Thursday, April 29, 2010

Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Karpov is one of the great masters of chess. He was undisputed World Champion from 1975 to 1985 and again won the FIDE world championship from 1993 to 1999. In a long and illustrious career, he has won more than 160 tournament titles and had a peak ELO rating of 2780.

The 1994 Linares tournament with an average ELO rating of 2685 was the first Category-18 tournament ever held. Karpov played the best tournament chess of his life to win this tournament with a staggering 11 points out of 13 possible dominating the second placed Kasparov by a huge 2.5 points. His tournament performance at 2985 was the highest performance rating of any chess player in any tournament in all of chess history.
Karpov on
Wiki, ChessGames, Biography & Brief Profile
Below i give a game from the 4th Round of the historic Linares 1994 tournaments which is probably one of the greatest games played by Karpov.

White: Anatoly Karpov
Black: Veselin Topalov
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. g3 Nc6 6. Bg2 Bc5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. Nc3 O-O 9. O-O d6 10. Bf4 Nh5 11. e3 Nxf4 12. exf4 Bd7 13. Qd2 Qb8 14. Rfe1 g6 15. h4 a6 16. h5 b5 17. hxg6 hxg6 18. Nc5 dxc5 19. Qxd7 Rc8 20. Rxe6 Ra7 21. Rxg6 fxg6 22. Qe6 Kg7 23. Bxc6 Rd8 24. cxb5 Bf6 25. Ne4 Bd4 26. bxa6 Qb6 27. Rd1 Qxa6 28. Rxd4 Rxd4 29. Qf6 Kg8 30. Qxg6 Kf8 31. Qe8 Kg7 32. Qe5 Kg8 33. Nf6 Kf7 34. Be8 Kf8 35. Qxc5 Qd6 36. Qxa7 Qxf6 37. Bh5 Rd2 38. b3 Rb2 39. Kg2 1-0

Mikhail Tal

Mikhail Tal (1936 – 1992) was one of the most brilliant tactical geniuses of chess. He became world champion by defeating Botvinnik in 1960. He had an aggressive, sacrificial playing style and was also a noted chess journalist and author.

I give below one of the most brilliant games played by Tal. Don’t worry if you can’t understand the tactics behind the moves – just enjoy them !

White: Mikhail Tal
Black: Johann Hjartarson
Played at Reykjavik in the year 1987
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 Bd7 13.Nf1 cxd4 14.cxd4 Rac8 15.Ne3 Nc6 16.d5 Nb4 17.Bb1 a5 18.a3 Na6 19.b4 g6 20.Bd2 axb4 21.axb4 Qb7 22.Bd3 Nc7 23.Nc2 Nh5 24.Be3 Ra8 25.Qd2 Rxa1 26.Nxa1 f5 27.Bh6 Ng7 28.Nb3 f4 29.Na5 Qb6 30.Rc1 Ra8 31.Qc2 Nce8 32.Qb3 Bf6 33.Nc6 Nh5 34.Qb2 Bg7 35.Bxg7 Kxg7 36.Rc5 Qa6 37.Rxb5 Nc7 38.Rb8 Qxd3 39.Ncxe5 Qd1+ 40.Kh2 Ra1 41.Ng4+ Kf7 42.Nh6+ Ke7 43.Ng8+ 1- 0

Tal on Wiki & ChessGames

A brief biography is here & here
Download 1526 games of Tal in PGN
Nice Video of Tal

Tal's famous win over Smyslov

The Turk

The Turk or Automaton Chess Player was a chess-playing machine of the late 18th century, exhibited from 1770 for over 84 years, by various owners, as an automaton but later explained in January 1857 as an elaborate hoax.

Constructed and unveiled in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734–1804) to impress the Empress Maria Theresa, the mechanism appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent, as well as perform the knight's tour.

