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    Entries in Garry Kasparov (40)

    Saturday
    Apr252015

    Kasparov Leads the Battle of the Legends 3.5-1.5

    The two-day rapid & blitz exhibition match between Garry Kasparov and his erstwhile challenger Nigel Short began today/yesterday/Saturday in St. Louis, and at the halfway point Kasparov leads the "Battle of the Legends" 3.5-1.5.

    In game 1, the rapid game, Kasparov had White and enjoyed a winning advantage much of the way in a Bogo-Indian. Short hung in there, and as time dwindled away Kasparov had to reconcile himself to a draw. This was followed by four blitz games, which were dominated by Kasparov.

    In the first, Kasparov found a nice pawn sac on the black side of an English, took over the initiative and finished with a strong attack. A note about the game score: I haven't checked TWIC, but on Chess24's website their record of the game finished prematurely. Here's how it ended: 33.gxf4 Qh5 34.Rxe3 dxe4 35.Qh2 Rg8+ 36.Kh1 e2 and only here did Short resign.

    The second blitz game was won by Short, but in peculiar fashion. Kasparov was better all the way on the white side of a Nimzowitsch Defense, but simply forgot about the clock and lost on time. Oops.

    Kasparov immediately struck back in the third blitz game, winning convincingly if not quite perfectly against Short's Nimzo-Larsen (1.b3). White quickly obtained a structural advantage, but this was always outweighed by Black's activity and kingside attacking chances.

    Finally, Kasparov broke through with White on his third try. It wasn't a particularly clean game, and from a theoretical standpoint Short was doing fine with the semi-offbeat Chigorin. Nevertheless, the ex-champ outplayed him - several times - and finally brought home the full point.

    Kasparov's two point lead could easily have been more, and while it's a significant edge he also led his last exhibition match with Short, several years ago, by two points with just three games remaining. He promptly lost the next two games before pulling out the finale, so Short's fans shouldn't give up hope.

    Friday
    Apr102015

    A Short Kasparov Interview with Harvard Business Review

    Here. (HT: Howard Sample)

    Wednesday
    Apr082015

    Kasparov-Short in St. Louis

    Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short famously played a world championship match in 1993 (won easily by Kasparov), not to mention a rapid match in 1987 (also won easily by Kasparov) and then a rapid and blitz match in 2011 (won by Kasparov thanks to a win in the final game). Now, for some reason, they're going to do it again.

    The match will take place April 25 and 26 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, with each day starting with a rapid game (25' + 10" delay; using time delay rather than increment is a horrible custom foisted upon us in the U.S. by our beloved federation) followed by four blitz games (5' + 3" delay). I suppose it's good publicity for the St. Louis club, a chance for Kasparov to erase the stain of his near-collapse in the 2011 match (he led by two with three games to go, then promptly lost two straight games) and a chance for Short to finally slay the man he once called a "hairy ape". (I think this was shortly after Kasparov's famous quip, when he was asked who the winner of the Short-Timman final candidates match would be and how his championship match with that winner would go. His reply: "It will be Short and it will be short.")

    Hopefully Kasparov will be in good form and can still show something of his old class; having him show up just to lose to someone he had a +22 score against in classical games would be a pity.

    HT: Allen Becker.

    Friday
    Jan232015

    Wijk aan Zee 2015, Round 11 Recap: So Cuts Carlsen's Lead to Half a Point

    In the famous 1999 edition of the Wijk aan Zee tournament, Garry Kasparov had a seven-game winning streak that included what may be his most famous game ever, his attacking gem against Veselin Topalov. Amazingly, he rated his later win over Peter Svidler even more highly, which shows what great form he was in. His play in the tournament was lauded as one of his best ever results, and it was the first of a long series of super-tournament wins for the then-world champion. One can pile on the praise, but what's generally forgotten about that event is that Viswanathan Anand finished only half a point behind the winner, and he - unlike Kasparov - went undefeated.

    I bring this up because something similar is happening this time around. Magnus Carlsen has been leading the current edition for quite a while now, thanks to a six-game winning streak, and he has elevated his already stratospheric rating even higher. But meanwhile, almost as if in the distant background, Wesley So is just half a point behind. As in the 1999 tournament, the leader has lost one game while the runner-up has gone undefeated, and the leader's title, rating, streak and presence has sucked up most of the attention. But it's a close competition, and as the current tournament has two rounds yet to go it isn't over yet. (And as we saw in the Qatar Masters, having a six-game winning streak doesn't guarantee first place - just ask Anish Giri and Vladimir Kramnik.)

