11. Kasparov’s Revenge

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In 1985 Kasparov played a handicap match (simultaneous exhibition with clocks) against my Bundesliga team from Hamburg which consisted of 8 players. Since it was the first time he experimented with this specific mode, he run into troubles. At the end, he lost the match 3,5 to 4,5 which gave him a hard time. As you can imagine, someone who isn’t used to losing hates being defeated in an above average manner. Consequently, he wanted a revenge match which took place in 1987. In this second match, he avoided his mistake from earlier, which was to take this task to easy, just squeezing it in between two other obligations. This second time he would appear highly motivated and with an extremely good preparation. The result was a crushing 7-1 for the Champion. Apparently, this remarkably victory fed his appetite, since afterwards, he started to play a whole series of handicap matches, foremost against national teams.

[Event "HSK-Kasparov simul"]
[Site "Hamburg"]
[Date "1987.??.??"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Wahls, Matthias"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "2440"]
[BlackElo "2735"]
[PlyCount "100"]
[EventDate "1987.??.??"]
[EventType "simul"]
[EventRounds "8"]
[EventCountry "GER"]
[Source "ChessBase"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 {Garry deviates from our game of the pre-match. The
quality of that encounter was extremely low, which is why I only throw in the
notation with just a few remarks at the end. Basically, I mistreated the
opening and left him with a distinct advantage. Then I went for a dubious
piece sacrifice in order to obtain some practical chances. Since that actually
worked out in the end, this recipe might not be so bad in general terms.
Objectively, he was winning after my 25th move. However, two bad moves in a
row would turn the potential win into a loss:} (2... d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+
Nxd7 5. O-O Ngf6 6. Qe2 e6 7. c3 Rc8 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. e5 Ne4 11. Be3
Nb6 12. Ne1 Nc4 13. Nd3 f5 14. f3 Ng5 15. Nc3 Nf7 16. Nf4 Rc6 17. g4 $2 g6 18.
gxf5 $2 Qg5+ 19. Kh1 Qxf5 20. Nfxd5 exd5 21. Nxd5 Bg7 22. Rac1 Ncxe5 $2 23. Bf4
$2 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Qd3 25. Rc8+ Kd7 $2 (25... Nd8 $19) 26. Rc7+ Ke6 $2 {Diagram [#]}(26... Ke8
$14) 27. Bxe5 $1 Qb1+ (27... Qxe2 28. Nf4+ Kf5 29. Rxf7+ Kg5
30. Nxe2 $18) 28. Kg2 Bxe5 29. Nc3 {1-0 Wahls,M (2285)-Kasparov,G (2700),
Hamburg 1985} (29. Nc3 Qf5 30. Qc4+ $18)) 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 {
Diagram [#] In his preparation he must have found out, that I lacked
experience with this specific Sveshnikov move order.} 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bf4 e5 8.
Bg5 a6 9. Na3 b5 10. Nd5 Qa5+ {So far, this doesn't mean a thing. Inserting 10.
.Qa5 11.Bd2 Qd8 12.Bg5 is often seen, before Black continues the battle with
12..Be7. Especially in a simul like this, it would only be logical two kill
two pairs of moves, thus getting closer to time control.} 11. Bd2 Qd8 12. Bg5
Qa5+ {Now however, there is no room for interpretations anymore. The World
Champion "silently" offers me a draw.} 13. Bd2 Qd8 {Diagram [#] 14.Bg5 would
have ended the game with a draw by repetition. A draw against the best chess
player of all times is an honorable result, one could think. Indeed, it is,
but not in this specific situation! It would have been more gutless than
anything else. The dynamics of a handicap match make it mandatory to keep the
maestro busy as much and as long as possible. Only that way, his shortage of
time would make itself felt. A draw was not an option.} 14. Nxf6+ $2 {The
question mark might be a bit harsh, but how should you tag a move which throws
away all hopes for an opening advantage? Back then at the board my problem
was that I wasn't allowed to play 14.Bg5, and on the other hand didn't know
any other theoretical line in this position. This might surprise you, but
please note that I was still quite young and only in the process of building
up a strong repertoire. Secondly, the line 12..Qa5+ is more like a rare bird,
because the average Shveshnikov player is rather aggressive and despises to
give his opponent the option of a draw (this specific situation however,
entitled Kasparov to efficiently wield the "draw weapon" here). The third
reason contains the fact, that my experience with this specific position was
diminished by me choosing a side line after the alternative move order 2..Nc6 3.
d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6. Here I played 7.Nd5 on many occasions.
