15.5.15

"Retired Old Man"

"The Battle of the Legends" took part in St. Louis at the end of April. Garry Kaparov and Nigel Short met again 22 years after their WWC match. The match consisted of ten games- two rapid and eight blitz. The first day was good for Kasparov who proved that he is still capable of producing great games. He won 3.5-1.5 that day but was not satisfied with the result as he missed a clear win in the first rapid game and lost on time in one of the blitz games. It seems as he wanted to prove who is the boss in the second day and it started with the following encounter:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "Battle of the Legends: Kasparov vs. Sho"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.04.26"]
[Round "6.1"]
[White "Short, Nigel D"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2678"]
[BlackElo "2812"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "105"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:00:18"]
[BlackClock "0:00:20"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 {The Najdorf served Garry
Kimovich well all those glory years!} 6. g3 {Diagram [#] Short on his turn
opts for a quiet, maneuvering game.} e5 7. Nb3 Nbd7 8. a4 b6 9. Bg2 Bb7 10. O-O
Be7 11. Re1 {Overprotects the e4 square and prepares the maneuver of the
knight from b3 to...d5. This knight is often the main problem for White in the
positional set-ups and if it was closer to the d5 square the the Najdorf would
not be an appealing opening at all. But while it moves around Black now can
finish the development and create threats of his own.} ({White can start with
the trademark knight maneuver at once} 11. Nd2 Nc5 12. b4 Ne6 13. Nd5 Rc8 14.
c4 O-O 15. a5 b5 16. cxb5 axb5 $14 {Popov,I (2582)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2718)
Puerto Madryn 2009}) 11... Rc8 12. Nd2 h5 $146 {Diagram [#] Kasparov would not
be himself if he is not thoroughly prepared. Even for a friendly blitz match!
Here comes an important novelty which will be definitely explored in the next
tournaments to come.} ({Most of the predecessors saw the regroupment} 12... Rc5
13. Nf1 Qa8 {which is aimed against the natural Nf1-e3-d5 maneuver. White can
nevertheless go for it} 14. Ne3 Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Bxe4 16. f3 (16. Bxe4 {deserves
attention as well} Qxe4 17. b3 {with the idea Bc1-a3}) 16... Bg6 17. b4 Rc8 18.
c4 {with compensation for a pawn, Sedlak,N (2576)-Brkic,A (2560) Zadar 2009}) (
12... O-O) 13. Nf1 {Short reacts in a cool way and pretends as if nothing had
happened.} h4 14. Ne3 g6 {Kasparov developed his troops perfectly and is now
waiting for his opponent's move.} ({The typical exchange sacrifice is already
in the air} 14... Rxc3 15. bxc3 Nxe4 {but it is hardly good at the moment due
to} 16. Nd5 $1 ({Better than} 16. Nf5 {which allows the crazy complications
after} Nxf2 $5 17. Kxf2 hxg3+ 18. hxg3 Bxg2 {with the idea} 19. Kxg2 $2 Qa8+
20. Qf3 Rh2+ {and wins.})) 15. Re2 {[%cal Ye2c2,Gc3d5] Diagram [#] White
defends the pawn on c2 and is ready to jump finally at d5 with his knight.} ({
The immediate} 15. Ned5 {is possible though as long as White is willing to
part with a pawn after} Nxd5 16. Nxd5 Bxd5 17. Qxd5 $5 ({The pawn capture on
d5 is excellent for the second player. The hole on d5 disappears and the black
kingside pawns become mobile} 17. exd5 hxg3 18. hxg3 f5 {and this is at least
more pleasant for Black.}) 17... Rxc2 18. b4 {with compensation for the pawn
thanks to the light-square domination.}) ({Maybe White's best choice is the
semi-waiting} 15. Qe2 $5 {regrouping afterwards with Re1-d1 and Ne(c)3-d5. The
Black can use the situation of the queen with} Nc5 $5 {followed by Nc5-e6-d4
with a tempo with complexed game.} (15... Rc5 $5) (15... Kf8 $5)) 15... hxg3
16. hxg3 {Kasparov sank in some thought here although I had no doubts what is
he going to play next.} Rxc3 $1 {Diagram [#] This is the case in which Black
used his hand rather than brain when performing the sac. Kasparov has done it
so many times in the past, and he even have accused once Movsesian of "lack of
chess culture" for allowing the sacrifice. True, the situation there was
