World Champion Gary Kasparov fell behind twice in the early stages of his latest title match with Anatoly Karpov, came back both times, eventually won again to pull ahead, and still leads 7-6 with Game 15 of the 24-game struggle scheduled today in Seville, Spain. After losing Game 2, Kasparov retaliated by winning Game 4 (showcased in today's column). The challenger won the next game, but once more the champion bounced back, winning Game 8 to tie the score, then scoring again in Game 11 to go ahead for the first time.
Game 4 was identical with Game 2 through White's ninth move. The mystery is why Karpov varied from the gambit innovation with which he won the earlier game.
As this game proceeded, it was Kasparov who offered a pawn for a promising attack. Karpov declined, but never succeeded in stifling the champion's initiative, which eventually netted a pawn and an endgame win.
It takes six wins or 12 points to win the match, with wins counting one point and draws a half point. In the event of a tie, the champion retains his title.
The winner nets a bit more than $1 million, the loser just over $600,000. Both players are Soviets. English Opening Kasparov Karpov 1. P-QB4 N-KB3 2. N-QB3 P-K4 3. N-B3 N-B3 4. P-KN3 B-N5 5. B-N2 O-O 6. O-O P-K5 7. N-KN5 BxN 8. NPxB R-K1 9. P-B3 PxP (a) 10. NxP/3 Q-K2 (b) 11. P-K3 N-K4 12. N-Q4 (c) N-Q6 13. Q-K2 (d) NxB 14. QRxN P-Q3 15. R-B4 P-B3 16. QR-B1 Q-K4 17. Q-Q3 B-Q2 18. N-B5 BxN 19. RxB Q-K3 20. Q-Q4 R-K2 21. Q-R4 N-Q2 22. B-R3 N-B1 (e) 23. R/5-B3 Q-K4 24. P-Q4 Q-K5 25. QxQ RxQ 26. RxP RxKP 27. P-Q5 (f) QR-K1 28. RxP (g) PxP 29. PxP R/6-K2 (h) 30. R/1-N1 P-KR4 31. P-R4 P-N4 32. B-B5 K-N2 33. P-R5 K-B3 34. B-Q3 RxR 35. RxR R-K6 36. B-N5 RxP 37. RxP N-N3 38. R-Q7 N-K4 39. RxP ch K-B4 40. P-R6 R-R6 41. R-Q8 Resigns (i)
A.Why does Karpov shrink from 9.... P-K6, which scored in game 2? The psychological edge now goes to the world champion.
B.Theory prefers 10.... P-Q4; 11.PxP, QxP; 12.N-Q4, Q-KR4! with reciprocal chances.
C.A natural and very strong move, which dares the former champion to win a pawn with 12.... NxP when White has promising play, a possible line being 13. N-B5, Q-K4; 14.P-Q4, Q-R4; 15.Q-Q3, P-Q4; 16.N-R6 ch, K-B1; 17.QxP, with a virulent attack, since White threatens 18.RxN as well as 18.Q-R8 ch, and if 17.... NxQ?; 18.RxP mate.
D.Kasparov now builds up a strong attack with no risk, but 13.N-B5 also seems to be extremely promising.
E.Karpov hopes for 23.RxP, QxR, RxQ, RxR, when his rook pair should be able to contain the White queen and extra pawn. The world champion disobliges and plays for bigger game, soon winning a clear pawn and establishing a decisive endgame advantage.
F.A powerful move that ensures the win, a main point being that 27.... RxP loses immediately to 28.RxN ch, RxR; 29.B-K6 ch.
G.Now that he is winning, Kasparov plays safely. It seems that he could win more expeditiously with 28.P-B5, QPxP; 29.P-Q6.
H.More tenacious here would be 30.... K-B2. The rest of the game is simply a matter of technique, in which the world champion is clearly not deficient.
I.Further resistance is futile, a possible line being 41.... K-K5; 42.P-Q6, N-B6 ch; 43.K-B2, R-R7 ch; 44.B-K2, N-Q5; 45.R-K8 ch, when 46.P-Q7 spells finis.