Garry Kasparov, right, playing the Russian star Peter Svidler
Garry Kasparov, right, playing the Russian star Peter Svidler © Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Club

Garry Kasparov gave a bravura performance last week when the legend, who many consider the all-time No1, shone against America’s top grandmasters, all 20 years or more his junior, at the annual $150,000 Champions Showdown.

The event at St Louis, backed by FT reader and chess benefactor Rex Sinquefield, used the Chess9XL format (also known as Fischer Random or Chess 960) where the back rank piece array is chosen randomly at the start of the game.

Two months ago at Zagreb, Kasparov, 58, crashed in five-minute speed chess due to his poor clock management and outdated openings.

A slower time limit and the absence of book theory made all the difference as the 13th world champion, who quipped “rumours of my chess death have been slightly exaggerated!”, had a run of 4.5/6 in mid-tournament. This included vintage wins against the 2018 US champion Sam Shankland and the Russian star Peter Svidler

He had chances for first place, but missed opportunities in the final two rounds.

Kasparov will return to both Zagreb and St Louis in 2022, so testing a theory, derived from the enduring careers of Emanuel Lasker and Viktor Korchnoi, that creative and complex play is better than a classically accurate style for sparking chess longevity.

Puzzle 2436

Jan-Krzysztof Duda vs David Arenas, online Olympiad 2021. White to move and win. Black had had a winning position until his last move Rb8-b2?? (Rb8-f8! wins). How did Poland’s World Cup winner Duda turn the tables?

Click here for solution

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