Analizando con Garry Kasparov

por Frederic Friedel
11/04/2020 – La publicación del libro de Garry Kasparov en 2003, "Mis grandes predecesores", causó mucha sensación y un gran entusiasmo en el mundo del ajedrez. El libro incluye muchos análisis de partidas y es toda una gozada leerlo y estudiar el material de Kasparov. Era también el propio Kasparov quien nos animó a buscar por la verdad absoluta del ajedrez en nuestras páginas de noticias. Artículo por Frederic Friedel (en inglés)...

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The release of Part One of Garry Kasparov's "My Great Predecessors" series caused major ripples throughout the chess world. It seems no player, writer, or fan was without an opinion. Every sentence, every variation was scrutinized – and all with encouragement from a surprising source: the author himself. Kasparov spoke of his Predecessor series as almost a challenge to the chess world to find improvements and turn the books into a definitive museum of classical chess. He encouraged readers of his book to take up the analysis with him. "One of the tasks of this book is to inspire creative discussion. Because undoubtedly there will be many questions asked while reading the book. Today we have the luxury of all amateurs being able to understand the complexity of the game, by analysing with the computer. It is no longer a secret that belongs to top players and some experts. Everyone can search for chess truth and ask questions.

German Grandmaster Karsten Müller started things off. He performed and compiled an incredible amount of analysis on the famous game Bird-Morphy, London, 1858, and here includes Garry Kasparov's new contributions. Dr. Karsten Müller was born November 23, 1970 in Hamburg, Germany. He earned the grandmaster title in 1998, and a PhD in mathematics at the University of Hamburg four yeas later. He has been a regular contributor to ChessBase Magazine since 1997.
 


Karsten Mülller at a Kasparov Predessor book signing in Dresden in 2004

The Riddle of Bird vs Morphy

My Great Predessors Part 1 contains so much analysis of the battles for the highest crown of chess that it is a real pleasure to study and devour. With so many old well investigated positions and deep problems it is no wonder that there are still questions open, one of them is the following old riddle:

Bird,H - Morphy,P [C41]
London casual Bird London, 1858
[Mueller,Karsten]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3 e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Bg5 Bd6 9.Nh5 0-0 10.Qd2 Qe8 11.g4 Nxg4 12.Nxg4 Qxh5 13.Ne5 Nc6 14.Be2 Qh3 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.Be3 Rb8 17.0-0-0.

 

In this position the American chess genius played 17...Rxf2! 18.Bxf2 Qa3!! An amazing move from one edge of the board to another 19.c3! Qxa2 20.b4 Qa1+ 21.Kc2 Qa4+

22.Kb2? A bad mistake, Bird cracks under the pressure. The game ended 22...Bxb4! 23.cxb4 Rxb4+ 24.Qxb4 Qxb4+ 25.Kc2 e3 26.Bxe3 Bf5+ 27.Rd3 Qc4+ 28.Kd2 Qa2+ 29.Kd1 Qb1+ 0-1.

The critical defence in the above position is 22.Kc1! Many sources claim that it is sufficient for a draw, while some believe in Morphy's attack.

  • Euwe and Nunn write in The Development of Chess Style (p. 38, Batsford 1997): "22.Kc1! Qa1+ leads to perpetual check. This is the best line, but it means that with his pretty combination Black has thrown away the win."

  • Neistadt in Uncrowned Champions: "After 22.Kc1 Morphy would have had nothing better than satisfying himself with perpetual check."

  • Fred Reinfeld and Andrew Soltis in their book Morphy Chess Masterpieces (First Collier Books Edition 1974, in descriptive notation, which has been converted to algebraic): "Legend has it that when an onlooker found that 22 Kc1! draws, no one would speak to him for a week. The point of 22 Kc1! is that 22...Bxb4? 23 cxb4 Rxb4 is not check so that White might escape with 24 Qg5! Qa3+ 25 Kd2 Rb2+ 26 Ke1 Rxe2+ 27 Kxe2 Qf3+ 28 Ke1 Qxh1+ 29 Qg1! and wins. So Black would have to take a perpetual check with 22...Qa1+."

  • Anatoly Karpov has produced a deep investigation of the fascinating endgame after 22...a5 23.Qc2 Qa3+ 24.Qb2 axb4 25.Qxa3 bxa3 and revealed many hidden White resources. His main line runs 26.Be3 a2 27.Kc2 Ba3 28.Ra1 Rb2+ 29.Kd1 Bd7 30.Rf1 c5 31.dxc5 Ba4+ 32.Ke1 Bb3 33.Bd4! Rb1+ 34.Kd2 Rxa1 35.Rxa1 Bb2 36.Rg1 g6 37.h4 a1Q 38.Rxa1 Bxa1 39.Kc1 Ba2 and he concludes "Both sides are guaranteed a draw, Black is two pawns up, but his bishops are in seclusion." This is to be found in his work Miniatures from the World Champions (Collier Books 1985). The Soviet masters Gik and Rozenberg contributed to the analysis.

  • Garry Kasparov calls the previous try unclear and prefers 22.Kc1 Bf5! 23.Be1! Qa1+ 24.Kc2 e3+ 25.Kb3 exd2 26.Rxa1 Re8 27.Ba6 dxe1Q 28.Raxe1 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Bxh2 30.Bb7 Be4 31.Bxc6 Kf7, which leaves Black with a small advantage.

