The game between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in the fifth round of the Las Palmas tournament has been dismissed by many so-called "experts" as a dull draw. Yet just because it was the 116th draw between these two great masters, and they chopped wood with the alacrity of a power saw, are these reasons to dismiss the game as "dull"? I think not!

White: Anatoly Karpov

Black: Garry Kasparov

Las Palmas 1996

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 dxc4

By inviting the intense complexities of lines with 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5, Black shows his eagerness for a fight. Karpov keeps his wits about him and ducks the issue.

5.Qa4+ c6 6.Qxc4 b5 7.Qd3 Bb7 8.a3! a6 9.e3!

White could have taken the centre with 8.e4 or 9.e4; he could have restrained the Q-side with 9.b4; he could have moved into his opponent's territory with 9.Bg5, yet Karpov resisted all such temptations.

9...c5 10.dxc5! Bxc5 11.Qxd8+!

A lesser man would have been ashamed at such pusillanimity.

11...Kxd8 12.Bd2 Ke7 13.Bd3 Nbd7!

In such positions the knight on d7 is superior to that on c3. White must find a defence to the threat of Nb6 and Nc4.

14.Ke2 Bd6 15.Rhd1 Rac8 16.Rac1 Nb6 17.Be1! Nc4 18.Rc2! Bxf3+ 19.gxf3 Ne5 20.h3 Nxd3 21.Rxd3 Rhd8 22.Rcd2!

White has an almost perfect inverted Christmas tree formation.

22...Bc7 23.Rc2 Bb6 24.Rxd8 Kxd8 25.Rd2+ Ke7 26.Rd1! (see diagram)

The subtle machinations of this rook are beyond praise. From c1 to c2 to d2, back to c2, then d2 again and finally d1. Now 26...Ba5 runs into 27.Nd5+

26...g6 27.f4 Rc4 28.f3 Nd7 29.b3 Rc6 30.Ne4 Rc2+ 31.Rd2 Rxd2+ 32.Bxd2 Bc5

Inviting further exchanges.

33.Nxc5 Nxc5 34.Bb4 Kd6 35.Kd2 a5! 36.Bxc5+ Kxc5 37.Kd3 f6 38.h4 Kd5 39.b4 axb4 40.axb4 h6 41.e4+ Kd6 42.Ke3 e5 43.fxe5+ fxe5 44.Kf2 Ke6

45.Kg3? Kf6 46.Kg2 (or 46.f4 exf4+ 47.Kxf4 g5+ 48.hxg5 hxg5+ 49.Kg4 Ke5) h5! 47.Kg3 g5! now wins for Black.

45.Kg2! Draw agreed.

Since 45...Kf6 46.Kg3! g5 (46...h5? is now met by 47.f4!) 47.h5! is a total draw.

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


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