Kavalek in Huffington: The Towering Defense

by ChessBase
11/6/2013 – ... that shaped chess history. The Super Bowls, Stanley Cups, World Cups and World Chess Championships are usually won with good defense. Which defense is going to decide the upcoming world championship match between Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen, which starts on Saturday in Chennai, India? Huffington Post columnist GM Lubomir Kavalek speculates.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The Towering Defense That Shaped Chess History

By GM Lubomir Kavalek

Preparation for the World Championship match in Chennai could be extremely elaborate, and Anand must do some guesswork concerning Carlsen's choice of defenses with the black pieces since it is Magnus's first title match. Vishy, on the other hand, prefers solid defenses in the closed openings but may come up with something fluid this time. Older players usually seek an early conflict in the middlegame to avoid long tiring endgames.

The Berlin Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6) is always a possibility, hovering over any king-pawn player like a sword of Damocles. Both Carlsen and Anand are capable of using it. It was played already in the first world championship match between William Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort in 1886. In 2000, Vladimir Kramnik played the Berlin and ended Garry Kasparov's world championship reign.

Two Tower Defense

Kasparov became the world champion with a dynamic defense he adopted from my game played at the 1976 Interzonal in Manila. Not only did he win the last game in the match against Anatoly Karpov in December 1985, but the variation he used had a profound influence on subsequent matches. Karpov didn't dare to play the king pawn openings against him again. It was my unintended gift to Kasparov.

The London-based Czech artist Jan Brychta illustrated the duel Kasparov-Karpov
on a postal envelope: Kasparov is fighting from the rook

The rooks played a major role in the variation when it first appeared in the game Balashov-Kavalek, Manila 1976. Despite being strongly endorsed by my opponent and his famous coach Vladimir Yurkov, it was only picked up two years later by other players. Kasparov didn't fare well in his first attempt against Yuri Razuvaev in the Soviet championship in 1978, but he worked on it and eventually got it right. Nearly 1200 games were played with this variation after the inaugural game.

Two consecutive rook moves in the Sicilian Scheveningen define the variation:

[Event " "] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Two Tower Defense"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [ECO "B85"] [Annotator "GM Lubomir Kavalek/The Huffington Post"] [PlyCount "30"] [EventDate "1976.??.??"] [EventType "game"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. f4 a6 10. a4 Qc7 11. Kh1 Re8 12. Bf3 Rb8 $1 {First played in the game Balashov-Kavalek, Manila Interzonal 1976. The black rooks are placed on the best spots. The first rook move 11...Re8, covering the center, was known. The second rook move was my novelty. I was trying to make the move Ra8-b8 work in other variations of the Sicilian, but here it fits perfectly: it leaves the dangerous diagonal a8-h1 and helps to support the advance b7-b5. Each black rook has a purpose, no Nimzowitsch's mysterious rook moves.} 13. Qe2 {Balashov's original move. White wants to prevent b7-b5, but it turns out to be an illusion. Because of the queen and rook lineup on the diagonal f1-a6, black can solve his task geometrically with 13...Nxd4 14.Bxd4 e5 15.Be3 Be6. See the game below. Let's see some of White's main ideas tried so far:} ({1)} 13. Qe1 {The queen shuffle can be met by 13...} e5 {or by} (13... Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5) (13... Bd7 14. Qf2 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 e5)) ({2)} 13. Qd2 {Yefim Geller's idea from 1980 was later adopted by Karpov.} Bd7 14. Nb3 b6 15. g4 { Karpov's choice in the memorable last game of the 1985 world championship.} ( 15. Bf2 Bc8 16. Bg3 Nd7 17. Rae1 Bb7 {Kasparov was proud of this move and give it an exclamation mark.} (17... Na5 18. e5 {Kasparov thought that this was dangerous for black without giving anything specific.} Nxb3 19. cxb3 dxe5 20. fxe5 Bb7 21. Ne4 Bxe4 22. Bxe4 a5 $11 {with roughly equal chances, played in the game Hou Yifan (2595)-Navara,D (2707), Prague 2013}) 18. e5 Rbd8 19. Qf2 Rf8 20. Be4 dxe5 21. fxe5 Nc5 22. Nxc5 bxc5 23. Bf4 {1/2-1/2 (23) Karpov,A (2720)-Kasparov,G (2700) Moscow 1985}) 15... Bc8 16. g5 Nd7 17. Qf2 Bf8 18. Bg2 Bb7 (18... Na5) 19. Rad1 g6 20. Bc1 Rbc8 21. Rd3 Nb4 22. Rh3 Bg7 23. Be3 Re7 24. Kg1 Rce8 25. Rd1 f5 26. gxf6 Nxf6 27. Rg3 Rf7 28. Bxb6 Qb8 29. Be3 Nh5 30. Rg4 Nf6 31. Rh4 g5 32. fxg5 Ng4 33. Qd2 Nxe3 34. Qxe3 Nxc2 35. Qb6 Ba8 36. Rxd6 Rb7 37. Qxa6 Rxb3 38. Rxe6 Rxb2 39. Qc4 Kh8 40. e5 Qa7+ 41. Kh1 Bxg2+ 42. Kxg2 Nd4+ {0-1 Karpov,A (2720)-Kasparov,G (2700)/Moscow 1985}) ({3)} 13. g4 {An aggressive attacking attempt brought white some success in the past. The pawn sacrifice 13...} d5 {a computer suggestion also played by the Czech GM Laznicka, is a fair answer.} ({So are} 13... Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5) ({or the backtracking} 13... Nd7) 14. e5 (14. exd5 Nxd5 15. Nxd5 (15. Bxd5 exd5 16. Nxd5 Qd6 $15 17. c4 Nb4) 15... exd5 16. c3 Bd7 $11) 14... Nxd4 15. Bxd4 (15. exf6 Nxf3 16. fxe7 d4) 15... Nd7 16. a5 Bc5 $11) ({4)} 13. Bf2 Bf8 ({Too passive.} 13... e5 $5 {is more to the point.}) 14. Re1 Nd7 15. Qe2 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 b6 17. e5 dxe5 18. fxe5 Bb4 19. Rad1 Nf8 20. Rf1 Ng6 21. Ne4 Nxe5 22. Bh5 Ng6 23. Ng5 e5 24. Bxg6 hxg6 25. Rxf7 Qc6 26. Bxe5 Rb7 27. Qf2 Bg4 28. Rxb7 Qxb7 29. Qh4 Bh5 30. Qc4+ Kh8 31. Rf1 Bc5 32. b4 Bf8 33. Rf7 Qc8 34. Qf4 a5 35. h4 {1-0 Razuvaev,Y (2465)-Kasparov,G/Tbilisi 1978/URS-ch}) ({5)} 13. Nb3 {White threatens to curb Black's queenside with 14.a5. It can be met by 13...} b6 { and after, let's say,} 14. Qe2 {black can invoke Pal Benko's old maneuver 14... } Na5 {since after} 15. Nxa5 bxa5 {the counterplay on two open files (very much like in the Benko gambit) gives black a nice counterplay.}) 13... Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5 15. Be3 Be6 {Threatening 16...Bc4 allows black to prevent 16.a5 and at the same time strike on the queenside with b7-b5. The chances are equal.} *

