Anatoly Karpov, fresh from a resounding defeat in Game 8 of the world chess championship, shook off any depression he may have felt and launched a vigorous counterattack as Game 9 began yesterday. The former champion and now the challenger for the title kept up pressure on world champion Gary Kasparov throughout the first session of the game.
The game reached adjournment on the 43rd move with Karpov enjoying a strong position and serious attacking possibilities. Kasparov will have to play a very exact defense (as he did in Game 7 last weekend) to have any chance of holding a draw.
Kasparov, playing black, sealed his 43rd move, leaving a tricky adjourned position for intense overnight analysis by both players' teams. In the position, Karpov's king seems a lot safer than Kasparov's, and the challenger can combine attacking ideas with the advancement of his passed e-pawn, now four squares away from the queening square with what looks like a clear track ahead.
Kasparov is likely to try to ease the pressure by attempting to exchange queens. Karpov will try to avoid this.
The players chose the Gru nfeld Defense, as they have done in all the odd-numbered games with Karpov playing white. Once again, they adopted the rather obscure variation with 12. Bxf7ch that Karpov used in Games 5 and 7. As usual with this variation, Karpov won an extra pawn, but this time Kasparov was quick to win it back, choosing a new sequence on moves 15, 16 and 17.
This was an expensive recapture, however; it cost Kasparov three queen moves, during which Karpov was able to consolidate his position.
After Move 28, the players seemed uncertain which direction the dance should take next, so they repeated moves for a while. But by Move 32, Karpov showed his true intention. His position was microscopically better, thanks to the safer location of his king, and so he decided to press further. He kept his advantage going right up to the adjournment.
In the adjourned position, Karpov threatens the devastating 44. h4, which looks like the beginning of a mating attack by the queen and pawn. If Kasparov offers a queen exchange with 43. ... Qf3, Karpov's reply should be 44. Qd4, with the idea of playing 45. e5. After that, the e-pawn seems to have a royal escort to the goal line, and Kasparov and his team will have to look carefully for blocking stratagems.
The match is tied at 4-4.
Grandmaster Lubomir Kavalek contributed to this report.