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Alex Yermolinsky vs Garry Kasparov
Hoogovens Group A (1999), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 3, Jan-19
English Opening: Symmetrical. Three Knights Variation (A34)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-05-05  PARACONT1: I can't believe how poorly 'The Yermonator' played opening in this game! d5 and c4 in a Grunfeld yucks! He practically handed Kasparov the game! I've seen Yermo do this very type of crush on countless opponents and here he's on the receiving end! The dude must have been awe-struck by his famous opponent, there's no other explanation.

15...f5!! shows why B is better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: He played Kaspa and beaten him when they were young. Perhaps Yermo was awestruck when he faced Kasparov, or maybe Kaspa is just that much better than him now.
Jun-05-05  SnoopDogg: It doesn't seem like the opening was that much better for black if at all better. This is just a game that Kasparov wins a pretty ending.
Jun-11-05  PARACONT1: <SnoopDogg> Sorry I can't agree to that statement. Yermo's a GM and they don't get outplayed without making errors.

10. Rc1?
(Yermo prolly expected 10..0-0 11. Rc1 Bg4 when the inlcusion of the move ..0-0 makes a huge difference. White had to play 10.Rb1 for a small advantage)

(After this move White already has problems as his pieces are geared around playing d4-5. Now he has the problem of re-thinking his set-up: f3-4 and e4-5)

You should also try this position over a computer program and see the the advantage level Black has over white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: 10. Rc1?
(Yermo prolly expected 10..0-0 11. Rc1 Bg4 when the inlcusion of the move ..0-0 makes a huge difference. White had to play 10.Rb1 for a small advantage)

<Paraconti>, what did you mean on White's 11th here? As for the opening, after only 13 moves, White had 4 pawn islands. Against Kaspy? Forget it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Just played through the game again. I think 26 fxe3 was a bad decision. If Kasparov alllows you to undouble pawns, it's probably a sign you shouldn't. If the rook had captured, it would have at least prevented the Knight repositioning via e8. As it turned out, the undoubled pawn had a short life, and White lost a tempo having to move his bishop afterward.
Mar-23-07  James Bowman: I can't help but notice of the modern players Kasparov is far better with his knights than all the others, recent high level chess tends to favor the Bishops, I have only recently started to look at his games with any attention to detail and they are a great treat.
Mar-23-07  TommyC: You think this is a classic N v B encounter?!

I dunno. Looks to me white was hanging on for a long time, just not long enough.

Mar-24-07  James Bowman: Sorry <TommyC> No I do not, it is more that by and large in modern chess the grandmasters favor the Bishops over the knights usually and their play and ideas reflect that, this conclusion was not based soley on this game, but it is also confirmed by this game as well. I do not think Kasparov plays for the traditional Knight vs Bishop but rather in the middle game he coordinates his pieces around the knights to a greater degree than any other active top GM to my knowledge. Some times his pawn sacrafices have given him mobility with his knights. This just a general observation but I am convinced it is valid. I hope I was clearer this time.
Mar-24-07  James Bowman: <TommyC> Since you are a stronger player than I, look over some of Kasparov's games and see what you think. I am holding only about 1600 on ICC but have beaten some 2100 on Chessmaster and Instant Chess as well as some nice upsets on ICC, I work the night shift and play sleep deprived frequently. When I do I then drop 300pts and have to fight back to get my rating back and then fade from fatigue. Viscious cycle but a useful excuse also ;o]
Apr-01-07  TommyC: Hi <James> it seems to me Kasparov did nearly *everything* better than his contemporaries, but I'm not sure his superior handling of knights was a unique difference in some way. It's an interesting thought though. I'm not sure how you'd "prove" it - unless Kasparov came up with new middlegame plans in well-known positions that particularly used knights, say. I'm not aware he did. But maybe, but maybe not.

I did see an interesting Kasparov lecture once, when he talked about how Fischer had a particular love of the f1 bishop and would typically avoid exchanging it in the Sicilian as much as possible. So maybe such specialist tastes (?) can exist at the highest level.

Basically, I dunno.

It's been a long time since I played on the ICC. I think I was around 2200ish there.

Jun-03-08  Jim Bartle: OhioChessFan: 10. Rc1?

Right, Seirawan writes this was a bad mistake (white expected 10. 0-0), and along with 12. d5, left Yermolinsky in a bad spot.

Feb-09-11  Eyal: <10. Rc1?
(Yermo prolly expected 10..0-0)>

In two games that Yermolinsky played against Svidler not long before this one (Yermolinsky vs Svidler, 1998 and Yermolinsky vs Svidler, 1999 [from an earlier round of this tournament]), he had rather easy draws after 10…0-0 11.Ng5, which Kasparov avoids by playing 10…Bxg4 instead of castling. Note that White is waiting with Ng5 until Black castles – a move earlier, 10.Ng5 can simply be repulsed by 10…h6, since White can’t counter that by 11.h3 (as after …0-0 – see Ftacnik vs S Uesugi, 2007) - with the black rook still on the h-file, 12.hxg4 isn’t playable after 11…hxg5.

At any rate, Yermolinsky should have guessed Kasparov would come up with some improvement… Not that 10…Bxg4 followed by 11…e6 was a novelty – it’s been played before in Vaganian vs F Hoelzl, 1980 as well as several other games that don’t appear in this database; and it seems that White’s 12.Rb1 from that game was a better idea than Yermolinsky’s 12.d5, which leaves him with a weak pawn structure exploited by Kasparov in the endgame.

A year later, in game 2 of the WC match, Kramnik played against Kasparov 10.Rb1(!) and went on to win after 10…a6 11.Rxb7 (Kramnik vs Kasparov, 2000).

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The second of Kasparov's seven consecutive wins in rounds 2-8. Stohl recommended 17 Rb1 as more active than Yermolinsky's 17 Bf1!?. Once the dark squared bishops were exchanged Kasparov offered an endgame with 21..Qf6 intending to refute 22 Rce1? with 22..Nxf3+. Stohl thought that Whites best drawing chance would have been 37 Kd2..cxd 38 Rc6+..Kxb5 39 Rxd6..Kc4 40 Rd7..Rxa3 41 Ke3..Ra2 42 Rc7+..Kxd5 43 Rxh7. 42 Ke5 would have lost to 42..Nxe8 43 d7..Nd6 44 d8(N)..c3.

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