Additionally, I toyed around with the Rossolimo-Variation 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.
Bb5 for quite some time, thus missing out on "mainline experience". Clearly
better than 14.Bg5 or 14.Nxf6 is 14.Bd3. I chose this move successfully at the
next occasion, which would only present itself seven years later in Zaragoza.
There, I succeeded to beat Vallejo, taking advantage of the fact that he still
was more a boy than a man at that time.} Qxf6 15. Bd3 {In order to improve on
this game, I checked current material. But the games I found were not
satisfactory at all.} (15. c4 Qg6 16. f3 Be7 17. g3 (17. Be3 O-O 18. cxb5 Nd4
$36) 17... f5 18. Bd3 f4 $13) 15... Qg6 16. O-O Be7 $11 17. c3 (17. c4 Bg4 18.
Be2 Bh3 19. Bf3 Nd4 20. cxb5 (20. Bc3 Nxf3+ 21. Qxf3 Bd7 $11) 20... axb5 21.
Nc2 Nxf3+ 22. Qxf3 Bg4 23. Qd3 O-O 24. Nb4 f5 $11) 17... d5 $1 {He comes up
with a novelty. Formerly, 17...0-0 has been played, but this gives White the
time to defend his bishop by 18.Qe2.} 18. Qe2 (18. exd5 $6 Qxd3 19. dxc6 O-O {
with initiative for Black.}) 18... Bg4 19. f3 dxe4 20. Bxe4 Bf5 21. Nc2 O-O 22.
a4 $2 {This could have given him slight advantage. Therefore, it would have
been better to fix the pawn on b4 and possibly tur it into a weakness later on:
} (22. b4 $1 Bxe4 23. fxe4 a5 {Otherwise, White will play 24.a4, creating a
weakness on b5 or a6.} 24. a3 Rfd8 25. Rfb1 Rdb8 26. Be1 Nd8 27. bxa5 Rxa5 28.
a4 Qc6 29. Kh1 Bd6 30. Rxb5 Rbxb5 31. axb5 Rxb5 32. Nb4 Bxb4 33. cxb4 $11)
22... Bxe4 23. fxe4 Rad8 $2 {
Diagram [#]} {The pawn should have advanced:} (23... b4 24. Kh1
(24. cxb4 Nxb4 25. Bxb4 Bxb4 26. Nxb4 Qb6+ 27. Kh1 Qxb4 $36) 24... b3 25. Ne1
Qe6 26. Nf3 Na5 $15 {½-½ De Firmian,N (2605)-San Segundo Carrillo,P (2520)
Buenos Aires 1995. Apparently, White's higher rating granted him the luxury
to end the game at this spot.}) 24. Be1 {Now, with the queen's rook an d8, the
advance of the pawn is not so threatening anymore. Still, a good alternative
would have been:} (24. axb5 axb5 25. b4 Rd7 26. Be1 $11) 24... b4 25. Bf2 (25.
cxb4 Nd4 26. Nxd4 Rxd4 27. b5 Rxe4 28. Qf3 axb5 29. a5 Ra4 (29... Rc4 30. Qb7
$11) 30. Rxa4 bxa4 31. Qd5 Qd6 32. Qxd6 Bxd6 33. Bc3 Bc5+ 34. Kh1 Bd4 35. Ra1
Bxc3 36. bxc3 f6 37. Rxa4 Kf7 38. g4 Ra8 39. a6 Ke6 40. Kg2 Kd5 41. Kf3 Kc6 42.
Ke4 Kb5 43. Rb4+ Kxa6 44. g5 $11) 25... b3 (25... Rb8 26. Qxa6 Qxe4 27. Ne3 Ra8
28. Qc4 Qxc4 29. Nxc4 bxc3 30. bxc3 e4 31. a5 Ra6 32. Bb6 $11) 26. Ne1 {
The alternative was to enter into a very complicated ending, in which it maybe
White who enjoys a slight imitative:} (26. Ne3 $5 Qxe4 27. Qxa6 Rd2 28. Rae1
Bc5 29. Qc4 Qxc4 30. Nxc4 Bxf2+ 31. Rxf2 Rd5 32. Rd2 Rxd2 33. Nxd2 f6 (33...
Ra8 34. Re4 Rd8 35. Nf1 f6 36. Rc4 Ne7 37. a5) 34. Kf1 Kf7 35. Re4 Ke7 (35...
