Our readers reply to Kasparov

by ChessBase
1/9/2004 – Volume two is out, and the discussion of Garry Kasparov's book "My Great Predecessors" continues unabated. Especially during the Christmas break many readers sent in commentary and analysis. Some add new insights to previous discussions, others tackle new positions. GM Karsten Müller presents his Analysis Focus #4.

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Analysis Focus #4

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

Analysis Focus #4:
Garry Kasparov's Great Predecessors

By GM Karsten Müller

Many readers have used the holiday time around Christmas to make contributions to our feedback corner on Garry Kasparov's book My Great Predecessors. Volume two has just appeared in English, containing the sections on Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov and Tal. I was especially impressed by the description of Kasparov's relationship with the great old Botvinnik (see p. 256ff). If you have this volume you are of course welcome to send in comment on its contents as well.

My Great Predecessors is selling vigorously, and we hear that very soon it will be available in a total of ten different languages (Russian, English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, Croatian/Serbian, Slovenian and Turkish). Naturally it is being carefully scrutinized by analysts all over the world. Kasparov himself encourages discussion, and has written a series of articles, taking the suggestion of readers into account. A focus point of this analysis is our special web site on the book.

But let us turn to our readers's feedback. We are sorry that this article is quite lengthy, but when you receive such a great volume of correspondence, with so much of it obviously containing the results of diligent and thoughtful analysis, we find it difficult to make a selection.

The game numbers and pages in the following text refer to the location of the games in the English edition of the book. The first three positions relate to articles that have already appeared on this site (links are always given). They add notes and insights. In the second part we show you focus points our readers have come up with. Some of them are still wide open to analysis and interpretation. So get out your boards and switch on your computers. There is still so much exciting material to uncover in the history of chess.


Game 26, p.87ff: Chigorin vs Steinitz (23) 1892

Francisco Rivera, Costa Rica has analysed the position from Chigorin-Steinitz 1892, which was discussed in Garry Kasparov's follow-up article #2.

M. Chigorin – W. Steinitz [Game 26, p. 87ff]
World Championship Match, Havana 1892, 23rd game

This is the critical position after 27...Kg8-g7. Francisco shows that both Re8 and Be5 win:

  1. 28.Re8 f5 29.Re7+ Kg8 {Kh6? 30. Bf4!} 30.Ne6 f4 31.Nxf4 Rxh2+ 32.Kg1 h3 33.Rfe1 Rxb2 34.Rd7 Rhg2+ 35.Nxg2 Rxg2+ 36.Kh1 Rf2 37.Rd8+ Kg7 38.Re7+ Kh6 39.Kg1 Rxa2 40.Rxb7 1-0

  2. 28.Re8 Bd3 29.Rxf7+ Kg6 30.Rg8+ Kh5 31.Nh3 Rxg8 32.Nf4+ Kg4 33.Nxd3 Rd2 34.h3+ Kh5 35.Nf4+ Kh6 36.Rf6+ Kg5 37.Be7 1-0

  3. 28.Be5+ Kf8 29.Ne4 Rge2 30.Nf6 Rxe1 31.Rxe1 Rxb2 32.d5 Rb1 33.Rxb1 Bxb1 34.d6 Bf5 35.Bf4 1-0.

    My comment: Yes 28.Re8 f5 29.Re7+ wins.

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Game 4, p.26ff: Anderssen vs Dufresne 1852

Christoph Pfrommer, Darmstadt, Germany writes: I'd like to add some findings from old sources. A detailed analysis of Anderssen-Dufresne, Berlin 1852 (known as the 'Evergreen') for the game position after 19.Rad1 was published 45 years ago in German chess magazine Schach-Echo. The magazine used to contain a tactical corner ('Lerne kombinieren') edited by Paul Schlensker from Frankfurt/Main. He presented the game Anderssen-Dufresne in [Schach-Echo 24/1957]. In the following months, Paul Schlenker published the readers' suggestions and his new and updated analysis for the game position after 19.Rad1 in much detail. See [Schach-Echo 8/1958, 12/1958, and 18/1958.]

