(Kasparov Teaches Chess) Lesson 2: Ideas and Techniques

Oct 10, 2007, 6:08 PM |

By Garry Kasparov 

Before discussing the basics of the game of chess I would like to show you an episode from a recent game and give my comments which are prepared specifically for average chess players. I hope that after reading my analysis you will see for yourself that anyone who wants to make his moves meaningful and beautiful needs a lot of chess knowledge.

G. Kasparov-F.Gheorghiu

Moscow 1982

1 d4

Experienced chess players know that this move, just like the move by the king's pawn to e4, is the most logical and straightforward, or to put it simply, the best in the opening. Every one of you may come to the same conclusion after studying for two or three hours the basic principles guiding the first stages of the game which are to bring one's pieces into action as soon as possible and to gain control over the centre of the board.


This is one of the best moves by Black. Black brings a piece into action and prevents the opponent from bringing his e-pawn to the centre to consolidate his domination there.

2 c4

Now White impedes the free progress of the d-pawn to d5, as in this case after 3 cd Black will have to choose between 3 Qxd5 4 Nc3, when White brings the knight into play while Black has to make a second move with the queen, thus slowing down the process of bringing his pieces into action, or lagging behind in development, as it is customarily called. If Black takes the pawn with the knight by 3...Nxd5, this would allow White to play 4 e4 with a strong pair of pawns in the centre which controls all important positions in Black's camp, the squares c5, d5, e5, and f5.

Let us go back to the first lines of our analysis of the move 2 c4, where we say that 'White impedes...". This is the beginning of a conscious conflict in a chess game. Ideas have clashed, the battle has begun. The greater the player's abilities and knowledge the better he is equipped to spot the appearance of such micro-conflicts of which there are multitudes in each game, and the better are his judgement of consequences and future decisions.

2... e6

Black opens up a path for the bishop, and, as if trying to make up for lost time, gets ready to move his d-pawn to d5.

3 Nf3

White has a good choice of strong continuations, including 3 Nc3 and even 3 Bg5 or 3 Bf4. It is of primary importance to adhere to the principle of rapid development of one's pieces and to implement it in practice during the opening stage.

3... b6

Black is concerned about the bishop on c8, and prepares to bring it to the main combat position b7 or to the alternative one on a6.

4 a3

In order to make this seemingly passive move one needs a deep understanding of preventive measures in the game of chess. This unobtrusive move by white pawn bars the black bishop from an active position on b4 and at the same time prepares to move the white knight to c3 where it may have a vital role to play in the struggle for the centre.

4... Bb7

5 Nc3

Both sides are trying to introduce their pieces into the game so as to consolidate their grip on the further struggle in the centre of the board.

5... d5

Black radically strengthens his position in the centre. The move ...d5, however, has its disadvantages, as it blocks the diagonal for the b7-bishop.

6 cd Nxd5

After 6...ed the b7-bishop would have been obstructed by its own pawn and risked remaining immobilised for some time. Although this feature of Black's position alone cannot pre-determine White's success, a consistent accumulation of such minor advantages allows an experienced grandmaster to turn the tide in his favour.

7 Qc2

Another micro-conflict on the chess stage develops around the move e4, which would allow White to occupy the centre. In choosing his move White takes into account the fact that after 7 e4? Nxc3 b bc Bxe4 Black has an extra pawn.

7 ... c5

Black could have destroyed White's plan by 7 ... f5 but at great cost. He would be left with a weak backward e6-pawn.

8 e4 Nxc3

9 bc

This is a new gain by White. He has achieved a strong pawn centre and is engaged in combat for domination over the fifth rank, ie., over 'enemy' territory. Chess players call this a 'space advantage'.

9 ... Be7

10 Bb5+ Bc6

11 Bd3

In chess a straight line is not always the shortest distance between two points. By moving the Bishop to d3 in two moves White has gained more advantages than he would have by doing it in on move. Black was prevented from replying with the most natural move against the check, because after, 10 Bb5+ Nc6 11 Ne5 Rc8 12 Qa4 Qc7 13 Qxa7 Ra8? 14 Bxc6+ White wins. Black's bishop is unfortunately placed on c6, getting in the way of its own pieces. In such cases chess players refer to bad piece location and poor coordination of forces.

11 ... Nbd7

The bishop occupying c6 has forced the knight to take a passive position instead of the active one on c6 where it would have attacked the White centre. It could be that Black did not want to give the opponent the advantage of two bishops after 11... 0-0 12 Ne5, but this would have been the lesser of two evils in the present situation, as in the actual game the black king remained in the centre. It would be more reasonable for Black to see to the safety of his king by trying to remove it from the centre as soon as possible.

12 0-0

As Black has delayed placing his king safely in shelter White aims to open up the centre at any cost(to clear the central files of pawns). For this reason White removes his king from the scene of action vacating the area for his rooks.

12 ... h6

Like 4 a3 which stopped Black's ... Bb4 this is a preventive move. But 12 ... 0-0 would have been more appropriate.

To be continued...