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Garry Kasparov vs Teimour Radjabov
"David and Goliath" (game of the day Mar-05-2009)
Linares (2003), Linares ESP, rd 2, Feb-23
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 11 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-17-13  csmath: Looks to me, using Houdini that sacrifice was speculative, meaning not entirely correct.

If Kasparov had taken the knight:

22. Bxe5 Nxe5
23. dxe5 Bc5
24. Bg4 [better move than Komodo's, simply without exposing bishop to open file which makes more sense.]

and black does have some more seiour problems to justify the sacrifice. The best continuation (Houdini):

24. ...Be3
25. Qg2

[again, natural common sense move increasing potential scope of queen and leaving e2 open for other pieces.]

and now black is at the crossroads, basically two moves: (A) immediate 25. ...d4, or (B) defensive 25. ...Kb8 away from x-ray and protecting a8.

25. ...d4
26. d4 Ne4
27. Rf1 Qb7
28. Rd1 d3
29. Qf3


The advantage of white looks serious.

25. ...Kb8
26. Rf1 d4
27. Ne4 Qb7
28. Rd1 d3
29. Qf3 Qa7
30. h3


This position does not look great to me for black as white defence looks impenetrable while his queen seems poised for intrusion or exchange.

Basically it seems as soon as white entangles his pieces (if possible) black will lose because the material advantage here is serious. Thus my opinion is that sacrifice is speculative (not exactly correct).

Oct-18-13  csmath: Also the quality of game in the sequel is questionable.

24. Qg4?

[Totally crapy move and obviously a big error since 24. Qxd5 Nf6, 25. Qf5+ with decisive advantage. Even without much analysis this looks quite hopeless for black.]

27. Rdf1?

[Outright losing move because here Kasparov blunders a whole piece. See further.]

27. ...Nb3
28. Kd1 Bxg3!
29. Rf7

[white cannot take bishop because 29. ...Qg6 would immediately decide the game. Kasparov obviously overlooked this powerful move.]

So yes, Kasparov erred first from won position into slightly worse position and then from slightly worse position into outright lost position. And while Radjabov played fearless (but not brilliant) game Kasparov was not exactly playing to his high standards.

Thus his irate reaction at the prize award is understandable though of course he could have been more civil and kept the anger to himself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DrGridlock: <csmath> Interesting observations, and lines from Houdini. The unresolved issues in this game are down the tree you've looked at. As Steinitz said, "a sacrifice is best refuted by accepting it." Kasparov did not go down this route, while computer analyses suggest perhaps that this was his best choice.

Computer analysis also shows there is a big difference between dxe5 and Bxe5. If White wants to accept the sacrifice, he must do so with Bxe5. After that move, things are rather forced until White's move 24 (22 Bxe5 Nxe5 23 dxe5 Bc5).

In my first analysis, Komodo here continued Bf3. In your analysis, Houdidi preferred Bg4. I used this point as a new starting point for a Komodo analysis:

click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit (depth=28):

1. ² (0.54): 24.Bg4 Be3 25.Qg2 d4 26.Ne4 Kb8 27.a4 bxa4 28.Nd6 Bg5 29.Ra3 Bh4+ 30.Kd1 Rhf8 31.Bf3 Be7 32.Rf1 Rxd6 33.exd6 Bxd6 34.Rxa4 dxc3 35.Kc1 Qe3+ 36.Kb1 Qd3+ 37.Ka2 c2 38.Rxa6 Qb3+ 39.Ka1 Rxf3

2. ² (0.44): 24.Bf3 Be3 25.Qe2 Rdf8 26.Nf1 Bf4 27.Kd1 Rf5 28.Kc2 Rhf8 29.Kb1 Rxe5 30.Qd1 Kb8 31.Bg4 Rd8 32.Ka2 a5 33.Ng3 Be3 34.Qf3 b4 35.Rab1 d4 36.cxd4 Bxd4 37.Ne4 Qc6 38.Nd2 Red5 39.Rhc1

