After falling far behind early in the current world championship match, challenger Gary Kasparov pulled himself together and managed to avoid further losses through a record-breaking string of draws. But so far, the garland of even one victory has eluded him. World champion Anatoly Karpov was ahead 4-0 at this writing.
The challenger did come quite close in the 16th game, featured today, in which both players indulged in a theoretical ''discussion,'' which Kasparov judged more accurately than the world champion.
Karpov obviously underestimated the strength of Kasparov's exchange sacrifice and might have had to struggle, a pawn down, in a difficult endgame if Kasparov had not erred on Move 30.
Although the 21-year-old challenger did not win the game, he did display a glimmer of the genius that has carried him past many of the world's top players and into the championship contest.
Draws do not count in the scoring, and six victories are needed to win the match, which has almost reached the two-month mark.
Queen's Indian Defense Kasparov Karpov 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-K3 3. N-KB3 P-QN3 4. P-KN3 B-R3 5. P-N3 B-N5 ch (a) 6. B-Q2 B-K2 7. B-N2 P-B3 8. B-B3 P-Q4 9. QN-Q2 B-N2 10. N-K5 O-O 11. P-K4 N-R3 12. O-O P-B4 13. KPxP KPxP 14. R-K1 PxQP 15. QBxP N-B4 16. N-N4 PxP (b) 17. NxP (c) BxB 18. KxB NxN (d) 19. QxN B-B3 20. QR-Q1 BxB 21. RxB Q-B2 22. N-Q6 N-K3 (e) 23. RxN! P-KR4 (f) 24. Q-K4 PxR 25. QxP ch K-R2 26. R-Q5 P-N3 27. N-K4 QR-Q1 (g) 28. N-N5 ch K-N2 (h) 29. Q-K4 KR-K1 (i) 30. Q-Q4 ch ? K-N1 31. RxR RxR 32. Q-B6 R-Q3 33. Q-B4 Q-B3 ch 34. K-R3 Q-Q2 ch 35. K-N2 Q-B3 ch 36. K-R3 Q-Q2 ch 37. K-N2 Draw (j)
A. After White plays 5. P-QN3, this is a known maneuver, already employed several times by Karpov in this match, that is designed to divert White's QB from its normal deployment at QN2.
B. This attempt by Black to relieve the pressure is only partially successful.
C. Here, after 17. BxQN, KBxB; 18. NxN ch (18. BxB, NxN favors Black); 18. . . . QxN; 19. BxB, BxP ch; 20. K-N2, BxR; 21. QxB, QR-K1, Black's rook and pawns are better than White's loosely strung minor pieces. And 17. RxB, QxB (but not 17. . . . QxR; 18. NxN ch, PxN; 19. Q-N4 ch, K-R1; 20. Q-N5, N-Q2; 21. BxB) is also good for Black.
D. Until now, both players follow a game between Filipino GM Eugenio Torre and a Russian former world junior champion, IM Andrei Sokolov. The latter played 18. . . . N-K3 with a tenable but marginally inferior endgame after 19. BxN, BxB; 20. QxQ, BxQ. Karpov's move is dubious, as it allows Kasparov a nearly decisive developmental lead.
E. This should result in a pawn loss but alternative moves are likewise unattractive.
F. Or 23. . . . PxR; 24. QxKP ch, K-R1; 25. R-QB4, Q-Q1; 26. N-B7 ch.
G. White threatened 28. R-Q7 ch, and 27. . . . K-R3; 28. RxP ch, KxR; 28. Q-R 3 mates.
H. Other K-moves allow 29. RxR and 30. N-B7 ch.
I. Black's best chance. He hopes for 30. N-K6 ch, RxN; 31. QxR, Q-N2, winning the pinned rook. Kasparov avoids this; but he misses that - after 30. N-K6 ch, RxN - he could play the Zwischenzug 31. Q-Q4 ch and then 32. RxR, with a pawn plus and excellent winning chances.
J. Karpov is content to force a repetition, since White's N and P are almost equal to the Black rook, and Black's king is not too safe.