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1981 Tilburg - Kasparov vs. Andersson
Every Move Explained


This game was played between Garry Kasparov and Ulf Andersson at the 1981 Grandmaster (GM) tournament in Tilburg, Netherlands, sponsored by Interpolis. It was Kasparov's first GM tournament outside of the Soviet Union. He was 18 years old at the time.

Andersson was a strong player from Sweden who had earned the GM title in 1972 at the age of 21. He had a reputation as a cautious, solid player, considered difficult to beat.

Kasparov played the White pieces.

Next move: 1.d4 For more about White's first move, see our tutorial Chess Openings - Initial Position.


At the time of the game 1.d4 was Kasparov's favorite first move. He also played 1.e4 when it suited him, and was not against playing 1.c4 or 1.Nf3 from time to time.

Because games starting 1.d4 often develop more quietly than games starting 1.e4, beginning players sometimes assume that it is better suited for players who prefer a quiet game. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Early in his career, Kasparov had already developed the aggressive, attacking style which was to become his trademark throughout his playing days. Like many attacking players, Alekhine among them, he relied on 1.d4 with the aim of reaching critical points later in the game, giving Black the opportunity to play one or two positional inaccuracies.

For a discussion of the reasons behind 1.d4, see Every Move Explained, Letelier - Fischer 1.d4.

Next move: 1...Nf6 For more about White's responses to 1.d4, see our tutorial Chess Openings - Queen's Pawn Openings.


Black develops the Knight and stops White from playing e2-e4. For a more detailed discussion of the reasons behind 1...Nf6, see Every Move Explained, Letelier - Fischer 1...Nf6.

Next move: 2.c4


This was Kasparov's preferred continuation after 1...Nf6. His standby was 2.Nf3, delaying c2-c4 for a move or two. For a more detailed discussion of the reasons behind 2.c4, see Every Move Explained, Letelier - Fischer 2.c4.

Next move: 2...e6 For more about Black's responses to 2.c4, see our tutorial Chess Openings - Indian Defenses.


Black intends to develop the Bishop on the a3-f8 diagonal rather than on the long a1-h8 diagonal. Which square on the diagonal depends on the further course of the game.

Next move: 3.Nf3 For more about White's responses to 2...e6, see our tutorial Nimzo Indian or Queen's Indian?


White avoids 3.Nc3 Bb4 (the Nimzo Indian) and invites Black to play the Queen's Indian instead. Since the move 3.Nf3 doesn't threaten 3.e4, Black is not obliged to respond to that threat.

Next move: 3...b6


Given a free move, Black spends it preparing the fianchetto of the Queen's Bishop on the long a8-h1 diagonal. The subsequent ...Bb7 will aim another Black piece at the important e4 square. The opening is called the Queen's Indian Defense.

Two alternatives for Black are 3...Bb4+, known as the Bogo-Indian or Bogoljubow Variation, and 3...d5, transposing into a Queen's Gambit Declined: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6.

Next move: 4.a3 For more about White's responses to 3...b6, see our tutorial Queen's Indian Defense.


The move 4.a3 is the Petrosian Variation. It prevents the Black Bishop from moving to b4 and prepares an eventual b2-b4 later in the game.

The sequence 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.a3 transposes into the variation played in this game. Kasparov also used this move order against the Queen's Indian.

Next move: 4...Bb7


Black continues with the plan prepared on the previous move. The move 4...Ba6, attacking the c-Pawn, is also possible here.

Next move: 5.Nc3


After spending the last two moves on peripheral plans, White returns to the battle for e4. With 5.Nc3, the Knight settles on its natural square.

Next move: 5...Ne4


Black varies from the most common path. More usual is 5...d5 6.cxd5 (6.Bg5 is also possible) 6...Nxd5, followed by 7.Qc2, 7.e3, or 7.Bd2.

Next move: 6.Nxe4


It isn't a good idea to let Black keep the Knight on e4, where it attacks many squares on White's side of the board. White trades it off immediately.

Next move: 6...Bxe4


Black is forced to recapture immediately on e4. Otherwise, the Knight would be lost for no compensation.

Next move: 7.Nd2


White attacks the Bishop on e4. By vacating the f3 square, White also prepares a possible f2-f3 and e2-e4.

