Kasparov Wins 48th Game; Karpov’s Lead Cut To 5-3
MOSCOW (AP) _ Garri Kasparov scored his third victory in the World Chess Championship on Saturday, winning the 48th game and cutting titlist Anatoly Karpov’s lead to 5-3.
Karpov resigned after Kasparov played his 67th move with the white pieces in a game that began Friday after a nine-day break and was adjourned after 40 moves.
The world champion has now been winless since Nov. 24, when he scored his fifth victory in the tournament at a time when 21-year-old Kasparov still hadn’t won a game. The young challenger also won the 47th game.
Kasparov has scored the last three victories now in the marathon match that began Sept. 10. Forty of the games have ended in draws, which do not count in championship play.
Experts had speculated after overnight analysis that Karpov, 33, would resign without resuming play Saturday. But the world champion chose to play out the game, breaking with tradition by arriving at the board before Kasparov.
The early moves of Saturday’s portion of the game were played quickly, and Karpov attempted to create counterplay by advancing his queen’s knight pawn. But Kasparov first blocked it, then advanced his king to capture the pawn, putting himself two pawns ahead of Karpov.
Karpov infiltrated white’s position with his rook to create counterplay and established an effective blockade.
Kasparov, however, managed to break through with his rook to attack Karpov’s only remaining pawn.
The world champion tried to draw Kasparov into capturing the black rook. But the challenger avoided this maneuver, which would have led to a stalemate position and a draw.
Karpov’s resignation drew a burst of applause from some 100 spectators and cheers and embraces among Kasparov’s supporters.
″Kasparov played badly in the beginning of the match, but now he is playing better and better and has dominated the last games,″ Soviet grandmaster Mark Taimanov commented. ″It’s very interesting to see what will happen.″
Kasparov supporters were quick to note the psychological momentum their player has gained with two consecutive victories, although Karpov’s team pointed out that the titlist needs just one more victory to retain the world championship for another three years.
The 48th game was the first to be played in the new venue for the championship. Organizers moved the competition to the Sport Hotel at the beginning of February after nearly five months of play in the ornate Hall of Columns in central Moscow.
The change of venue prompted two official timeouts, and Karpov asked for another timeout on Wednesday, creating a nine-day break in play.
The 49th game is scheduled for Monday, with Karpov playing white.