Monday, April 15, 2024

35 years ago: Kasparov becomes the youngest world champion in chess history


Road to the top of Garry Kasparov

In the 1980s, the world was still divided into two political blocks, the “Eastern Block” and the “Western World.” The “Iron Curtain”, the boundary between the “west” and the “east”, passed through Germany in the middle of Europe.

The world of chess was also divided. The iron curtain had a door, but it was hard to get through. This was also true for the news. In the west, this also applies to chess, where people are often unaware of what’s happening in the east, and it took a long time for news about chess tournaments to reach the west.

But in 1980, when Kasparov won a compelling victory at the World Junior Championships ahead of Nigel Short, almost all Western chess fans took notice of this amazing talent. In 1979, the year before, Kasparov won a powerful Grandmaster tournament in Banja Luka, ahead of former world champions such as Petrosyan, but his young talent at the time didn’t even have an official FIDE rating. ..

After becoming the World Junior Champion, Kasparov continued to be impressed and became stronger and stronger. At the 1980 Chess Olympiad in Malta, a 17-year-old boy won 9.5 / 12 on board 4 of the winning Soviet team. In 1982 he won a powerful and prestigious tournament in Bugojno, and later that year he also won an interzone tournament in Moscow. Finally, here’s a young player who had the chance to challenge Anatoly Karpov, who has dominated the chess scene since 1975.

Kasparov became a world championship challenger by winning candidate matches against Beliavsky, Cortinoi (but only after long-term political complications), and Smithlov.

The legendary first World Championship match against Kasparov’s Karpov began on September 10, 1984. The match was played according to the old rules and the winner was the first player to win six matches. The draw was not counted. Until then, Kasparov had defeated all his enemies with his trademark powerful attack style, but this was not enough to beat Kasparov.

The match started with two draws, but Kasparov lost the third match. After that, he also lost games 6, 7, and 9, with a score of 0-4, and he seemed hopelessly behind. But now Kasparov has changed his game strategy. He stopped playing for victory and instead did everything to keep up with another game. This led to a series of 17 draws, some of which were short, bloodless and meaningless. However, in Game 27, Kasparov had one more win and needed only one more to win the match and defend the title, but Kasparov had to win one to avoid a 0-6 defeat. It didn’t become.

Karpov, who was trying to avoid risk throughout the match, should probably have changed his strategy and strove for a more double-edged, complex and risky position. But instead he continued his wait-and-see strategy, but couldn’t make any progress – the sixth and final victory just didn’t come. On the contrary, in Game 32, Kasparov won his first victory. However, this one decisive game was followed by another streak of 14 draws.

Moscow officials have now lost patience with chess players who had blocked the famous venue for months and moved the match to a hotel outside the city centre. And after Kasparov won games 47 and 48, FIDE President Florencio Campomanes announced that the match was canceled without a winner. This was a very controversial decision that led to protests and ongoing discussions. To take this dramatic step.

However, due to the endless match, FIDE changed the rules of the World Championship match and limited the number of games to 24. If there is a 12-12 tie after 24 games, the World Champion will keep his title.

On September 3, 1985, Kasparov and Kasparov again began their second World Championship match in Moscow. But this time Kasparov was more careful and did not make the mistake of underestimating his opponent.

KAsparov is having fun

He won the first game, but then lost to games 4 and 5. With a victory in Game 11, Kasparov was on par with the score, and with a stunning victory in Game 16, he led the match. After that, Kasparov also won the 19th game, scoring 2 points in the remaining 5 games. However, Karpov counterattacked and won the 22nd match, drawing the match in the last two games in need of a draw and victory to defend the title.

However, after a draw in Game 23, Kasparov won the 24th and final game of the game on November 9, 1985, becoming the youngest world champion in chess history at the age of 22. He held the title for 15 years.

New world champion

24th game

Translation from German: Johannes Fisher


Kasparov’s Bishop Pair

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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