An unexamined life is not worth living.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Checkmate with 4 queens - from Alekhine to Kasparov

Reading Kasparov’s books is quite entertaining, and some parallels between various historic chess battles can be observed.
Kasparov – Karpov, 1986 match, game 22
image After 43.Rb4!
Black’s king is vulnerable against the attack on the c1-h6 diagonal, and although I was familiar with this idea/position before, only now I noticed that the main line of the combination contained a pretty mate:
43. Rb4 Rxb4 (Karpov actually played 43… Rc4) 44. axb4 d4 45. b5 d3 46. b6 d2 47. b7 d1=Q 48. b8=Q

image Both sides have a new queen, but White’s threats are more dangerous, Qf4 is a threat.
48… Qc1 49. Nxg6 Qxg6 50. Qh8+ Qh7 51. Qgxg7#

image Checkmate! Does that look familiar?

Well, now all sorts of bells start ringing, and indeed, I found a similar mate in another book by Kasparov:
Capablanca – Alekhine, 1927, Game 11
image Checkmate after 67. Qh1#

Sometimes it’s worth digging a bit deeper into trees of variations in Kasparov’s books as now I understand why every time he mentions game 22 of the 1986 match, he calls it a “study like win”. It is also not surprising that Kasparov thinks that Alekhine is the World Champion with chess style most similar to his own.

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