Kasparov commented the game in his book "Kasparov vs Karpov 1975-1985" and again in his new work "Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part II: 1985-1993", published by Everyman Chess. It may look repetitive, but he likes to improve his analyses with new computer engines and look at the games from a different angles.

Kasparov's new volume encompasses eight turbulent years, ending with his departure from FIDE. During this time he became the world champion and played four matches for the world title against Karpov. He created the Grandmasters Association (GMA) and won the World Cup - an elite competition of six Grand Prix tournaments. He became the world's best player, triumphing in matches and tournaments. His rating went up and up, reaching peerless heights. It was a fascinated journey with a few dangerous bumps along the way. Garry seemed to succeed in everything he embarked on, and as the Executive Director of the GMA, I was fortunate to witness his achievements first hand.

The Two Tower variation is still going strong after 37 years. Here is the inaugural game:

[Event "Manila Interzonal"] [Site "Manila"] [Date "1976.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Balashov, Yuri"] [Black "Kavalek, Lubomir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B85"] [Annotator "GM Lubomir Kavalek/The Huffington Post"] [PlyCount "75"] [EventDate "1976.??.??"] [EventType "game"] [EventCountry "PHI"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Be2 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. f4 a6 10. a4 Qc7 11. Kh1 {White prepares a standard maneuver against the Sicilian Scheveningen, bringing the queen to the kingside with Qd1-e1-g3. To play it immediately does not pose problems for Black:} (11. Qe1 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 e5 13. fxe5 dxe5 14. Qg3 Re8 {An acrobatic defense, establishing the square e8 as a perfect place for the rook.} 15. a5 (15. Kh1 Bd8 16. Be3 Kh8 {covers all threats}) (15. Qxe5 $2 Qxe5 16. Bxe5 Bc5+ {wins.}) 15... Bc5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 17. Kh1 Kh8 (17... Qe7 18. Rad1) 18. Rxf6 gxf6 19. Qh4 Rg8 (19... Qc6 20. Nd5) 20. Qxf6+ Rg7 21. Qd8+ {Â1/2-Â1/2 Spassky-Kavalek, (1) m Solingen 1977}) 11... Re8 12. Bf3 {White doesn't want to allow any surprises in the center.} Rb8 $1 {This novelty is not only a waiting move. The rook leaves the dangerous diagonal a8-h1 and helps to support the advance b7-b5. Black also keeps the square d7 free for his knight, if white decides to advance his g-pawn.} 13. Qe2 {White wants to prevent b7-b5, but it allows black to equalize by striking in the center. Because of the queen and rook lineup on the diagonal f1-a6, black can solve his task geometrically.} Nxd4 14. Bxd4 e5 15. Be3 ({Balashov thought he should have included} 15. Ba7 $5 Ra8 16. Be3 { but after 16...} Be6 17. Rfe1 exf4 18. Bxf4 Rac8 {Black is fine.}) 15... Be6 { Just in time! Threatening 16...Bc4 allows black to prevent 16.a5 and at the same time strike on the queenside with b7-b5.} 16. Rfd1 Bc4 17. Qf2 b5 $5 {The advance of the b-pawn was the original intention behind 12...Rb8.