3/24/2005 - Unfortunately you don't hear that very often. The
1975 world chess championship match between Fischer and Karpov never
wins, Karpov wins. Thatís the first time I heard that one. Both
the 11th and 12th world champions won their games
today. Both games were hard fought, grinding endgames.
Karpov won the
decisive 4th game of the match against GM Istratescu. It was a typical
Karpovian squeeze. Karpov is known for converting small advantages into a
Karpov used his space advantage on the queenside and
converted it to a pawn advantage. The game evolved into a minor piece
endgame with Karpov being up a pawn. It was Karpovís rook, bishop, 4
connected kingside pawns, and an outside passed b-pawn versus
Istratescuís rook, bishop and 4 connected kingside pawns. Karpov
sacrificed his rook and bishop in order to queen his passer.
Materially the position was even. However,
there is much more to chess than material. Karpov expertly took advantage
of the queen vs. rook and minor piece imbalance. In order for a rook and
minor piece to successfully battle an opposing queen, they must be
coordinated with the king.
Upon queening his pawn, Karpov took
advantage of the disorganized position of his opponent.
Istratescuís king was dangerously exposed and his rook and bishop
were hanging. This spells disaster against a queen, whose mobility can
create deadly forks. Karpovís queen immediately started forking
Istratescuís pieces. Istratescu kept finding the best defense, however
he was not able to break free from Karpovís squeeze.
Karpov won a bishop with move 46. g4. The
endgame was transformed again into Karpovís queen and h-pawn vs.
Istratescuís rook and connected g and h-pawns. Even though down material,
Istratescu looked like he could create an impenetrable fortress. However
Karpov kept the squeeze on and opened up Istratescuís king shelter by
sacrificing a pawn on move 50 h4.
king and queen pushed Istratescuís king into the corner. A master
endgame strategist, Karpov used the subtleties of zugzwang to force his
opponent to move his rook to a square where the queen could fork it. Faced with loss of
a rook and mate to follow,
Istratescu resigned on move
64. Karpov won the classical
phase of this match and will play a 4 game rapid match with Istratescu.