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Garry Kasparov vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Linares (2003), Linares ESP, rd 5, Feb-27
Queen's Indian Defense: Opocensky Variation (E17)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-09-03  mdorothy: I was wondering bout that too.. at a glance, my initial question was, why did Pono trade his great knight off on move 11, only to put his other one on the edge of the board where it seems useless?.. but, while that is a good answer, im still confused.
Mar-09-03  Spitecheck: <Mdor> It is confusing, I had the knight ending up in a thousand different places, as well as remaining on a6 (usefully) in some variations ( containing ..c5). The knight even seemed to be quite handy on d6 (c6, Nc7, Nb5, Nd6)!! attacking the c4 and e4 squares. Of course without an opponent chess would be extremely easy. Nbd7 instead of Na6 would probaby have made it easier for the spectators. :)
Mar-09-03  Spitecheck: All of Chessbase's published analysis says that Na6?! is purely for the ...c5 break, and in fact Na6 should be played a move earlier as in this game there is no time for ..c5.
Mar-09-03  alhine: To spitecheck: Thats my point; the move Na6 typically supports a c5 break or preludes the Na6-c7 maneuver supporting d5 and e6. In this case K's pawns and P's lack of time to move his c-pawn left his knight immobile and himself effectively a piece down. I call it a blunder.
Mar-09-03  Spitecheck: <Alhine> I figure once he played it to Na6, even after e4 he has to find a continuation that allows the c5 move, otherwise as you say it is a blunder in the fullest terms and not just dubious as Chessbase marks it. It looks to me that after Kasparov played e4 Ponomariov forget about his game and started to play Kasparov's game. Without the move e4! Pono probably get's away with it, and nobody notices :). That's why book is (as you may already know) Na6 before Nxc3 because than white cannot play e4. The interest for me in this game is finding some line other than that which Kasparov wanted.

ciao for now,

Mar-10-03  drukenknight: Why does black give up? how does it end?
Mar-10-03  Cyphelium: 44. gxf6 and black will have to sac his rook for the pawn, since the only move 44.- Rf8 (Nh6+ was threatened) can be met by 45. Nh6+ Kh8 46. Ke7 and the pawn cannot be stopped. (46.- Rb8 47. Nf5 followed by f7-f8.) The endgame after black's loss of the rook is easily won for white of course.
Mar-10-03  alhine: To drukenknight: after 44.Nh6+ Kf8 45.Nxf7 where does the black knight play? (1) 45...Ng4 46.h3 Nf2 47.h4 Ng4 48.Nd6, or (2) 45...Nh5 46.Nd6, or (3) 45...Ne4 46.h4 Nd2 46.Nd6. I think the white kingside pawn advantage decides plus the white king can infiltrate the queenside pawns.
Mar-10-03  drukenknight: to alhine have you thought what if the K goes to g7 e.g. 44 Nh6+ Kg7?
Mar-11-03  Cyphelium: To alhine: 44. Nh6+ Kf8 (or Kg7) 45. Nxf7 Ne4 46. h4 Nd2 and now you suggest 47. Nd6. Why can't black just take the knight with 47.- cxd6? Also, I would consider playing 46.- Nc3 instead of 46.- Nd2. Pawn a2 is having a hard time...

even if the 44. Nh6+ variation wins, don't you agree it will certainly take more time to win than after 44. gxf6, which leaves white a whole knight up. (See my previous comment.)

Mar-11-03  drukenknight: cyph's line: 44. gxf6 Rf8

its always curious when we get to a pt. like this and guys start arguing that there are two ways to win! umm, gee that doesnt happen very often in chess, and when the position is finely balanced it almost never.

so have we found one line that is winning?

Mar-11-03  Ghengis Pawn: the knight on a6 is pretty dim
Mar-11-03  alhine: To Cyphelium: My mistake, I meant 47.Ne5. You are right, white has the advantage and should probably have won earlier (ie: your message and cervenka's first message). To drukenknight: white still plays 45.Nxf7 with advantage.
Mar-11-03  drukenknight: you know the name of the game is to find THE winning line. Not to show how how many branches we can find.

