Understanding before Moving 56: The Octopus

by ChessBase
12/5/2021 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 56th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman takes a look at the "octopus", a strong knight in the enemy camp. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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The first World Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov lasted from 10 September 1984 to 15 February 1985 and was aborted after 48 games. At that time, Karpov led with 5-3 (40 games ended in a draw) but the match was played for six won games.

The second match between Karpov and Kasparov started  September 1985 and this match was limited to 24 games. Kasparov won the match 13-11 and became the 13th World Champion in history and the youngest World Champion of all time.

Kasparov came well prepared to the match, and in the crucial 16th game, a Taimanov Sicilian, he came up with a staggering novelty: in a Maroczy structure he sacrificed a pawn with 8...  d6-d5 to get active play.

Later analyses showed that the pawn sacrifice was not correct, but during the game it's psychological impact was huge! Karpov did not react adequately, and on move 16 Kasparov brought a black knight to d3 that paralysed the white pieces and helped Kasparov to win a stunning game.

Kasparov later called the knight on d3 an "octopus", comparing the power of the knight with the tentacles of this animal. In the diagram position, which is from a simul, Kasparov also had an octopus on d6. How did he finish the game?


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