Garry Kasparov made a rare cameo appearance in last weekend’s $150,000 online St Louis Champions Showdown at Random chess, which ended in a tie between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, the reigning world and US champions.
The Russian legend, now 57 and ranked in the all-time top two alongside Carlsen, experienced both the highs and lows of internet chess as he drew from a lost position against the Norwegian, defeated the prodigy Alireza Firouzja who is 40 years his junior, then fell victim to one of the technical hazards of online speed games against America’s world No2 Fabiano Caruana.
Carlsen was beating Kasparov in the endgame, but over-finessed and allowed the ex-champion to escape by a resource which echoed a famous 1962 game where Mikhail Botvinnik similarly escaped against Bobby Fischer. Botvinnik was Kasparov’s teacher, while many would rank Fischer in the all-time pantheon due to his brief but scintillating zenith in 1970-72.
Kasparov’s loss to Caruana was a tragedy in a winning position. He wanted to trade queens by Qe4-c2, but a mouse slip landed the queen on d3. He tried to drag it to c2, which the computer registered as a premove that fatally lost a bishop. “Computers hate me!” said Kasparov, who famously lost to IBM Deep Blue in 1997.
He finished eighth of 10 with 3.5/9, after a draw and two defeats from winning positions on the second day persuaded him to halve out the final three rounds.
White to move and win. Norwegian talents had difficulty solving this puzzle, which is simple once you find a virtually forced sequence. How do you compare?
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