Sports & Gaming

Openings - Part 2

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 20:38 min

What happens when your opponent plays your opening? How do you find a satisfying opening both psychologically and strategically? Is there such a thing as universal opening advice?

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Topics include: When Your Opponent Plays Your Opening • Is There Universal Opening Advice?


It's an interesting question what happens if your opponent takes your own choice against you. And I have to say that while I did fairly well against King's Indian-- when I play King's Indian and it was chosen against me, or against neither, there was some kind of discomfort. It's inconvenient because you have to play against something that you believe is such a good choice. I've been a devoted King's Indian player for many, many years. That's also from the early days to almost 1997. And then I just lost to Kramnik. Actually, I didn't do well against him in King's Indian. And I stopped playing altogether. So I moved to Grunfeld, and to other openings like some of the Queen's Gambits, and Meran. Some of the other openings. But somehow, King's Indian didn't appeal to me. And there was nothing wrong with this opening. Because it was just about your feelings. And that's reminded me of Efim Geller switching from King's Indian to Queen's Gambit Declined. I haven't played, by the way, Queen's Gambit Accepted against Kramnik, which was not a perfect choice for me, but it did well in the world championship match, especially in our friendly match in 2001, in both in blitz and in rapid. I also remember that in the early '80s, from qualifying from interzonal to candidates, I have to think about my openings against strong opponents. I played Beliavsky, Korchnoi, and eventually Smyslov in the final. And I came up with an idea, probably it was some kind of connection with my childhood, because another book that I had at home was a book about Spassky- Petrosian match 1969. And Spassky won the match. He played better, but also he chose tower of defense, which many thought was a bad choice against Petrosian because it creates an isolated pawn. But Spassky did it extremely well. So he actually found out that Petrosian was quite slow in playing his positions. And the isolated pawn served Spassky well. So I looked at this opening, and I decided that probably a nice idea to play it as well. So that's one of the classical positions. So with isolated pawn, and I had this position many times. So I played against Beliavsky. And it worked well. I played it in Niksic in the tournament against many strong players, like Seirawan, and Miles, Nikolic, also, Larsen, worked perfectly. I played against Korchnoi. It didn't work as well. I played against Smyslov. It also didn't work. And then I made a big mistake. I played it against Karpov. And that was not a smart idea. Because Karpov liked it. He just got so excited, the weak pawn. It's not that something was wrong with the opening, but psychologically, it was a wrong choice. And I lost. Both games were very good at decent positions. Game seven and even game nine, that I defended well. But that was a wrong choice. And I played twice. Lost two games, and stopped playing it with Karpov. And I switched t...

About the Instructor

At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.

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Garry Kasparov

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