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Garry Kasparov vs Vasyl Ivanchuk
55th USSR Championship (1988), Moscow URS, rd 2, Jul-??
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Fianchetto Lines (A29)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-11-08  euripides: <twin> <15...Bxf5> 16.Ne5 with discovered attacks on f5 and e4 looks dangerous.
May-11-08  twinlark: <euripides>

Yes, but <16...Nxe5> gives Black time to scramble to safety.

May-11-08  euripides: <twin> true. For some reason I thought Black was dropping a piece after 17.Rxf5 but Black has Nf7 saving both knights and I think White can't take on b7 because of the fork on d6.
May-11-08  twinlark: <euripides>

Maybe Ivanchuk was wary of the other discovered attack with the Knight which doesn't give him time to scramble: <16.Ng5 Bg6> and after the exchanges on e4, White can take the pawn on b7 as there is now no Knight fork on d6.

White can clean up the c-file while Black clears a couple of White pawns off the second rank, but the upshot is a couple of connected passed white pawns on c3 and d4.

But even that doesn't look too terrifying because Black gets a passed a-pawn and material is equal:

click for larger view

Apr-07-10  SpiritedReposte: Beautiful vintage Kasparov! The final little pawn push, so nice and neat. Puzzle-worthy I'd say.
Apr-07-10  wierba: mate in 6 moves
Nov-26-10  parisattack: This win actually appeals to me more than the famous Immortal game against Topalov.

g4 was a brilliant conception and I don't doubt he had already spied the mating net when he played it...

Apr-23-12  MarkFinan: It must have took me 10 mins to see whites last move, f6?? Brilliant little mini though..
Dec-10-12  goodevans: <SpiritedReposte: ... Puzzle-worthy I'd say.>

I agree. Where to start it would be the only question. It would be nice to start it on move 21, except I don't think it matters which rook you use at this point. It would work well as a puzzle starting move 23 or 24.

Apr-07-13  King Crusher: Kasparov brushes aside a young pretender to his crown. Ivanchuk had a poor record against Kasparov and thus never looked likely to become World Champion. This game may have had a significant influence on their subsequent games.
Aug-03-13  dx9293: <King Crusher> I can't agree with this. Ivanchuk tied for first in the World Junior Championship, was not even 20 yet, won Linares a year later, and dealt Kasparov two or three of his worst losses ever (in Linares 1991 and Horgen 1995 for sure). Ivanchuk became a Candidate in 1991 and smashed Yudasin (ranked #7) +4=1 before somehow losing his next match to Yusupov.

It was a surprise, on the contrary, that after his early successes Ivanchuk wasn't a bigger force in the fight for the crown. He reached the final of the 2002 FIDE World Championship but lost badly to Ponomariov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: While I do not agree with the post by <King Crusher>, I have long believed Ivanchuk lacked psychological stability in some way, which hindered his chances of becoming champion, same as other greats such as Geller and Portisch.
Jan-07-14  gofer: <twinlark, TopaLove, Euripides, KingG >

As <Hesam7> points out...

<twinlark, TopaLove, Euripides, KingG >

<14 ... fxg4?>
<15 Ne5 ...>

Black cannot take Ne5...

15 ... Nxe5
16 Bxe4 Ng6
17 Bxg6 hxg6
18 Qxg6 ...

with a massive attack looming from one of Rf7, Rb5 and Bh6!

So black must move Ne4, which is a positional disaster for black as he loses control of center of the board and gets trebled c pawns but cannot play c5 due to e5 threatening both Rh8 and Nf6/Nd6!

15 ... Nf6/Nd6
16 Nxc6 bxc6
17 e4 ...

click for larger view

Now, black must consider how to stop e5, Be4, Bxh7 etc while trying to release Rh8. I can understand why black refused the pawn sacrifice...

Jan-07-14  Dave1: Black should accept the g Pawn
Sep-14-14  MarkFinan: What a Wiley old dog Kasparov was! g4!! I think blacks reply should have been to take the pawn and end up with this position after ..fxg Ne5 ..Nd6 Nxc6 ..bxc Bxb forking the rooks..

click for larger view

Such a clever game with Kasparov at his brilliant best.

Jan-26-15  Albanius: Black could try 13…Nd6 threatening 14..Bf4 while defending b7 and c4. W could respond with 14 Nh4 controlling f5
Nov-23-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: I'd make this a Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle, just for the final move.
Jun-14-16  Toribio3: Awesome, Kasparov the Killer!
Jun-14-16  tonsillolith: It seems more kibitzers are interested in answering the easier question of why Black doesn't play <14...fxg4> rather than the harder question of why Black doesn't play <15...Bxf5>.

