Understanding before Moving 183: Chess history in a nutshell (64)

by ChessBase
6/23/2024 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 183rd episode of his ChessBase show "Understanding before moving" Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and looks at the life and games of Garry Kasparov who many consider to be the best player of all time. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Garry Kasparov (1)

Garry Kimovich Kasparov, born Garry Kimovich Weinstein in Baku, (in the former Soviet Union, now Azerbaijan) on 13 April 1963, is a former chess player of Armenian Jewish descent. On 9 November 1985, at the age of 22, he became the youngest ever World Chess Champion. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, he topped the world rankings for 225 out of 228 months and held the highest FIDE rating ever, 2851, until January 2013, when Magnus Carlsen surpassed him with a rating of 2882.

Kasparov learnt to play chess at a young age and, fascinated by the game, soon found himself at the famous chess school of Mikhail Botvinnik. At the age of thirteen, Kasparov became the Russian Youth Chess Champion for the first time at an unprecedentedly high level, and a year later, in 1977, he repeated the feat with even better results. His first successes as a youth player were achieved under the name Harry Weinstein, but a few years after his father's death he decided to continue under the Russianised version of his mother's name (Kasparyan).

In 1978, at the age of 15, he made his debut in the Soviet Union championship. In 1979 he took part in his first international tournament, beating 14 grandmasters, including former world champion Tigran Petrosian, in Banja Luka. Remarkably, he was the only "unrated" player and the replacement for Viktor Kortchnoi, who had fled abroad.

In 1980 he became World Junior Champion and in 1981 the youngest Soviet Union Champion (a title he shared with Lev Psakhis). In 1982, Kasparov began his ascent to the World Championship by winning the Interzonal tournament in Moscow with overwhelming dominance. In 1983, he defeated Alexander Beliavsky 6-3 and Viktor Kortchnoi 7-4 in the candidates' matches. In 1984 he won the final against former world champion Vassily Smyslov 8½-4½ and earned the right to challenge the reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov.

We discussed this duel last time. The two 'K's' had battled each other for about four months in this match, as it was about six wins, not counting draws. This was what Fischer wanted. Unfortunately, a Fischer-Karpov match never materialised. When Fischer retired from the chess world, Karpov became the new world champion. He had something to prove, that he really was the strongest. Karpov proved it in the ten years of his reign.

After the 84/85 match was interrupted by FIDE President Florencio Campomanes, Karpov and Kasparov had to face each other again in the same year (1985). It was a rematch of 24 games (as always) and with a 12-12 draw, the world champion would retain his title. But what happened? Kasparov won the 23rd game to lead 12-11 with one game to play.

Karpov, playing white, had to win this game to retain his title. It was a fierce battle. I remember very well that I played a team match for my then club (the Eindhoven Chess Club) in the top division against HSG in Hilversum. In those days there was no internet, but we had access to a television with teletext during the match. Luckily, there was a chess player working there who entered all the moves in almost 'real time'. So a chessboard was placed near the TV and the moves were carefully recorded by someone.

At one point, the tension in this game between the two great 'K's' was so palpable that more and more chess players gathered around this board, even abandoning their own games. Especially when Kasparov, needing only a draw, suddenly opened the position with a double pawn sacrifice, the tension was palpable. Despite the high Elo ratings present on this day, no one dared to predict how this game would end. We all felt that we were witnessing one of the most fascinating and important chess games ever played. This would determine how our chess world would look for the next period...

In the diagram position both players were in severe time trouble and Karpov had just played 35.Qe3-b6 which Kasparov answered with 35...Ba8. Which terrible trick had Kasparov in mind? With other words: how did Kasparov respond to White's blunder 36.Rxd6?

Master Class Vol.7: Garry Kasparov

On this DVD a team of experts gets to the bottom of Kasparov's play. In over 8 hours of video running time the authors Rogozenko, Marin, Reeh and Müller cast light on four important aspects of Kasparov's play: opening, strategy, tactics and endgame.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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