Publicly promoted as an automaton and given its common name based on its appearance, the Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion that allowed a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine, sliding from one side to the other when the cabinet was opened for inspection, and reading the chessboard above using magnetic tags under each chesspiece, viewed by candlelight.

With a skilled operator, the Turk won most of the games played. The apparatus was demonstrated around Europe and the Americas for nearly 84 years until its destruction by fire in 1854, playing and defeating many challengers including statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. Although many had suspected a hidden human operator, the hoax was formally explained in 1857 by articles in The Chess Monthly and later publications.


Self-Mate is a very interesting concept wherein you force the opponent to mate your own King ! The perfect self-mate will have only one permissible move for the suicide.

A lot of brilliant problems have been composed based on this theme.
Check out a simple self-mate puzzle in the position shown in the Diagram: Black to move and self-mates in 2 moves.

1…… Qf7!
2. g6 Qf5!
3. g7 #

Other Links: Wiki, Gilith, Ozproblems, TheProblemist

Hypermodern Chess

Hypermodern Chess was a new school of chess thought which promoted control of the center with distant pieces rather than the classical way (with pawns). The argument was that if you advance pawns too early, they would become objects of attack.

Leading proponents of the Hypermodern chess were Nimzowitsch, Reti, Tartakower and Breyer. The following famous game served to popularize Hypermodern chess enormously.

Reti – Capablanca
New York 1924

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. b4 Bg7 4. Bb2 O-O 5. g3 b6 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O d6 8. d3 Nbd7 9. Nbd2 e5 10. Qc2 Re8 11. Rfd1 a5 12. a3 h6 13. Nf1 c5 14. b5 Nf8 15. e3 Qc7 16. d4 Be4 17. Qc3 exd4 18. exd4 N6d7 19. Qd2 cxd4 20. Bxd4 Qxc4 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Qb2+ Kg8 23. Rxd6 Qc5 24. Rad1 Ra7 25. Ne3 Qh5 26. Nd4 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 Qe5 28. Nc4 Qc5 29. Nc6 Rc7 30. Ne3 Ne5 31. R1d5 Black resigns 1-0

Brilliancy from Bobby Fischer

Byrne – Fischer
US Championship 1963

After white’s 15th move, this position was reached. Here Fischer played

15…… Nxf2 !! 16. Kxf2 Ng4+ 17. Kg1 Nxe3 18. Qd2 Nxg2 ! 19. Kxg2 d4 20. Nxd4 Bb7 21. Kf1 Qd7 White resigned 0-1

Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer who passed away on 17th Jan 2008 at the age of 64 in Iceland was the Greatest Chess Player of all time.

He was an inspiration to a whole generation of chess players and revolutionized the world of chess. I was deeply saddened because he was my personal hero in chess.

Queen Sacrifice

The Queen sacrifice always produces a spectacular effect. Especially at the highest levels, it is extremely rare for a master to fall into a queen sacrifice theme. So, whenever it happens, it creates a sensation.

The position shown in the diagram was reached after white's 17th move in the game Byrne – Fischer, Rosenwald 1956.

Here Fischer played:
17…… Be6!! 18. Bxb6 Bxc4+ 19. Kg1 Ne2+ 20. Kf1 Nxd4+ 21. Kg1 Ne2+ 22. Kf1 Nc3+ 23. Kg1 axb6 24. Qb4 Ra4 25. Qxb6 Nxd1 26. h3 Rxa2 27. Kh2 Nxf2 28. Re1 Rxe1 29. Qd8+ Bf8 30. Nxe1 Bd5 31. Nf3 Ne4 32. Qb8 b5 33. h4 h5 34. Ne5 Kg7 35. Kg1 Bc5+ 36. Kf1 Ng3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4+ 38. Kd1 Bb3+ 39. Kc1 Ne2+ 40. Kb1 Nc3+ 41. Kc1 Rc2# 0-1.

Judit Polgar

Judit Polgar is the strongest woman chess player in the world, and also probably the greatest woman chess player of all time.

