World Chess Championship 1985: Game 16 (Karpov vs. Kasparov)

World Chess Championship 1985: Game 16 (Karpov vs. Kasparov)

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Game 16 - Kasparov's Masterpiece

The first 10 moves of game 16 were identical to those from game 12. Karpov was the first to deviate, but Kasparov had analysed the position deeply in his preparation before the match, and was able to take the initiative, despite playing with the black pieces.

Kasparov's positioning of a knight deep in his opponent's position as early as move 16 was spectacular and ultimately decisive. The knight remained in place until move 34, when Karpov was forced to sacrifice his queen to remove it.

Chess Informant readers selected this game as the best game of the first 64 issues.

The game progressed as follows (notes based on Kasparov's analysis):

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 Nf6 7.N1c3 a6 8.Na3 d5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.exd5 Nb4 11.Be2 Bc5

This move is no longer played at the top level as it was found shortly after the game that White can play 12.Be3 Bxe3 13 Qa4+ retaining the extra pawn without the difficulties encountered in this game.

12.O-O O-O 13.Bf3 Bf5

After 13 Bg5 Nbxd5 14 Nxd5 Qxd5 15 Bxf6 Qxd1 16 Rfxd1 gxf6, Black should draw easily. Kasparov commented that he thought that Karpov felt obliged to play for the win in this position.

14.Bg5 Re8 15.Qd2 b5 16.Rad1 Nd3

The "octopus knight" begins to dominate White's position.


Karpov could have played more actively here. 17. d6 would have been better, although Black's position is still superior after 17. ... Qxd6 18. Bxa8 Rxa8.

17. ... h6 18.Bh4 b4 19.Na4 Bd6

Kasparov said that he had reached this position in his home preparation: "A position for which I had aimed in my preparatory analysis! Black has achieved obvious advantage. White scattered his minor pieces about on either flank and are quite unable to coordinate, the placement of the knights being particularly depressing. But Black has the wonderful duo of Bf5 and Nd3 which completely paralyzes all three White major pieces—a very rare occurrence in a practical game!"

20.Bg3 Rc8 21.b3 g5 22.Bxd6 Qxd6 23.g3 Nd7 24.Bg2 Qf6 25.a3 a5 26.axb4 axb4 27.Qa2 Bg6 28.d6 g4 29.Qd2 Kg7 30.f3

Kasparov has slowly been building up the pressure on Karpov's position, and Karpov finally decides to try to break out.[

30. ... Qxd6 31.fxg4 Qd4+ 32.Kh1 Nf6 33.Rf4 Ne4 34.Qxd3

The knight is finally taken from d3, but it costs Karpov his queen.

34. ... Nf2+ 35.Rxf2 Bxd3 36.Rfd2 Qe3 37.Rxd3

Karpov now has three pieces for the queen (normally a reasonable exchange) but his pieces are not sufficiently co-ordinated to counter Kasparov's attack.

37. ... Rc1 38.Nb2 Qf2 39.Nd2 Rxd1+ 40.Nxd1 Re1+ White resigns 0-1