!? Then white rapidly gains a great centre and peice mobility. Meanwhile black is cramped up. White is advantageous. Then comes the blunder move 27.Qa5?? Suddenly black has its peices flowing all over the white position like a fountain. End of story, white loses. I think Kasparov in his infancy was nothing compared to Karpov who was then at his peaks!
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