Lessons from Kasparov

What can we learn from the play of the strongest player of the last
century? His dynamism, industry, memory and willpower are all hugely
impressive, but can they be imitated successfully at all? I guess each
aspect of his game might inspire us, but there are instructive moments.

Opening

Kasparov had that restless drive for the initiative that we previously
saw with Alekhin. I was horrified when he destroyed Hubner as Black in a
line that I had seen as a fine way to suppress any Black initiative. I
expect that, at bottom, this is a case of falling behind in development,
but in a very modern setting.

[Event "Match"]
[Site "Hamburg FRG"]
[Date "1985.05.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Robert Huebner"]
[Black "Garry Kasparov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A21"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "1985.??.??"]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Qxd4 {I used to quite like this system for
White: development and space, and I'm happy.} Nf6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Qd2 Be6 {
The development advantage is now with Black.} 7. Nd5 Ne5 8. b3 Ne4 9. Qe3 Nc5
10. Bb2 {I guess it's 3-3 now, but White's Queen is never comfortable.} c6 11.
Nf4 Ng4 12. Qd4 Ne4 $1 13. Bh3 (13. Qxe4 Qa5+ 14. Kd1 Nxf2+ 15. Kc2 Nxe4) 13...
Qa5+ 14. Kf1 Ngxf2 15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. Nxe6 Kd7 17. Nh3 Nxh3 18. Qxe4 Re8 19.
Nc5+ Qxc5 20. Qg4+ Kc7 21. Qxh3 Be7 22. Bxg7 Rhf8+ 23. Bxf8 Rxf8+ 24. Ke1 Qf2+
25. Kd1 Qd4+ 26. Kc2 Qe4+ 27. Kd2 Bg5+ 28. Kc3 Qe5+ 0-1

Kasparov always chose openings that suited his style. Your style may be
different, but you must enjoy the openings you play. I thought his
adoption of the Tarrasch Defence in the early 1980s was very
interesting; perhaps positionally suspect because of the IQP, but, played
with activity and deep preparation, it held up all the way to the World Championship match.

[Event "Candidates final"]
[Site "Vilnius"]
[Date "1984.??.??"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Smyslov, Vassily"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D34"]
[WhiteElo "2600"]
[BlackElo "2710"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "1984.03.??"]
[EventType "match"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 c5 3. c4 e6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. g3 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Nc3
Nc6 9. Bg5 cxd4 10. Nxd4 h6 11. Be3 Re8 12. a3 Be6 13. Kh1 Bg4 14. f3 Bh5 15.
Bg1 Qd7 16. Qa4 Bc5 17. Rad1 Bb6 18. Rfe1 Bg6 19. Qb5 Rad8 20. e3 Qd6 21. Nce2
Ne5 22. Qb3 Ba5 23. Nc3 Nd3 24. Re2 Nc5 25. Qa2 Bxc3 26. bxc3 Qa6 27. Red2 Na4
28. Qb3 1/2-1/2

Middlegame

Kasparov was the last player who should be allowed a concentration of
pieces on the side where you have castled. But on a busy board,
sometimes you might forget...

[Event "World Championship 33th-KK3"]
[Site "London/Leningrad"]
[Date "1986.08.15"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Black "Karpov, Anatoly"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2740"]
[BlackElo "2705"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "1986.07.??"]
[EventType "match"]
[EventRounds "24"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 Nf6 6. e3 O-O 7. Bd3 c5 8. Nf3
Nc6 9. O-O Bg4 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 d4 13. Ne4 Be7 14. Rad1 Qa5
15. Ng3 dxe3 16. fxe3 Qxa2 17. Nf5 Qe6 18. Bh6 Ne8 19. Qh5 g6 20. Qg4 Ne5 21.
Qg3 Bf6 22. Bb5 Ng7 23. Bxg7 Bxg7 24. Rd6 Qb3 25. Nxg7 Qxb5 26. Nf5 Rad8 27.
Rf6 Rd2 28. Qg5 Qxb2 29. Kh1 Kh8 30. Nd4 Rxd4 31. Qxe5 1-0

This is a fine sophisticated example of prophylaxis; work out what your
opponent wants to do, and do something about it. Here Kasparov
anticipates a White pawn break with f4-f5, which will open up the e-file
for the Black Rook on e8, and so White never quite gets around to it; the e5 break is similarly neutralised by Black's waiting pieces.

