Chess

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Beating top grandmasters with the black pieces is something even world champions usually find difficult. A strong professional playing White usually has the technique to steer the game into paths that allow little scope for complication. In today's game, from the recent Novgorod tournament, Kasparov gives a beautiful display of winning with the black pieces against a strong opponent who is content with a draw.

When Artur Yusupov played 3.Bg5, avoiding all the sharp lines of the King's Indian or Grunfeld Defences that Kasparov loves so much, then followed it with 6.Qb3 and 8.Qxb6, a draw looked heavily odds-on as the likely result. The queens have gone, the position is free of tension, and anyway Yusupov is a large, bear-like man with a placid disposition and it is difficult to imagine him losing such a position.

Nevertheless, the doubled b-pawns and open a-file always give Black something to play for in such positions. Capablanca used to win many games by playing d5, c4 and Nc6 in such positions, then softening up the white Q-side with b5 and b4. Yusupov made that difficult by forcing the knight to d7 with 9.Nc4.

Adapting the Capablanca strategy, Kasparov played a fine pawn sacrifice with 21...b4, playing on the inability of White's minor pieces to return to the Q-side, but the way he sacrifice two more pawns to weave a mating net around the White king was pure magic.

White: A Yusupov

Black: G Kasparov

1 d4 Nf6 23 a3 Rfc8

2 Nf3 g6 24 g6 Bxe5

3 Bg5 Bg7 25 gxf7+ Kxf7

4 c3 c5 26 Bxe5 Nd5

5 e3 Qb6 27 Kd2 c3+!

6 Qb3 0-0 28 Kc2 cxb2+

7 Nbd2 d6 29 Kxb2 Rc3

8 Qxb6 axb6 30 Ra1 b5

9 Nc4 Nbd7 31 Rhc1 Rd3

10 Be2 d5 32 Rc5 Nb6!

11 Nce5 h6 33 Rxb5 Nc4+

12 Bf4 c4 34 Kc1 Rg8!

13 h4 b5 35 Bg3 f4

14 g4 Nb6 36 Rf5+ Kg6

15 g5 hxg5 37 Rxf4 Rc8!

16 hxg5 Ne4 38 Rg4+ Kh5

17 Nd2 Bf5 39 Rh4+ Kg6

18 Bg4 Na4 40 Rg4+ Kh5

19 Nxe4 dxe4 41 Rh4+ Kg5

20 Bxf5 gxf5 42 f4+ Kg6!

21 Rb1 b4! 43 f5+ Kg5!

22 cxb4 Nb6 White resigns

The final position is quite extraordinary. Three pawns up in an endgame, White is hopelessly lost. The black rooks and knight will force mate: 44.Kb1 Nd2+ 45.Kb2 Rb3+ 46.Ka2 Rc2 mate; or 44.Ra2 Nxa3+ 45.Kb2 Rc2+ 46.Ka1 Rd1 mate. A brilliantly effective performance by the world's strongest player.

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