She was born July 23, 1976 in Hungary and was recognized as a prodigy from a very young age. Her father Laszlo and sister Susan were her coaches during her early years. She was 12 years when she was awarded the title of International Master (at that time, the youngest ever to have achieved the distinction) and in 1991, at the age of 15, she qualified as a Grandmaster.

On the January 1996 FIDE ratings, her rating of 2675 made her the number 10 ranked player in the world, the only woman ever to enter the world’s Top Ten. Her highest ever rating has been 2735, in the July 2005 FIDE list.

History was made in September 2002, in the Russia vs. Rest of the World match when she defeated Garry Kasparov. This game which she won with exceptional positional play, was the first time in any sport that the number 1 ranked male player had lost to the number 1 ranked female player.

She has won or shared first place in Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, Leon 1996, US Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Siegman 1999, Japfa 2000, and the Najdorf Memorial 2000. In 2003, she scored one of her best results, an undefeated clear second place in the Category 19 Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, just a half-point behind future World Champion Anand, and a full point ahead of then-world champion Kramnik.

Judit is known for her aggressive playing style. She excels in tactical positions, though when required, she can be a solid positional player as well.

She is married to Gusztav Font, a veterinary surgeon from Budapest and has 2 children, Oliver and Hanna.

Below I give one of Judit’s brilliant wins against David Navara in the recently concluded match at Prague. (Judit won the match resoundingly 6 – 2)

White: Judit Polgar (2682)
Black: David Navara (2708)
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 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.a4 c5 13.d5 c4 14.Bc2 Nc5 15.a5 g6 16.b4 cxb3 17.Nxb3 Rc8 18.Re3 Nfd7 19.Nxc5 Nxc5 20.Ba3 f5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Nxe5! dxe5 23.Rxe5 Rc7 24.Rxf5 Rxf5 25.Bxf5 Qxd5 26.Qg4+ Kh8 27.Re1 Bf8 28.c4 Qg8 29.Bb2+ Bg7 30.Bxh7 Qf8 31.Bxg7+ Rxg7 32.Bg6 Kg8 33.cxb5 axb5 34.Re5 Bc8 35.Qe2 Rxg6 36.Re8 Bb7 37.f3 Ne6 38.Rxf8+ Kxf8 39.Qxb5 Rxg2+ 40.Kxg2 Bxf3+ 41.Kg3 1-0.

Judit’s official Web site
Judit on Wiki & ChessGames

Chess Notation Symbols

Click on the image to view a larger version of it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anand vs. Topalov (Game 1 & 2)

The Anand vs. Topalov World Championship match is the hottest event on the chess calendar right now.

The match is played for 12 games in Sofia, Bulgaria. After 2 games the score is 1:1.

Topalov won the first game (playing with white pieces) with accurate attacking chess backed by some good home preparation. Anand’s blunder on move 23, ended the game quickly.
White: Topalov Black: Anand Game-1
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Na5 11. Bd3 b6 12. Qd2 e5 13. Bh6 cxd4 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. cxd4 exd4 16. Rac1 Qd6 17. f4 f6 18. f5 Qe5 19. Nf4 g5 20. Nh5+ Kg8 21. h4 h6 22. hxg5 hxg5 23. Rf3 Kf7 24. Nxf6 Kxf6 25. Rh3 Rg8 26. Rh6+ Kf7 27. Rh7+ Ke8 28. Rcc7 Kd8 29. Bb5 Qxe4 30. Rxc8+ 1-0

