GOTM; December; 2011.  

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Welcome to my  "Game of The Month"  feature!  (For December, 2011.)    [Game # 45.]  

This is a game, that is annotated - by me - for your enjoyment. Hopefully it is done in a way that is both entertaining and also informative. The main purpose {and thrust} of this column is to try and educate the general chess public. 

I have deeply annotated this game on my hard drive, you are welcome to contact me if you would like to try and obtain a copy. (Because of copyright violations, I ONLY offer a printed version!)  

This is a feature where I will try to pick a game that was recently played at the GM level. Then I will annotate it and try to basically explain what happened. ---> This column is aimed primarily at lower-rated players.  (Say 1600 & below.) 

I hope that you enjoy this game ... feedback is both encouraged and welcome. (Please respect my copyright.) 

    Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols I commonly use - when annotating a chess game.     

    Click  HERE  to go to another server ... where you can search for this game in a "re-playable" format.   

    Click  HERE  to see my video(s) for this game on the "You-Tube" server(Direct links:  Part I    Part II.)  

I looked at many candidates for my "Game of The Month," however, in the end, this one magnificent - if less than perfect - struggle won out. There were many reasons that I thought that this was an interesting game, and fully worthy of being the game of the month. Some of the reasons that this game was chosen was: 

  1. Users <Morfishine> and <Patriot> (from the CG website) helped me pick this game, so the choice was not mine alone. 

  2. Anand is the current World Champion, anytime he loses I think that we could all learn something from a game like this. 

  3. This was Nakamura's first win over Vishy, this was another good reason to look at it. 

  4. This game was from one of the strongest and most interesting tournaments of 2011. ("The London Chess Classic.")  [Google this event.]  

  5. The majority of the games for this column are wins by White, here is a deeply absorbing struggle where Black actually manages to win one.  

  6. I love this opening, (The King's Indian Defense - I played it as a teenager.); I would like to see it played more ... and if it was, there might be fewer draws. 

  7. GM Hikaru Nakamura has recently joined the world's elite players, this was my first chance to feature a game that was won by this player. 
    ( Jan. 2nd, 2012: GM H. Nakamura is leading the 54th Reggio Emilia tournament. [The CB story.] )   

  8. Personally, I like decisive games ... especially compared to short, boring, meaningless draws. And from the feedback that I have gotten over the years, it seems that the average chess fan (also) prefers a decisive chess game - as compared to a well-played draw in 20-30 moves. (Or of any length.)  

  9. There was an entertaining video discussion on the CB website, but most of the printed analysis (that I have seen) of this game was EXTREMELY poor, this game is the work of 2-3 weeks of work and analysis. At least in that respect, I am sure that I have found many moves and lines that have not been examined previously.  

  10. I felt that this was a tremendous opportunity to explain some of the basic ideas of this opening ... ... ... I like for every one of my GOTM series to be a kind of a chess lesson. I would like it if my analysis pleases a higher-rated player, however, my main goal is for every "Game of The Month" to be a mini-lesson and to help the average (or lower-rated) player. Towards that end, I have provided many links - see the section after the analysis of this game. I also have gone to great pains to explain what I believe to be some of the most common elements of KID strategy. (Enjoy!) 

  Viswanathan Anand  

  Hikaru Nakamura  

 GM Viswanathan Anand (2811) - GM Hikaru Nakamura (2758);  
  ICT, 3rd Chess Classic, (Round # 04)    
  London, ENG (UK) / 06,12,2011.  

gotm_dec-2011_medal.gif, 03 KB

  [A.J. Goldsby I]  

DECEMBER, 2011.  "The Game of The Month"

This is the game from the big event known as: "The (2011) London Classic."  

Nakamura related in one interview that: 
"I had lost the day before, and I was in a strange mood. I also wanted to play fighting chess." 

The result was a fascinating struggle, and an imperfect game ... with many mistakes. Yet, in a way, its a relief to see these chess titans play like this. Instead of the polished moves that appears to be the work of machines, we get a slug-fest that contains pikes like the guys down at your local club might even play! And, even though it is a flawed encounter, it still 1000x better than a short farce that ends in a draw by agreement!!! (So ... hats off to both players!) 


