Special Report to ICC--Kasparov Wins Match
Leigh Walker and Brian Karen
An anticlimactic twelve-move draw today was all World Champion Garry
Kasparov needed to win his match over Challenger Viswanathan Anand.
Kasparov had the White pieces and offered a draw when he played the move
12 Bf3. Anand considered the offer for a few minutes and then accepted.
Yesterday's hard-fought draw had ensured that the Champion would
retain his title, since after that game the Challenger could do no better
than tie the match. Today's draw made the final score in the match 10 1/2
to 7 1/2, giving Kasparov enough points to win the twenty game match.
If Anand had won today's game, there would have been another game
Thursday. According to the conditions of the match, a 10-10 tie was all
that Kasparov needed to retain his title, but in that event the $1.5
million purse would have been split equally between the two players. As
the winner, Kasparov received $1 million, while Anand received $500,000.
Each player must pay a fee of 10% of their winnings to the PCA to cover
that organization's expenses.
Today's game seemed to be just a formality. For the second time with
Black, Anand played the Sicilian Scheveningen, Kasparov's favorite with
Black. This game was even shorter than Game 16, the other time when Anand
had played the Scheveningen.
After the game, there was a ceremony to award the prizes and talk of
the success of the match. PCA Commissioner Bob Rice emphasized what a big
hit the World Championship had been in New York and around the world.
Anand thanked the many people who had helped him, first of all his
parents. The Challenger presented himself with great dignity and is an
excellent representative of chess sportsmanship. Not only is he obviously
a great player, but is also modest and a real gentleman almost universally
liked, even by his opponents. On those occasions when someone from the
press asks a discourteous or even hostile question, he is unruffled and
responds quite easily and well. At the end of his remarks during the
ceremony, he showed his sense of humor: "I hope you all had a lot of fun
watching the event, especially today's nail-biting finish!"
Kasparov is a much different person from Anand. He speaks more
grandiosely, and loves being on center stage. No one would seriously
describe him as modest, not that he has any reason to be. He almost
single-handedly started the PCA and has brought serious corporate
sponsorship to chess. He also has had political ambitions, and may
still--he is a member of Russia's Parliament and said to be one of the
leaders of his party, which is pro-market reform and pro-democracy.
The Champion said today, "Ten years ago when I won my first title, I
thought that it would be the greatest pleasure of my life. I have won a
few matches since then. But now I am very happy. It was a difficult match.
I hope you won't be misled by a few short draws or some imperfect games.
"This is the first privately-organized World Championship event. We
had huge media coverage and great success with the public. Today we can
announce that the era of professional chess has started. This is the first
time the match was really open to the public and the match was not played
involving any political agenda. It was a pure chess event and a major
breakthrough for chess in the USA.
"I stayed friendly with Vishy throughout the match and I am sure I
will afterwards. There were no major scandals, libels or lies that have
been so common in World Championship matches.
"I am happy for my mother who shared this seventh World Championship
match with me. She was always extremely helpful even in the dark moments
of the match and she was always sure that everything would be alright.
"I thank all of you for being here. I especially would like to say a
few words about the Indian journalists. They were very friendly,
cooperative and asked very good questions. There was no animosity. Thank
you very much for your positive attitudes.
"I hope that this match symbolizes a new beginning of chess and that
it will make chess a really big game that people will be attracted to."
In the brief press conference after the ceremony, the first questioner
wanted to know why the players had not played a longer game today. Anand,
who had played Black, explained that there was not much Black can really
do, at least without increasing the risk. He added that the variation
played was very solid for White. Kasparov said that he had wanted to play,
but that a World Championship is about winning the match. Today, he'd had
a division in his mind, because a draw would win him the match, but having
the White pieces, he wanted to play for a win. By proposing the draw, he
settled whether Anand wanted to play and thereby could satisfactorily deal
with his divided mind-set whatever Anand's answer to his proposal.
Later, Kasparov stated that the players had played seventeen games
before today's game, and that the outcome had been quite clear by that
point. As he has at other press conferences, he emphasized that they had
played four games a week and that both players were exhausted. He
concluded this topic by saying, "If he had said 'no' then we would play,
but for me there was no point to play."
