As a result of the London Candidates tournament, Magnus Carlsen will challenge Viswanathan Anand for the World Championship in Chennai in November, with a match budget exceeding $5 million. Between now and then I shall give occasional extracts from heroic deeds from past world title clashes. This week’s game comes from the marathon series of battles between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. The puzzle is a coruscating victory by Alexander Alekhine, who held the world title from 1927 until 1946, when he died as champion, with a break of two years between 1935 and 1937.
Bogolyubov challenged Alekhine twice but was crushed both times. He was not an unworthy opponent, though, having won a match victory against Nimzowitsch, the simultaneous championship titles of the USSR and Germany, and two tournament triumphs ahead of Capablanca.
Kasparov-Karpov: World Championship Lyon/New York (Game 2), 1990; Ruy Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 Bb7 10 d4 Re8 11 Nbd2 Bf8 12 a4 h6 13 Bc2 exd4 14 cxd4 Nb4 15 Bb1 bxa4 16 Rxa4 a5 17 Ra3 Ra6 18 Nh2 g6 19 f3 A powerful novelty from Kasparov. White strongly supports his central e4-pawn, and three black pieces – rook on e8, knight on f6 and bishop on b7 – are left without work. 19 ... Qd7 The queen will not be best placed at b5. The natural 19 ... d5 was better. 20 Nc4 Qb5 21 Rc3 The prelude to a rather harmonious arrangement of the pieces. Now it is hard for Black to carry out the freeing ... d6-d5 because of Na3 (with gain of tempo!) and e4-e5. 21 ... Bc8 22 Be3 Kh7 23 Qc1 c6 This weakening of the d6-pawn places Black on the verge of defeat. However, he already had a difficult choice as 23 ... c5 24 dxc5 dxc5 25 Ng4 weakens his position too much. 24 Ng4 Ng8 (see diagram 1) 25 Bxh6 A spectacular move which translates White’s positional superiority into an offensive against the black king. 25 ... Bxh6 26 Nxh6 Nxh6 27 Nxd6 Qb6 28 Nxe8 Qxd4+ After 28 ... Qd8 29 d5 Qxe8 30 d6 the avalanche of white pawns supported by the heavy pieces is bound to sweep away everything in its path. 29 Kh1 Qd8 30 Rd1 The co-ordination of the black pieces is completely destroyed, whereas White’s queen and both rooks are very strong. 30 ... Qxe8 31 Qg5 Ra7 32 Rd8 Qe6 33 f4 Ba6 34 f5 Qe7 35 Qd2 Qe5 (see diagram 2) 36 Qf2 Pretty geometry: with gain of tempo the queen ensures the invasion of the rook on c5. White is completely dominant, and Black cannot avoid decisive loss of material. 36 ... Qe7 37 Qd4 Ng8 38 e5 Nd5 39 fxg6+ fxg6 40 Rxc6 Qxd8 41 Qxa7+ Nde7 42 Rxa6 Qd1+ 43 Qg1 Qd2 44 Qf1 Black resigns