Rd8 $6 36. Ke2 Ke7 37. Rc4 Kd6 38. Ne4+ Kd5 39. Kd3 Ke6+ 40. Ke3 Ne7 41. a5) (
35... f5 $2 36. Rc4) 36. Rc4 Kd6 37. Rh4 h6 38. Nxb3 f5 (38... Rb8 $2 39. Nd2
Rxb2 $4 40. Nc4+) 39. Nd2 e4 40. Rh5 Ke6 41. b4 Ne7 42. Rh3 Rd8 43. Ke1 Nd5 44.
a5 Rc8 (44... e3 $6 45. Nb3 Rc8 (45... f4) 46. Nc5+ Ke5 47. a6) 45. Nb3 e3 46.
Nc5+ Kf6 $1 (46... Ke5 47. a6 f4 48. Rh5+ g5 49. Rxh6 Nxc3 50. Nd7+ Ke4 51.
Re6+ Kd3 52. a7 Ra8 53. Ne5+ Kc2 54. Re7 g4 55. Rc7 Rd8 56. Rd7 Ra8 57. Nxg4
Nb5 58. Rf7) 47. a6 f4 48. g3 f3 49. g4 f2+ 50. Kf1 Ke5 51. Rf3 g6 52. Ke2 Kd6
53. c4 Nxb4 54. Nb7+ Kd7 55. Kxe3 Nxa6 56. Rxf2 Rxc4 57. Rf6 Nc7 58. Rxg6 Ne6
59. Rxh6 Rxg4) 26... Na5 27. Nd3 Qe6 28. Nb4 Nc4 29. Nd5 $2 {Diagramm [#]
That's the key position and the reason, why I chose this game for my blog.
Kaspararov now comes up with a very strong exchange sacrifice, which is
typical for him (it would be worth counting all the instances where he
sacrificed the exchange for long-term positional compensation). As this game
will prove, the knight jump to d5 had to be prepared. It is nice to see, that
even today our engines are fallible. Stockfish also would have played like I
did.} (29. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 30. Rxd1 Rc8 31. Nd5 a5 (31... Bd8 32. Ne3 Bb6 33. Nxc4
Rxc4 34. Bxb6 Qxb6+ 35. Qf2 Qxf2+ 36. Kxf2 Kf8 37. Ke3 Rxa4 38. Rd8+ Ke7 39.
Rb8 Kd6 40. Rxb3 $11) 32. Nxe7+ $5 Qxe7 33. Rd5 Qg5 34. h3 h6 (34... Qc1+ 35.
Kh2 Nxb2 36. Qa6 Rf8 (36... Qxc3 $2 37. Bc5 Re8 38. Qb5 Ra8 39. Qb7 Re8 40. Qe7
$19) 37. Bc5 Qf4+ 38. g3 Qxe4 39. Qd6 Re8 40. Qd8 Qe2+ 41. Kg1 Qe1+ 42. Kh2
Qe2+ $11) 35. Bc5 Qc1+ 36. Kh2 Nxb2 37. Ba3 Rxc3 38. Rd8+ Kh7 39. Rd2 (39. Bxb2
$2 Qf4+ 40. Kg1 Rc2 $19) 39... Rc2 40. Rxc2 bxc2 41. Qf2 f6 42. Qf5+ {with
perpetual check}) 29... Rxd5 $3 {I don't recall my thoughts from 19 years ago,
but I estimate the probability quite high, that this came unexpected to me.} (
29... Rc8 30. a5 $1 $14 {and White could use make of the square a4 and b6 for his
pieces.}) 30. exd5 Qxd5 31. Rfd1 (31. Qd1 Qb7) 31... Qc6 {Let's take stock.
For the exchange Black has a pawn, a "Nimzovich-knight" on c4 and a mobile
central pawn majority. White's passes pawn is nicely blocked and he has a nasty
weakness an b2. If this pawn gets lost, Black's b-pawn will spring to live
again. Since it is very difficult to attack the pawn on b3, White's only
active idea is an invasion along the d-file. However, it looks that Black has
enough means to prevent that.} 32. Rd3 f5 33. Rad1 $2 {Again, I think I didn't
appreciate Garry's next grenade. I should have played} (33. a5 {instead, with
future options such as Ra4 and Bb6.}) 33... Qe4 $1 {Diagram [#] Apparently, he
has no problems with entering an ending, since his piece work together very
harmoniously. After the exchange of queens, the weakness on b2 makes itself
felt more than before. } 34. Re1 (34. Qxe4 $2 fxe4 35. Rh3 (35. Rd7 e3 $19) 35...