Next move: 7...Bg6


The most natural move here is 7...Bb7, keeping the Bishop on the long diagonal. Why would a grandmaster play another move like 7...Bg6? One reason is to force the opponent away from any home analysis.

Next move: 8.g3


White takes possession of the long diagonal that Black has just abandoned. If White plays Bf1-g2, Black must defend against the attack on the Queenside Rook.

Next move: 8...Nc6


Black develops the Knight, attacking the d-Pawn and closing the long diagonal. Now White can't continue 9.Bg2, because of 9...Nxd4 10.Bxa8? Bc2 (or 10...Nc2+).

A better, more natural move for Black would be 8...c6. This would also block the long diagonal, after which Black could continue ...d5 and ...Nd7, developing the Knight to a good square.

Next move: 9.e3


White protects the threatened d-Pawn in the simplest way. The e2 square may also be useful for developing the Queen, especially since the c2 square won't be safe over the next few moves.

The light squares in the White position -- d3 and f3 -- might look weak, but there is no way for Black to exploit them. If the Bishop on g6 tries to settle on d3, White will just chase it away.

What about White's Queenside Bishop, which appears to be hemmed in by its own Pawns? It will most likely be developed on the a1-h8 diagonal.

Next move: 9...a6


Instead of developing the Kingside with ...Be7, the only good square for the Bishop, Black plays a third consecutive unusual move. The purpose of 9...a6 is to prepare ...b5, which will be possible as soon as White plays Bf1-g2.

Next move: 10.b4


White prepares the development of the Bishop by Bc1-b2 and counters Black's plans to advance on the Queenside. The move 10.b3 is also possible, but, true to his style, Kasparov chooses the more aggressive of the two moves.

Next move: 10...b5


Black uses a tactical trick to continue with the plan started by 9...a6. The positional idea is to take control of the c4 square, which was weakened slightly by 10.b4.

Next move: 11.cxb5


White could also play 11.Bb2. Then if 11...bxc4, White would recapture 12.Bxc4. The move 11.cxb5 is not played to win a Pawn. The opening of the a-file will make this unattractive for at least one move.

Next move: 11...axb5


Black must recapture the Pawn to avoid losing material. The move 12.Bxb5 is not good because of 12... Nxb4. Moreover, since 11...axb5 opens the a-file for Black's Rook, Black has the dual threats of 12... Nxb4 and 12... Bxb4.

Next move: 12.Bb2


White meets the threats of 12... Nxb4 and 12... Bxb4 by protecting the Rook on a1. In fact, the Rook is protected twice, once by the Bishop on b2 and once by the Queen on d1.

On top of parrying the threat to the b-Pawn, White develops the Bishop on the long diagonal. Its influence is limited by the Pawn on d4, but this would change if White plays d4-d5. Black cannot block the Pawn with ...d5, because that would create holes on c5 and c6.

Next move: 12...Na7


The immediate idea behind 12...Na7 is to protect the b-Pawn. The move is also part of a subtle positional plan.

Black would like to play ...d5, but this weakens too many squares on the c-file, making them vulnerable to a White Rook on that file. If Black could play ...d5 followed by placing a Knight on c4, the weak squares on c5 and c6 would be protected by the Knight. The Knight would also be a thorn in White's position. If White were to get rid of it by playing Nd2xc4, Black would recapture with the b- or d-Pawn, depending on circumstances. This would give Black a protected passed Pawn on c4.

The move 12...Na7 is the first step in executing the plan. Black intends to play Na7-c8-b6, bringing the Knight one step away from c4. If White continues with normal development, Black should have time to execute this idea.

Next move: 13.h4


Suddenly White switches the play from the Queenside, which has seen all the action for the last five moves by both sides. The threat is h4-h5, trapping the Bishop. Black has several moves to meet the threat. The main choices involve moving the f-Pawn or the h-Pawn to the fifth or sixth rank. Which move is best?

Moving the f-Pawn to f6 or f5 is not particularly attractive. White will continue h4-h5, forcing the Bishop to f7. On that square it will be passively placed behind its own Pawns.

A better idea is to move the h-Pawn, creating an escape square for the Bishop on h7. Which move is better: ...h6 or ...h5?