In this relatively deep analysis (28 plys), Komodo also prefers Bg4 to Bf3, but not by a large margin (.54 to .44). Interestingly, Komodo "blends" your two branches, playing both d4 (on move 25) and Kb8 (on move 26). Komodo also wants to pursue an additional exchange sacrifice on d6 (on move 32). Combined with his original knight sacrifice, this now leaves him down a rook for 3 pawns. Somewhat surprisingly, Komodo wants to pursue a second exchange sacrifice on move 39. That his position is even playable at this point is due to some significant pressue he is able to place on White's position - a precarious king with black's queen lurking, and a pawn waiting to promote on c2.

click for larger view

Komodo still finds an advantage for White, but it does not rise to the " " level of an advavantage.

What is the numerical advantage Houdidi gives to White, and what is the analysis depth in your lines?

Oct-18-13  csmath: It was significantly higher in Houdini, I don't remember but it raises to .

The thing is that white has created impenetrable position and he "only" needs to entangle. Once he does so black would be lost.

But the winning position in the game for white was after 23 moves since this is where Kasparov made crucial error (24. Qg4?). This is definitely something white could have won but he blew it.

I think this and the following Linares (2004) were instrumental in his decision to retire as he blew couple of won tactical positions and was simply not sharp enough although he played quite fine in 2005 (Linares, and Russian Superfinals).

Premium Chessgames Member
  DrGridlock: White's blunders on moves 24 and 27 were the game determinitive moves.

However, iIf White had a better position at move 24, it is only because of black's weaker move at move 22 (Nd7) and not because of any inherent strength in declining the sacrifice with Qe3. Komodo gives:

click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit (depth=24):

1. = (0.24): 22...Bd6 23.0-0-0 Nd3+ 24.Bxd3 Bxf4 25.Qxf4 cxd3 26.Rxd3 Qc7 27.Qg4 Rde8 28.Rd2 Kb7 29.Kb1 Rh6 30.Re2 Qf7 31.Rhe1 Na5 32.Rf1 Rf6 33.Rxf6 gxf6 34.Qh5 Qd7 35.Qg6 Nc4 36.Nh5 f5 37.Nf4

22 ... Bd6 is a much better move for black than 22 ... Nd7. In fact, Nd7 is not even one of Komodo's top 6 in move preferences at black's move 22.

The sacrifice 21 ... Ngxe5 creates a very unbalanced position. In exchange for the piece, black receives 2 pawns and an initiative. White's pieces are "entangled," and if he is able to "untangle" from this, of course with his additional material he'll be better. The trick is to get White "untangled." I do not agree that White's defense is "impenetrable." Black's asset is an advanced 4-3 queen-side pawn majority which it can throw at a White king that has to keep moving towards the queenside. In the Komodo line above, this can create a c-pawn which black can push to c2, and its promotion creates some significant defensive issues for White. This Komodo line:

24.Bg4 Be3 25.Qg2 d4 26.Ne4 Kb8 27.a4 bxa4 28.Nd6 Bg5 29.Ra3 Bh4+ 30.Kd1 Rhf8 31.Bf3 Be7 32.Rf1 Rxd6 33.exd6 Bxd6 34.Rxa4 dxc3 35.Kc1 Qe3+ 36.Kb1 Qd3+ 37.Ka2 c2 38.Rxa6 Qb3+ 39.Ka1 Rxf3

is quite fun to work through, because there are quite a few tactics in here where black has to keep sacrificing to keep the initiative.

While the positional Nh6 gave black his best option at move 21, I think Ngxe5 is playable, and I'm a long way from being convinced that it is "unsound."

Aug-26-14  SpiritedReposte: LOL Kasparov went Kanye West on the brilliancey prize ceremony!!? That's hilarious!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <It's a pity this beautiful game is remembered chiefly for Kasparov's massive dummy spit. It deserves better.>

Right on.