   1.d4 Nf6;  2.c4 g6;  3.Nc3 Bg7;  4.e4 d6;  5.Nf3 0-0;  6.Be2 e5;  7.0-0 Nc6;  8.d5 Ne7;  

This is the "Mar del Plata" variation; this system has been studied for over 75 years and was a favorite of the young Bobby Fischer. 
(See one of his most classic victories in this particular line.)  


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   r1bq1rk1/ppp1npbp/3p1np1/3Pp3/2P1P3/2N2N2/PP2BPPP/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 9   



Study this position for a few minutes. 

The pawn on d5 divides the board in half and also gives the first player a considerable edge in space. Normally, White plays on the Q-side with Black playing on the King-side. [For more, see MCO-15, the KID section begins on page # 588.] 


   9.b4 Ne8;  (Strategic retreat.)   

Black immediately goes for his break on the King-side ... in order to get his play going on the King-side. 
(This is one of the absolute MUSTS of this opening, Black cannot dawdle! The second player must move this Knight and get in ...f7-f5; as soon as the opening is over; failure to obtain active counter-play will mean that Black will be slowly squeezed to death on the Q-side.) 


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   r1bqnrk1/ppp1npbp/3p2p1/3Pp3/1PP1P3/2N2N2/P3BPPP/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 10   



The alternatives have not worked out well for Black, at least not according to current KID theory. 


          [ One possible alternative was the continuation of: 
             9...a5!?10.Ba3 axb4 11.Bxb4 Nd712.a4,  "+/="  (White has a small edge here.)  
             when White has already opened lines on the Q-side, while Black has yet to get the 
            ball rolling on the opposite wing. 

            [ See also MCO-15, page #599; column # 18, and all notes. ] 

            A good game for this position would be the Super-GM game: 
            GM Vladimir Kramnik (2790) - GM Magnus Carlsen (2813); 
           19th Melody Amber (rapid) / Nice, FRA; (R#8) / 21,03,2010. 

            {An incredible, super-human contest - it was drawn, but only after over 90 moves of play!!!}   


            Another possible line would be: 
            9...Nh5!?10.Re1! f5 11.Ng5 Nf612.Bf3, ''  12...c6;  "<=>"  
            and although White is clearly better here, Black also gets a measure of counter-play. 

            [ See MCO-15, page # 596;motstly columns # 8 and # 9. (And all corresponding notes.) ]   

             A good game for this position would have to be: 
             GM Vladimir Kramnik (2790) - GM Alexei Shirov (2710); 
             ICT, 15th Super-GM / Linares, ESP; (R# 04) / 1998.  

             {This contest appears to have been a hard-fought encounter, and was drawn in 46 total moves.} ]  


Over the next few moves, both sides will pursue their respective KID plans. 

   10.c5 f5;  11.Nd2 Nf6;  12.a4 g5!?;   (space, K-side)   

While there is really nothing wrong with this idea, perhaps Nakamura should play 12...f5-f4; and go ahead and close the King-side. 
(See the note given - just below.)  


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   r1bq1rk1/ppp1n1bp/3p1n2/2PPppp1/PP2P3/2N5/3NBPPP/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 13   



            [ Against Kramnik, Nakamura tried the following continuation: 
              12...f413.Nc4 g5 14.Ba3 g415.cxd6 cxd616.b5, ''  {+/}  (White is much better.) 
               and although the first player is clearly on top, Kramnik was unable to notch the full point. 

              GM Vladimir Kramnik (2780) - GM Hikaru Nakamura (2733);  
              FIDE Team Champ. Tournament (aka, The 39th Men's Olympiad.)  
              Khanty Mansiysk, RUS; (R# 4.1) / 24,09,2010.   

              An exciting game, Black eventually drew by perpetual check in a total of just forty-one (41) moves. ]   



   13.Nc4 h6!?;   (insane)    

Nakamura admitted {after the game} that this was an idea that he came up with while drinking with a friend!  


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   r1bq1rk1/ppp1n1b1/3p1n1p/2PPppp1/PPN1P3/2N5/4BPPP/R1BQ1RK1 w - - 0 14   



If a "Class C" player had tried this move, I would have given it a whole question mark. 
(Black needs to push his K-side Pawns forward as quickly as possible.)   


