Two Old War Horses Meet At Murmansk

They met during their chess careers, battling (and not counting blitz) 91 classical games.  The centenary celebrations of the city of Murmansk had again brought Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman together, two old fighting chess lovers of this noble game, scheduled for a three game match.

We stayed in the Park Inn Hotel and because the music had been curtailed, the young people had abandoned much of the city during the event.

White :   Anatoly Karpov  vs.  Black:  Jan Timman  Opening: K-Indian, Fianchetto Var.

l. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nf3  Bg7  4. g3  O-O  5. Bg2  d6  6. O-O  c6  7. Nc3  Bf5. This is the Larsen Variation and has a solid reputation.  Square count 10/8.

8. Ne1  Be6  9. d5  c:d5  10. c:d5  Bd7 11. h3  Na6  12. Nd3  Qc8!  13. Kh2  Nc5  SC 7/11.

Here, square count is less important.  White has the strong d5 square with a pawn aiming at c6 and e6 deep into enemy territory and the e-pawn has yet to move broadening the scope of the Queen.  This must be now in White’s plan to develop the QB and Q.

14. Be3  N:d3  15. Q:d3  Bf5 16. Qb5  For square count purpose; 16. Qd2 was a bit better as it functions for either Q/K-side action.

16. … h5  17. Bd4  a6  18. Qb4  b5  19. Rfc1  Qb8  20. e4  Bd7  21. Nd1  h4! 22. g:h4  e5! Black hits the center d4/f4 to open some lines.

23. d:e6 e.p. B:e6  24. Kg1  Qd8!  Taking charge of the dark squares and now sets his sights on …Bh6 and that long diagonal attack on the Rook.

25. Be3   Too slow and lessens the punch into black territory.  Better was 25. Ne3  moving toward the enemy position. So, if 25. … Bh6 26. Qc3  Rc8 27. B:f6  R:c3  28. B:d8 R:c1  29. R:c1 R:d8 with play about equal.  White has a pawn up but doubled; Black’s bishop pair is bothersome. Each has 3-pawn islands.

25. … Qd726. Kh2  d5  27. e5  Nh5  28. f4  Rad8  29. Nf2  a5  30. Qe1  d4  31. Bd2  Bd5  32. Rc5 B:g2 33. K:g2  Rfe8  34. Rac1  Bf8  35. Rc7 Qd5+ 36. Qe4  Q:a2  37. Nd3  It is a blockade, stupid!  That pawn has to be handcuffed.

37. … Nf6 ! 38. Qf3  Nd5  39. Rb7  Ne3+ 40. Kh2 The  Knight is immune.

40… Qb3  41. Qe2  Rc8 42. Rbc7   R:c7  43. R:c7  a4  44. h5  Qe6  45. h:g6  f:g6 46. Qf3  Rc8 47. R:c8  Q:c8   48. B:e3  d:c8  49. Qd5+ Kh7  50. Q:b5 Qc2+  51. Kg3  e2  52. Ne1 Qd2 53. Kf2  Q:f4+ Draw.

After the game it was heard by a spectator or more that perhaps we had arranged the draw ahead of time.  Apparently they could not imagine that old geezers like us would still be capable of a real fight. They changed their mind when they saw our daggers both at it at the end.  Game two was also drawn and the third game Jan Timman won.



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