Game 4 (pages 26–29):
A.Anderssen-J.Dufresne, Berlin 1852

Position after 19.Rad1

I'll give a short summary of the analysis.

A) They concluded that 19...Rxg2? would be no improvement over the game continuation (which was 19...Qxf3?) due to 20.Kxg2 Ne5 21.Qxd7!! etc. winning

B) The move 19...Bd4 (proposed by reader K.-H. Titel from Hameln/GER) was regarded as sufficient for a draw after 20. cxd4 Qxf3 21. Be4 Rxg2+ 22. Kh1 Rxh2+ 23. Kxh2 Qxf2+ 24. Kh3 Qxf6 25. Bxe7 Nxe7 26. Qxa7 Qh6+ 27. Kg3 Qg5+ 28. Kh3 and black cannot avoid the perpetual. Analysis by Paul Schlensker.

C) Their most interesting finding was 19...Qh3! which was assessed as giving black excellent winning chances. (This move was also proposed by reader K.-H. Titel from Hameln/GER) Schlensker gives the main line as 20. Bf1 Qf5 21. Bxe7 Qxf3 22. Bc5+ Kd8 23. Re7 d6 (maybe even better 23... Bc8 24. Bxb6 Rxb6 25. Rxf7 Qh5 ) 24. Bxb6 axb6 25. Rxf7 Qh5 (25... Qf5 may be considered as well) 26. Qb3 Ne5 (threatening Nf3+) 27. Rg7 Rxg7 28. fxg7 Kd7! and White still has to worry after 29. g8Q Rxg8 30. Qxg8 Qxd1.

D) As to 19....Rg4 (Lipke 1898) Schlensker is quoting from the original Lipke analysis that Black has drawing chances after 20. Bc4 Qf5 21. Rxd7 Kxd7 22. Ne5+ Kc8 23. Nxg4 Nd5 24. Qd1 Nd8 25. Re5 Bxf2+ 26. Kh1 Nf4 27. h3 Nxg2 or 20. Re4 Rxe4 21. Qxe4 d6 22. fxe7 Nxe7. However, Schlensker remarked that 19...Bd4 and 19...Qh3! are much clearer continuations than Lipke's move.

Karsten Müller:

This analysis might not have been widely noticed or simply forgotten. However, it revealed a lot of insight into a critical game position (with the quality of the analysis being quite high). In fact, this analysis has published the two strong improvements 19...Bd4 and 19...Qh3! as early as in the year 1958.

Finally, some of my own analysis:

As to the assessment of 19....Rg4 (Lipke), my impression is that the black side remains under pressure after 20. Re4 Rxe4 21. Qxe4 d6 and now 22.Re1! (instead of the premature 22. fxe7 Nxe7). A possible continuation might be 22... Ba8 (22... Ne5? 23. Bb5+) 23. Qf4 Kd7 24. fxe7 Nxe7 25. Ng5 Rg8 26. Bb5+ Bc6 27. Bxc6+ Kxc6 28. Qe4+ Nd5 29. h4 and white keeps an advantage.

Black can try to play 22...Dg6 23.Dxc6+ Lxc6 24.Lxg6 hxg6 25.Txe7+ Kf8 26.Se5 dxe5 27.Txc7+ Ke8 28.Txc6 Lc5 29.Lb4 Lxb4 30.cxb4 Txb4 31.g3 but is a pawn down in the rook ending.

Brendan, O'Malley, Toronto, Canada writes: Mr. Muller asked whether or not 19...Qh3!? has been analysed previously. In the book "The Chess Games of Adolf Anderssen", published by Pickard & Son in 1996, this and other moves are analysed extensively on pages 153 to 155. The annotations are said to be "gathered from The Old Masters."

Below are the lines considered after 19...Qh3, but without the copious parenthetical analysis.

