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Garry Kasparov vs Jan Timman
Moscow PCA/Intel-GP (1994) (rapid), Moscow RUS, rd 2, Apr-??
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Polerio Defense Goering Variation (C59)  ·  1-0



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Given 21 times; par: 86 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-23-05  KingG: How much of this is theory? Black doesn't seem to get much compensation for the pawn.
Dec-23-05  aw1988: As far as I know, I've seen this up to h3.
Dec-24-05  Durateston: easy game
Dec-24-06  notyetagm: What tournament was this game played in? The 1994 Moscow Olympiad?
Dec-25-06  nescio: <notyetagm> Moscow Rapid, July 1994
Dec-25-06  Shajmaty: <nescio: <notyetagm> Moscow Rapid, July 1994> Yeah, Intel PCA GP.
Dec-25-06  Shajmaty: <KingG: How much of this is theory?>

<aw1988: As far as I know, I've seen this up to h3.>

Nowadays, the main line goes with 14...Ne4. Tal, back in 1966, against Honfi, preferred 14...Nd5!? After 14...Re8; 15. h3, Nd5; 16. 0-0, Qe7; 17. Nc3! White is slightly better. Honfi-Polgar, 1968, saw 15...Qe7 instead.

Dec-25-06  notyetagm: <nescio: <notyetagm> Moscow Rapid, July 1994>


Dec-25-06  Steppenwolf: Timman should have given up about 10 moves earlier. He plays the ending with 3 pawns down! Somebody should have told him it was silly.
Jan-30-08  GreenArrow: Couple of mistakes by Kasparov in this rapid game. 17. Nc3 seems to hand the pawn back after the simple 17...Nxc3 18.Bxc3 Nxb3 19.axb3 Qxe2. Better might have been the nice line 17. Re1 Qg5 18.Bg4!, inviting 18...f5 19.Nd2! Later on, Kasparov was probably in endgame mode, missing an immediate win by 28.f5! Bf7 29.c4. A lot of players play the 2 knights defence without thinking because it gives black 'initiative' but whether there is really enough for the pawn is highly questionable
Jan-15-09  rauan.sagit: In response to GreenArrow

Your proposal is to play 18 ... Nxb3

White could respond 19. Bf3

The idea is that the knight on b3 cannot return and protect the pawn on c6. So it most probably has to take the rook on a1.

I am guessing that after 19 ... Nxa1 both 20. Qxa1 with the double threats Bxc6 and Bxg7 and also 20. Bxc6 are promising continuations for White.

18...Nxb3 19. Bf3 Nxa1 20. Qxa1 or Bxc6

Rauan Sagit
16 jan 2009

Jan-15-09  Bobwhoosta: <Green Arrow: A lot of players play the 2 knights defence without thinking because it gives black 'initiative' but whether there is really enough for the pawn is highly questionable>

I disagree. First of all, the main line of the Two Knights' Defense doesn't involve a pawn sacrifice. Secondly, I think White generally tends to have significant problems to solve if he goes into the line wherein he gets the pawn. Black has the initiative, an easy set up, and attacking chances. Things can easily go wrong for White, whom I would argue chooses to stay out of these types of lines himself.

Jan-15-09  Eisenheim: should the care read 44 a3 instead
May-08-09  hedgeh0g: I think 10...Qd4 is stronger than Qc7, because it attacks the knight, prevents d2-d4 and targets the f2-pawn.
Jun-18-09  DrGridlock: <First of all, the main line of the Two Knights' Defense doesn't involve a pawn sacrifice.>

From "Mastering the Chess Opening vol 1" by John Watson. In his section on the Two Knights Defense commenting after Black's 4 ... d5:

"Black cuts off White's bishop with tempo while dramatically helping his central situation and freeing his c8-bishop for action. ... I shall mainly devote my attention to the main lines and in general the more strategic (and popular) continuations. ... 5 exd5 Na5
Black continues to gain time for development by attacking the c4-bishop. He is willing to sacrifice a pawn to that end. ... 6 Bb5+
This is white's point: he will stay a pawn ahead, having no pawn weaknesses himself. ... 6 ... c6
Black sacrifices a pawn, but he gains another tempo by attacking White's bishop and thereby takes the initiative."

There are 587 games in the Chessgames database through black's 6th move c6. If you're going to play the Two Knight's defense as black, you're basically accepting the pawn sacrifice if White chooses to continue 4 Ng5.

Jun-30-09  nummerzwei: <If you're going to play the Two Knight's defense as black, you're basically accepting the pawn sacrifice if White chooses to continue 4 Ng5.>

No. You're offering it :=).

Seriously, I don't think that there are many people who would play the game line without preparation. Black certainly has some initiative, but White is probably better.

Jun-30-09  jussu: I have a funny old introductory chess book (from around 1970). That thing quotes 4. Ng5 with "?!" (or was it even "?") and tells a nice story about how this line is a typical example about the dangers of going for material at the expense of development.

I do play two knights myself (with black) and in my level this pawn sacrifice gives good results. However, you rarely see 3...Nf6 in the top level these days. It seems that modern defensive skills have proven that black's compensation for the pawn is purely temporary, in the end he will be a pawn down for nothing, with shattered queenside. Gosh, the entire King's Gambit is under shadow these days, and there white gets a nice long-term compensation.

Jul-04-09  DrGridlock: <No. You're offering it :=). >

You're right, nummerzwei. More precise syntax on my part would have been,

"If you're going to play the Two Knights defense as Black, you must accept the fact that some lines offer a pawn sacrifice to White."

Jul-22-09  jussu: Checked; "4. Ng5 (?)" it was.
Oct-16-09  hedgeh0g: I think the general consensus is that the gambit is pretty sound, but it requires very precise play by Black. Most GMs seem to avoid 4.Ng5 like a bad smell.
Mar-07-19  PJs Studio: I love Kasparov’s final move. “Go ahead and take it. f5! ± ... or don’t. b5!”

Best ever.

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