Games from Recent Events

December 5, 2017

From The Telegraph:

Garry Kasparov: I was wrong about women playing chess

For more than 30 years he's courted controversy with a string of sweeping statements about women.

But, having once believed female players should stick to having children, chess great Garry Kasparov may have finally turned over a new leaf.

"It was a long time ago, and I was always speaking my mind so that's why," said the famously belligerent Kasparov.

"I don't believe that now," he continued, before adding that a female world champion is, at least theoretically, possible.

Kasparov is in the UK for the London Chess Classic, the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour, and to throw his weight behind the charity Chess in Schools and Communities.

With his former opinions, Kasparov set himself up as a target to topple for female chess players around the world.

And in 2002 the inevitable happened - the "Beast of Baku" who dominated world chess for 20 years lost to a member of the opposite sex.

The great Hungarian trailblazer of women's chess Judit Polgar, a player Kasparov once dismissed as a "circus puppet", beat him in 42 moves.

It was the first time in chess history that a female player beat the world's number one player in competitive play, and a sweet revenge for Polgar.

And the fact it happened at a showpiece "match of the new century" event between Russia and the Rest of the World made it even sweeter.

Kasparov was distraught. Polgar, who made it to number eight in the world rankings, described the game at the time as "one of the most remarkable moments of my career".

Russia vs The Rest of the World
Moscow, Russia
Round 5, Sept. 9, 2002
Polgar, Judit – Kasparov, Garry
C67 Ruy Lopez, open Berlin Defence

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 h6 10.Rd1+ Ke8 11.h3 Be7 12.Ne2 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.Be3 Bf5 15.Nd4 Bh7 16.g4 Be7 17.Kg2 h5 18.Nf5 Bf8 19.Kf3 Bg6 20.Rd2 hxg4+ 21.hxg4 Rh3+ 22.Kg2 Rh7 23.Kg3 f6 24.Bf4 Bxf5 25.gxf5 fxe5 26.Re1 Bd6 27.Bxe5 Kd7 28.c4 c5 29.Bxd6 cxd6 30.Re6 Rah8 31.Rexd6+ Kc8 32.R2d5 Rh3+ 33.Kg2 Rh2+ 34.Kf3 R2h3+ 35.Ke4 b6 36.Rc6+ Kb8 37.Rd7 Rh2 38.Ke3 Rf8 39.Rcc7 Rxf5 40.Rb7+ Kc8 41.Rdc7+ Kd8 42.Rxg7 Kc8 1-0

Comments at

Simon Webb - there is a certain schadenfreude in this game, though.
After bashing his head v. the Berlin (and Kramnik), Garry drops the Najdorf or Scheveningen for it and gets gubbed! It just adds a certain poetry to the Berlin Wall story.

Alex Schindler - Bizarre opening for a much higher-rated player with a markedly aggressive style. Did he have a notion that endgames are her weakness or something? There had to be some background strategy here, involving a poor assessment of his opponent's strengths, because this opening certainly doesn't let Kasparov play to his own unparalleled strengths.

I can't explain the decision based on her own tremendous attacking prowess. It seems extremely unlikely that Kasparov was afraid to go toe-to-toe with her (or anyone else) in a tactical melee. At least from his public statements, he didn't even think much of her chess at the time. I really wish I could understand what he was hoping to get out of this opening.

- My theory is that Kasparov simply did not believe Polgar could find a plan for breaching the Berlin that had eluded him all through the 2000 match.

Could she in one shot do better than what cost him months of analytical torture?

He undoubtedly had an improvement against his own plan with b3 and the tactics with e6, which he won with at Astana, but Polgar played her own way, when Garry became nervous defending a passive position.