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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Playing Chess With Garry Kasparov Part 2

Garry Kasparov
1984 World Championship
The 1984 World Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov had its fair share of ups and downs, as well as the most controversial finish to a competitive match ever. Karpov started off in very good form, and after nine games Kasparov found himself 4-0 down in a "first to six wins" match. Fellow players predicted a 6-0 whitewash of Kasparov within 18 games.

For Karpov, the result so far would go some way toward exorcising the ghost of Bobby Fischer's Candidates results in 1970, and would further cement Karpov as a true World Champion.

Kasparov dug in, with inspiration from a Russian poet before each game, and battled with Karpov into seventeen successive draws. Karpov duly won the next decisive game before Kasparov fought back with another series of draws until game 32, Kasparov's first win against the World Champion.

At this point Karpov, twelve years older than Kasparov, was close to exhaustion, and not looking like the player who started this match. Kasparov won games 47 and 48 to bring the scores to 5-3 in Karpov's favour. Then the match was ended without result by Florencio Campomanes, the President of FIDE, and a new match was announced to start a few months later.

The termination of the match was a matter of some controversy. At the press conference at which he announced his decision, Campomanes cited the health of the two players, which had been put under strain by the length of the match, despite that both Karpov and Kasparov stated that they would prefer the match to continue. Karpov had lost 10 kg (22 lb) over the course of the match and had been hospitalized several times. Kasparov, however, was in excellent health and extremely resentful of Campomanes' decision, asking him why he was abandoning the match if both players wanted to continue. It would appear that Kasparov, who had won the last two games before the suspension, felt the same way as some commentators - that he was now the favourite to win the match despite his 5-3 deficit. He appeared to be physically stronger than his opponent, and in the later games seemed to have been playing the better chess.

As National Master Dan Heisman of Philadelphia humorously commented on this confusing situation: "Kasparov was losing the match to Karpov 5-3 but found it stopped by FIDE, Kasparov said he was winning because Karpov was only ahead 5-3. Karpov, from his hospital bed, protested that he felt fine and wanted to continue, but the doctors were not letting him."

The match became the first, and so far only, world championship match to be abandoned without result. Kasparov's relations with Campomanes and FIDE were greatly strained, and the feud between the two would eventually come to a head in 1993 with Kasparov's complete break-away from FIDE.


World Champion
The second Karpov-Kasparov match in 1985 was organized as the best of 24 games, where first player to 12.5 points would claim the title (in the event of a 12-12 draw, the title would go to Karpov as the reigning champion). Kasparov showed he had learned some valuable lessons in the previous match, and although the score was quite even down to the final wire, a few spectacular games involving the Sicilian defence secured the World Championship for Kasparov at the age of 22 by a score of 13-11. This broke the existing record of youngest winner held for over twenty years by Mikhail Tal (he was 23 when he beat Botvinnik in 1960).

With the World Champion title in his grasp, Kasparov switched to battling against FIDE — as Bobby Fischer had done twenty years earlier, but this time from within FIDE. He created an organisation to represent chess players, the GrandMaster's Association (GMA) to give players more of a say in FIDE's activities.
text is available under the GNU Free Documentation License
wikipedia.org

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