Anand won the second game in a positional masterpiece in which Topalov was completely outplayed during the late middle game and endgame phases.
White: Anand Black: Topalov Game-2
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 a6 6. Ne5 c5 7. Na3 cxd4 8. Naxc4 Bc5 9. O-O O-O 10. Bd2 Nd5 11. Rc1 Nd7 12. Nd3 Ba7 13. Ba5 Qe7 14. Qb3 Rb8 15. Qa3 Qxa3 16. bxa3 N7f6 17. Nce5 Re8 18. Rc2 b6 19. Bd2 Bb7 20. Rfc1 Rbd8 21. f4 Bb8 22. a4 a5 23. Nc6 Bxc6 24. Rxc6 h5 25. R1c4 Ne3 26. Bxe3 dxe3 27. Bf3 g6 28. Rxb6 Ba7 29. Rb3 Rd4 30. Rc7 Bb8 31. Rc5 Bd6 32. Rxa5 Rc8 33. Kg2 Rc2 34. a3 Ra2 35. Nb4 Bxb4 36. axb4 Nd5 37. b5 Raxa4 38. Rxa4 Rxa4 39. Bxd5 exd5 40. b6 Ra8 41. b7 Rb8 42. Kf3 d4 43. Ke4 1-0

Official Website of the match

Karpov for FIDE President

Anatoly Karpov, one of the greatest players of all time is running for the office of the President of the International Chess Federation.

He was World Championship from 1975 to 1985 and his Tournament successes include 160 first place finishes. He had a peak ELO rating of 2780 and for several decades has been amongst the top elite of the chess world.

After 1995, he has seriously limited his classical tournament play and he has involved himself in the politics of his home country of Russia.

He has been a member of the Supreme Soviet Commission for Foreign Affairs and the President of the Soviet Peace Fund before the Soviet Union dissolved. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia (a state institution created to analyze draft legislation and monitor the activities of the parliament, government and other government bodies).

He has also involved himself in several humanitarian causes.

The election for FIDE President will take place at the 39th Chess Olympiad which is scheduled this year at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Karpov’s mission statement

Study composed by Smyslov

White to play and win

Solution: 1.Bb1! [1.Nb1 a1Q+ 2.Kb5 Qa2-+ ; 1.g7 a1Q+ 2.Kb5 Qg1 3.f6= ] 1...a1Q+ 2.Kb5 Bg3 [=2...Qa3 3.g7+- ] 3.g7 Bb8! 4.g8(B)!! [4.g8Q Qa4+ 5.Kxa4 =] 4...Bf4 5.Bga2 Bxd2 [=5...Be5 6.Ne4 Kb8 7.Kc6 Bg7(=7...Kc8 8.f6 Kd8 9.Kb7+- )8.f6 Bf8 9.Nd6! Qxb1 10.Bxb1 Ka8 11.Kc7 Be7 12.Kc8 Bd8 13.Ba2 b1(Q) 14.Bd5+ Qb7+ 15.axb7# ] 6.f6! Bf4 7.f7 Bd6 8.Kc6 Bf8 9.Kc7+-

Tribute to Vasily Smyslov

Vasily Smyslov, (World Champion in 1957-58) passed away on 27 March 2010 at the age of 89.

He had a long and illustrious chess career. Though he got interested in chess early at the age of 6, he began taking part in Tournaments only by 14. After 3 years he won the USSR Junior championship and the next few years established himself as a Grandmaster of world class.

He was one of the five players selected to compete for the 1948 World Championship to determine who will succeed the late Alekhine. Smyslov came second in this historic tournament.
In 1957, he defeated Botvinnik 12.5-9.5 to win the World Championship. Botvinnik regained it the successive year (during this time, the champion had the right to defend the crown in the very next year).
He was an active tournament player even into the eighties and stood in the top 3 in most of them. He also contributed enormously to team gold medal wins in the Olympiads representing USSR.

His playing style was positional and featured spectacular tactical shots. He was famous for his precise handling of the Endgame.
He has authored many chess books; especially the book on Rook endgames is a classic.

Apart from chess his alternate passion was opera singing. He was a fine baritone singer and retained this passion for singing until his final years.

Obituaries - ChessBase, TWIC, Guardian

Smyslov page on ChessGames

Smyslov on Wiki