            [ Black should have probably played something like:   
              (>/=)  13...f4!?14.f3 Ng6 15.Ba3 Rf716.b5, ''  ("+/")  16...Bf8;   
               (Source: Fritz "Power-Book.")  

              when - like the game here - the box shows that White is hugely better ...   
              but for White to prove the exact path to the win is not so easy for the 
              first player to be able to do. ]  


   14.f3 f4;  15.Ba3 Ng6;   {See the diagram, just below.}  

Now the problem with Black's idea of ...h7-h6!? becomes clearly evident ...   


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   r1bq1rk1/ppp3b1/3p1nnp/2PPp1p1/PPN1Pp2/B1N2P2/4B1PP/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 16   



  ... compared to the main lines, Black is down some 2-3 tempi! 

[Editor's note - in the main lines, Black's pawns are already on f4, g5 and h5.]  



Now we proceed with the "normal" ideas of the King's Indian. 
(White pushes forward on the Q-side, while Black tries to make something happen on the opposite side of the chess board.)  

   16.b5 dxc5;  17.Bxc5 Rf7;  18.a5 h5;  19.b6 g4;  ('!')  20.Nb5 cxb6;  21.axb6,  "+/-"  

Although White has not yet won material, the engines show the first player to be winning here. 
(By some 2-3 points.)  


gotm_dec-2011_diag06.gif, 09 KB

  r1bq2k1/pp3rb1/1P3nn1/1NBPp2p/2N1Ppp1/5P2/4B1PP/R2Q1RK1 b - - 0 21  



White has an "IDEAL" K.I.D. type of position. V. Anand has completely broken down Black's defenses on the Q-side, while H. Nakamura has barely got his K-side counterplay rolling. 


   21...g3!?;   (Looking for counter-play?)   

This was somewhat risky, Fritz (and other chess engines) show that  >/=  21...a6T;  was pretty much forced for Black.  


gotm_dec-2011_diag07.gif, 09 KB

   r1bq2k1/pp3rb1/1P3nn1/1NBPp2p/2N1Pp2/5Pp1/4B1PP/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 22   



Now just about all of the engines show that White is winning by something like 4-5 points here. However, it is exactly here that Anand begins to falter, which means that he is not 100% sure of what to do from this type of position. 


   22.Kh1!?,   (King-safety.)   

Anand hides his King in the corner, although this may not be necessary in this position. 


            [ The boxes like:  >/= 22.bxa7 Nd723.Ba3 Ndf824.Bd3,  "+/-"  (decisive) 
               with a won game for White. ]  



   22...Bf8;   ('Box?' / dark squares)    

This move is usually forced in these lines, Black cannot allow White to completely dominate the d6-square. 


   23.d6 a6;  24.Nc7 Rb8;  25.Na5 Kh8;   (Forced?)   

The threat was Bc4, pinning the Black Rook/f7 to the Black King, so it looked like Black had to play this move here.   


gotm_dec-2011_diag08.gif, 09 KB

   1rbq1b1k/1pN2r2/pP1P1nn1/N1B1p2p/4Pp2/5Pp1/4B1PP/R2Q1R1K w - - 0 26   



Now White appears on the verge of crashing though completely.  

   26.Bc4,  "+/-"  26...Rg7;  27.Ne6,   ('!?')   

This is good for an edge for White, but may not be the most accurate move here. 


            [ >/=  27.Ra2!,  "+/-"  - Fritz 12. ]  


   27...Bxe6[];  28.Bxe6 gxh2;   

Black MUST open lines on the King-side if he is to make anything of his attack here.   


gotm_dec-2011_diag09.gif, 09 KB

   1r1q1b1k/1p4r1/pP1PBnn1/N1B1p2p/4Pp2/5P2/6Pp/R2Q1R1K w - - 0 29   



The amounts have varied, but all of the chess engines continue to show that White is clearly winning in this position.   


   29.Nc4?,  (White is drifting?)  

H. Nakamura ... in the post-game interviews ... stated that he thought that Anand was a natural KP player, and this was one of the reasons for choosing to play the King's Indian Defense (opening) in this particular clash with the World Champion.  


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   1r1q1b1k/1p4r1/pP1PBnn1/2B1p2p/2N1Pp2/5P2/6Pp/R2Q1R1K b - - 0 29   



Here that insight pays off, and Vishy plays an inaccurate move that allows "Nak" to jump right back into the game. 
(Better was 29.Bh3!, here.) 


