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Anatoly Karpov vs Garry Kasparov
Kasparov - Karpov World Championship Match (1990), Lyon FRA, rd 15, Nov-28
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I have seen this put down as a missed win for Karpov, but I can't see it! The winning move is meant to be 26.♖h4 but after 26...♖bd7 27.e5+ ♔xe5 28.♖xg4 ♖xd4 29.♖xd4 ♖xd4 30.f4+ ♖xf4 31.♖b5+ ♘d5+ 32.♖xd5+ ♔xd5 33.♔xf4 ♔d4 34.♗b5 (34.♗xg6 b5=) 34...♔c3 I can't see a win; there's no way Karpov's gonna save that a-pawn. Am I missing something?
Mar-24-06  NYTZINARMR: It,s been said 26.Bb5 or Rh4 would win the game for white. I looked at 26.Rh4 and black will draw. On 26.Bb5, I really don't see how white can win. But, who knows?
Aug-04-06  positionalgenius: Here is the winning line,the best moves available to both sides:26.Rh4!!Rbd7 27.e5+!Kxe5 28.Rb5+ Nd5+ 29.Rxd5+ Rxd5 30.Nc6+ Kf6 31.Nxd8 Kg5 32.Rh8.Notice 26...Bc8 fails after 27.f4!!and 27...Kg5 leads to forced mate.
Nov-07-08  Eyal: 11.Bh6 is a significant improvement over d5, played by Karpov in game 13, and Kasparov considered it strong enough to be a refutation of 10...e6.

<positionalgenius: Here is the winning line,the best moves available to both sides:26.Rh4!!Rbd7 27.e5+!Kxe5 28.Rb5+ Nd5+ 29.Rxd5+ Rxd5 30.Nc6+ Kf6 31.Nxd8 Kg5 32.Rh8.>

It may not be so clear after 29...Kxd5 30.Rxg4 Re8+. At any rate, Karpov and Kasparov were both in agreement that a couple of moves later, 28.f4 (instead of Rc2) was virtually winning:

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Kasparov mentions 28...Bg8 (otherwise Rh7 with mating threats) 29.Rc2, which is much stronger now that Black cannot stabilize the K-side with g5.

Jul-01-09  Knight13: Any point in 21. Rh2 other than the intention to trade rooks on the h file?
Jun-22-11  DrMAL: Not sure why this is not listed as one of the most memorable games of the match, it certainly was to anyone following it. It was likely the decisive one.

The opportunity missed here, quite possibly the move that decided the match, came from the players themselves (

It was 28.f4 instead of 28.Rc2 described rudely by Kasparov as a "typical Karpovian move." Karpov politely conceded that he missed 28.f4 and it was "probably winning."

For myself, it seemed clear that white had a solid advantage after 28.f4 but it was unclear if white was "probably winning." Rybka 4.1 evaluates these two moves as follows (lines truncated).

After 28.f4: [+1.15] d=21 28...Bg4 29.Bb5 Rc7 (0:35:01) 226612kN

After 28.Rc2: [+0.25] d=21 28...a5 29.Ra4 g5(0:14:52) 100417kN

I still am not convinced this move was so decisive but what matters is what the players thought at the time, they did not have the luxury of a computer program of anywhere near the caliber of today's engines.

In the game that followed, Karpov made two early mistakes and lost quickly, indicating his psychological change from this mistake. On game 17 he had re-composed himself and went on to crush Kasparov but this only tied up the match.

Nov-18-12  achieve: Yes - that almost three hour "film" - including in-depth and extensive analysis and dialogue with both titans - is one of the most educational and "in the kitchen" that I have ever watched. Also, the footage from the podium, the looks at eachother during the games, is fascinating.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: There is no win. It's a chimera.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This position can be reached more or less by force. I think it's a draw!

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Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Games 2 & 7 had been wins. All other games up to and including this one were draws. But after this there was a load of wins.
Sep-25-18  Howard: For the record, Kasparov seriously questions whether the computer-like 26.Rh4! would have won.

But, then, his opinion was probably somewhat biased.

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