  1. 20.g3! Rxg3+ 21.hxg3 Qxg3+ 22.Kh1 Qxf3+ =

  2. 20.Nh4?? Ne5! 21.Bf1 N7c6 22.Bd3 Rg4 23.Qb5 Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Qxh4+ -+

  3. 20.Bf1?! Qf5! 21.Qe4 Qxf6 22.Bb5 Nb4! 23.Qxb4 c5 24.Qh4 Rxg2+ 25.Kf1 Qxh4 26.Nxh4 Rxh2 27.Rxd7 Rh1+ 28.Ke2 Rxe1 29.Kxe1 Kf8 [with - above + as the evaluation]

The book also contains two pages of analysis regarding 19...Rg4, as well as some analysis dealing the with "Minor Defenses" 19...Qg4, 19...Nb4, 19...Nd4, 19...Ne5, 19...Rxg2+, 19...Bc5, and 19...d6. I will refrain from typing all of these out as I am concerned about copyright infringement!

Karsten Müller: Thank you both very much for the valuable sources!

Links and references

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Game 111, p.343ff: Mieses vs Alekhine 1913

Mieses,J - Alekhine,A [C22]
Scheveningen Scheveningen (3), 29.07.1913

Position after 30.Rec8

Sergey Sorokhtin, Russia writes: In game Alekhin-Mieses 1913 you miss an easy draw by Mieses. Instead of 31.g5??–+ he could play 31.Qe4!!= This variant was checked by GM Khalifman. Please see again. It is very interessing. Plisecky knows about this.

Karsten Müller: You are right, 31.Qe4!! draws.

Links and references

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Readers suggestions in other positions

You can replay and download all the following analysis using the link given at the end. Note that on our Javascript board you can click on moves to follow the games.

Game 103, p.308ff: Nimzowitsch-Capablanca 1927

Nimzowitsch,A – Capablanca,J [B12]
New York New York (3), 1927

Position after 30...Ne7-f5

Matthias Nilsson, Eskilstuna, Sweden, writes: On page 311, note to Whites 31 move Nxf5+ we read: "If 31.Red2 then 31...Nxd4 32.Rxd4 Rxd4 33.cxd4 Qb5! 34.Qf3 Rc1! (Capablanca)". But after 31...Nxd4 White has the intervening move 32.Qe3 followed by 33.Rxd4 after which he can probably hold the draw.

Karsten Müller: 32.Qe3!? is certainly interesting. But Black is still better, so more analysis is needed to find out, if White can really hold the draw in the long run.

Game 106, p.319ff. Capablanca-Alekhine (29) 1927

Capablanca,J – Alekhine,A [D52]
World Championship 13th Buenos Aires (29), 1927

Position after 36...Bd6-f8

Matthias Nilsson writes: In Capablanca-Alekhine on page 321 Kasparov suspects that White has a winning endgame here, but never points out where Capablanca misplayed it. I think I found it. Instead of 37.Rc6 and exchanging rooks, White should make good use of his centralized and active pieces and play 37.Ne5! (maybe 37.Nf4 with the same idea) with the idea of 38.Nxg6. White will get an ending with 4 pawns against a piece and seems to be winning.

Karsten Müller: The idea to make use of the three active white units is definitely very interesting, but more analysis is needed to prove that White can really force a win. I won't be surprised, if one of the readers can prove it.

Game 128, p.394ff: Capablanca vs Alekhine (21) 1927

Capablanca,J - Alekhine,A [D63]
World Championship 13th Buenos Aires (21), 1927

Position after 19...Qd8-c8

Leroy Yves of Tervuren, Belgium, writes: In this game Garry Kasparov quotes Alekhine who gives 20.Rc4 as decisive error. But to my mind the first important mistake comes after the text moves 20...Nxc4 21.Rc1 Qa8 22.Nc3? At this stage 22.Nc5! is still possibly leading to a draw after 22...Bxc5 23.bxc5 Rc8 24.a4 (not 24.Be2? losing) 24...Rxc5 25.Bxd5 Bxd5 26.Qb4 Rc8 27.axb5 etc.

Karsten Müller: 25.Bxd5! seems indeed to secure the draw.