            [ >/=  29.Bh3!,  "+/-"  - Fritz 12. ]  



   29...Qe8!;   "<=>"   (counterplay)   

An astute tactician like Hikaru rarely would miss this type of opportunity.  


gotm_dec-2011_diag11.gif, 09 KB

   1r2qb1k/1p4r1/pP1PBnn1/2B1p2p/2N1Pp2/5P2/6Pp/R2Q1R1K w - - 0 30   



Now Black has very good piece play in this position. 
(Nakamura is at least equal, and may even hold a tiny edge in this particular position.) 


   30.Bd5!?,   (dubious?)    

I don't know if Anand was in time pressure here or not, but he fails to find the most forceful continuation for White.   


gotm_dec-2011_diag12.gif, 09 KB

   1r2qb1k/1p4r1/pP1P1nn1/2BBp2p/2N1Pp2/5P2/6Pp/R2Q1R1K b - - 0 30   



Once more, White's LSB really belongs on the h3-square. 


            [ >/=  30.Bh3 Qb531.d7!,  "~" (unclear) ]   



   30...h4;   (Now Black is OK.)   

Now all of a sudden, the tables have turned ...   


gotm_dec-2011_diag13.gif, 09 KB

   1r2qb1k/1p4r1/pP1P1nn1/2BBp3/2N1Pp1p/5P2/6Pp/R2Q1R1K w - - 0 31   



White must find the best way to defend his position here.   


Now 31.Ra2 is probably best ... 

   31.Rf2!? h3!;  32.gxh3 Rc8!;  33.Ra5 Nh4;   "-/+"  

Once more we have another key position here ...   


gotm_dec-2011_diag14.gif, 09 KB

   2r1qb1k/1p4r1/pP1P1n2/R1BBp3/2N1Pp1n/5P1P/5R1p/3Q3K w - - 0 34   



We have gone from a position where the engines evaluations showed that White was winning; now the engines are showing "minus-slash-plus" ... 
meaning that Black is winning.   


   34.Kxh2,  (Urgh.)   

This seems to expose the WK to the full fury of all of Black's pieces, yet the alternatives were unsavory ... 
to say the least!   


          [ White also feels the pressure after the following continuation: 
            34.Rxh2 Nxd535.exd5 e4!;  "-/+"  
            (again - the engines consider this to be a won position for Black). ]   



   34...Nd7!?;   (Really - '?!')   

This is just a routine move, yet with just a little thought, Black should have been able to find something more forcing than this. 
(See below.)  


            [ Black had a clear win here, you should be able to confirm this with any chess engine:   
              >/=   34...Nxd5!35.exd5T,  This was forced.  

                     (</= 35.Qxd5? Qg6;  "-/+" )   

              35...Rg336.Qf1 Qh537.d7 Rd838.Bxf8,  
              White may as well ... otherwise Black captures on f3, with a won game.  

                     ( Or  38.d6 Nxf3+;  etc. )   

              38...Rxd7!39.Bd6 Nxf3+40.Rxf3 Rxf341.Bxe5+ Kg842.Qg2+ Rg343.Ra2 Rh7;  "-/+"   
             and Black is winning by over 15 points, according to the computer. ]   



The next 2-3 moves are probably forced/best ... for both sides. 

   35.Bb4 Rg3;  36.Qf1 Qh5;  "/+"  (Black is clearly better.)  37.Ra3,   (defends f3)   

Anand is on the defensive here, and - once more - faces an immediate tactical crisis.  


gotm_dec-2011_diag15.gif, 09 KB

   2r2b1k/1p1n4/pP1P4/3Bp2q/1BN1Pp1n/R4PrP/5R1K/5Q2 b - - 0 37   



Study this position for just a few minutes. 


            [ Also possible was: 37.Be1,  although Black remains in firm control of this position. ]   



   37...a5?;  (Not the best!)   

I am not sure how much time the players had left on their chess clocks here, I am starting to think that time pressure may have been a problem ... 
because of the uneven play at this stage of the game.   


gotm_dec-2011_diag16.gif, 09 KB

   2r2b1k/1p1n4/1P1P4/p2Bp2q/1BN1Pp1n/R4PrP/5R1K/5Q2 w - - 0 38   



Black had another win here, see the note given - just below.  


