Entries in Garry Kasparov (57)
Of the five world championship matches contested by Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, the one that best demonstrated Kasparov's attacking, tactical flair was the third in the series. This was the first match in which Kasparov was the defending champion, and he played like a champion, winning several beautiful games in his trademark style. Karpov too had his moments, and right when he seemed on the verge of getting blown out won three games in a row to level the match near the end.
In short, it was a very exciting match, and in my column I analyze six of the 24 games, including four of Kasparov's masterpieces.
Garry Kasparov has regular interactions with U.S. chess players, especially juniors, but this bit of conjecture/rumor-mongering by Russian Chess Federation President Leonid Filatov seems based on a misunderstanding of Kasparov's activities in the U.S. Or, perhaps, he's just stirring the pot for some reason. If it turns out to be true, though, I for one would be quite happy about it.
This was a very exciting event, and there were many games worth discussing. For now, however, the bare results and some brief impressions. Hikaru Nakamura had a strong second day and won with a score of 11/18, a point ahead of Wesley So and a point and a half ahead of Garry Kasparov. All three finished with plus scores, and since it was a four player tournament it meant that the remaining player served as the piñata. On this occasion it fell to Fabiano Caruana, the new U.S. Champion and world #2 player to fill that role. His play on day two was completely unsuccessful, and he wound up with just 5.5/18.
Nakamura's victory was the product of doggedness on day 1, hanging in there while he wasn't playing well, and on day two he got into a good rhythm and was the dominant player on the day.
So had his moments, especially against Kasparov, but couldn't keep up with Nakamura's pace on the second day. (That said, if he had beaten him in the final round rather than drawing, they would have gone to a playoff.) So's biggest success came against Kasparov. He lost badly to him in round 1, and was close to losing two more game to him on the first day as well. Sadly for Kasparov, a couple of masterpieces in the making were completely ruined by his blundering a knight (on both occasions) and losing. The highlight of their contests came on day 2, however, in the first game of the day, when So won an absolute blowout. The commentators, and then Kasparov himself found the game reminiscent of Paul Morphy's "Opera Game", and Kasparov remarked that he found himself in the role of the "amateur" in that game.
Kasparov came close, and on the first day he could and should have scored far more heavily than he did. He repeatedly achieved the sorts of positions he wanted, and displayed not only good preparation but tremendous and energetic play in the middlegame. Only his rust and several outright blunders left him in third at the end of day 1, though only half a point behind Nakamura and So. On day two he was the one having to scramble to stay alive, and he did a remarkable job of saving some terrible positions against Nakamura in particular. Still, he finished strongly with wins over Nakamura and Caruana in the last two rounds (the latter game was especially nice), and his day 2 score was half a point better than what he achieved on day 1. Surprisingly - and impressively - Kasparov won his mini-matches with Caruana and Nakamura, but suffered badly against So.
Finally, for Caruana just about everything went wrong starting with round 7 on the first day. After that, his main highlight was a nice victory over Kasparov on the black side of a Scotch in the penultimate cycle (in round 15). For him, it will be an event to forget, except for the privilege of being able to say that he played Kasparov in a public event on even terms.
Reminder: St. Louis Blitz Event With Caruana, Nakamura, So, and Kasparov Starts in About Five Minutes
That's just before 1 p.m. local time in St. Louis, 2 p.m. ET in the U.S. The event will take place over two days, a double round-robin between the top three finishers in the U.S. Championship - Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and Wesley So - and Garry Kasparov. The games will be broadcast on all the usual websites (official site here), and I'll get in a quick prediction that Caruana will win, Nakamura will come in second, and Kasparov will take the bronze. (My hedge is that the top two might switch places, but I'm going to stick to Kasparov in third.)
At 1 p.m. local time in St. Louis (= 2 p.m. ET) the U.S. Championships get underway in St. Louis. Both the Championship and the Women's event are 12 player round robins finishing April 25 - April 26 in case of a playoff, and don't forget that after the event, on the 28th and 29th, there will be a blitz event that might include the big three (Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and Wesley So) and definitely includes none other than Garry Kasparov. (I hope for his sake he has been training hard.)
The Championship is incredibly strong, with three players in the top 10 (the aforementioned Mssrs. Caruana, Nakamura, and So), and the second tier of Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Ray Robson, and Sam Shankland isn't exactly chopped liver. On the Women's side, it looks likely to be another battle to the death between Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih, who between them have won the last 10 women's championships. Krush has won the last four, but they've almost always come down to the wire and Zatonskih is the very slightly higher-rated player.
Here are the first round pairings for the main event:
- Fabiano Caruana (2795) - Varuzhan Akobian (2615)
- Sam Shankland (2656) - Akshat Chandra (2477)
- Wesley So (2773) - Gata Kamsky (2678)
- Hikaru Nakamura (2787) - Aleksandr Lenderman (2618)
- Alexander Shabalov (2528) - Ray Robson (2663)
- Alexander Onischuk (2664) - Jeffery Xiong (2618)
It's a good time to be a fan of U.S. chess! Tournament predictions? Nakamura is the defending champion, and he and Gata Kamsky have won the last seven between them. So only started playing in the U.S. Championship last year and Caruana is a rookie, so the Nakamura-Kamsky streak isn't as relevant as it would otherwise be. My prediction is that Nakamura will win.
...is here. Coinciding with the start of this year's tournament in Wijk aan Zee, I take a look back at the 1999 edition, won by Garry Kasparov in brilliant style. In particular, I take a look at his ultra-famous win over Veselin Topalov, along with the game he (Kasparov) prized even more, his victory over Peter Svidler.
Coming soon to a U.S. Championship near you, or right after it. Garry Kasparov will join the top three finishers from that event in a two-day round-robin blitz event upon the Championship's conclusion. It will be interesting to see Kasparov take on someone more or less his own size (assuming the top three is populated by the likes of Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, and Wesley So), even if he's strategically scheduling it so they'll be pre-exhausted by the tournament.
More on both events, here.
My column this week offers some musings on the relevance of originality to a game's greatness, using Garry Kasparov's game 10 win over Viswanathan Anand from their 1995 world championship match as a point of departure.
N.B. Please feel free to leave comments there - it's a new site, and it would be helpful to me and the site to generate some discussion there. (You can comment here too, of course.)