[Event "World Championship 32th-KK2"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1985.10.22"]
[Round "18"]
[White "Karpov, Anatoly"]
[Black "Kasparov, Garry"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B85"]
[WhiteElo "2720"]
[BlackElo "2700"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "1985.09.03"]
[EventType "match"]
[EventRounds "24"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4
O-O 9. Kh1 Qc7 10. a4 Nc6 11. Be3 Re8 12. Bf3 Rb8 13. Qd2 Bd7 14. Nb3 b6 15.
Bf2 Bc8 16. Bg3 Nd7 17. Rae1 Bb7 18. e5 Rbd8 19. Qf2 Rf8 20. Be4 dxe5 21. fxe5
Nc5 22. Nxc5 bxc5 23. Bf4 1/2-1/2

Griffiths and Nunn advise that part of the gulf that separates masters
from the rest of us is dynamism. There may be a gulf too between the
super-GMs and other grandmasters. The notable move here is not the
thematic exchange sacrifice with ...Rxc3, which doubtless White was
foolhardy to alllow, but ...0-0. In a previous round, Van Wely had
refused to castle, perhaps fearing White's attack, but Kasparov assessed
Black's chances on the Queen's-side as no worse.

[Event "Sarajevo"]
[Site "Sarajevo BIH"]
[Date "2000.05.29"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Sergei Mushegovic Movsesian"]
[Black "Garry Kasparov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B80"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2000.05.17"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2
Nbd7 9. O-O-O Bb7 10. g4 Nb6 11. Qf2 Nfd7 12. Kb1 Rc8 13. Bd3 {Kasparov pulled
a face here (although that was never a rare event).} Rxc3 {A typical sacrifice
in many lines of the Sicilian.} 14. bxc3 Qc7 15. Ne2 Be7 16. g5 O-O {This is
the real super-GM insight; Black has more to gain from having the Rook in the
attack than he has to fear from White's attack.} 17. h4 Na4 18. Bc1 Ne5 19. h5
d5 20. Qh2 Bd6 21. Qh3 Nxd3 22. cxd3 b4 23. cxb4 Rc8 24. Ka1 dxe4 25. fxe4 Bxe4
26. g6 Bxh1 27. Qxh1 Bxb4 28. gxf7+ Kf8 29. Qg2 Rb8 30. Bb2 Nxb2 31. Nd4 Nxd1
32. Nxe6+ Kxf7 0-1

Endgame

Kasparov's dynamism is apparent even in defence, even in the endgame.
The major pieces do not like defending, and it can be worth abandoning a
pawn to get some active play.

[Event "Pawn sacrifice: for activity"]
[Site "Wch34-KK4 Sevilla"]
[Date "1987.??.??"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Karpov, An"]
[Black "Kasparov, G."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D88"]
[WhiteElo "2700"]
[BlackElo "2740"]
[Annotator "Regis,Dave"]
[PlyCount "140"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8.
Ne2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Bg4 11. f3 Na5 12. Bxf7+ Rxf7 13. fxg4 Rxf1+ 14.
Kxf1 cxd4 15. cxd4 Qb6 16. Kg1 Qe6 17. Qd3 Qxg4 18. Rf1 Rc8 19. h3 Qd7 20. d5
Nc4 21. Bd4 e5 22. dxe6 Qxe6 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Nf4 Qd6 25. Qc3+ Kh6 26. Nd5 Qe5
27. Qd3 Kg7 28. Nf6 Qd6 29. Qc3 Qe5 30. Qd3 Qd6 31. Qc3 Qe5 32. Qb3 Rc7 33. Qd3
Rf7 34. Qxc4 Rxf6 35. Rd1 b5 36. Rd7+ Kh6 37. Qe2 Qc5+ 38. Kh2 Qe5+ 39. g3 Qc3
40. Kg2 Qc4 41. Qe3+ g5 42. Rd2 Qf1+ 43. Kh2 Qf3 44. Qd4 Re6 45. e5 Qf5 46. Re2
{#} a5 $1 {"An outstanding method of active defence." - KEENE.} (46... Rc6 47.
Qxa7 Rc2 $4 (47... Qf1 48. Rd2 $1) 48. Qb6+ Kg7 49. Qf6+ Qxf6 50. exf6+ Kxf6
51. Rxc2) (46... a6 {Houdini} 47. Rf2 Qb1 (47... Qxe5 $1)) (46... Qf3 47. Rf2)
(46... g4 47. Qxg4 (47. hxg4) (47. Qf4+ $5 $14) 47... Rxe5) (46... Qf7) 47. Qd5
b4 48. Qxa5 Qd3 49. Rg2 Qd4 50. Qa8 (50. Re2 Qd3) 50... Qxe5 51. Qf8+ Kg6 52.
Qxb4 h5 (52... Qa1 53. a4) (52... Qe4 53. Qxe4+ Rxe4) 53. h4 gxh4 54. Qxh4 Rd6
55. Qc4 Rd4 56. Qc6+ Kg7 57. Qb7+ Kh6 58. Qc6+ Kg7 59. Rc2 Rh4+ 60. Kg2 Qe4+
61. Qxe4 Rxe4 62. Rc7+ Kg6 63. Ra7 Re3 64. Kh3 Rc3 65. Ra8 Rc4 66. a4 Kg5 67.
a5 Ra4 68. a6 Kh6 69. Kg2 Ra3 70. Kf2 Kg7 1/2-1/2

For all his attacking verve, Kasparov can of course impose a strict
positional control when the position demands.