<Here Radjabov, 15 years old, ends Kasparov's 6 year undefeated streak at Linares and 7 seven straight years undefeated streak with the white pieces.>

An astounding tidbit.

<Kasparov's behavior was understandable, but, still, inappropriate for a person of his position. What is really shocking is not his behavior, but the fact that he had been so easily ticked off about the fact that the chess journalists voted this as the best game of Linares. Imagine, a person who has such a strong psychology being so easily intimidated by the fact that a teenager defeated him! However, I do agree with him that voting this game for the beauty prize is very condescending to Kasparov. He just shouldn't have made such an outburst at the award ceremony.>

Agree - he was right and wrong. Except chess history will remember him in the wrong.

<It is in the nature of champions that they take losing very badly as a rule. Kasparov is only human and had an off day at the office. He uncharacteristically went into his shell when challenged and then made a blunder (Rdf1?) against a 15 year old rising star, and then the assembled journalists deemed the game the "most beautiful" of the tourney. Is there any wonder he felt insulted, disrespected and probably humiliated? I think he had every right to be infuriated, it would have felt like everyone was spitefully crowing that he fell after going so long undefeated with white, and not through a brilliancy but through an error by him. This was a fascinating game but it's no Byrne v Fischer. The whole episode, and many of the comments here, smack of the Tall Poppy Syndrome. I'm sure Kasparov regretted his tirade later, but he deserves a little more understanding. He was, in fact, insulted.>

Very insightful. Also 29 ... Qg6! is easy to miss.

<"I'm ashamed of my behavior during those 10 minutes, it was over the top. I was tired and upset and I can apologize. But [Ian] Rogers and Leontxo [Garcia] should also be ashamed. What they did was a blow to classical chess. Is Makropoulos right? Is chess all about blunders now? Linares is supposed to be about classical chess. If that game can be given a beauty prize then classical chess is dead." "If it had been a prize for most memorable game then I would have handed it to Radjabov myself! It was the first time I lost to someone born after I won my title! I didn't say anything when the prize went to my losses to Ivanchuk in 1991 and 1997. My loss to Kramnik in 1994 also got the prize, but all right, that was a spectacular game."> - Kasparov

OK, so he kind of apologized. ;>D

Jul-13-15  Artemio: Blunder is part of the game of's not an excuse for losing..chess is a matter of full concentration and focus . this is what makes human different from the engine!!!! chess is a battle of nerves!!! not purely chess skill as the engine..
Premium Chessgames Member
  DWTaylorSr: Just read the post about Kasparov going "off" about the beauty prize. I have to agree with him on the quality of the game. Yes, it was a beautiful thing for a 15 year old rising star to defeat a World Champion. No, I don't think the press was correct in awarding the prize as a beauty prize ( upset prize would have been acceptable ).I cannot speak for Kasparov's actions, but as a competitor, none of like to lose especially when our own mistakes cost us the game. I think I'll give Kasparov a walk on this one. To err is human!!
Oct-24-16  ewan14: Fischer did not enjoy the waters being muddied either , before 1971
Mar-12-17  ColeTrane: Nigel Short: "...This means that Radjabov's strategy had worked. Instead of simply allowing Kasparov to grind him down he unbalanced the game with his knight sacrifice, and six moves later Kasparov had blundered. That was the point of Radjabov's sacrifice -- it was not sound but it gave him these practical chances."
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < ewan14: Fischer did not enjoy the waters being muddied either , before 1971>

Just ask the ghost of Efim Geller.

Apr-15-17  The Kings Domain: Appalling behavior by Kasparov. Not even Fischer behaved that badly. Perhaps him no longer being world champion exacerbated his already obnoxious personality.
May-06-17  Saniyat24: beautiful finish by Radjabov...
May-06-17  paavoh: <... so easily ticked off about the fact that the chess journalists voted this as the best game of Linares...>

Temperament addicted to winning in all arenas, perhaps? A person elected recently to a high US office may come to mind. Seriously, I do see the complaint about beauty prize decided on an error but he should have bitten the bullet. -1 for GK.