<Twinlark> provides a possibility, but as mentioned it doesn't seem like such a damning option for Black, barring the possibility that Ivanchuk can foresee it's a terminally bad endgame for Black.

So I tried to think a bit more about this. Capturing the f-pawn leaves the valuable b-pawn unprotected, but Rxb7 leaves White open to discovered attacks of the f5 bishop on the queen. A successful discovery appears to require that the e4 knight moves to protect the f5 bishop behind it, and both Ng3 and Nd6 additionally attack a White rook.

After <16...Ng3>, my suggested variation <17. Qa4 Nxf1 18. Qxc6 Qxe2 19. Ne5> seems to offer White some compensation. Enough? I dunno.

However <Nd6> looks bad for White. So now I'm thinking the <threat is stronger than the execution> mantra applies here: add more pressure instead of capturing the pawn. <15...Ng3 16. Qa4> now puts a lot of pressure on the light squares <b7, c6, c4>, with <d5, e6, f7> potentially very weak as well.

Black can't defend all these squares, but <Qe6> seems to do the best job of it. Now <Ng5> for White seems like perhaps a nice move attacking queen and c6 knight at the same time, but also exposing the White king somewhat.

Does anyone care to comment on this?

Jun-14-16  Olavi: <tonsillolith> In their New in Chess article on the tournament, Khalifman and Nesis simply say 15...Bxf5 16.Ng5 is strong, while in Chess in USSR 1/1988 Kasparov gives 16.Ne5 Nxe5 17.Rxf5 Ng4 18.h3 g6 19.Rf3 Ngf6 20.Re3 with clear advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In Kasparov's analysis in particular, it is clear that the bishop pair will constitute a formidable force on an open board in conjunction with White's spatial/central superiority to come after the exchange of rooks, followed by e4.
Jun-14-16  tonsillolith: Ah, thanks <Olavi> and <perfidious>. After the variations and the comment, the situation is becoming clearer to me.

It is not the White queen who should fear discovered attack from the Black bishop, but the Black bishop who should fear the White rook!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MikhailGolubev: On 19 Sep 2020, while discussing their 1988 game with Kasparov on Chess-News, Ivanchuk explained that, when playing 14...Qe7 he missed that after 19...Ne7 White has a winning move 20.Bf3!. (Instead, in the game Ivanchuk played 19...Nd8 and quickly lost anyway).
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I'm with the 15...Bxf5 crowd. I was curious if there was some tactical refutation so I ran it on SF. I think the SF lines are straight forward. I get the problem with so many options available to White in response, and it's Kasparov after all, but it seems like a simple capture of what is about to become a dangerous Pawn.

1) +0.56 (32 ply) 16.Ng5 Bg6 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.Qxe4 Qxe4 19.Bxe4 Rxe4 20.Rxb7 Rc8 21.e3 h6 22.Rb5 Ne7 23.Rc5 c6 24.Rxc4 Nd5 25.Rc5 Nxe3 26.Bxe3 Rxe3 27.Kg2 Re7 28.Kg3 Rd7 29.Rff5 Re7 30.Kg4 Rcc7 31.Rce5 Rxe5 32.dxe5 Rf7 33.h4 Rxf5 34.Kxf5 Kf7 35.h5 a5 36.a4

2) =0.00 (32 ply) 16.Ne5 Nxe5 17.Rxf5 Ng4 18.Bxe4 Qxe4 19.Qxe4 Rxe4 20.Rxb7 Rxe2 21.Rxc7 Rc2 22.Rf1 Rxc3 23.Bd2 Rc2 24.Rff7 Rb8 25.Rxg7+ Kf8 26.Rgf7+ Kg8 27.Be1 Rb1 28.Rg7+ Kf8 29.Rcf7+ Ke8 30.Re7+ Kd8 31.Rd7+ Ke8 32.Rge7+ Kf8 33.Rxa7 Rxh2 34.Rf7+ Ke8 35.Rfe7+ Kf8

3) -0.08 (31 ply) 16.Rxb7 Nd6 17.Qa4 Be4 18.Bg5 Qd7 19.Rb2 Ne5 20.Qxd7 Nxd7 21.Rc1 Nf6 22.Bh3 Rab8 23.Rxb8 Rxb8 24.Be6+ Kf8 25.Bxf6 gxf6 26.Nd2 Bg6 27.Nxc4 Re8 28.Bd5 Rxe2 29.Nxd6 cxd6 30.Bc4 Rb2 31.Rf1 Ke7 32.Re1+ Kd7 33.Re2 Rxe2 34.Bxe2 Bf7 35.Bd3 Bxa2 36.Bxh7

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Considering what <GMMG> reports, Chucky didn't realize he was in trouble until at least after his 15th move.
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