Game 37, p.121 ff: Lasker vs Steinitz 1894

Lasker,E - Steinitz,W [C62]
Wch05 USA\CAN (7), 1894

Position after 40...Re3-e7

Leroy Yves writes: This evening my zapping brought me to the 7th game of Lasker Steinitz game 37, and my attention was again on a !! move: 41.Qh2, which Kasparov calls "Quite brilliant". But does that move deserve this? No, is my quick conclusion, but Qd2!! does. First I propose 41.Qh2 Re1 42.Ka2 Qe5 43.Qh6 Qe7 etc. as holding the draw, and 41.Qd2 (possibly "!!") Qd8 42.Qb4+ Kd4 43.Qc3 Kc5 44.a4! Re1 45.Ka2 a5 46.Qa3 winning.

Karsten Müller: Yves win is right. The draw was refuted by Ingo Althöfer (Jena, Germany): after 41.Qh2 Re1 42.Ka2 Qe5 43.Qh6 Qe7 White has 44.Rf8! winning as given by Kasparov: 44...Re6 45.Qd2 Qxh7 46.Rc8+ Rc6 47.Rxh8 Qf7 48.Qb4+ Kd4 49.Rf8 and Black's exposed king is his undoing. In case of 42...Qe7 (instead of Yves 42...Qe5) Althöfer found the following win: 43.Qf4 and now

43..Re5 44.Rf8 Ng6 45.Qf2+ Kb5 46.Rf5 +–


43... Qe5 44.Qh6 Qe7 45.Rf8 +–

and finally the probably critical:

43...Re2 44.Rf8 Rxc2. Now White has two ways to win, but both are not easy:

(a) 45.Rxh8 Rxb2+ 46.Kxb2 Qg7+ 47.Ka2! (but not Kb1 as Black can reach an unclear position after 47...Qxh8 48.Qc7+ Kb5 49.Qxb7+ Kc5 50.Qe7+ Kb5 51.Qf7 d4 52.Qd5+ Kb6) Qxh8 48.Qc7+ Kb5 49.Qxb7+ Kc5 50.Qe7+ Kb5 51.a4+! Kxa4 52.Qa3+ (this is the reason, why White's king must be on a2) Kb5 53.Qb2+ Qxb2+ 54.Kxb2 +–


(b) 45.Rc8+ Kb5 46.Qd4 Ka4 47.Rxh8 Qxa3+ 48.Kb1 Qb3 49.Re8 Rf2 50.Re1 Rh2 51.h8Q Rxh8 52.Qxh8 Qd3+ 53.Ka1 b5 54.Qh6 Ka5 55.Qc1 d4 56.Rd1 +–

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General Remarks

Robinson Robert, Iceland
One thing bothers me in this book, some analysis in this book are specified as being from Kasparov, for example something like this: "(34. Rxd4!! wins -GK)". Does this mean 99% of the analysis in this book (the ones that aren't marked with "-GK") are not from Kasparov himself?! This isn't specified anywhere in the book and many readers such as myself are confused. Perhaps you can clarify for us.

This is fortunately not the case. "GK" is mentioned to highlight the importance of the point made by Kasparov.

Krishnan Mani, Mumbai, India
Chess is a competitive battle, and games are not necessarily won or lost on pure and simple computation. Especially, psychological and other factors contribute. Especially against strong attacking players, opponents may yield in positions far from lost. The same is doubtless true of many games Kasparov himself has played. Therefore, I think it is not very appropriate for Kasparov to just highlight such games.

Bruce Brodinsky, USA
Boo on the critics! Kasparov perfectly balances readability and analysis, in presenting the finest book ever on the history of World's Champions. I read such books to enjoy, not in the expectation of finding reams of analysis, claiming the final truth of all positions. Keep up the great writing work, Garry!


If you have doubts about this or another analysis in Kasparov's work, please write. Garry welcomes all suggestions! Your remarks and analysis will be scanned by GM Karsten Müller, who will pass the most interesting contributions on to Garry Kasparov for evaluation. We will publish our conclusions on these pages.



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