Monday 29 October 2007

The Move That Killed Dracula

Naisortep (or can I call you Nargit?) has asked to see the move that killed Dracula (see previous post). The position is from Anand vs Kasparov, in the final of the PCA/Credit Suisse Knock-Out Rapidplay in Geneva, 1996. Their rapidplay encounters ended 1-1, so two blitz games were needed to break the tie. The first was drawn and this is the position in the deciding second blitz game after Anand's move 33 Rc1-e1. On the face of it he's completely busted, having lost two central pawns in a middlegame melee. However, his last move sets a trap and this is, after all, a blitz game. Kasparov thinks he can simply exchange material and win the endgame so he plays the move you see in the clip - 33...Qxe3 - but it's a horrible, horrible blunder. The next thing you see is Vishy's hand hover over g4 and in that instant Kasparov realises what's coming and his eyes blaze with horror... 34 Qxg4! ... as Vishy later wrote: "The face-pulling he did now rivalled anything he has ever done!". With his queen and c8 rook attacked, Kasparov soon played 34...0-0 but it is quite clear from his histrionics that he knew he was dead and buried.

Here's the complete score, with the position set to one half-move beyond the diagram shown above:

Sunday 28 October 2007

Dracula Sees the Sign of the Cross

Long radio silence here at my blog. Apologies. After my busy time in the Isle of Man, I went down with a bad cold, then it was time for the November BCM...

... excuses, excuses. You don't want to hear that stuff, do you? Well, here's an oldie but goldie. I think this must be my favourite chess video clip of all time...

This is from a big 1996 rapidplay tournament. 22 seconds of pure joy for all of us (with one notable exception). Kasparov makes a capture but, as Vishy Anand's hand momentarily hovers over his reply, realisation dawns for Kasparov. Just look at those eyes - like Christopher Lee's Dracula as he sees Peter Cushing's sign of the cross. Kasparov throws himself back in his chair, mad eyes still swivelling in their sockets. As a victorious Vishy said immediately after the game: "Did you see his reaction? It was BEAUTIFUL!!".

Indeed it was. And they say chess is not televisual. When Kasparov played chess, it was always worth watching. How we miss him.