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Andrei Sokolov vs Garry Kasparov
Reykjavik World Cup (1988), Reykjavik ISL, rd 7, Oct-11
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Amsterdam Variation (B93)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-24-05  ksadler: What happened to Kasparov in this game? He couldn't have missed 37. Qe3. Or perhaps just a case of being human and miscalculating?
Feb-19-06  Father Karras: 36.Qg5 is a blunder. But black's position is so good he could have still drawn the game even after the loss of the Q.
Apr-18-11  wordfunph: game sidelight from NIC Magazine 1988 #8..

The television camera showed a dejected Kasparov remaining seated at the board with his head in his hands for a long time. Until Spassky tapped his shoulder and offered him a drink. The Icelandic media passed it off as apple juice, but those in the know were aware that it was whisky from the Hospitality Suite. It was a nice gesture of Spassky but Kasparov, who never touches alcohol during a tournament, let this cup pass from him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: This is how you beat Kasparov's Sicilian- you take the fight to him and hope he makes a mistake. In his career he played over a hundred games in the Najdorf and only lost a dozen or so, so defeating him here must have felt pretty great.
Mar-29-17  keithbc: The tournament book of the world cup states that even after losing his queen, Kasparov could have forced a draw.... I (nor my machine) can see anything remotely looking like holding this game after the queen blunder.
Mar-29-17  Olavi: 37...Nd3 38.Rxd3 Bxd3 39.Rf8 Rxf8 40.Qxg5 Rc2 was suggested.
Oct-10-17  Whitehat1963: Please excuse my ignorance, but I have no idea why this is over. What’s the finish?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: <Whitehat1963> I think that black resigned here simply because of his material deficit (incurred from having blundered the Queen eight moves earlier)... perhaps?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Whitehat1963: Please excuse my ignorance, but I have no idea why this is over. What’s the finish?>

Count the queens.

(Actually, as pointed out below, apparently GK had chances even after his big blunder, but by the final position it's quite hopeless. SF suggests 44.Rf2 Nxg2 45.Bxf4 Nxf4 46.Rxf4, etc.)

Jan-11-20  keithbc: Olavi

But the variation you provide is BEFORE Kasparov lost his queen. I am talking about AFTER the queen loss

Jan-11-20  Olavi: <keithbc> The move that blunders the queen is 36...Qxg5, because after that, any try to keep it is hopeless. The variation I gave is another way to give it.
Jan-15-20  keithbc: as per my original comment as this still stands.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It's a shame about the blunder because this is another expertly played Najdorf from Kasparov.

click for larger view

This is about as far as White gets. There aren't many constructive plans left for White, though. The knight on e5 is very powerful. White can try to swap it off but it will be replaced by the knight on a4. (Nf3, Nac4, Nxe5 Nxe5.)
After 34.Rd1.

click for larger view

Kasparov wants to take the g5 pawn with ...Qxg5. He cannot at the moment, of course, because of Rf8+.

(Black can't play 34...Rxc2 owing to 35.Nxb4.)

However, IF the c-file were open AND the R on d1 was on d2, then the Bc1's diagonal would be blocked and ...Qxg5 WOULD be possible!

Therefore, Kasparov plays
34...b3! <This partly defuses the ...Rxc2, Nxb4 idea.>
35.cxb3 Be2
<If 36.Re1 or Rg1, then 36...Nd3 wins quickly.>

click for larger view

All according to plan. White cannot play 37.Rxe2 because of 37...Rxc1+ followed by 38...Qxf4 with a huge positional advantage:

click for larger view

Sadly for Kasparov, there was a hidden tactic that ruined his idea. At least, that's my explanation of what happened.

Jan-16-20  Olavi: <offramp>, your explanation must be spot on. But the line given in 1988, 37...Nd3 38.Rxd3 Bxd3 39.Rf8+ Rxf8 40.Qxg5 Rc2 41.Qg4 Re2 42.Qxe6+ Rf7 and white had better take the perpetual, looks good, so it wasn't all bad even after the blunder (but Kasparov was dejected and didn't bother, emotional as always). <keithbc>, this is what the tournament book means to say.
Jan-21-20  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi keithbc,

First let me thank you for getting me re-acquainted with the Book; 'World Cup Chess' by Kavalek. It's been about 20 years since I last opened this book.

First the anecdote.

When the then 51 year old Spassky tried to consol Kasparov on this loss, Kasparov is reported to have snapped back:

"If I blundered my Queen away at the age of fifty, then it would not matter." (page 126)

The game in question is not analysed in detail but does say on the same page:

'...even after losing his Queen, he had enough counterplay to force a draw.'

So we are looking for something plausible AFTER White's 39th move.

You may have seen what it can be like in a press room or analyse room with many hands throwing out variations in a post mortem.

A Kasparov loss would attracted the great, the good and the noisy.

(a bit like here except without the 'great and the good. :) )

I'm guessing of course but perhaps Kavalek witnessed or actually took part in this analytical feast which can become quite chaotic or picked up some hearsay analysis.

Kavalek slipped in the sentence on the page without thinking it may be wrong.

Did you notice the 'Murphy Law' typo on page 37.

A lot of the book is taken up with Kasparov's play, his wheeling 'n' dealing, off board politics, and his apparent tantrums. It could quite easily have been called 'Kasparov and The World Cup.'

They list the players details and of all the people to get a wrong D.O.B, it's Kasparov, they even makes him older than Karpov.


Jan-24-20  Olavi: <"If I blundered my Queen away at the age of fifty, then it would not matter." (page 126)

The game in question is not analysed in detail but does say on the same page:

'...even after losing his Queen, he had enough counterplay to force a draw.'

So we are looking for something plausible AFTER White's 39th move. >

I don't have the book, but I am sure that this interpretation is wrong. I gave above the variation (37...Nd3!) analyzed in the post mortem and reported in the press. Kasparov also gives it in Informator 46, with additions. There was never any suggestion that Black had chances after 37...Bh5.

And that is consistent with Kasparov's (supposed) comment and Kavalek's statement. It is 36...Qxg5 that loses the queen; Kasparov didn't see 37.Qe3. When he played 37...Bh5, he was fully expecting 38.Rf8+.

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