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Garry Kasparov vs Anatoly Karpov
Karpov - Kasparov World Championship Match (1984/85), Moscow URS, rd 16, Oct-22
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Check Variation Intermezzo Line (E15)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-01-11  Badmojo: From Wikipedia:

One move in game 16 may have had a profound effect on chess history. In this position, Karpov was tired and offered a draw (and Kasparov accepted). Karpov should have won if he had played 37... Rd5! At this point Karpov was leading the match 4-0. If he had won this game, his win in

Dec-01-11  Badmojo: game 27 would have ended the match with a 6-0 victory.

Andy Soltis and Yasser Seirawan discuss this possible scenario. Kasparov would be demoralized after his 0-6 defeat and would not have been the same player that he soon became. Karpov would have remained World Champion for perhaps a decade, and Kasparov would not have split from FIDE as he did in 1993 to form the Professional Chess Association. The havoc that this split caused in the World Championship for 15 years would not have occurred

Dec-01-11  Petrosianic: Not only Game 16. Karpov also missed a sure win in Game 41 (33. a6!).

But I don't think we can say for sure that Kasparov wouldn't have won in 1987. He'd have been demoralized, certainly. On the other hand, unless he gave up the game entirely, who else would have challenged in 1987? If he played at all, he'd have been playing to win, eager to avenge the defeat, and considering how overconfident Karpov was in 1984, imagine how much more so he would have been in 1987.

Considering a) that Kasparov was insane enough to believe he could still win the match after going 0-4, and b) actually proved that it wasn't as insane as it looked, I wouldn't count him out in 1987 in that scenario, which means that the schism might still have happened even if Karpov won this match 6-0.

Maybe. Either way, I wouldn't shed too many tears over this match. This is sports, you have to just let these things play out and see where the chips fall. "Should have won" means "didn't win". The Red Sox should have beat the Mets, but the ball went through Buckner's legs, and they lost. Karpov should have won this match, but he abandoned one winning game here because he was tired, blew another one in Game 41, and made no effort to sharpen the play and bring the match home even after he lost in Game 32, even though he knew he was tiring. No matter how good you are, do you really deserve to win when you make all these mistakes?

I have no idea. That's why it's best to forget about "should have", and just look at what happened. Karpov "sort of" won this match. Meaning that his 2 point edge bought him a 10 month extension of his title, rather than the 3 years that an outright win would have brought.

Dec-01-11  Badmojo: Yeah I agree. Seirawan is making way too many assumptions.
Jan-06-12  nycbg: Why would Rd5 have won for Karpov?
Jan-06-12  Petrosianic: I don't think there's anything magic about Rd5 in particular, just the fact that Karpov is up an exchange and should have kept playing. White does have a pawn for the exchange, but it's a wide open position with pawns on both sides. If the Queens come off, White definitely loses. Should be Advantage Black.
Jul-08-12  acirce: 33.Qe5 was played, not 33.Qf4 as given here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: After 26. Rc4 White has strong winning chances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: After 37..Rd5? 38. Ne4! and White has the advantage (almost winning).

My computer gives 37...Rd1 or 37...Rc6 and Black has small advantage but according to Keene, Karpov was "visibly shattered after the games fluctuations". Most of Keene's (pre-computer) analysis is correct with one or two mistakes..a suggestion of Averbakh's was right.

Move 33. is given as Qf4 by Keene but maybe its in Informator?

Certainly a dramatic struggle with mistakes by both sides.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Now it prefers 37..Qb7+ ! but it is only small advantage to Black, Karpov was wise to take a draw and play the next day.
Aug-16-12  vikram2791: Karpov blundered: Instead of 36.Qd7+, he should have played Rd5!!
Aug-24-12  e4 resigns: <Karpov blundered: Instead of 36.Qd7+, he should have played Rd5!!> I assume you mean 36...Qd7+, because Kasparov is white. Rd5 is a blunder, not deserving !! at all.
Sep-15-12  vikram2791: Yes, I meant 36...Qd7.
May-06-16  Howard: Well, let me shed some light here based on Kasparov's comments in his first volume on his games with Karpov, from 1975-85. Just looked at it last night, in fact.

First, the final position is a win for Karpov, according to the book. Don't have the book in front of me, but in today's age of computers, that probably doesn't matter.

Second, Kasparov missed a win at some earlier point, and it was shown to him by Karpov right after the game. Not only that, the Informant also points out that missed win. Thus, Kasparov could have won his first game of the match right here and now...

...but then Kasparov makes the interesting point that it was probably a GOOD thing for him that he overlooked the win! Anyone care to guess why?

I'll wait a few days and then explain why---unless, someone else wants to fill in the blanks.

May-20-16  Howard: takers ?!

Well, Kasparov states in his book that if he'd won this game (like he should have, though Karpov also missed a win later), then Karpov's hopes of a 6-0 "shutout" would have been forever dashed. Thus, he probably would have switched his style of play to a more aggressive mode with the intent of wrapping up the match sooner, even if it meant absorbing another 1-2 losses.

In other words, by Kasparov's reasoning, Karpov would have ended up winning the match by, say, a 6-2 or a 6-3 score----and it wouldn't have taken very many more games for that to happen.

May-20-16  RookFile: Is the final position a win for Karpov? I don't know. What I can say for sure is that black has a material advantage and has every opportunity to play for one. We can be sure Bobby Fischer would have, right down to the last pawn. Karpov should have made Kasparov suffer more than he did.
May-20-16  offramp: At the end Karpov was very short of time.
May-21-16  Howard: According to Kasparov, the final position is indeed a win---and it's not as difficult as it may seem at first glance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: So what's the final verdict on this position? Is it winning for black or not? Is 37...Rd5 a good move or not? 38.Ne4 seems like a good reply.

What do the top computers say?

Jul-04-20  Howard: Stockfish claims (See above) that the final position is a draw, but Kasparov states otherwise.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: draw, draw, draw. Kasparov's strategy of drawing quickly with white extended the match in the unlimited format, forced the physical collapse of Karpov.

What if Karpov had played more boldly in games 20-30, perhaps losing a couple of games but getting to six wins? Kasparov still would have eclipsed him and won the championship in the next cycle. Karpov certainly didn't make it easy, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Pfleger speculated on the same lines long ago, which points up the difference between a match played to a set number of wins vis-a-vis the format of total points.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Howard> <Kasparov missed a win at some earlier point, and it was shown to him by Karpov right after the game. Not only that, the Informant also points out that missed win.>

What is this missed win? I looked at the comments on this game, and I found that folks are proposing 26.Rc4 and 30.Ne6+ as better moves for Kasparov. The computer gives +1.28 to 26.Rc4 after six minutes of variation-crunching, and less to 30.Ne6+. I am sure that back then, Kasparov would have made a win of a +1.3 against 80% of grandmasters, but how can anyone be sure of that outcome against Karpov?

Am I missing some other move?

Aug-04-20  Howard: Just checked Kasparov's book, and he states that 26.Rc4! would have won.
Nov-28-20  fisayo123: Yes, 26. Rc4 was close to winning on higher depths, the edge is close to +2.5

26. Rc4 Qd8 27. Qe4+ g6 28. Qb7+ Kh6 29. Nf7+ Rxf7 30.Qxf7 Rc8 31.Qf4+ Kh7 32.Rd4 Qe7 33.Qd2 Qb7+ 34.Kg1!

and its hard to see even Karpov surviving there

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