} 18. axb5 axb5 19. Ra7 ({Balashov didn't want to go into} 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. Nd5 Bxd5 21. exd5 e4 {although he has a good play for the pawn after} 22. Be2 Qxc2 23. d6 Bf8 24. b4) 19... Rb7 20. Rxb7 Qxb7 21. b3 b4 $5 ({Exchanging punches seemed like the best idea. After} 21... Be6 22. f5 Bd7 23. Bg5 {white controls the square d5, although there is no need for despair since after 23...} Rc8 24. Qd2 b4 (24... Qc6 $2 25. Nd5 $14) 25. Na2 Rb8 26. Bxf6 Bxf6 27. Qxd6 Be8 {and the bishop pair gives black compensation for the pawn.}) 22. bxc4 bxc3 23. c5 $1 { Diagram [#] The c-pawn was doomed anyway and Balashov shifts the pressure.} ({ After} 23. fxe5 dxe5 24. Qe1 Qb4 25. Rd3 Ra8 26. h3 Ra3 {black has no problem to hold.}) 23... dxc5 $6 ({Ignoring the pawn sacrifice was better:} 23... Qb4 $5 24. fxe5 dxe5 25. Qf1 Bxc5 26. Rb1 Qa3 (26... Qxb1 27. Qxb1 Bxe3 {is possible.}) 27. Ra1 Qb4 28. Rb1 {draws by repetition.}) 24. fxe5 Nxe4 {A gambling move, but I was not in the mood to play the careful 24...Nd7.} 25. Qe2 Qb4 ({Getting away from the pin makes more sense than} 25... Bf8 26. Bf4 f5 27. exf6 gxf6 28. Kg1 $14) 26. Qd3 Ng5 $2 {This optimistic move lands black in trouble.} ({I had to go with} 26... Nd2 $5 27. e6 $1 f6 {and although it may not look particularly great, it is playable.}) 27. Bc6 $1 {Trying to destroy harmony among the black pieces.} ({Black holds after} 27. Qd7 Qb8 28. Bd5 Qc8 $11) 27... Rf8 28. Qd7 c4 29. Bd5 Rd8 30. Qc6 Qb8 {Diagram [#]} 31. Bxg5 $2 ({ Balashov played well so far, but he got carried away by an interesting bishop sacrifice. He could have used both bishop to get a big advantage:} 31. Bb6 $1 Rc8 32. Qd7 Re8 33. Bc6 $1 Rf8 34. Bc7 Qc8 35. Qxe7 Ne6 36. Bd6 Qxc6 37. Rf1 $1 {threatening 38.Qa7 and the pawn on f7 falls.}) 31... Bxg5 32. Bxf7+ $6 {We were short of time and Balashov wanted a way out. But the sacrifice is not correct, but other moves don't promise much either.} (32. e6 fxe6 33. Qxe6+ Kh8 34. Rf1 g6 35. Bxc4 Qd6 $11) (32. Rf1 Qxe5 $11) 32... Kxf7 33. Qxc4+ Kg6 $1 ({ A winning try since} 33... Ke7 34. Qc5+ Kf7 35. Qc4+ {only repeats the position.}) 34. Qe6+ Kh5 35. Qh3+ Kg6 ({It didn't occur to me to play for a win by locking in my bishop:} 35... Bh4 36. Qf3+ (36. Qf5+ Kh6 $19) 36... Kh6 37. Qe3+ g5 $1 {The point! White has problems, for example:} 38. Rxd8 (38. Rg1 Kg7 39. Qf3 (39. Qxc3 g4) 39... Qxe5 40. g3 Bxg3 41. Rxg3 Kg6 $19) 38... Qxd8 39. g3 Qd1+ 40. Kg2 Qxc2+ 41. Kh3 Qf5+ 42. Kg2 c2 43. gxh4 Qg4+ 44. Kh1 (44. Kf2 Qf4+ $19) 44... Qd1+ 45. Kg2 c1=Q $19) 36. Qe6+ Kh5 37. Qh3+ Kg6 38. Qe6+ 1/2-1/2

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is an American news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and others, featuring various news sources and columnists. The site was launched on May 9, 2005, as a commentary outlet and liberal/progressive alternative to conservative news websites. It offers coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, living, style, the green movement, world news, and comedy. It is a top destination for news, blogs, and original content. The Huffington Post has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month. According to Nielsen NetRatings, the site has around 13 million unique visitors per month (number for March 2010); according to Google Analytics the number is 22 million uniques per month.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register