Kasparov's aggressive play triumphs
In several respects the Kasparov-Korchnoi match reminded me of a football game, with Viktor Korchnoi the frustrated coach who has successfully defensed the opposition's chief weapon, only to see his own offense fumble away the game. Gari Kasparov, who has made his reputation as a brilliant Kingside attacking player, never once attacked Korchnoi's King. Of course the 20-year-old chess genius from Baku (in the Soviet province of Azerbaijan) is more than a one-dimensional player, as his recent successes and stratospheric ranking have demonstrated. (After this match his rating should surpass that of World Champion Anatoly Karpov.)
Korchnoi, leading 3-2 after five rounds, managed only two draws thereafter as he lost 7-4 to a poised, remarkably mature Kasparov. The latter's task was eased as Korchnoi, trying to play catch-up, tried variations he himself knew to be suspect. This was particularly true in the final game. Kasparov, needing only a draw to win the match, crushed Korchnoi with aggressive play and a logical strategical plan that must have gladdened the heart of his one-time mentor, Mikhail Botvinnik, many-time world champion of the 1950s.
Benoni Defense Kasparov Korchnoi 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-K3 3. P-KN3 P-B4 4. P-Q5 PxP 5. PxP P-QN4 6. B-N2 P-Q3 7. P-QN4 (a) N-R3 8. PxP NxBP 9. N-KB3 P-N3 10. O-O B-KN2 11. N-Q4 (b) O-O (c) 12. N-QB3 P-QR3 13. N-B6 Q-B2 14. B-K3 B-N2 15. B-Q4 KR-K1 16. P-QR4 PxP (d) 17. BxN/5 PxB 18. QxP N-Q2 19. Q-N3 BxN/3 20. PxB N-N3 21. QR-N1 QR-N1 22. Q-R3 P-B5 23. KR-B1 (e) BxN 24. QxB RxP 25. Q-Q4 P-QR4 26. R-N5 P-R5 27. B-B3 R/7-K1 28. Q-B5 Q-K2 (f) 29. P-B7 QxQ 30. RxQ R/N1-B1 31. B-N7 N-Q2 32. R/5xP Resigns (g)
A. This offers a strong positional gambit. Should Black accept with 7. . . . PxP; 8. P-QR3, PxP; 9. NxP, Black cannot defend with 9. . . . P-QR3 because of 10. NxP; so White obtains a strong initiative and open files on the Queenside.
B. The White opening strategy was based on obtaining this strong square for piece play.
C. Black now offers a pawn, for if 12. NxP, Q-N3; 13. N-Q4, KN-K5 or 13. . . . N-N5 would steal the initiative and pose severe problems for White.
D. This allows White a strong passed central pawn after the ensuing minor piece exchange, but viable alternatives seem lacking.
E. Another nonchalant pawn sacrifice which Korchnoi accepts unhappily. Otherwise he will soon lose material for no compensation.
F. This loses but there was no good defense to R(1)-N1.
G. When Korchnoi resigned he had less than a minute on his clock. The time control in top-level competition requires each player to complete 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours. In my opinion, this was Kasparov's finest game of the match, which augurs ill for Smyslov, his opponent in the final match.