22 May 2014

Four Kasparov Mini-matches

Kasparov's record (*) shows that in the period 1984-1986, when he wasn't playing World Championship matches (as in Overlapping Cycles in the 1980s), he was playing short matches with some of the best players in the world and he was conducting simultaneous exhibitions. The following table shows four matches of six games; the first two matches were played between KK1 (Kasparov - Karpov first match) and KK2, and the last two matches between KK2 and KK3. The links are to the corresponding games on Chessgames.com.

      1 2 3 4 5 6  
1985-05 Huebner Hamburg 1 1 = 1 = = +3-0=3
1985-06 Andersson Belgrade = = 1 = 1 = +2-0=4
1985-12 Timman Hilversum 1 1 0 = = 1 +3-1=2
1986-05 Miles Basel 1 1 1 = 1 1 +5-0=1

In Child of Change (Hutchinson 1987, p.158), Kasparov wrote,

I was determined not to allow all these provocations [related to the termination of KK1 and the arrangements for KK2] to lead to a crisis that would prevent me from playing the match, since this was clearly the hope and intention of the other side. At the same time, I had to tell the world about these injustices, so that my enemies would know that I was not completely powerless and that every false step they took would be recorded for posterity. I decided to play two matches overseas in preparation for the Karpov encounter, and my opponents and the venues were both carefully chosen with the championship in mind. I would play Robert Huebner, the German grandmaster, in Hamburg and Ulf Andersson, of Sweden, in Belgrade. Both my opponents were like Karpov in that they were notoriously hard to beat.

Hamburg and Belgrade were chosen because they were located in the home countries of two central figures in the controversial termination of KK1, Kinzel and Gligoric. After winning the title of World Champion in KK2, Kasparov played the next two matches for other reasons.

My battles with Karpov had stimulated a new interest in chess around the world. I felt an obligation to respond to this enthusiasm and to keep the flame of public interest alight.

That Child of Change reference (p.180) goes on to discuss the Timman match. The Miles match, which was less political than the others, is mentioned on p.188.

How strong were those four opponents? The unofficial table on the left lists the world's top-25 players at the beginning of 1985. Timman was world no.3 at 2650 and the others fall in the range of no.11 to 20. No.9 at 2615 should be John Nunn, which shows why the list is unofficial.

(*) Garry Kasparov's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (1973-)

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