    So was a point back entering the round, but he cut the gap in half by beating Ivan Saric in what was to me a rather strange game. Saric played a sideline of the Zaitsev Ruy with Black, but even though there wasn't too much theory to master (at least relatively speaking) he seemed unprepared for So's 18th move. His initial reaction was correct, but on his 20th move he played a novelty that left him clearly worse and living on the edge, and his 23rd move lost a piece to a short combination.

    Carlsen had White against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and had the pleasure of playing not one but two lines against the latter's Gruenfeld! (It started out as a 7.Be3 Classical line, only to transpose six moves later into the 7.Nf3 + 8.Rb1 variation.) Carlsen got a good position and started to outplay his opponent, but despite winning a pawn he couldn't manage to push him over the edge.

    Anish Giri defeated his countryman Loek van Wely on the white side of a Pirc. Giri found some nice tactical ideas, and even though one of them made his life more difficult than it needed to be, he was in control pretty much throughout the game and was a deserved winner. That put him into a tie for third place with Vachier-Lagrave, half a point behind So.

    Ding Liren is also in that third place tie after an absolute gift from Radoslaw Wojtaszek. Wojtaszek was better throughout (though maybe never quite winning), and pressing for hour after hour. Had he played g4 on move 59 or 60 he would have kept some winning chances, but after that he needed to show a little caution. Unfortunately, he uncorked the blunder 62.Bb7??, forgetting that Black could have ideas too (this is psychologically understandable when all the winning chances have been yours for the past four hours), and after 62...b5 the game was essentially over. Wojtaszek played three more moves, but there was nothing to be done. Chess can be cruel!

    The day's last winner was Hou Yifan. That was her first win of the tournament, and if you've been following the events you can probably guess who her opponent was...Baadur Jobava. He's having the tournament of his life, in a bad way, with just 1.5 points out of 11, and has lost 35.7 rating points and dropped 25 spots on the rating list. Today he was worse but not lost in a queen and bishop ending, but that changed when he blundered the bishop to a simple fork on move 39.

    In the department of draws, Levon Aronian was had an enduring edge against Vasil Ivanchuk but couldn't reel him in, while Fabiano Caruana couldn't make anything out of his small edge against Teimour Radjabov.

    The tournament site is here, the games with my notes are here, and tomorrow's penultimate round pairings are as follows:

    • van Wely (3.5) - Jobava (1.5)
    • Radjabov (5.5) - Hou Yifan (4)
    • Ivanchuk (6.5) - Caruana (6.5)
    • Vachier-Lagrave (7) - Aronian (5)
    • Ding Liren (7) - Carlsen (8)
    • Saric (3) - Wojtaszek (5)
    • Giri (7) - So (7.5)

    There are two huge games there, and the chase pack really needs to see a win by Ding Liren as Carlsen will have White against Saric in the last round.

    In the Challengers' group it was Wei Yi's turn to pull ahead. The 15-year-old has 9/11 after defeating Bart Michiels, half a point better than David Navara, who could only draw against Valentina Gunina. Sam Shankland won his game with David Klein to take sole possession of third place, half a point ahead of Robin van Kampen (who lost to Salem Saleh) and Vladimir Potkin, who won in bizarre style against Jan Timman.

    Timman had to defend a long time, but finally reached a relatively comfortable position with rook and pawn against rook and bishop. Maybe Potkin would eventually win the pawn and reach rook and bishop vs. rook, but while players do sometimes win that ending Timman is a great endgame expert who was writing articles on that ending before Potkin was even born. But see for yourself what happened, starting from the position after Timman's 73rd move. Everything is healthy, and then he plays 74...Kd6-c7 and 75...Kc7-d8, which is absurd and then some, and then there's the insane 76...Re6?? to cap it all off. Assuming this actually happened and isn't a DGT error on steroids, all I can come up with was that Timman thought that 77.Bxe6 would be stalemate. But really, the whole thing is nuts, and I hope someone who was at the tournament today or has read an eyewitness report can shed some light on this.

