Kasparov's Blitz Recipe

  • GM Gserper
  • | Apr 21, 2014

 Kasparov's My Great Predecessors series of books is a trove of invaluable information. Garry is a real King Midas of chess since whatever chess subject he touches, he turns into gold. Whether you want to improve your tactical skills, learn how to play a certain opening, or just enjoy the best gems produced by the best chess players in the history of the game? You'll find everything there! So, when in the third volume Kasparov mentions a variation he liked to use in his blitz games, it's worthy of investigation.

The variation starts with the move 1.g3 which can transform to a variety of different opening lines (the Reti opening, English, Catalan, reversed Modern and Pirc, etc). Kasparov admits that he learned this variation from the games of the great Leonid Stein and mentioned one of them: against Eero Book. The game is not bad and quite typical for the very energetic style of Leonid Stein. Unfortunately, his opponent wasn't really a match for the Super GM, so the game was pretty much one-sided. Judge for yourself:

What a horrible massacre! Of course 5...Bf5?! was really asking for trouble, but in case of 5...Bh5, trying to prevent e2-e4, Kasparov recommends 6. g4!? Bg6 7. f4 e6 8. e4 gaining the initiative thanks to Bg6 being completely immobilized.

Kasparov giving a press conference at 2012 World Championship match in Moscow | Image courtesy FIDE

Kasparov correctly points out that this position is much easier to play with White and therefore it brought him very good results. Of course his blitz games (especially the ones he played as a teenager) were not saved for history, but a game played by a pair of strong modern players proves Kasparov's point:

What if Black doesn't develop his light-squared bishop too early? Kasparov has a recommendation for this case as well:

In the following amusing game, a future strong grandmaster fell victim to an unexpected trap:

But what should White do in the case of the most natural response from Black: 2...e5? Kasparov doesn't provide an answer there, but judging by his confession that his opening choice was highly influenced by the games of GM Leonid Stein, I suspect he was aware of the next well-known game.

The beauty of this opening set up is that it is easy to play since there is practically nothing to memorize. Unfortunately, in some variations, it becomes too positional for most amateur chess players. So, if your favorite opening is the Blackmar - Diemer or Smith - Morra gambit, then I would recommend you to just ignore this line. But if you are more of a Ruy Lopez kind of a person, and especially if you like to play the King's Indian Defense, Pirc or Modern, then you can give this unusual and tricky opening a try.

Good luck!



  • 2 years ago


    hi kasparov heres mi faborito de los GMSmile

  • 3 years ago


    A video about closed openings and strategic play.

  • 3 years ago


    Great article as usual, Mr. Serper! It's great that you also honored an opening contribution by none other than Kasparov!

    However, as DJDopamine pointed out, there is a slight error in the second game you presented:

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    For those interested in the Pirc Defense here's the place to go...

  • 3 years ago


    Pal Benko successfully employed 1.g3 against Bobby Fischer in Curacao 1962.

  • 3 years ago


    My take:

    It is definitely not a KIA.  The KIA features an early Nf3 and this specifically holds the KN back so that it can later develop *behind* a White pawn which allows White to play to advance the Kside pawns.  For that reason it is a mistake for Black to develop his QB early if White is playing this system.  The drawback of not playing Nf3 is that Black can play ...e5 unfettered.  Then it's likely to turn into a KIA Caro-Kann which is considered lackluster for White.  White could try to play the same way with e4,Ne2, and f4, but Black has the ability to develop his bishop to c5 if he sees this might be happening.

     If Black plays ..d5 and ..e5 without ..c6, then yes it is likely to turn into a reverse Pirc which can be met by Black in several ways that are better than Averbakh's line.  Already Black's strength in the center is looking like adequate compensation for White's first move, but if this article is about blitz I suppose anything can happen.

  • 3 years ago


    One of the greatest chess players ever,an absolute genius,Thanks very much Gary.

  • 3 years ago


    Very instructive article. I never use 1. g3. But get confronted with it playing black. I always feel I should get the advantage. And often I don't, feeling stupid. Which means that 1. g3 offers white a psychological advantage was well. 

  • 3 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    This is basically a reversed Pirc, isn't it?

  • 3 years ago


    i like this opening!

  • 3 years ago


    1. g3 opening does not have any connections with Kasparov. He never played it in serious games.

    This move was introduced at the master level by Reti, who played it several games in 1925, including the brilliancy won by Alekhine.

    Finally Reti had to admit that this move gets white into trouble.

  • 3 years ago


    I am sure he would still be a threat for the top 10 - Kaspi for WC - this would be real fun Cool

  • 3 years ago


    Garry Kasparov is a genius and a king when it comes to Chess...

  • 3 years ago


    Hi everyone,

    just played a 3 min blitz game for fun (see below) to test this system without having real knowledge of it before ever reading this article and I must say it suits my (lack of?) style. Of course one game is hardly any reference but the basic principles are easy to grasp to a lazy theoreticus like me. Seems like this opening has added one more devotee to its collection;).


  • 3 years ago


    Kasparov's voice as Yoda would be lots of fun xD

    Great arcticle, I must confess I'm more of a tactical than positional player, but this is worth a try.

  • 3 years ago


    awesome stuff, thanks

  • 3 years ago


    That's funny.  He was down the street from me once (I work in Cambridge, Massachusetts) doing some lecture or other and I just couldn't muster the energy to go see him.

  • 3 years ago

    FM TheMagician

    Kasparov was in Australia recently. i regret i have been unable to see either Fisher or Kasparov personally in my lifetime,they being two of greatest players of all time.

  • 3 years ago


    You're probably right Frank.  Even Kasparov doesn't realize his own genius. Wink

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