Anand was asked what his biggest mistake in the match was: "Between
Games 10 and 14, I lost control. He had chances but so did I, especially
in Game 14. He took his chances and I did not."
Kasparov is 32 years old and now represents Russia after having been
born in the ex-Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. He won the Soviet
Championship at age 16 and the World Championship at age 22. He has played
in seven World Championship matches, in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993
and now 1995.
Anand is 25 years old, and represents India, where he was born. He has
been among the best players in the world for several years, and won the
right to challenge Kasparov for the title by winning a difficult series of
elimination matches. This was his first World Championship match.
The match between the two players was played in three stages. The
first eight games were drawn, which was a record for consecutive draws to
begin such a match. Anand nearly won the third game but surprisingly
missed a way to attack Kasparov's King which would have won the game for
him. In some of the other early draws, Kasparov had a superior position
when he offered the draws, but decided not to risk losing by overpressing.
The next six games determined the result of the match. In Game 9,
Anand had built a superior position when he offered his Rook in exchange
for the Champion's Knight. When the Champion mistakenly accepted, Anand's
pieces soon dominated the board and won the game for him.
Game 10 was dramatic. The players repeated the Ruy Lopez Open Defense
from Game 6, but Kasparov had prepared an astonishing improvement over the
weekend, which he sprung on Anand. The Champion sacrificed a Rook for a
vicious attack and spent virtually no time at the board for the first
twenty-one moves while the Challenger tried to find a way to survive the
prepared attack. In the end, Kasparov emerged with a winning ending which
he converted for the full point, tying the match.
Game 11 was a heartbreaker for Anand. Kasparov unleashed the
surprising Sicilian Dragon for the first time in the match, and after
having decided initially to play safely, the Challenger then declined
Kasparov's draw offer in a position with little play for either side.
Kasparov set a trap, and in deciding between two promising-looking
variations, Anand chose the wrong one and lost quickly on a surprising
Game 12 was drawn after Anand chose a new variation to defend in the
Ruy Lopez. When the Challenger made a mistake at a key point, Kasparov had
chances to win but missed the best move at least once. Beautiful
defense by Anand held the draw.
In Game 13, Anand allowed his King to be trapped in the center and
Kasparov won with a strong attack, giving him a two-point lead. That was a
huge edge so late in the twenty-game match, especially given that Kasparov
would retain the title if the match resulted in tie.
As Black, Anand chose a new opening in Game 14, the Scandanavian
(Center Counter Game), and had significant winning chances in the middle
game. The position became very complicated and for the only time in the
match, both players experienced time pressure--each player had less than
ten minutes to play the last ten moves before the first time control.
Unfortunately, the crowd showed its delight of some of the sharp moves too
loudly for the players' comfort; the soundproof booth the players used
proved to be less than perfect. Anand lost his way in the complications
and resigned on the first move after the time control was reached. He was
clearly frustrated by all the noise at the key point of the game, but to
his great credit never used that as an excuse for the unfavorable result.
After 14 games then, Kasparov led by three points. For Anand to win
the title, he would have needed five of the remaining six points. And,
after the draining Game 14, it was understandable that Games 15 and 16
were relatively short draws. Game 17 yesterday was a great fight which
Anand almost won after the Champion made a mistake in the endgame. But
after some imprecise play by the Challenger and excellent defense by the
Champion, a draw was agreed just before only the two Kings were to remain
on the board. Today's game was drawn very quickly, there being little left
for either player to achieve.
G. Kasparov - V. Anand
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cd 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 1/2-1/2
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>Anand thanked the many people who had helped him, first of all his
>parents. The Challenger presented himself with great dignity and is an
>excellent representative of chess sportsmanship. Not only is he obviously
>a great player, but is also modest and a real gentleman almost
>liked, even by his opponents. On those occasions when someone from the
>press asks a discourteous or even hostile question, he is unruffled and
>responds quite easily and well. At the end of his remarks during the
>ceremony, he showed his sense of humor: "I hope you all had a lot of fun
>watching the event, especially today's nail-biting finish!"
Okay, time to stir things up a bit. For those of you who remember the
problems between Kamsky and the PCA after his match with Anand, is this
comment a slap at the FIDE Challenger?