Next move: 13...h6


Black chooses 13...h6 over 13...h5. A solid positional player, Andersson was undoubtedly averse to creating too many weaknesses in his own position. The Pawn move to h6 weakens the g6 square slightly. The same Pawn moving to h5 weakens both the g6 and g5 squares slightly. He probably chose ...h6 for this reason.

The further course of the game shows that ...h6 has an almost imperceptible flaw: it leaves the g4 square in White's possession. The move ...h5 would give control of g4 to Black, forcing White to find a different plan than was played in the game. It would be interesting to know how Kasparov intended to continue after ...h5.

Next move: 14.d5


White sacrifices a Pawn to open the diagonal for the Bishop on b2. In return for the Pawn, White gets pressure on the g7 Pawn, making the further development of Black's dark squared Bishop problematic.

The move 14.d5, which deserves a '!', is typical of Kasparov's style. He often sacrificed material, particularly Pawns, to create dynamic imbalances in the position.

Next move: 14...exd5


Black has nothing better than to accept the sacrificed Pawn, since the a1-h8 diagonal will remain open on any move. After 14...exd5, Black at least has a strong Pawn in the center -- once it is protected by ...c6 -- which might serve as a barrier to an attack by White.

Next move: 15.Bg2


After two attacking moves -- 13.h4 and 14.d5 -- White returns to the business of completing development. The Bishop move not only prepares castling O-O, it also attacks the d-Pawn, which is undefended.

Next move: 15...c6


Black defends the d-Pawn in the most natural way. The c- and d-Pawns also create a nice barrier on the long diagonal against the Bishop on g2.

Next move: 16.O-O


White completes Kingside development, bringing the Rook into active play. The next step in White's plan is becoming clear. White intends to play e3-e4, opening up the center to White's better developed pieces. The Rook move Rf1-e1 will be part of the plan.

Black, on the other hand, has a problem completing Kingside development. The Bishop is needed on f8 to protect the Pawn on g7. If the Bishop can't move, Black can't castle Kingside. If Black can't castle, the King will stay in the center. If the King stays in the center, the moves Rf1-e1 and e3-e4 will leave the Black King open to a strong attack on the e-file. What can Black do?

Next move: 16...f6


Black must react to the looming threat of an open e-file, exposing the King to considerable danger. The logical move is 16...f6, which does two things: 1) it closes the long diagonal to the Bishop on b2, allowing Black to move the Bishop off f8; and 2) it creates an escape square for the King on f7 which might be useful if Black isn't able to castle O-O.

The move 16...f6 also has a serious disadvantage: it further weakens the g6 square, already weakened by the move ...h6. In particular, it leaves the Bishop on g6 unprotected.

Next move: 17.Re1


White continues with the plan of opening the e-file by e3-e4. Too hasty would be 17.e4 dxe4 18.Bxe4 Bf7, when Black is wriggling out of the dangerous situation on the Kingside.

If, after 17.Re1, Black tries the same idea with 17...Bf7, White has 18.e4 dxe4 (perhaps not the best move) 19.Nxe4 with an overwhelming attack.

Next move: 17...Be7


Black continues with Kingside development, blocking the e-file with a minor piece. Given a chance, Black will castle on the next move.

Next move: 18.Qg4


Black is not given a chance to castle. White attacks the unprotected Bishop. If it moves, it exposes the unprotected Pawn on g7. Black has one move to protect the Bishop, but it means giving up the castling option.

Next move: 18...Kf7


Black plays the only move that doesn't give up material.

Next move: 19.h5


White still intends to play e3-e4, but realizes that Black will respond ...d5xe4 and ...Bxe4. By first playing 19.h5, White forces the Bishop, which will be exchanged anyway, to move. This gives White a free, extra move to advance the h-Pawn to a square attacking g6. The combination of the Queen on g4 and the Pawn on h5, both attacking the hole on g6, is powerful preparation for a further attack on the Black King.

Next move: 19...Bh7


The Bishop is forced to escape the attack of the h-Pawn. Moving to d3 instead of h7 won't change the subsequent play.

Next move: 20.e4


White continues with the move that has been planned since 14.d5 and 16.O-O. The exchange of White's e-Pawn and Black's d-Pawn will open the center to White's better developed forces. Their ultimate target is the Black King.

