A Karpov-Kasparov update

By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff
October 5, 2009

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It appears that the famous rivalry between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov is fading significantly in the face of Karpov’s growing years. The two former world champions have finished their appearance at Valencia, Spain, and - despite his energetic preparations - Karpov succumbed to Kasparov in rapids games by a score of 1-3. The result was even more catastrophic in the blitz games, in which Kasparov triumphed by a score of 6-2. The blitz match involved sudden death time controls of 5 minutes with measly 2-second increments. Karpov started well in the blitz by winning the first game despite time trouble. The second was a draw, but thereafter, Kasparov dominated the match.

The two are scheduled to move on to the Louvre in Paris, but if the lopsided results continue, the hoped-for matches in Moscow and New York may not come about. An evaluation of the match probably focuses on Karpov rather than Kasparov. Karpov was once noted for his extraordinary endurance, but he has put on weight and has been out of practice. Karpov repeatedly ran into time trouble in this match. Kasparov remains formidable and is 15 years younger than Karpov.

Back at home, attention for the next few weeks will be on the 14-team US Chess League (USCL). After game 4, the Eastern division leaders were the New Jersey Knockouts with a 4.0 score. San Francisco led the Western division with 3.5. The Boston Blitz, going well after two rounds, took a bad fall against the Dallas Destiny team, the USCL champions the last two years. The prestigious Blitz team of Larry Christiansen, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, Vadim Martirosov, and Ilya Krasik got blanked by a 4-0 score. The Dallas team achieved this result with all its players 21 years or under. This is the Destiny’s only win this year.

Dazed by its loss, the Blitz nevertheless recovered the following week with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Inventors. This match was highlighted by an outstanding game by Marc Esserman vs. Tom Bartell, which won the prize for USCL’s Game of the Week. This followed a brilliancy, which we have already published, by the same Esserman in the second round.

In week 5, the Blitz beat the Baltimore Kingfishers by a 2.5-1.5 score.

A remarkable achievement of the US Chess League has been to bring a number of great American players onboard: Hikaru Nakamura has posted wins for the Seattle Sluggers, New Hampshire star Josh Friedel is playing regularly for the San Francisco Mechanics, Boris Gulko has a 5-0 score in his appearances in the league this year and last. Spectators, who unfortunately are not given the benefit of demonstration boards at the great Swiss tourneys, can avail themselves of the US Chess League site and play over capable games by the likes of former US champion Alex Shabalov and GMs Jaan Ehlvest, Sergey Kudrin, and Alex Stripunsky.

Brevity: Larry M. Evans vs. A. Bisguier (circa 1963) 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 c5 5.cxd5 cxd4 6.Qxd4 Be7 7.e4 Nc6 8.Qe3 exd5 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.exd5+ Ne7 11.d6 Qxd6 12.Bb5+ Bd7 13.Rd1 Bxc3+ 14.bxc3 Qxd1+ 15.Kxd1 Bxb5 16.Nf3 0--0--0+ 17.Kc1 Nc6 18.Qf4 Bd3 19.Ne5 Rhe8 20.Nxf7; 1-0. (Resignation was perhaps premature, but Black’s King was cut off and Black had little hope.)

Winners: Vivek Rao simul at the Winchester CC, 28-0. Worcester 2009 Sept. 1, Muharrem Brahimaj 3.5-.5; tied for second John Curdo, Michael Odell, Joe Alfano, all 3-1. BCC Scholastic Quads, Sept. 27, 1st Siddharth Arun 3-0; tied for 2nd, Henry Friedlander, Andy Li, and Jason Tang, 2-1.

Coming events: Oct. 7, BCC Early Bird Quick Play, Boylston Chess Club, Oct. 10, BCC $10 Open and Oct. 11, BCC Sunday Scholastic, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 11, 18, SBCC 50th Anniversary Sven Brask Chess Club, 16 E. Bacon St. Plainville, Oct. 8, 15, 22, Blackstone Fall Swiss, Blackstone Chess Center,