Analysing with Garry Kasparov – the readers reply

10/14/2003 – In our Analysis Focus #1 GM Karsten Müller led the first session on a game from Kasparov's book "My Great Predecessors": Bird-Morphy, London 1858, p.38. There have been many interesting contributions by our readers. Would you like to join the debate?

Analysis Focus #1

GM Karsten Müller on Bird–Morphy, London, 1858 (p. 37)

Analysis Focus #1:
Garry Kasparov's Great Predecessors

The release of Part One of Garry Kasparov's "My Great Predecessors" series has caused major ripples throughout the chess world. It seems no player, writer, or fan is without an opinion. Every sentence, every variation is being scrutinized – and all with encouragement from a surprising source: the author.

Last week we took a look at a famous game that is analysed on Vol. 1 page 38 of Kasparov's book. There have been many reactions from readers already. Most of them deal with the following line given by Garry Kasparov.

Bird,H - Morphy,P [C41]
London casual Bird London, 1858

22.Kc1 Bf5! 23.Be1! Qa1+ 24.Kc2 e3+ 25.Kb3 exd2 26.Rxa1 Re8 27.Ba6 dxe1Q 28.Raxe1 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Bxh2 30.Bb7 Be4 31.Bxc6 Kf7, which leaves Black with a small advantage. I want to give you three interesting observations:

1. Yves Leroy, Tervuren , Belgium and Ioannis Giakoumis, Thessaloniki discovered that after Kasparov's 22...Bf5!? 23.Be1 Black has the strong option 23...e3! 24.Qb2 and now 24...a5! with a strong attack.

2. After 22...Bf5 23.Qe3 Yves Leroy gives 23...a5 24.Kd2 axb4 25.Ra1 Qb3 26.Rhc1 bxc3 27.Ke1 Qb2 28.Bg3 c2 29.Bxd6 cxd6 and now Yves looked at 30.Ra7, 30.Kf1 and 30.Qd2. In all cases he found ways for Black to keep the initiative. Of course it is difficult to prove that Black wins here, but Yves has done a very good job so far!

3. After 22...Bf5 White of course also can choose 23.Be3!? as mentioned by Ioannis Giakoumis. There may follow 23...Bxb4 24.cxb4 Rxb4 25.Qc2 Qa3+ 26.Kd2 Rb2 27.Qxb2 Qxb2+ and a very interesting endgame has arisen. It is not clear to me, if Black can win or not.

I think that there is already a lot of published analysis of the line 22...Bf5. If readers can locate it, please send it to me.


Ioannis Giakoumis, Thessaloniki:
After Kasparov's 22...Bf5! 23.Be1 there follows 23...e3! 24.Qb2 a5 and now if 25.Bd3 e2! (if 25.Rf1 Be4 26.Bg4 axb4 27.cxb4 Rb4!!) 26.Bxe2 (26.Qxe2 Qa1+ 27. Kc2 Qa2+ 28. Kc1 Bf4+ 29. Bd2 Qa1+ 30. Kc2 Qa4+ -+) axb4 27.Bd3 b3 28.Kb1 Ba3 29.Qe2 and now Bg4!! or Bc1!! Still after 23.Be3 black seems to have more problems to reach the win
after 23...Bxb4

Yves Leroy, Tervuren , Belgium
Hello , I beleive Kasparov is on the good track with 22 ... Bf5 but on 23.Be1 I think after analyse with my junior friend that 23. ... e3 is quite strong , following could be 24.Qb2 a5 ( a bit of Karpov too ) and we come to a position where I cannot defend the white side ... Morphy was on the right track too

Martin Bengtsson, Pleasanton CA, USA
My CM8000 gives: 17...Bb4 18 c3-Bd6 19 Rdg1-Bd7 20 Kb1-a5 21 Bf1-Qh4 22 h3-Ba3 23 b3-Bd6 for a score of - 1.63. The move Rxf2 was an immediate 0.00 score due to white's eventual Kc1 instead of Kb2. Thank You. Martin

Rick Ferrari, Detroit, USA
Following the best line 22:Kc1 is 22:..Bf5 suggested by Kasparov. I believe this has the best chances for a win, but with computer like skill will inevitably still lead to a draw. Black shows an early positional lead, but white is able to pressure the middle for a draw. I know showing a line of play is best , but in this case there are several lines of play that could lead to a draw. I'm rated 2340 or maybe even a little less because of my age. I use all the top programs for analysis, and most agree with Kasparov at 20 plys deep. Conclusion, brilliant attack for Black...but maybe to soon. We are looking at 17:..Rxf2..and maybe should be looking at a better position for black. Suggestions? Like the obvious 17:..Bg4. As a human player, blacks attack 17:...Rxf2 is a testosterone surge, and if I kept that surge up through the obvious line of play.... then came 22...Bf5, if white doesn't play a computer like ending, black has a good chance for win. Against a computer, draw looks like the only hope. An opinion from a patzer to the good and great players of the world. Thanks for all the opinions out there!

Monte Cox, Danville, IL, USA
Fritz 8 after 3 hours of analysis considers the following line best 17...Bg4 18. Bxg4 [18. Rdg1, Bf3 19. Bxf3, Rxf3 20. Rg5, g6 (-1.72)] or [18. Rde1, Bxe2 19. Qxe2, Qc8 20. Kb1, a5 (-1.84)] 18...Qxg4 19. h4, Qc8 20. b3, Rf3 (-1.69) Black maintains an edge.

John Merlino, Petaluma, CA, USA
First of all, I want to thank GM Kasparov for such a wonderful position, as well as his stellar analysis. After looking at the position for several hours with my favorite chess program I believe that Kasparov's line is the most accurate -- at least up through 26...Re8. After this, CM9000 noticeably prefers 27.Bf3!? to Kasparov's 27.Ba6. After the inevitable exchange 27...dxe8Q 28.Rhxe1 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Bxh2, it then suggests 30.b5! I am not done working out this line, but it appears that it gives even less of a "slight advantage" to Black than Kasparov's 27.Ba6 line. I'll try to send more in the next few days.


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