Kasparov's 'Predecessors' under scrutiny

4/25/2004 – Garry Kasparov's book, My Great Predecessors, is an invitation to readers to send in analysis and corrections. Many have, extensively, in our special section dedicated to taking Kasparov's challenge. GM Karsten Müller examines some of them in his Analysis Focus #6.

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Analysis Focus #6

GM Karsten Müller presents readers' feedback on Kasparov's book

Analysis Focus #6:
Garry Kasparov's Great Predecessors

By GM Karsten Müller and Frederic Friedel

The readers are still discussing Kasparov's work with great enthusiasm. We keep receiving interesting letters and analyses, and our readers keep coming up with interesting new ideas to the games given in the book. With Volume 2 now available there are many new games to debate, but at the same time people are not neglecting the first volume. Here are some of the more interesting messages we received. Note that you can download and replay the analysis on our JavaScript page given at the end of the article.

MacDonnell – La Bourdonnais [Vol. 1, Game 1, pp.14ff]
Fourth Match, London 1834, 16th game, 1834

Diagram after 25...Qh6-e3

David LeMoir, Norfolk, England
I presented the decisive phase of the game in my second book, How to Become a Deadly Chess Tactician (p. 164). I gave 26.Rf2 (instead of 26.Kh1 played in the game), a suggestion of Fritz. I could not find a way for Black to win then, and I still cannot. It blocks the black f-pawn's advance, and the main idea is 26...fxg2 27.Qe2, gaining time to strengthen the defence of the second rank by threatening to exchange queens. Then 27...Qxe2 28.Rxe2 Ba6 fails to 29.Rxe5 Rf1+ (29...Bd6 30.Rxa5) 30.Kxg2 Rxd1 31.Rxe7 and White's is the more dangerous passed pawn.

Karsten Müller: Very interesting! 26.Rf2 is much stronger than 26.Kh1? and should be sufficient to reach a draw.

Tal,M – Smyslov,V [Vol. 2, Game ??, pp.??]
Candidates Tournament Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade (8), 18.09.1959

Diagram after 13.Nd6-f5

Dave Clarke, Oregon, USA
After 13.Nf5! Garry Kasparov points out that 13...Bc5? would be followed by 14.Qh4 bxc4 15. Bc3! and "Black is defenseless" after 15...Qxa2 16.Rxd7! Bxd7 17.Nh6+ Kh8 18Qxf6!! with mate. Shredder 7.0 found the remarkable defence 16... Bb4! 17.Bxb4 Bxd7 18.Nh6+ Kh8 19.Bc3 Ne4 20.Qxe4 Rae8 21.Qd4 f6 and Black seems to hold.

Karsten Müller: Great discovery! But after 22.Nd2 Black's problems are far from over, as White is at least slightly better.

Alekhine,A – Podgorny,J [Vol. 2, Game ??, pp.??]
Prague, 1943

Position after 10...Ng8-f6

Joseph Amaral, New Hyde Park, NY
The game continued 11.d5! exd5. As Lubomir Kavalek pointed out in his Washington Post column Kasparov misses a few points on the alternative moves. First, after 11...Nxd5 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.axb4 Qxa1 14.Qb3 Bxf3 15.Bg5! Qxf1+ 16.Bxf1 Be4 17.f3! Alekhine says that white should win because the black pieces lack coordination. Kasparov here continues with 17...Bf5 18.Qxd5 Be6, but his suggestion 19.Qe4 should be met with 19...a6! and Black may hold. However, 19.Qd6! wins outright, for example 19...h6 [19...a6 20.b5! wins] 20.Ba6! hxg5 21.Bxb7 Ne7 22.Bxa8 0-0 23.Qxe7 Rxa8 24.Qb7 wins.

Karsten Müller: 19.Qd6! indeed wins.

Secondly, after 11...Bxf3 12.dxc6 Kasparov opines that instead of 12...Bxe2 more interesting is 12...Bxc6 13.axb4 Qxa1 14.Qc2, suggesting 14...Nd5!? However, after the simple 15.Nxd5! Black is in dire straights, for example 15...Bxd5 [15...exd5 16.Qc5!] 16.Bg5 Qa2 17.Qc5 f6 18.Bh5+! Kd7 19.Bf4 e5 [on 19...Qc4 20.Qd6+ Kc8 21.Rc1 wins] 20.Rd1 Ke6 21.Rxd5 Rad8 [on 21...Qxd5 22.Bf7+! wins.] 22.Rxe5+! and white mates.

Karsten Müller: 15.Nxd5! wins for White.

J.Mieses-A.Alekhine [Vol. 1, pp 343-346]
Scheveningen 1913

Position after 21...Nc6-e5

Brandon Moore, Wimberley, Texas, USA
22.Qxb7 Nxg4!? 23.Bxa7 c5!

Karsten Müller: I think that Black's compensation is still insufficient, e.g. 24.c3 Rd2 (24...Nxf2 25.cxb4 Rd2 26.bxc5 +-) 25.Bxc5 Be5 26.Qxb4 Rb8 27.Bb6 and White is clearly better.

Chigorin,M - Steinitz,W [Vol.1, game 24, pp 82f]
World Championship 4th Havana (1), 1892

Position after 15.e4-e5

Leroy Yves, Tervuren, Belgium
Hello, analysing Chigorin-Steinitz I think that 15...d5 might be the root of Black's problems. In his notes Kasparov asserts that there is no better option. But I disagree after his variant 16.dxe5 Qd1 17.Rad1. I propose 17...Nd5 as improvement with the possible variants: 18.Nd6 Kd7 19.Nb7 Rhb8 20.Nd6 Bc7 or 19.Ng5 f6 20.Nge4 Ng4 21.ef6 gf6 22.Nb7 Rhe8, in both cases with better chances than after 15.d5

Karsten Müller: 17...Nd5! is indeed an improvement. But White is still slightly better in my opinion.


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