Independent Pursuits: Chess Jon Speelman
Saturday 05 September 1998
The contest was originally billed as a warm-up before Kasparov's "title defence" against Alexei Shirov. This was originally due to be held in Spain in October, but it ran into difficulties when the organiser, Luis Rentero Suares, was deprived of half of his funding - a cool one million dollars - following a political row. It is rumoured that the Kasparov/ Shorov match will now move across the Atlantic; and Kasparov is due to hold a press conference today to clarify the matter.
From tomorrow onwards, however, he will be turning his attention to Timman, against whom he has the splendid record of 18 wins, 22 draws and three losses, but who will still be a dangerous opponent, at least at the start.
The problem with playing Kasparov is that not only is he a wonderful opening theorist, blistering tactician and fine strategist: even when you get a good position against him, he still has a superlative "swindle mode", or knack for stirring up uncontrollable complications.
I witnessed this game between the two from one of the Linares tournaments and talked to Jan later. He was convinced that he had had a plus. A man of principle, he rightly hit the Black knight with 13.b4 and pressed on with 15.Nxb5!. But 20.g4 was very risky - 20.Bxe4! would have kept an edge. In the diagram, the obvious knight sacrifice is extremely dangerous. But 23.Bxd3? was a mistake - 23.Kb1! was correct with massive complications. The final position was slaughter since if 26.Nf6 Rxf6! or 26.Nc3 Qa4!.
White: Jan Timman
Black: Gary Kasparov
King's Indian defence
1 d4 Nf6
2 c4 g6
3 Nc3 Bg7
4 e4 d6
5 f3 0-0
6 Be3 e5
7 d5 Nh5
8 Qd2 f5
9 0-0-0 Nd7
10 Bd3 Nc5
11 Bc2 a6
12 Nge2 b5
13 b4! Nd7
14 cxb5 axb5
15 Ne3 Bc5
16 Nec3 Ra8
17 Kb2 Ndf6
18 Na7 fxe4
19 Nc6 Qd7
20 g4?! Nf4
21 g5 (see
22 Nxd5 Nd3+!
23 Bxd3? exd3
24 .Nce7+ Kh8
25 Nxc8 e4+
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