Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov are unquestionably the protagonists who featured in the greatest ever chess rivalry. Between 1984 and 1990 they contested five long matches for the World Championship. This 3rd volume of the 'Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess' series concentrates on the third and fourth matches in this sequence: London/Leningrad 1986 and Seville 1987. Both matches were tremendously exciting and hard fought and both produced chess of an extremely high level.
The 1986 clash was groundbreaking in that it was the first World Championship match between two Soviets to take place outside Moscow. It was split between London and Leningrad with twelve games being played at both venues. The defending champion was now Kasparov (having won the 1985 match) and he leapt into an apparently decisive three point lead. However, this sensationally dissolved when a crisis broke out in the Kasparov camp. Karpov exploited this and pulled off the remarkable feat of winning three games in a row. Kasparov finally regained his composure and eventually clinched the match with a late victory.
The 1987 match was notable for it's sensational finale. Kasparov approached the final game with a one point deficit, knowing that only a win would enable him to retain the title. When the game was adjourned overnight in a position where Kasparov had to win to stay champion, Spanish TV cleared its entire schedule so that the nail-biting conclusion could be watched live. A pre-internet global audience of millions was glued to their TV screens as Kasparov ground out his historic victory.
In this volume Garry Kasparov (world champion between 1985 and 2000 and generally regarded as the greatest player ever) analyses in depth the clashes from 1986 and 1987, giving his opinion on the background to the matches as well as the games themselves.
This volume - the second in the trilogy of my games against Anatoly Karpov - is mainly devoted to our third and fourth matches (1986 and 1987). In both of them there was an incredibly dramatic finish, and for a long time afterwards the arguments about these events excited the chess world.
After winning the world crown in 1985 I had very little time in which to enjoy the taste of victory: the return match started the very next summer.
By the FIDE rules approved in 1949, the champion was obliged to defend his title every three years in a match with the winner of the qualifying series. But in my case this process was violated. Back in 1977, to satisfy Karpov, FIDE reinstated the regulation concerning a return match, which had operated in only two cycles and had been abolished in the early 1960s. If the champion lost, he would automatically, without any qualifying process, have the right to play a return match the following year. This right was used with great benefit to himself by Botvinnik, who won return matches against Smyslov (1958) and Tal (1961). He lost to them in matches for the world championship, but he twice regained the crown, restricting the reign of his 'offenders' to just one year.
In order to avoid such a fate, I also had to defeat Karpov in a return match (London/Leningrad 1986). Moreover, we had already played 72 games - the longest match in history (1984/85) and the second match (1985), in which I had wrested the title from Karpov... In a fierce struggle I managed to win the return match.
But the trials did not end there! Despite all our additional matches, the FIDE three-year qualifying cycle remained unchanged, and a year later I had to play a match against the next challenger. Not surprisingly, my opponent was again Karpov. For him the path to the summit was far shorter than usual. FIDE relieved him of the need to play in the series of Candidates matches and allowed him directly into a 'super-final', where the ex-champion crushed Andrey Sokolov, the winner of the qualifying series.
On the eve of our fourth match (Seville 1987) Karpov stated that he had no doubts he would be successful. I also said that I did not see any reason why I should lose my title. I was firmly convinced that, when I needed to, I could win against Karpov. But Botvinnik warned me: 'You are playing more strongly, but there is one psychological danger which you must overcome: you must realise that it is possible to lose the match! Such a possibility exists, and if you remember about it, this will mobilise your strength.' But during the encounter I periodically ceased to realise that I was playing a match for the world championship: the psychological fatigue, accumulated over the three years, made itself felt.
It was the encounter in Seville that became the real return match for me. The first three matches had merged in my consciousness into one gigantic battle, and only after my victory in 1986 did I fully feel that I was the champion, having demonstrated that my success in 1985 was no accident. This was also recognised by the Soviet authorities, who awarded me the Order of the Red Banner of Labour (by the irony of fate, the Order was presented to me by Politburo Candidate Member Pyotr Demichev - the chairman of the organising committee of the first two matches). I began travelling about and appearing in public, and there were also unaccustomed duties... But the next year in Seville I had to solve those psychological problems which in their time had proved insuperable for Smyslov and Tal. Again a match with the same tenacious opponent, and losing was something I could not contemplate: now it would be a long time before I would have a chance to recoup my losses! This severe trial nearly ended in disaster for me. But, by winning the last, 24th game, I levelled the score and retained my title.
Whereas this is the first time I have commented on the fourth match (apart from a few games which I annotated for Informator), the second and third matches have already been covered in detail in my old book Dva matcha (1987). By the standards of the time this was quite a high-quality work, but by no means all the comments have stood the test of time - and of the computer! Many chess evaluations have undergone changes, and this has forced me to make substantial corrections to a seemingly harmonious 'exemplary text'. The elimination of analytical myths, passed on from one generation to the next, is one of the main aims of my entire project.
Four matches for the world championship in the space of three years is an unprecedented occurrence in history! Regarding this, Botvinnik wrote: "The most important part of chess culture is created by great players, and their talent should be preserved; they should not be forced to work until they are worn out, until they are traumatised - this is the sacred duty of FIDE. At present the FIDE leaders are acting in the opposite direction. This has provoked a natural reaction on the part of those who create chess culture, on the part of grandmasters - they have united, to repulse tyranny.' The story of the creation of the legendary Grandmasters Association (GMA) is another topic of this book.
0071 Thirsting for Revenge
007 Difficult negotiations
016 Blitz preparation
0192 The Third Match: 1986
019 Karpov-style start (games 1-4)
052 First disaster (games 5-7)
076 The ex-champion's anti-record (games 8-10)
098 Best draw of the match (games 11-12)
110 Between the Thames and the Neva (game 13)
120 Spanish passions (games 14-16)
163 Three zeroes (games 17-19)
197 Stab in the back
201 Retribution (games 20-22)
223 Not only for the title (games 23-24)
2383 The Year between Matches
238 Birth of the GMA
246 Meeting in Brussels
262 'A trap for the champion'
267 Psychological blow
272 Before the start
2754 The Fourth Match: 1987
275 Play with 'golden towers' (game 1)
279 Fatal indecision (games 2-5)
308 Revival (games 6-10)
339 Insidious numbers (games 11-16)
371 Drawing series (games 17-22)
400 Fantastic finish (games 23-24)
429 Index of Openings
431 Index of Games