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Garry Kasparov, world champion for 15 years and widely regarded as the all-time No1, is 56 now and blamed advancing years for his 19-7 defeat by Fabiano Caruana last week in their St Louis speed match with variable starting positions.
The score flattered America’s world No2, who was outplayed in several games where in the late stages Kasparov blundered, became too short of time, or even overstepped the time limit as in this week’s puzzle.
Kasparov has made only occasional appearances since he retired from top chess in 2005, but denied he was rusty. “I’m old, I’m not rusty. Rusty is different, it means you’re young and you’re out of practice. I’m old. I’m 56, come on!” He improved as the match went on, so chess fans will hope for another cameo in 2020.
One St Louis rule Kasparov and other grandmasters found hard to handle was the 10-second delay, rather than increment, after each move. GMs are used to building a time bank by making obvious moves quickly, but this is impossible with delay which operates even with forced replies. The result is more tension, more blunders, and possibly also more draws as players take on fewer stressful games.
Garry Kasparov v Fabiano Caruana, speed match 2019. Kasparov lost on time just before as White (to play) he could reach this position. World No2 Caruana thought it drawn until he found White’s winning move. What was it?
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