KindredSpirit’s A Duel in the Scheveningen Variation

Two giants of the chess board in the 1990s and thereafter produced a host of inspiring, if grueling, games from either side.  The chess of both Anand and Kasparov leaves to each of us a rich heritage that chess is alive and well.  Certainly in the United States it deserves both public and financial rewards in this field as a creative ART.

White:  Viswanathan Anand    vs.   Black:   Garry Kasparov   Opening:  Sicilian Defense, Scheveningen Variation

1.  e4  c5   2.  Nf3  d6   3.  d4  cxd4  4.  Nxd4  Nf6  5.  Nc3  a6  6. Be2   e6  7.   O-O    Be7   8. a4  Nc6   9. Be3   O-O  10.  f4  Qc7  11.  Kh1  Re8  12.  Bf3

This identical position was reached in one of my international correspondence (ICCF) games going back to the 1960s-1970s which shows the popularity of the Scheveningen as a timeless and challenging system. At move 12, both Bd3 and Bf3 I studied and elected the text which pleases me that I elected Anand’s continuation.  It reflects my theory of s/c and vying for a spatial advantage.

12.  ….  Bd7  13. Nb3  Na5  14. Nxa5  Qxa5  15. Qd3  Rad8  16.  Rfd1  Bc6  17. b4  Qc7  18. b5!  Bd7 19. Rab1  axb5  20. Nxb5

White decides on piece action instead of playing for a structured position that occurs with 20. axb5 which is a plan that probably gives Black time and leads to a different type struggle.

20. … Bxb5

Kasparov likes complex positions with lots of piece play but it cedes Anand the 2-Bishops which often suggests a positional advantage.

21. Qxb5

In P/M review Anand suggested that maybe 21. Rxb5  d5  22. e5  Nd7  23. a5 which places great stress on Black.

21. … Ra8  22. c4 e5  23. Bb6  Qc8

My readers who view this position might examine 23. … Qc6  24. Qxc6 bxc6  which might tempt a bad choice here of 25. c5  where Black has a sharp central response by 25. … d5! giving him counter-play.  Best would be 25. fxe5  dxe5  26. a5 with control over important board sectors.

24. fxe5  dxe5  25. a5  Bf8  26. h3

This adds safety for the King by vacating a square for King maneuvering.

26. … Qe6  27. Rd5

Wow!  White feels confident that yielding up the Exchange will position-wise give good chances of success.  Black could look to gaining s/c by …h5 that gives his King safety against a back-row mate.  Maybe GK simply now says: “Prove it is good!”

27. … Nxd5  28. cxd5  Qg6  29. c5  e4  30. Be2

This will effectively block any counter push of the e-pawn while letting White pawns roll-up the Queen-wing.  Anand has spotted the relative lack of mobility for Kasparov’s pieces.

30… Re5  31. Qd7  Rg5  32. Rg1  e3  33. d6  Rg3  34. Qxb7 Qe6

Hey!  Doesn’t the Rook lack defense?? What does  Black have after 35. Qxa8? The answer is a Smothered Mate!  35… Rxh3+ 36. gxh3  Qxh3++.

35. Kh2!  Black resigns. (1-0).

The complexity that arise in many Sicilian positions lend themselves to reaffirm my belief in learning all about King Pawn Games first before venturing into the likes of a Sicilian, French, Caro-Kann or what I call “The Rat” 1…g6. I coined this years ago when as a TD a pal of mine met 1. e4 with g6 and he exclaimed, “Oh, Rats!”  As far as I know it had no specific or interesting name so…

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