[Event "Las Palmas"]
[Site "Las Palmas, Canary Islands ES"]
[Date "1996.12.09"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Veselin Topalov"]
[Black "Garry Kasparov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E00"]
[WhiteElo "2750"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[PlyCount "118"]
[EventDate "1996.12.09"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 {The Catalan is not Topalov's natural hunting-ground.}
Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Be7 5. Bg2 d5 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2 b6 9. Ne5 Nfd7 10. Nd3
Bb7 11. Rd1 a5 12. a3 Ba6 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Be3 Ra7 $1 {An amusing way of
tranferring the Rook to the c-file.} 15. Nc3 Rc7 16. Bf4 Rc8 17. Bxb8 Nxb8 18.
Rac1 Nc6 19. e3 Bc4 20. Bf1 Qd7 21. Nf4 b5 {Provoking some sharp play.} 22.
Bxc4 bxc4 23. e4 Bf6 24. exd5 Nxd4 25. Qe4 e5 26. Nh5 Bg5 27. f4 f5 28. Qg2 Qf7
29. Nxg7 Qxg7 30. fxg5 Qxg5 31. Kh1 e4 32. g4 Kh8 33. gxf5 Qxg2+ 34. Kxg2 Nxf5
35. Kh1 Nd6 {An endgame with equal material has arisen.} 36. Re1 Rf4 37. a4 Rb8
38. Re2 Kg7 39. Rce1 Rb4 40. Nb5 Nxb5 41. axb5 {Now just with Rooks. Such
endgames are often drawn, but Black's activity decides.} Kf7 42. d6 Ke6 43. Rd2
Kd7 44. Rg1 Rf7 45. Re1 a4 46. Re3 Rg7 47. Rxe4 a3 48. Re7+ Rxe7 49. dxe7+ Kxe7
50. bxa3 Rb1+ 51. Kg2 c3 52. Re2+ Kd6 53. Kf3 Kd5 54. a4 Kd4 55. a5 Rxb5 56. a6
Ra5 57. Re4+ Kd5 58. Re3 c2 59. Rc3 Rc5 0-1

[Event "Russian Championship 2004"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2004.11.24"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Garry Kasparov"]
[Black "Peter Svidler"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D10"]
[PlyCount "113"]
[EventDate "2004.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 {Kasparov pulled a face (ibid.). Svidler was a fan of the Grunfeld,
but opted for something more solid on that day, and something that Kasparov
might not have prepared for.} 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. e4 b5 5. a4 b4 6. Na2 Nf6
7. e5 Nd5 8. Bxc4 e6 9. Nf3 Be7 10. Bd2 a5 11. Nc1 Nd7 12. Nb3 h6 13. O-O Qb6
14. Qe2 Ba6 15. Rfc1 O-O 16. Bxa6 Qxa6 17. Qxa6 Rxa6 {A multi-piece endgame
has appeared; in fact, only QBP is missing on each side. Black's c-pawn is
backward.} 18. Kf1 Rc8 19. Ke2 Kf8 20. Rc2 Ke8 21. Be3 N5b6 22. Ne1 h5 23. Nd3
Nd5 24. g3 f6 {Looking for a bit of elbow room, but creating weaknesses all
round.} 25. Rac1 Kf7 26. exf6 gxf6 27. Nf4 Nxf4+ 28. Bxf4 Nf8 29. Nc5 Bxc5 30.
Rxc5 {White's 'bad' bishop now looks quite useful.} f5 31. Bg5 Nd7 32. R5c2 Kg6
33. h4 Kf7 34. f3 c5 {Black disposes of the weak c-pawn, and can avoid a pin
on the c-file, but Kasparov teases the remaining queen's-side pawns nonetheless.
} 35. dxc5 Rac6 36. Rd1 Nb6 37. Be3 Nxa4 38. Ra1 b3 {These little intermezzi
are often seen in top games.} 39. Rd2 Nxc5 40. Rxa5 Na6 41. Rb5 Rb8 {Defending
the b-pawn, apparently securely.} 42. Rd7+ $1 Ke8 43. Rxb8+ Nxb8 44. Rb7 $1
Rc2+ 45. Kf1 Nd7 46. Rxb3 {Kasparov's powers of analysis do not desert him in
the endgame!} Ke7 47. Bg5+ Kd6 48. Rd3+ Kc6 49. Rd2 Rc4 50. Ke2 e5 51. Be7 e4
52. Rd6+ Kc7 53. Rd5 Rc2+ 54. Ke3 Rxb2 55. Rxf5 exf3 56. Kxf3 Rb3+ 57. Kf4 1-0