different as White had castled long.} 17. bxc3 Nxe4 {For the exchange Black
has a pawn and strong center, but his next moves are not optimal.} 18. Bb2 Ndf6
(18... f5 $1 {to get firm grip in the center was preferrable.}) 19. c4 Qc8 {
Also not optimal. Both} (19... Qa8) (19... Kf8 {are more reasonable.}) 20. Nd5
$1 Nxd5 21. cxd5 {Now Short got rid of one of the strong knights, undoubled
his pawns and strengthened his center. He can breeth freelier and his position
is easier to play. Although it still remains very tense.} Ng5 {Kasparov wants
to keep his attacking knight.} (21... Nc3 {instead is leading to slight
advantage for White without counterplay for his opponent after} 22. Bxc3 Qxc3
23. Rb1) 22. c4 {A solid move. Other options were} (22. Ra3 $5) (22. Qd3 $5) ({
But not the overaggressive} 22. f4 $2 Qc5+ 23. Kf1 Nh3 24. Bxh3 Rxh3 25. Kg2
Rh5 {and Black wins.}) 22... a5 {As always Kasparov pays attention at the
whole board. He rules out the a4-a5 possibility and improves his bishop.} 23.
Rc1 (23. Qb3 Ba6 24. Rc1 {would transpose to the game.}) 23... Ba6 24. Qb3 Qg4
25. Rcc2 {Diagram [#] Somewhere around here the players went under the five
minute mark and started the blitz. This naturally affected their play.} (25.
Re3 $5 {might be more precise to defend the third rank.}) 25... Bc8 26. f4 $1 {
Short shows teeth as well!} Nh3+ $6 {A natural check which puts the knight on
the rim and Kasparov on the verge of defeat.} ({It would be very difficlut to
choose the piece sacrifice even with hours on the clock} 26... Bf5 $1 27. fxg5
Bxc2 28. Qxc2 ({Or} 28. Rxc2 Qd1+ 29. Kf2 Bxg5 {with possible perpetual check
somewhere along the lines.}) 28... Qxg3 29. Qc3 Qh2+ 30. Kf1 Bxg5 {Black has
three pawns for the piece and the position is anything but clear.}) 27. Kf1 f6
28. Qf3 Qf5 ({The endgame with a knight on h3 is not Black's dream} 28... g5
29. fxe5 fxe5 30. Qxg4 Bxg4 31. Red2) ({Or} 28... Qxf3+ 29. Bxf3 {with clear
advantage for White in both cases.}) 29. Re4 {Solid move in time trouble.} ({
However, if Short had found} 29. Ba3 $1 {things might have not ended that well
for Kasparov. The threat Rc2-b2 is hard to parry and as the bishop on e7 needs
to protect d6 as well Black would be in trouble.}) 29... Kf7 (29... g5 $5) 30.
Rce2 Qg4 31. fxe5 (31. Ba3 $1 {was still strong.}) 31... Qxf3+ 32. Bxf3 dxe5 {
[%csl Yh3] Diagram [#] Short had reached the endgame that he was hoping for
but his next move spoiled all his previous efforts.} (32... fxe5 33. Bg4 {is
better for White.}) 33. Rh4 $2 {Allows the knight to escape and ruins the pawn
structure. Such moves are made by top players only under tremendous
time-pressure.} (33. Rh2 {instead was much better for White.}) 33... Rxh4 34.
gxh4 Nf4 {Now Black is clearly better thanks to his better pawn structure and
above all the lack of open files for the white rook. His position is easier to
play too, which means a lot in blitz.} 35. Rd2 Bc5 36. d6 {Loses but one can
hardly criticize White for this move.} (36. Rh2 Bh3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4+ 38. Kf2 $17)
36... Bh3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4 38. Kd1 {[%csl Ya4,Rd2] Diagram [#] And instead of
taking the rook Kasparov did} Bd7 $1 {without any hesitation.} ({He understood
that there might be technical issues after} 38... Bxd2 39. Kxd2 Bd7 40. Bd1 Ng2
41. Ba3 Nxh4 42. c5) 39. Rh2 Bxa4+ 40. Kc1 Bxd6 {Black is winning.} 41. Kb1 f5
42. Bc1 e4 $2 {A click that could have costed Kasparov the ful point. Now
Short gets his last chance to survive.} ({Both} 42... Nd3) ({and} 42... Bb3 {
would have won instead.}) 43. Bh1 $2 ({The chance was} 43. Bxe4 $1 {Diagram [#]
} fxe4 44. Bxf4 Bxf4 45. Rf2 Ke6 46. Rxf4 Ke5 47. Rg4 Be8 48. Kc2 {with a draw.
}) 43... Nd3 {Now it is all over.} 44. Re2 Bd1 45. Rd2 Bb3 46. Rxd3 exd3 47.
Bd5+ Kf6 48. Kb2 a4 49. Kc3 b5 50. Kxd3 Bxc4+ 51. Bxc4 bxc4+ 52. Kxc4 f4 53.
Kd4 {Diagram [#] After this game enthusiastic Kasparov won all the reaming
four blitz games to win the match with the incredible 8.5-1.5 result. Not too
bad for a retired chessplayer...} 0-1



Short complained after the event of the jet lag. Report.

1 comment:

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