Kasparov, G. - Ponomariov, R.
SuperGM (Linares), 09.03.2002
Runde 13 [Malcolm Pein]
e6 2.d4 d5
3.Sc3 dxe4 4.Sxe4
Sd7 This has to be one of the most solid
lines you can choose against a raging bull desperate to win. It was Ivanchuk's choice in his disastrous
first game loss against Ponomariov in the FIDE final.
5.Sf3 Sgf6 6.Sxf6+ Sxf6 7.c3 c5 8.Se5 Sd7 9.Lb5 Incredibly is position can be reached from the French Defence, as in this game or from the Caro Kann 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. c3 c5 8.Ne5 Nd7 9.Bb5 or the Sicilian with 2.c3 via 1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 e6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Na3 Qd8 7.Nc4 Nc6 8.Nce5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 Nd710.Bb5
[9...a6 10.Df3 Better
than 10.Qh5 first because the interpolation of... g6 lets Black play ...f6 without fear of Qh5+
11...Lxd7 12.Lh6 Df6
13...Lf6 14.Tad1 Dc7 the point is that after 15.Bxf6 gxf6 the Black king sits relatively comfortably on e7 and even allows a rook to contest the 'd' file something Black could only dream of in the game. But Kasparov finds a better way to attack
gxf6 16.Dh4 with
very good compensation
(16...h6 17.Td3 and
Black still cannot free himself with ...a6
17...a6 18.Tfd1 axb5 19.Td8+ Kg7 20.Txh8 Kxh8 21.Dxh6+ Kg8 22.Td3)
[15.Lxf6 gxf6 16.Dh4
Ke7 17.Td3 Td8
18.Dxh7 Txd3 19.Lxd3
Ld7 and the worst is over]
f6 Forced 17.Dh5
[20...Ld7! Was a decent try but Ponomariov
would have been afraid to cut off the queen from the defence of the king. After 21.Be2!? the Bd7 cannot
move because of Qxh7+ and the pressure remains.
21.Ld3 f5 Again
more or less forced
22.g4 # Because he wins so many games
by virtue of superior preparation its easy to forget what a brilliant hacker Kasparov is. He just bludgeons
his way through now when 22.Qxh7+ was a safe edge - I doubt if he gave it much thought !
24.f3 And its getting very warm in
24...Kg8 25.fxg4 Dg7 26.g5 Dxh6 27.gxh6 Tf8 28.Thf4 Txf4 29.Txf4 and I can't see a good defence to Kg1-e7 !
29...Le8 30.Tf6 Lf7 31.Lc4 wins]
23.Td1 Ponomariov had been playing
much quicker than Kasparov and his next couple of moves came quite fast to my surprise. Here or on the
next move g6-g5 to get the queens off should have been considered
23...b5 24.Le2! e5?! # Was Ponomariov playing for a win now ? This looks too loosening in particular the diagonal c4-g8 is fatally weakened
[24...g5 looks like the best chance
25.gxf5 Dxh6 26.Txh6 Kg7 27.Th5 h6 28.h4 exf5! 29.Lf3
29...g4! Fritz 30.Lxa8
26.Td6 Dg7 The
problem with this move at any point is that it makes the black queen passive and white queen more active.
26...Be6 was better but still awkward to defend
[26...Le6 with the idea of ...g5
(27.gxf5 Dxf5 (27...gxf5?
28.a4! Black is too discoordinated to
exchange pieces before the c4-g8 diagonal opens
28...e4 29.axb5 axb5 30.Lxb5 De5 31.Dg5 Probably quite unexpected in a time scramble. Now 31...Be6 runs into 32.Bd7! and Bc4+ and R1d5 are coming
31...De7 32.Dh6 Add Rxg6 to the threat list
32...Le6 33.Df4 John H tells me GK made the control with a couple of minutes to spare. Looks like he missed the kill first time round
[33...Ta7 To get the rook out of range
of the Qf4
34.Lc6 Tf8 35.De5 Lc8 36.Ld5+ Ke8 37.Le6]
35.gxf5 This finishes it