Monday, January 17, 2011

Kasparov - Sharansky, 0-1 (Simultaneous Exhibition)

The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog, which is well-worth visiting in general, had just published a post, 'The Interesting French Exchange XIV' about that opening's theory (1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5).
Surprisingly, perhaps, one of the games has an Israeli connection. It is a game where Kasparov, giving a simultaneous exhibition in Jerusalem in 1996, was defeated by Natan Sharansky, a well-known political activist in Israel and (previously) the USSR. The game is also found elsewhere, of course (e.g., but it's nice to have some attention drawn to it...

The result is not (that) surprising: Sharansky is quite a strong player, having taken up the game seriously when imprisoned for political activism in the USSR. Surely Sharansky is a serious candidate (if we exclude Kasparov himself) for 'strongest chess-playing politician', although admittedly the competition isn't much.

The game is worth looking at from the purely "chessic" point of view, too. Sharansky's sacrificial attack beginning with 15. Nxf2 is very nice.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Be7 6.h3 Nc6 7.a3 Ne4 8.c4 Bf5 9.O-O dxc4 10.Bxc4 O-O 11.d5 Na5 12.Ba2 c5 13.Re1 c4 14.Nbd2

14. ... Nxf2! 15.Kxf2 Bc5+ 16.Re3 Bxe3+ 17.Kxe3 Re8+ 18.Kf2 Qxd5 19.Kg1 Rad8 20.Kh1 b5 21.Qf1 Bd3 22.Qg1 Nc6 23.Nb1 Nd4 24.Nxd4 Qxd4 25.Nc3 Qxg1+ 26.Kxg1 Re1+ 27.Kf2 Rde8 28.Nxb5 and White resigned without waiting for the opponent's move (0-1).

The final position:

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