            [ The correct line for Black would have been:   
               >/=  37...Nxb6!38.Rc3T(forced)  

                      ( </= 38.Nxb6? Rc1!;  39.Qxc1!? Nxf3+;  40.Rfxf3 Qxh3#. )  

               38...Nxd539.exd5 Rd840.Ba3!? b5;  "-/+"  (- 3.43)   
               when White's position is beginning to fall apart. ]   



Now, according to Fritz 12 and Houdini 1.5, Anand's next move is completely forced, although (OTB) I would have probably played the Bishop to d2, instead. 

   38.Be1 Rxc4!?;   (Sham sack.)  

With this move, Nakamura breaks through on the dark squares. (It was also nearly forced, as Black had to break White's grip on the d6-square here. Not only this, Black is guaranteed to regain the exchange, by attacking the White Rook on f2 - which cannot move, as Black stomps on f3.) 


            [ With some sliding - the box finds the following variation for Black:   
               >/=  38...Nxb6!39.Nxb6 Bxd640.Be6! Rc6!?41.Bg4 Qh642.Rxa5! Rxb6;  "~"  (unclear) 
               with a complex position, that - after over an hour of analysis - seems to offer both sides relatively equal chances. ]   



   39.Bxc4 Bxd6;   (button game)   

Once more, the tables have turned, and - according to the chess engines - White actually has a small (but solid) edge in this position.  


gotm_dec-2011_diag17.gif, 09 KB

   7k/1p1n4/1P1b4/p3p2q/2B1Pp1n/R4PrP/5R1K/4BQ2 w - - 0 40   



The only question is: "What is the correct move for White in this difficult and rather complex position?" 


   40.Rxa5?,   (Why?)  

This Pawn was not going anywhere, there was no rush to capture it.  


            [ >/=  40.Rd3, "+/="  - Fritz 12 & Houdini 1.5 ]   



   40...Bc5;  "/+"  (With a gain of time.)  

Once more - the tide has changed and suddenly Black is {again} much better ...    


gotm_dec-2011_diag18.gif, 08 KB

   7k/1p1n4/1P6/R1b1p2q/2B1Pp1n/5PrP/5R1K/4BQ2 w - - 0 41   



The engines consider Black to be clearly winning in this position.  


   41.Be2?,  (Maybe - '??')   

This is wrong, taking on c5 was both correct and forced ...  


            [ >/=  41.Rxc5T,  - Fritz 12. ]  



   41...Bxb6!?;   (hmmm)   

This is OK, but according to all the chess engines, the immediate capture on f2 was clearly better. 
(And winning for Black!)   


            [ >/=  41...Bxf242.Bxf2 Nxf3+43.Bxf3 Qxf344.Ra1 Rg7;  "-/+"  ]   



   42.Rb5?,   (Another error.)   

Anand is losing time and putting his pieces on bad squares as well.  


            [ >/=  42.Ra8+ Kg743.Ra3 Nf6;  "/+" ]  



Now Black should have captured on f2, with play nearly identical to the note after Black's 41st move ... ... ... 

   42...Bd4!?;  43.Bd1??,   (Simply terrible.)  

The losing move, Rd5 was both sensible and the indicated continuation here.   


            [ The correct defense was:   
               >/=   43.Rd5T Nf6;  "/+"  (and)  Black is clearly better. 
              (However, this is still a fairly substantial improvement   
               over the course of the actual game!) ]   



Now Black finally captures on f2 and mops up, the rest of the game requires no further analysis. (Game improvement: 47.Bh4, Nc5! "-/+") 

   43...Bxf2;  44.Bxf2 Nxf3+;  45.Bxf3 Qxf3;  46.Rb1 Rg6;  47.Rxb7!? Nf6;  48.Rb8+ Kh7;  49.Rb7+ Kh6;  "-/+" 

Black is clearly winning, so Anand gives up and turns down his King, an epic and entertaining struggle.   


gotm_dec-2011_diag19.gif, 08 KB

   8/1R6/5nrk/4p3/4Pp2/5q1P/5B1K/5Q2 w - - 0 50   



White's e-Pawn is doomed, once Black gets his connected passers rolling up the board, White will not have any real chance to save his game.   