Nxb2 36. Rb1 Nd3 37. Be3 b2 $19) 34... Qxe2 35. Rxe2 Rd8 $1 {One more piece
will leave the field.} 36. Rxd8+ Bxd8 37. Re1 Be7 38. Rd1 Bd6 $1 {My desired
invasion doesn't take place. Now his king will occupy a dominant position.}
39. Kf1 Kf7 40. Ke2 Ke6 41. Be3 f4 42. Bc1 {I didn't find any better job for
my bishop than protecting the pawn. But now he has to suffer a plant-like
existence.} g5 43. g4 $2 {Diagram [#] The engines immediately notice that
this move was bad. However, it is difficult to come up with something
substantial against Black's idea of further advancing his pawns or hunting the
a pawn at an appropriate moment. It looks like the move 43.g3 gives the best
practical chances now.} (43. Kf3 Kf5 44. g4+ Ke6 45. Rd3 Bc5 46. Rd8 Nd6 47.
Ke2 e4 $19) (43. Rd3 h5 44. Rd1 Nb6 45. Kd3 a5 46. h3 Kf5 47. Ke2 Be7 48. Kd3
Nxa4 49. Kc4 Nc5 50. Rf1 a4 51. Kb5 e4 $19) (43. g3 $1 {The toughest defense.
Black could go astray now by hunting White's a pawn, which would give White
significant counter play. In the mainline, Black would have to find the
zugzwang idea, which however is no rocket science in the end.} h5 (43... Nb6 $2
44. Rd3 $1 Nxa4 (44... Nc4 45. gxf4 gxf4 46. Rh3 e4 47. Rxh7 f3+ 48. Kf1 e3 49.
Rh4 $1 Kd5 50. Rd4+ Kc5 51. Re4) 45. c4 $1 Nc5 46. Rd5 h6 (46... a5 47. Bd2 a4
48. Bb4 Ne4 49. Kf3 $1 Bxb4 50. Kxe4 a3 (50... Bc3 $2 51. c5 $1 $16) 51. bxa3
b2 52. Rd1 Bxa3 53. Rb1) 47. h4 Be7 48. Bd2 Na4 49. Rd3 Nxb2 50. Rxb3 Nxc4 51.
hxg5 hxg5 52. Bb4 Bf6 (52... Bxb4 53. Rxb4 Kd5 54. Rb8 Ke4 55. Kf2 a5 56. Rg8
Kf5 57. Rf8+ Kg4 58. gxf4 gxf4 59. Rc8 Nd2 60. Rg8+ Kf5 61. Ke2 {with a draw
as the most likely result}) 53. Bc3 Kd5 54. gxf4 gxf4 55. Kf3 Be7 56. Rb1 Ke6
57. Ke4 Nd6+ 58. Kf3 Kf5 59. Bxe5 Kxe5 60. Re1+ Kf6 61. Kxf4) 44. Rd3 (44. gxf4
gxf4 45. Kf3 Kf5 46. Rd5 Be7 47. a5 Bd6 48. h3 Be7 $19) 44... h4 45. gxh4 (45.
Rd1 Nb6 46. gxf4 gxf4 47. a5 Nc4 48. Kf3 Kf5 49. Rd5 Be7 50. Bxf4 Ke6 51. Rd2
Ba3 $1 52. Rd1 exf4 53. bxa3 Ke5 54. Rd8 b2 55. Re8+ Kd6 56. Rb8 b1=Q $19)
45... gxh4 46. Kf3 (46. Rh3 Be7 47. Rd3 Bg5 48. Kf3 Kf5 49. Rd5 Be7 50. h3 Bd6
51. a5 Be7 $19) 46... Kf5 47. Rd5 Be7 48. h3 Bd6 49. a5 Be7 50. Ke2 Ke4 51. Rd7
Bd6 $19) 43... Bc5 $1 44. Rd8 (44. Kf3 Nd6 $19) 44... e4 45. Re8+ Kd5 46. Rd8+
Nd6 47. Rd7 f3+ 48. Ke1 e3 49. c4+ (49. Rxh7 e2 50. Bxg5 Nc4 51. Rf7 Ne5 $19)
49... Ke6 50. Bxe3 Bb4+ 0-1

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