Next move: 20...dxe4


Black has no real choice except to exchange Pawns. The move 20...d4 just gives up the d-Pawn for nothing, after which White will continue e4-e5, again threatening to open the e-file.

Next move: 21.Bxe4


Why not play 21.Nxe4? Black would then continue ...Re8, keeping the light squared Bishop. That Bishop would be useful in protecting the weak light squares on Black's Kingside.

With 21.Bxe4, White aims to trade off the light square Bishops. Black has no other piece which can assume the role of defending the holes on the Kingside.

Next move: 21...Bxe4


Black is forced to trade the Bishops. Other moves allow 22.Bxh7, when 22...Rxh7 misplaces the Rook on the Kingside. With both Rooks and the Knight out of play, Black would be unable to defend against the attack of all five White pieces.

Next move: 22.Nxe4


The recapture with the Knight brings it one step closer to the Black King. It is now participating in the Kingside attack. It is perhaps not clear how White will use it in the attack, but Black's next move should help make the Knight's role clearer. For example, 22...Rf8 would lead to 23.Rad1 d5 24 Nxf6, or 22...d5 would lead to 23 Nc5 Bxc5 24 Qe6+ Kf8 25 bxc5.

Next move: 22...Nc8


Since Rook moves don't help defend the position, Black tries to bring up a reserve piece. The Knight has been sitting far from the action since 12...Na7, when it had dreams of occupying c4. Now it has dreams of defending its threatened King.

Next move: 23.Rad1


White is relentless in the attack. Not only does 23.Rad1 bring White's last undeveloped piece into play, it also attacks the d-Pawn a second time, threatening to bring the Rook to its seventh Rank.

Next move: 23...Ra7


Black has three ways to defend the d-Pawn. The move 23...d5 weakens the e6 square, while 23...Nb6 moves the Knight away from the defense of the King. The last option, 23...Ra7, seeks to employ the Rook in the defense of the Kingisde after a subsequent ...d5.

Next move: 24.Nxf6


White, already behind a Pawn in material, offers another sacrifice. The Knight move, which deserves a '!', threatens checkmate by 25.Qg6+, meaning the Knight must be captured. Since 24...Bxf6 loses to 25 Qg6+ Kf8 26 Bxf6 gxf6 27 Re6, Black's reply is forced.

Next move: 24...gxf6


Black plays the only move that prolongs the game. As explained in the previous note, the alternatives lose immediately.

Next move: 25.Qg6+


White plays the only move that continues the attack. Other moves allow Black to consolidate the position with ...Rg8 or ...Qg8.

Next move: 25...Kf8


Black plays the only move that escapes the check.

Next move: 26.Bc1


White could win with 26.Rxe7 Qxe7 27.Bxf6 Qh7 28.Bxh8, with a better endgame, but 26.Bc1, attacking the h-Pawn, promises a faster win.

Next move: 26...d5


Black can't defend the h-Pawn, and tries to bring the other Rook into the game by clearing the second rank. Black probably calculated that 26...Qe8 27.Bxh6+ Rxh6 28.Qxh6+ ultimately loses to the threat of White's h-Pawn promoting. After 26...d5, Black is still in the game after 27.Bxh6+ Rxh6 28.Qxh6+ Kg8.

Next move: 27.Rd4


Since 27.Bxh6+ doesn't win immediately, White looks for a better move and finds one. The Rook will swing over to the g-file, where it will join in the attack on the King.

Next move: 27...Nd6


The Knight heads for f7, where it will defend the h-Pawn. White now has two clear paths to victory.

Next move: 28.Rg4


This wins, as does 28.Bxh6+. In both variations, the h-Pawn marches unimpeded to the promotion square on h8.

Next move: 28...Nf7


Now the h-Pawn is attacked twice and defended twice. Has Black managed to defend against the attack?

Next move: 29.Bxh6+


There is no defense. Another sacrifice of a minor piece offers a clear win. If 29...Nxh6, then 30.Qg7+ wins the Rook and the Knight, while 29...Rxh6 allows an immediate checkmate.

Next move: 29...Ke8


Since both captures of the Bishop lose immediately, Black tries the only other legal move.

Next move: 30.Bg7


If 30...Rg8, then 31.h6 wins.

Black resigned: 1-0

For all games in the 'Every Move Explained' series, see
Improve Your Game.