          [ Black wins easily after the following moves: 
            49...Kh650.Rb6 Ng4+!51.Kg1! Nxf2+52.Rxg6+ Kxg653.Qxf2 Qxe4;  "-/+"  
            when Black's connected (passed) Pawns will eventually prove to be decisive. ]   



   Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2012. All rights reserved.    


  0 - 1   

  List of K.I.D. games that I have annotated (reference material - for further study)  
  1. GM E. Bacrot (2653) - R. Kasimdzhanov (2674) / [E97] / FIDE Grand Prix / Moscow, RUS; (Round #1.1), 01.06.2002.   
    This game also features the same line of the KID with 9.b4. This game is carefully annotated, and Black wins a nice struggle. [Click

  2. Here is a game that I played:  FM Stephen Muhammed vs. A.J. Goldsby I played in 2000 in The Averbakh System of The King's Indian
    here to see the deep {text} annotations, click here to go to the replay page for this game.]  

  3. GM Vassily Ivanchuk - GM Artur Yusupov; / (FIDE) Candidates Match, (Tie-breaker, Game # 9.) Brussels, Belgium; 1991. 
    This game starts off as an English, but transposes to the King's Indian, Fianchetto Variation (for White). [Click here.]  

  4. GM A. Beliavsky (2635) - GM J. Nunn (2615) / [E81] / ICT / Hoogovens Masters / Wijk aan Zee, NED; (Round #2) / 01.1985.   
    A Samisch King's Indian - which Black wins brilliantly. [Click here.]  

  5. GM Vladimir Malakhov (2700) - GM Vadim Zvjaginsev (2654) / [E97] / 5th Karpov Tournament / Poikovsky, RUS; 23,03,2004. 
    This game features the "Mar del Plata" system with 9.Nd2, a5!?. (Black wins an absolute brilliancy.)  [Click here.]  

  6. M. Tal (2633) - R.J. Fischer (2602) / [E93] / JUG ct Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade / (Rd. #20), 1959.  
    Fischer loses this one, but Tal plays quite brilliantly. The opening is a King's Indian, Petrosian system. (7.d4-d5.)  
    [Click here for the analysis, click here to replay this game on the CG website.]  

  7. GM Vladislav Tkachiev (2609) - GM Alon Greenfeld (2549); Open Coventry / ENG; (Round #4), 26,03,2005. 
    A nice win by Black in the (old-style) Fianchetto System. [Click here.]  

  8. GM Vassily Ivanchuk (2752) - GM Zahar Efimenko (2643) / [ E81 ] / 21st ECC (European Club Cup Champ.) / Saint Vincent, ITA; (R2) / 19,09,2005. 
    White plays a Samisch. Black offers a gambit, but White politely declines ... and goes on to win a magnificent game.  [Click here.]  

  9. GM Magnus Carlsen (2675) - GM Alexander Morozevich (2731) / [E97] / GM Tournament / Biel, SUI; (R2) / 25,07,2006. 
    This game is also the "Mar del Plata" system, and White plays the somewhat are move of 9.a4!?, and then goes on to win a very nice game. [Click here.]  
    (This game also contains a list at the bottom of many more "King's Indian" games that I have annotated.)    

  10. GM Mikhail Botvinnik (2700) - GM Vassily Smyslov (2675) / [E68] / (FIDE) World Championship Match, (Game # 14) / Moscow, U.S.S.R. (Russia) 1954.  
    This game is also a "Fianchetto Variation" (by White); Smyslov wins one of the most brilliant games of all time, especially in a WCS match.  [Click here.]  

  11. GM A. Karpov (2725) - GM Garry Kasparov (2805); / [E61] / Super-GM Tournament, Round # 10 / Linares, Spain; (ESP) 1993.  
    Garry Kasparov plays perhaps one of the most brilliant King's Indian games of all time ...  [click here].   

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  This page was first posted on:  December 11th, 2011.      Final format completed on: Wednesday, January 24th, 2012; @ 09:45 PM.       This page was last updated on 03/17/15 .  

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    Copyright () A.J. Goldsby; 1985 - 2014, & 2015.  All rights reserved.