14 September 2016

The Best Psychological Chance

Garry Kasparov as chess commentator is always as interesting and as entertaining as he was during his heyday as a chess player. Here he is with Jennifer Shahade and Yasser Seirawan during the last round of the recent Sinquefield Cup.

Garry Kasparov, Commentator - 2016 Sinquefield Cup - Grand Chess Tour Round 9 (52:59) • 'Source : Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis - YouTube'

At one point [around 30:20 into the video clip] GM Seirawan asks about Kasparov's fourth World Championship match against Karpov.

YS: Thought process: One of the hardest things in chess is to win on demand. For me, one of your greatest achievements was Seville [1987] game 24. You're trailing in the match 12-11. You have one and one result only : you have to win with White. [GK: And I was playing Karpov!] And you accomplished it. How do you play for a win on demand? In your game with Karpov, you wanted to play a long, slow game and just let his nerves... • GK: Yes, I thought it would be a game of nerves and I thought the best psychological chance...

Kasparov goes on to explain.

GK: In a last round game, the last game of the match -- a long, marathon match, ten weeks -- you don't play a game of beauty. It's all about creating psychological discomfort for your opponent. I thought that if we had a slow game, Karpov would be under pressure to simplify the position, even by making little concessions, concession after concession, because he wanted to finish the game, he wanted to reach a position where he would be out of danger. But by trying to force it, without contemplating the potential consequences, he could give me some chances. And it worked out nicely. He was gradually making his position worse and worse, he gave me a big chance and blundered in time trouble. We entered the adjournment with me having an extra Pawn and Karpov couldn't survive under the pressure.

For more about the match, see 1987 Kasparov - Karpov Title Match; Seville, X-XII, 1987. Kasparov could have been describing a typical Magnus Carlsen game.

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