Sep-19-17  A.T PhoneHome: Despite Kasparov's outburst, he made one PAL.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Leontxo Garcia: "The concept of beauty is very subjective. When I was watching the game live, giving commentary to the spectators on their headphones, the move ..Ngxe5 by Radjabov against Kasparov gave me a sensation of beauty.

It is beautiful that a child of 15 has the courage to make that move with black against Kasparov in his Linares debut. It is beautiful that a record of seven undefeated years with white, and six years without losing in Linares at all, is broken by a 15-year-old child.

In his rage Kasparov talked about "best game." I explained at the top of my lungs that the paper on which I marked my vote said "prize for the most beautiful game," which permits a much greater level of subjectivity.

What's more, the tournament did not provide an "immortal" game of sublime beauty, so I felt quite free to vote for Radjabov's game and it seems that the majority of the journalists felt the same.

Chess is too important to me to insult it. I respect Leko and Kramnik and Kasparov, and it would never occur to me to insult them.

In fact, Kramnik told me last night (without being asked) that he thought it was fine that the prize went to Radjabov.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Makes me wonder why Kasparov never made it in politics.. free press.. huh?
Mar-30-19  YesChess1010: lmao great game!
May-15-20  Mudphudder: Anyone have a video clip of Kaspy's implosion? Was this tournament video recorded?
Nov-05-20  Justin796: Wow this Kaspy fellow is such a newb lol....its great how this game unnerved one of the greats ahaha!
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here are a few video links of this famous upset:

* agadmator explains:

* explains:

* The Post-Mortem:

* Teimour Radjabov explains:

Nov-12-20  Justin796: It's funny how Kaspy is said to have an inclination to avoid danger, and that muddying the waters can undermine his steadiness in attacking. The one game Tal, who is infamous for leading his opponents into 'deep dark forrests'' plays against Kasparov, Gary loses on time lol. Very interesting. I wonder if Botvinnik had figured out Tal in their rematch. I have to go over the 63 match or whatever it was bt Tal and Bot.
Nov-13-20  SChesshevsky: <It's funny how Kaspy is said to have an inclination to avoid danger, and that muddying the waters can undermine his steadiness in attacking...>

Nobody wants to face danger or contemplate an unclear attack when having a notably lousy position. Especially if there's a sense it might reasonably even get worse from there.

in this game, believe there is no way Kasparov was close to being happy with his position around moves 15, 16, 17 or so. He's probably straining to find a way to gain some sort of initiative while at the same time fix his defects. While also kicking himself for getting into this position out of the opening.

Then he gets hit with a sac. One that does offer some compensation. Kasparov has an interesting choice. Accept the sac, have maybe a winning material advantage but face serious initiative in a lousy position. Basically playing to hold on and eventually simplifying to let the material decide. Or decline the sac and play for the initiative but from a weak position. Basically play with an all or nothing feeling.

Can see how Kasparov would dispute this as some sort of brilliancy. Probably feels he blew the opening and frustratingly went with the wrong plan at the sac. But guessing had he accepted the sac and Radjabov won, Kasparov would've agreed on a beautiful game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Radjabov, not satisfied with the position he got in this game with 7..a6 and 8..b5, tried 7..cxd against Kramnik later in the tournament but was outplayed and lost. 9 a3 is now one of the main lines but at the time of this game was still relatively new. 10 Ne2 was a new move that has been repeated a number of times since this game. 10..c4?! is an odd move for a French player to choose closing the queenside and giving White a free hand on the kingside. Perhaps 19..Ne7 19 Ng5..Ng6 would have been a better choice for Black with an unclear position. Kasparov spent more than ten minutes on 24 Qg4?; instead he could have maintained an edge with 24 Qxd5. His position deteriorated quickly after the blunder 27 Rdf1?.

Certainly a very complex, entertaining game despite the errors.

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