Alhine your tree is getting pretty leafy :)

Mar-12-03  alhine: Thank you Ghengis Pawn. Anyways, to drukenknight, you are right, I'll give you the winning line. First off, 44...Kg7 is the best chance for black. Taking it for granted that the black knight must move after 45.Nxf7 and disregarding 45...Ne8,[or g8,h5,g4 and d7], or assuming that 45...Ne4 is blacks best, my best play (in the absence of FRITZ) is 45.Nxf7 Ne4 46.Kf5! (if 46...Kxf7 47.Kxe4 Kg6 48.Kf4 Kh6 49.Kf5 winning)...Nd2 47.Ne5 a6 48.h4 b5 49.cxb axb 50.h5 Nb1 (planning...Nc3 attacking the a-pawn) 51.Nc6 (stopping...b4)...Nc3 51.Nb4 with white winning overwhelmingly. It is here that I cannot suggest a good move for black. I hope this trims things down a bit.
Mar-13-03  drukenknight: alhine: 45.Nxf7 Ne4 46.Kf5 Ng3+! 47 hxg3 Kxf7 and that looks to be impossible for white.

But tomorrow I may change my mind.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Here's the finale:

44. gxf6! Rf8 45. f7+ Rxf7 (...Kh8 46. Ke7) 46. Nh6+ etc.

You don't get the letters GM next to your name by resigning a lot of drawn positions.

Mar-13-03  drukenknight: 44. gxf6!? Kf8!

right square, wrong piece SNeaky. LOL.

Mar-13-03  drukenknight: 44. gxf6!? Kf8!

right square, wrong piece SNeaky. LOL.

It's funny yes? SNeaky isnt one of your rules for end games, that when in doubt the K should occupy the queening square?

Mar-13-03  alhine: To drukenknight: if 44.gxf6 Kf8 45.Nh6 and where does the black rook go? If 45...Rh7 46.fxg7+ Kxg7 47.Nf5+ and white wins (taking it for granted that K could win this "piece up" endgame). Or, 45...Rxf6+ 46.Kxf6 and the same. Anyways, Your brilliant idea [after 44...Kg7], 45.Nxf7 Ne4 46.Kf5 Nxg3+ fails to 47.hxg Kxf7 48.d5 and a black pawn must move [[48...Ke7 49.g6 or 48...Kg7 49.Kd6] if 48...a6 49.a4 and black is in virtual zugzwang. Great try though.
Feb-11-05  AdrianP: I'm seriously thinking of creating a game collection entitled "Ponomariov's Dumb Knights" in which the present game would be a highlight:

See also just for starters

Kasparov vs Ponomariov, 2003

Anand vs Ponomariov, 2003

Ponomariov vs Kramnik, 2003

In fact, come to think of it, it might be easier to find games where one of Ponomariov's knights ends up on a good square!

Dec-14-07  silviochess: amateurs know what is clearing ( 43.Rf6!) but most of them do not see it because for them it is not clearing it is a "dumb" move. One of the tiny differences between amateur and master, no need to mention Kasparov
Premium Chessgames Member
  kerpa: John Emms annotates this game in the chapter on problem pieces in his book More Simple Chess.
Jul-10-19  Patzer Natmas: Game featured in "New in Chess - Tactics Training - Garry Kasparov "

Solve for white on move 43.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 9..d5!? is a rarely played alternative to 9..c5, 9..d6 and 9..Nxd2 and has scored poorly. It is not clear why exchanged with 11..Nxc3?! as the knight was actively placed and he derived no benefit from exchanging it; 11..Na6 was an alternative. In two previous games White had played 12 Rxc3; 12 bxc was new and seems more ambitious. After 12..Na6? the knight was never able to get intothe game. 13 e4! was typical Kasparov punishing Black for his several inaccuracies. 14..g5? made things even worse but already it was difficult to suggest a good defense. 27..Nd7 28 Nf5..Rgf7 29 Rg5+..Kh8 30 Rg7 would have been winning for White. 34..Re4 35 Rg5+..Kf7 36 Rg7+..Ke6 37 g4..Nf6 38 Kf3 would have cost Black material.

Kasparov chose an older variation counting on his younger opponent being less familiar with it and was rewarded quickly obtaining a decisive advantage early in the game. A beautiful game by Kasparov though Ponomariov showed his tenacity by putting up good resistance after a poor opening.

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