Gary Kasparov moved his knight in enemy territory yesterday in Moscow, punched his time clock, wrote down his move and became the world chess champion.
The 22-year-old Kasparov's move, a discovered check, gave him the option of capturing a rook from defending champion Anatoly Karpov on the next move. Karpov resigned the game and, with it, his championship.
A new era had begun in the 100-year history of the world chess championship. It began, appropriately, with a spectacular display of tactical fireworks.
The Karpov-Kasparov story does not end with the conclusion of this match; Karpov has the right to demand a rematch, and it is expected that this will begin in February.
Other world champions have lost the title and won it back again in a rematch a year or two later. Alexander Alekhine lost his championship to Max Euwe in 1935 and won it back in 1937, holding it until his death in 1946.
Mikhail Botvinnik won the title at a tournament held in 1948 to find a successor to Alekhine. He then became an ex-champion three times, losing his title in turn to Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal and Tigran Petrosian but winning it back from the first two a year later. At 34, Karpov must be assumed to be still capable of a comeback.
Whoever wins the rematch must be prepared to defend the title next September.
An eliminstyle of many young players. His attacking style is clear and understandable; if he hits you, you know you are being hit.
"If you play Karpov, you see that he is putting the pieces on the best possible squares, but you don't know where the big hit will come from. His style cannot be understood by the large general public, including me, but sometimes I know what he is up to. In our last six games, he wasn't able to beat me."
Kavalek, an emigre from Czechoslovakia, recently tied for third place in the U.S. championship, finishing behind Soviet emigre Lev Alburt and Joel Benjamin, the highest scoring native American. Larry Christiansen of California tied with Kavalek for third place.
Like former champion Boris Spassky, Kavalek said, "Kasparov's style is understood by the chess public because it is a classical style. The problem for Kasparov is his nerves. If you play him, as I did, there is a nervous tension electrifying the chessboard. His vision and nervous tension go into the chessboard and can bounce from the board into your head. Bobby Fischer also used to have this effect.
"When he is young, this is no problem; he has a lot of nervous energy. People in their twenties don't know much about chess, but they are able to compensate with nervous energy. Kasparov has the nervous energy, and he knows a lot about chess. He learned a lot in this match; it was an excellent school."
Kasparov, who is young, energetic and apparently dedicated to shaking up the chess bureaucracy of the Soviet Union, inevitably will be tagged as a world champion suitable for the age of new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as the conservative Karpov, who was always willing to go along with the system, seemed the logical representative of the era of Leonid Brezhnev and the older generation that has led the Soviet Union in recent years.
In the first match of the championship competition, the chess bureaucracy seemed sometimes to be working to tilt the arrangements in Karpov's favor, but there was little evidence of such bias the second time around.
Ironically, the total match score between the two players is exactly even; each has won eight games out of the 72 they played. If the second match had not been limited to 24 games (a measure widely interpreted as an effort to accommodate Karpov's match style), Karpov would still be the world champion today.
Moves in final game:
White/Black -- Karpov/Kasparov
1. e4c5 2. Nf3d6 3. d4cxd4 4. Nxd4Nf6 5. Nc3a6 6. Be2e6 7. 0-0Be7 8. f40-0 9.Kh1Qc7 10. a4Nc6 11. Be3Re8 12. Bf3Rb8 13. Qd2Bd7 14. Nb3b6 15. g4Bc8 16. g5Nd7 17. Qf2Bf8 18. Bg2Bb7 19. Rad1g6 20. Bc1Rbc8 21. Rd3Nb4 22. Rh3Bg7 23. Be3Re7 24. Kg1Rce8 25. Rd1f5 26. gxf6 e.p.Nxf6 27. Rg3Rf7 28. Bxb6Qb8 29. Be3Nh5 30. Rg4Nf6 31. Rh4g5 32. fxg5Ng4 33. Qd2Nxe3 34. Qxe3Nxc2 35. Qb6Ba8 36. Rxd6Rb7 37. Qxa6Rxb3 38. Rxe6Rxb2 39. Qc4Kh8 40. e5Qa7ch 41. Kh1Bxg2ch 42. Kxg2Nd4ch White resigns