Karpov Wins His 3rd Game, Cuts Challenger Kasparov’s Lead to 1


Defending champion Anatoly Karpov cut into challenger Gary Kasparov’s lead by winning his third game of the world championship chess match on Wednesday in Moscow. The game had been adjourned Tuesday evening, and Kasparov resigned it before play could resume on Wednesday.

Kasparov still leads, 11 1/2-10 1/2, in points. He needs only to draw the remaining two games in the match to become world champion. Karpov would retain his title if the match ends tied at 12-12.

Many chess fans had counted Karpov out when he fell behind by two points by losing the 19th game. In three previous championship matches, Karpov had never trailed. His cautious style of play seemed poorly suited to a dramatic comeback. Tuesday, however, that style scored an important victory. Although Karpov’s situation still appears desperate, he can retain his title by registering another win and a draw. If he fails, he has the right to a rematch in February.


In Wednesday’s game, Karpov used the quiet Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit, an opening that often leads to a draw. Indeed, in the 20th game last week, Karpov obtained no advantage with it. This time, he improved his play by advancing his Kingside pawns by 9 g4 and 19 f4. White’s advantage in space on the Kingside proved far more important than Black’s extra Queenside pawn.

Reportedly, Kasparov looked nervous during the game, while Karpov appeared calm. Some observers speculated that the pressure of his apparent victory is affecting Kasparov.

The 23rd game is scheduled for today. Karpov is due to play white in the final game on Saturday.

Here are the moves:

Karpov-Kasparov 22: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Be7 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bf4 Nf6 6 e3 0-0 7 Nf3 Bf5 8 h3 c6 9 g4 Bg6 10 Ne5 Nfd7 11 Nxg6 fxg6 12 Bg2 Nb6 13 0-0 Kh8 14 Ne2 g5 15 Bg3 Bd6 16 Qd3 Na6 17 b3 Qe7 18 Bxd6 Qxd6 19 f4 gxf4 20 exf4 Rae8 21 f5 Nc7 22 Rf2 Nd7 23 g5 Qe7 24 h4 Qe3 25 Rd1 Nb5 26 Qxe3 Rxe3 27 Kh2 Nb6 28 Ng3 Nc8 29 Nf1 Re7 30 Rd3 Ncd6 31 Ng3 Ne4 32 Bxe4 dxe4 33 Re3 Nxd4 34 Kh3 Re5 35 Kg4 h5+ 36 Kxh5 Nxf5 37 Rxf5 R8xf5 38 Nxf5 Rxf5 39 Rxe4 Kh7 40 Re7 b5 41 Rxa7 b4, and Black Resigns.