So was Morphy's original rook sacrifice 17...Rxf2! sound? Kasparov writes: "I raise my hat to the great chess artist, but the crude 17...Bg4! was correct, or even, according to Euwe, the slow 17...Bf5 and ...Bg6". (see p. 38 of My Great Predecessors I). In my at Chess Cafe Endgame Corner column No. 23, November 2002 I came to the conclusion that Morphy's brilliant sacrifice was correct. At least I did not, at the time, manage to find a drawing line for White.

So what is the correct assessment of Morphy's rook sacrifice? Did he have a forced win after 17...Rxf2!, or was it necessary for him to play Kasparov's mundane 17...Bg4 or Euwe's quite 17...Bf5 to win the game against perfect defence. Send us your opinion and analysis on this historical position. The contact form is given at the bottom of this page.

What do you think? Using our JavaScript replay board you can check all the analysis given above, using a powerful chess engine to support your efforts.

[Event "London casual Bird"] [Site "London"] [Date "1858.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Bird, Henry Edward"] [Black "Morphy, Paul"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C41"] [Annotator "Mueller,Karsten"] [PlyCount "58"] [EventDate "1858.07.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 f5 4. Nc3 fxe4 5. Nxe4 d5 6. Ng3 e4 7. Ne5 Nf6 8. Bg5 Bd6 9. Nh5 O-O 10. Qd2 Qe8 11. g4 Nxg4 12. Nxg4 Qxh5 13. Ne5 Nc6 14. Be2 Qh3 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Be3 Rb8 17. O-O-O {This is the position we want to examine.} Rxf2 $1 {We should be grateful to Paul Charles Morphy that he didn't try to convert his extra pawn smoothly now, but tried to win by spectacular means. 'The rook sacrifice with which Morphy decided his match game with Bird made the rounds of the chess press.' (Neistadt in Uncrowned Champions)} 18. Bxf2 Qa3 $3 {# an amazing move from one edge of the board to another} 19. c3 $1 { the only serious try.} (19. Qg5 $2 Rxb2 20. Qd8+ Kf7 21. Bh5+ g6 22. Bxg6+ hxg6 $19) (19. bxa3 $4 Bxa3#) 19... Qxa2 20. b4 Qa1+ 21. Kc2 Qa4+ 22. Kb2 $2 { Bird cracks under the pressure.} (22. Kc1 $1 {is the critical try. Many sources claim that it is sufficient for a draw. Neistadt in Uncrowned Champions writes: "After this Morphy would have had nothing better than satisfying himself with perpetual check.". Euwe and Nunn in 'The Development of Chess Style' (p.38, Batsford 1997) say} Qa1+ {leads to perpetual check. "This is the best line, but it means that with his pretty combination Black has thrown away the win."} ({Fred Reinfeld and Andrew Soltis in their book Morphy Chess Masterpieces write: "Legend has it that when an onlooker found that 22 Kc1! draws, no one would speak to him for a week. The point of 22 Kc1! is that} 22... Bxb4 $2 23. cxb4 Rxb4 {is not check so that White might escape with} 24. Qg5 $1 Qa3+ 25. Kd2 Rb2+ 26. Ke1 Rxe2+ 27. Kxe2 Qf3+ 28. Ke1 Qxh1+ 29. Qg1 Qf3 30. Qg3 {and win. So Black would have to take a perpetual check with 22...Qa1+.}) ({Kasparov prefers} 22... Bf5 $6 23. Be1 Qa1+ 24. Kc2 e3+ 25. Kb3 exd2 26. Rxa1 Re8 27. Ba6 dxe1=Q 28. Raxe1 Rxe1 29. Rxe1 Bxh2 30. Bb7 Be4 31. Bxc6 Kf7 {which leaves Black with a small advantage.}) ({Anatoly Karpov in his book Miniatures from the World Champions (Collier Books 1985) gives} 22... a5 $1 {seems to win in the long run.} 23. Qc2 Qa3+ 24. Qb2 axb4 25. Qxa3 bxa3 { and White has many hidden resources. The main line runs} 26. Be3 a2 27. Kc2 Ba3 28. Ra1 Rb2+ 29. Kd1 Bd7 30. Rf1 c5 31. dxc5 Ba4+ 32. Ke1 Bb3 33. Bd4 Rb1+ 34. Kd2 Rxa1 35. Rxa1 Bb2 36. Rg1 g6 37. h4 a1=Q 38. Rxa1 Bxa1 39. Kc1 Ba2 { and Karpov concludes "Both sides are guaranteed a draw, Black is two pawns up, but his bishops are in seclusion."})) 22... Bxb4 $1 23. cxb4 Rxb4+ 24. Qxb4 Qxb4+ 25. Kc2 e3 26. Bxe3 Bf5+ 27. Rd3 Qc4+ 28. Kd2 Qa2+ 29. Kd1 Qb1+ 0-1

You probably know that in our replay boards there are a large number of functions you can use to really appreciate the games. Recently we published a comprehensive tutorial on how to get the most out of the live broadcast game viewer. Learn about all the powerful features and buttons that make the ChessBase's replay one of the best watching experiences around.

One big advantage is that you can start an engine (fan icon) that will help you to analyse. You can get multiple lines of analysis by clicking the + button to the right of the engine analysis window. The "!" key, incidentally, shows you the threat in any position, which is incredibly useful in the case of unclear moves. Note that your analysis, where you can delete, move or promote lines, is stored in the notation as new variations. In the end you will find the game with your analysis in the cloud. So nothing is ever lost.

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Ex editor jefe de la página de noticias de ChessBase en inglés. Estudió Filosofía y Lingüistica en las universidades de Hamburgo y Oxford. Del mundo académico pasó al periodismo científico, produciendo documentales para la televisión alemana. En 1986 fue uno de los fundadores de ChessBase.