The first game of the final Candidates' match between Soviet countrymen Vassily Smyslov and Gari Kasparov ended in a 33-move draw. The 16-game match is being held in Vilnius, in Soviet Lithuania, and the winner will play world champion Anatoly Karpov, also of the Soviet Union, in September.
The time controls are standard for international match play, with each player having 2 1/2 hours for the first 40 moves. Should the game be unfinished after five hours of play, the players adjourn and continue the following day with a 16 -move-per-hour time control. The first player to score 8 1/2 points wins, with one point awarded for a victory and half a point for a draw. Should the match be deadlocked at 8-8 after the scheduled 16 games, up to two sets of two-game tie-breakers can be played.
Judging by the opening game, Smyslov, who held the world title in 1957 and 1958, came prepared to give his younger and heavily favored opponent a tough battle. Game 2 also was drawn, but then Kasparov won both the third and fourth contests and drew the fifth to open up a 31/2-11/2 margin.
The contrast between these two great players is enormous. Kasparov, the most successful tournament player in the world over the past two years, is 20; Smyslov is 63 years young. Kasparov is now playing his third match, Smyslov his 33rd. Kasparov thrives on complexities and complications; Smyslov's great strength is simplicity. Kasparov is noted for opening innovations sparked by sacrificial play; Smyslov is the endgame nonpareil. Of course Kasparov, in his defeat of Viktor Korchnoi in the semifinals, also proved that he also is no slouch in this phase of the game.
Prior to the Candidates' matches I went on record as predicting that Kasparov would become world champion, and I have no reason to change this judgment. In Game 1, though, he quickly learned that he would have to somehow steer the openings into more complex channels to defeat Smyslov, whose choice of a hybrid Slav Gruenfeld resulted in a sterile but sound structure which stymied all Kasparov's winning efforts.
Schlechter-Gruenfeld Defense Kasparov Smyslov 1. P-Q4 P-Q4 2. N-KB3 N-KB3 3. P-QB4 P-B3 4. N-B3 P-KN3 5. B-N5 B-N2 6. P-K3 O-O 7. B-Q3 B-K3 (a) 8. Q-K2 QN-Q2 9. O-O P-KR3 10. B-R4 B-N5 11. PxP (b) PxP 12. P-KR3 BxN (c) 13. QxB P-K3 14. KR-B1 P-R3 15. R-B2 R-B1 16. QR-B1 N-N3 17. P-QN3 Q-K2 18. Q-K2 Q-R6 (d) 19. Q-K1 Q-Q3 20. B-N3 Q-K2 21. Q-Q1 KR-Q1 22. N-R4 (e) RxR 23. QxR NxN 24. PxN N-K1 25. R-N1 P-KR4 26. P-R5 P-R5 27. B-KB4 B-B3 28. Q-N3 R-Q2 29. R-QB1 N-Q3 30. Q-N6 K-N2 31. Q-N4 N-K5 32. P-R3 QxQ 33. PxQ N-Q3 Draw (f)
A. A gauche move whose purpose is to develop the problem QB outside of the pawn chain. Black would prefer to play 7. . . . B-N5 but here it costs a pawn after 8. BxN, BxB; 9. PxP, PxP; 10. Q-N3.
B. After this move the resulting symmetrical pawn structure makes winning difficult but otherwise Black was ready to play 11. . . . PxP; 12. BxP, P-K4 with a good game.
C. 12. . . . B-B4 was also playable. Apparently Smyslov had confidence that the Bishop pair would not prove a factor in the balanced position since the Black pawn formation was structurally sound.
D. Typically Smyslov. He entices 19. N-N1 when 19. . . . QxR ch; 20. RxQ, RxR ch; 21. K-R2, KR-B1 favors Black, whose two Rooks on the open file are preferable to the White Queen.
E. An interesting fighting try. White accepts doubled Rook pawns in order to attack the Black QNP on the half-open file.
F. White's only chance to penetrate would be 34. BxN, RxB; 35. R-B7 but then 35. . . . P-QN4 would easily maintain the status quo.