Valencia: Karpov wins game three, Kasparov wins the match 3-1

by ChessBase
9/24/2009 – Day two of the commemorative rapid chess match saw Anatoly Karpov win a fine game against the man who dethroned him as World Champion 25 years ago. In the final game Garry Kasparov only needed a draw, but put on the pressure until Karpov crumbled and lost – again – on time. The final score of 3.0:1.0 is exactly what the ratings predicted. Illustrated report with videos.

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Karpov vs Kasparov Rapid Chess & Blitz Match

The twelve-game match commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first Karpov vs Kasparov World Championship match in 1984-85, played in the Hall of Columns of the Trade Union House in Moscow. There will be twelve games, four in rapid chess, to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, plus eight blitz games on Thursday. Each round starts at 19:00h CEST (= 21:00h Moscow, 18:00h London, 1 p.m. NY). Live coverage is planned on the official web site and on the Playchess server.

In game three Kasparov played a Fianchetto Gruenfeld with a thematic rook sacrifice. Karpov played well and was able to maintain parity on the clock. The critical position came at move 27.

Karpov,Ana (2619) - Kasparov,G (2812) [D72]
Match Valencia ESP (3), 23.09.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nb6 7.Ne2 c5 8.d5 e6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Nec3 Na6 11.a4 exd5 12.exd5 Nb4 13.Be3 Bd4 14.a5 Bxe3 15.axb6 Bd4 16.bxa7 Bf5 17.Na3 Rxa7 18.Ncb5 Rxa3 19.Rxa3 Bxb2 20.Re3 Qb6 21.Qe2 Bg7 22.Rd1 Bd7 23.Na3 Bd4 24.Re7 Ba4 25.Rc1 Qf6 26.Rxb7 Bb2

27.Rxc5! Bxa3 28.h4? 28.Ra5 attacking both bishops. A possible continuation: 28...Re8 29.Qc4 Re1+ 30.Bf1 Rc1 31.Qf4 Qxf4 32.gxf4 Bb3 33.Rxa3 Bc4 34.Rxb4 Bxf1 35.f3 Bc4+ 36.Kf2 Bxd5 and White remains a healthy exchange up. After the text move the game is very drawish. 28...Nd3 29.Ra5 Nc5 30.Rba7 Qd4 31.Qe3 Qxe3 32.fxe3 Bc1 33.Kf2 Nd3+ 34.Ke2 Bc2

Black has extricated his pieces from the rook attacks, but they are precariously placed and in no position to effectively stop the d-pawn. 35.d6 Re8? 36.Ra8 1-0. Kasparov, with characteristic objectivity, later said that this was probably the best game of the match. [Click to replay]

The game at move 20, with Kasparov pondering his move

The big screen display for the audience, with Fritz/Rybka display plans on the left
(the red move, 20...Qb6, is the one that Kasparov played)

Game four

Kasparov,G (2812) - Karpov,Ana (2619) [D31]
Match Valencia ESP (4), 23.09.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.e3 Ne7 9.Bd3 g6 10.f3 Nd7 11.Nge2 0-0 12.0-0 c5 13.Qd2 a6 14.Rad1 cxd4 15.exd4 Nf6 16.g4 Kg7 17.Qf4 Rd8 18.Rfe1 b5 19.Qxd6 Rxd6 20.Nf4

In this game, which duplicated the second in the opening, Karpov has been hanging on, but now he starts to succumb to Kasparov's permanent pressure: 20...Kf8 21.h4 Bd7 22.Kf2 Ne8 23.Rc1 Rc8 24.a3 Nc7 25.Nce2 Rb6 26.Rc5 Ne6 27.Nxe6+ Bxe6 28.Rec1 Ke8 29.Nf4 Kd8 30.b4 Ra8 31.h5 Rd6 32.Be2 g5 33.Nd3

This is a terrible position to defend for Black, especially if you are sitting across from a hyper-aggressive player like Kasparov, and even more so if you have very little time on your clock. Karpov chose the pragmatic way out: he overstepped the time. 1-0. In the press conference after the round Kasparov said that he would have preferred to win the games by playing them out, but "the clock is also part of the game." [Click to replay]

The position on the display screen after 24.a3

... and on the stage after Karpov's move 26...Ne6

What you gonna do? Karpov has just lost a second game on time.

Anatoly Karpov after the rapid chess section of this commemorative event

Garry Kasparov in the press conference after round four

Photos by Nadja Woisin for ChessBase

Results and standings

 Rapid Chess
 Anatoly Karpov
 Garry Kasparov

It is interesting to note that the rating difference between both players predicted exactly this result. Naturally the figures are somewhat misleading – they were achieved in long games, and Kasparov's is a number of years old, while Karpov has descended rapidly in recent times.

Videos by Europe Echecs

In addition:

"Battle of two chess titans": BBC interview with GM Raymond Keene (click to start)


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

Previous articles

Karpov-Kasparov: Grudge Match in Valencia
30.08.2009 – They played each other in five big World Championship matches, most famously in 1984, when their first encounter was abandoned after 48 games without a final decision. Now to mark the 25th anniversary Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov will play a 12-game match – four rapid and eight blitz games – from 21 to 24 September, 2009, in Valencia, Spain. Details and statistics.

Karpov-Kasparov: Match start in Valencia today
22.09.2009 – Exactly 25 years after their first encounter – the World Championship match in Moscow – the perennial opponents Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov are playing a twelve-game rapid and blitz match in the Spanish city of Valencia. The rounds start on Tuesday at 19:00h CEST (21:00h Moscow, 1 p.m. NY), with two days of rapid games and one for blitz. Watch it on Playchess.

Valencia: Kasparov starts with 2-0 crunch
23.09.2009 – Twenty-five years and still going strong: Garry Kasparov started his commemorative match against eternal rival Anatoly Karpov with two quick wins. The first game was over in 24 moves, when Karpov overstepped his time; and the second ended in 28 moves after a flashy kingside attack by Kasparov. The international press is reporting extensively, and we have some interesting video documents.

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