Thursday November 13 2008
Karpov-Kasparov, KK2 16th match game, 1985. Black to play and win.
Four titles made it to our chess book of the year shortlist: 100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa; Forcing Chess Moves by Charles Hertan; From London to Elista by Evgeny Bareev and Ilya Levitov; and Modern Chess: Part 2 Kasparov vs Karpov 1975-1985 by Garry Kasparov. Once again we drafted in Guardian chess club stalwarts Sean Ingle and Stephen Moss to help with the judging.
We all admired 100 Endgames for its clarity and practical value but, in Ingle's estimation, it lacked pizzazz (which, to be fair, is asking a lot of a manual on endgames). Forcing Chess Moves, which has featured in this column several times, was also well liked, but in the end it was also considered a little too much like a workbook.
From London to Elista is definitely a book rather than a manual, and Bareev's contributions are particularly impressive. But even this fine book has to give way to our winner ? Modern Chess: Part 2. As Moss observed: "Kasparov had a monumental career and with this series of books he is creating a monument to it." Some will balk at the ?30 price, but the great games, detailed analysis, compelling narrative and the insights into the psychological and political dimension to the struggle over the board make it an outstanding contribution to chess literature.
This week's position is from the brilliant 16th match game of Kasparov and Karpov's second titanic encounter. Kasparov's play is, interestingly, more like Karpov's in that it is positional and tight. On move 16, he succeeds in planting a knight on d3, dominating Karpov's position. Move by move, Kasparov gradually restricts his great opponent, bringing him in the middlegame to virtual zugzwang, quite an achievement with so many pieces on the board. On move 34, to get rid of the terrible knight, Karpov is forced to give up his queen for three minor pieces ? not a terrible exchange in strictly material terms, except that Black now played 37...Rc1, and after 38 Nb2 Qf2 39 Nd2 Rxd1+ 40 Nxd1 Re1+ Karpov resigned because of 41 Nf1 Rxf1 42 Bxf1 Qxf1 mate.--
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