    Saturday
    Nov292014

    Retired Chess Politician Beats IM In Rapid Match

    In one of the sillier stories in the chess world, Garry Kasparov played a two-game rapid match with Japanese IM and Shogi legend Yoshiharu Habu, and of course won 2-0. The silly part is Kasparov's remark that he had "everything to lose". While it would be a little embarrassing for a player of Kasparov's stature not to win 2-0, there was objectively little chance that it would happen. Further, while his opponent could take justifiable pride in such a result, who would really care about the result of a rapid exhibition match played nine years after Kasparov's retirement from serious chess? Kasparov's place in chess history wouldn't be dented in the least by an accident in such an event. Finally, if there was really everything to lose, then why participate? Perhaps Kasparov should read a book on decision-making before agreeing to any more such events in the future.

    Tuesday
    Nov252014

    Kasparov and Hou Yifan on the Carlsen-Anand Match

    Their comments are far blander than Caruana's, but when a world champion speaks it's still generally worth a look.

    Saturday
    Nov152014

    Kasparov on Carlsen-Anand, game 6

    In general I'm a pretty decent player, an FM who has repeatedly come close to getting IM norms, but compared to Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand I'm of course a fish - and a small fish at that. So while I hope that what I do know, combined with conscientious work and the judicious use of the computer enables me to say things that are sensible and at least occasionally insightful, there's always the very real danger that the gap between me and them will lead to every so often to comments that are completely off the mark.

    One such comment was about Anand's choice of opening line today; in particular his decision to head for the quasi-endgame with the queen trade. It seemed to me both dubious in its own right and all the more so as a way for him to play against Carlsen. Perhaps I'm the stopped clock that's right twice a day or the blind squirrel who found a nut, but on this occasion I can at least enlist Garry Kasparov in support of my claim. A few minutes ago, he offered these tweets:

    It's even harder to understand Anand's opening choice today than the blunders. I looked at this line for my match vs Kramnik in 2000. Bad.

    I remember looking at Bf4 and this h-pawn push and it's miserable for Black. Especially against Magnus, bizarre blunder today aside.

    It will be very hard for Anand to come back. There was an exchange of terrible openings in g3 & g6 [DM: game 3 and game 6], doubt it will happen again.

    Sunday
    Oct262014

    Another Look Back at the Second Kasparov-Deep Blue Match

    If you were a chess player at the time of the Kasparov-Deep Blue matches in 1996 and 1997 there's little you'll learn from this video by Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight crew on the second match. It does a very good job of summarizing the match in a way that's useful for "civilians", so I recommend it for the curious non-chess players in your life.

    HT: Allen Becker

    Saturday
    Oct182014

    Garry Kasparov and Anish Giri?!

    Yesterday's mail brought the final installment of the helpfully titled Garry Kasparov's Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov* (Part III: 1993-2005). This will not be Dennis Monokroussos on Garry Kasparov's Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, by Dennis Monokroussos, however. Instead, I want to report on an intriguing tidbit at the very end of the main section of the book and see if anyone can supply further details.

    On page 460, Kasparov (incidentally also the author of the Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors* series) offers a short summary of his activities since retiring from professional chess, and begins one paragraph thusly: "From time to time I have worked on chess with the young stars - Carlsen, Nakamura, Giri..."

    This gives rise to a double "Hmm". Everyone who has been around chess the past five years or so knows about his partnerships with Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, but this is the first I recall hearing about his working with Anish Giri. Kasparov (surprisingly also the author of the series Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess*) has done lots of little camps for juniors in the United States and elsewhere, and while I'm sure they've proved valuable on many levels for the campers I would be surprised if Giri's inclusion in the very short list above was due to that very limited sort of collaboration. But does anyone have any further information?

    Second, I know that Russian language writers tend to overuse the ellipsis, but as he doesn't use them elsewhere on the page when detailing his activities, I wonder if he's hinting at anything. Is there someone else he's working with now whose identity is a secret? Is someone on his radar? Maybe he's just open to the possibility down the line of further proteges, or - going full circle - it's just a stylistic quirk.

    * While I'm mocking the titles of all three series, the 12 books they comprise are interesting and important. If you're a fan of chess history or an aspiring player, they're pretty close to must-haves.

    Monday
    Aug112014

    Breaking News: Ilyumzhinov Re-elected FIDE President, Wins 110-61

    Defeating incumbents is never easy. This is true when the incumbent is competent and honorable, but it seems almost equally true even when the sitting office-holder is incompetent and corrupt. (Perhaps especially when he is corrupt.) Which kind of incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is I leave to your evaluation, but one way or another he repulsed Garry Kasparov (pun intended) and won re-election a few minutes ago with a big margin of victory, 110-61.