The rivalry between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov was epic and spanned five World Championship matches in seven years. It may have reached its zenith in the third one, in 1986.

The rivalry between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov is unmatched in chess history. They played five World Championship matches from 1984 to 1990 – four in a three-year span — at a time when they were far stronger than everyone else. Their epic battles dominated the chess world’s attention at the time and are still carefully studied and widely admired.

Kasparov was known as a brilliant attacker, an aggressive player who loved the initiative and complications, while Karpov was a more solid player whose skill in maneuvering was unparalleled. Of course, both players were well-rounded enough to win games in the other player’s signature style, but their preferences were clear.

Their first match had lasted five months — from September 1984 to February 1985 – and 48 games because it was to be decided by the first player to win six games. Karpov had raced out to a 4-0 lead after nine games, but by switching to an extremely cautious style, Kasparov had stayed alive and changed the contest into a match of attrition. The match was controversially stopped by the president of the World Chess Federation, Florencio Campomanes, just after Kasparov had won two games.

The second match was held later in 1985 and was a saner best-of-24 contest. It was a tight fight, but Kasparov led 12-11 going into the last game, which meant that Karpov needed to win to retain the title because a tie went to the titleholder. Karpov had White and played very aggressively, but Kasparov handled the complications and the mutual time trouble more successfully, winning the game and becoming the youngest World Champion in history. Though Kasparov had won the match, he had not played in the swashbuckling style that he had relied on in his rise to the top.

Under the rules negotiated before the second contest, Karpov was entitled to a rematch if he lost. So, in 1986, they played again. This time, the Kasparov that chess fans knew and loved was finally able to show himself even against the great Karpov. In Game 8, he produced a spectacular attack:

Kasparov, Garry vs. Karpov, Anatoly
World Championship 33th-KK3 | London/Leningrad | Round 8 | 15 Aug 1986 | ECO: D35 | 1-0
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 Nf6
5... c6 is more popular, and was played by Karpov on other occasions.  )
6. e3 O-O And now
6... Bf5 is usual.  )
7. Bd3 c5 8. Nf3
8. dxc5  )
8. Nge2  )
8... Nc6 9. O-O Bg4
9... c4  )
10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. h3 Bxf3
11... Bh5  )
12. Qxf3 d4 13. Ne4 Be7
13... Nxe4 has been tried in more recent games, with very poor results.
14. Bxe4 Black's only move not to be seriously worse is one that hasn't yet been tried here:
14... Bb6  )
14. Rad1 Qa5 15. Ng3! dxe3 16. fxe3 Qxa2 17. Nf5 Black's situation looks dire. All of White's pieces are beautifully developed and are aimed at the Black king. Black has a pawn for his troubles, but this can hardly be enough.
17... Qe6!
17... Qxb2? (for example) would be suicide:
18. Bh6 Ne8 19. Qe4! Nf6 20. Bxg7! The more mundane
...  Nxe4 21. Bxb2 secures a decisive material advantage, unless Black keeps his material at the cost of his king:
21... Nc5 22. Nh6#  )
18. Bh6 Ne8
18... gxh6?? 19. Qg3+  )
19. Qh5! Threatening to take on e7 and g7 (or vice-versa) followed by Qxh7#.
19... g6
19... gxh6? 20. Nxh6+ Kg7 21. Nxf7 h6 looks survivable for Black until one spots the beautiful
22. Rf6!! Qxf6 23. Qg4+ Qg5 24. Nxg5 Bxg5 25. h4 Nf6 26. Qh3 Ne5 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Bc2  )
20. Qg4 Ne5 Karpov has defended extremely well, but even so he's clearly worse - provided White collects the exchange. Kasparov decides he wants more, and while Black's chances of a speedy loss increase, his chances of holding the game increase as well.
21. Qg3?!
21. Nxe7+ Qxe7 22. Bxf8 Kxf8 23. Qd4 Rd8 24. Qc3  )
21... Bf6 22. Bb5!? Ng7! 23. Bxg7 Bxg7 24. Rd6 Qb3 25. Nxg7 Qxb5 26. Nf5 Rad8 Karpov's defense has been stellar, and despite his serious time trouble he may have been feeling optimistic by this point.
27. Rf6!?
27. Nh6+ Kg7 28. Nf5+ Kg8 29. Nh6+ is possible, but of course Kasparov didn't forsake the exchange earlier so he could repeat moves.  )
27... Rd2 28. Qg5 Qxb2?! Very natural. Black takes aim at g2, while the queen can also help defend along the a1-h8 diagonal. Nevertheless, it is at least a small mistake that increases the danger.
28... Kh8! was even stronger.
29. Qh6 Rg8 30. Ne7 Qxb2 31. Qg5 Rg7 32. Re6! Nc6 33. Rxf7! Rxg2+! 34. Qxg2 Qxg2+ 35. Kxg2 Rxf7 36. Nxc6 bxc6 37. Rxc6 favors Black, but White will draw without much difficulty.  )
29. Kh1! Kh8? It was good last move, but now it loses.
29... h5! is counterintuitive, seemingly weakening Black's kngside, but the king benefits from access to h7.
30. Ne7+ Kg7 31. e4 Rc2! In part so the queen can move without hanging the rook, and in part to involve the rook in the defense.
32. Rd6 Qb5! 33. Rff6 Rc6! 34. Nxc6 bxc6 35. Rxc6 Qb1+ 36. Rc1 Qxc1+ 37. Qxc1 Kxf6 Black will lose the a-pawn, but should be able to erect a fortress. White's only chance to prevent it is
38. Qf4+! Ke6 39. Qf2 , but even so Black's chances to hold look pretty good.  )
30. Nd4! Rxd4 31. Qxe5 Here Karpov lost on time, but his position is lost as well.
31. Qxe5 Rd2 32. Qe7 wins, and shows clearly why 29...Kh8 was a bad move.
32... Rdd8 33. Rxf7 Rxf7 34. Rxf7 Kg8 35. Kh2! followed by e4-e5, winning.
...   )

Later in the match Kasparov, switched from 1.d4 to 1.e4, and Karpov uncorked the Zaitsev Variation in the Ruy Lopez, the brainchild of his long-time second, Igor Zaitsev, one of the most brilliant openings innovators of his time. Kasparov, playing White, won two magnificent games in this variation, Games 14 and 16. The games were extremely sharp and complicated, and while Kasparov’s wins pushed his lead in the match from +1 to +3, both games were up for grabs for a long time. This was particularly true in Game 16, in which both players teetered on the edge of ruin until near the end.

Kasparov, Garry vs. Karpov, Anatoly
World Championship 33th-KK3 | London/Leningrad | Round 14 | 08 Sep 1986 | ECO: C92 | 1-0
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. a4 h6 13. Bc2 exd4 14. cxd4 Nb4 15. Bb1 c5 16. d5 Nd7 17. Ra3 c4
17... f5 is a second main line that became popular a few years later.  )
18. axb5
18. Nd4 was chosen in game 16.  )
18... axb5 19. Nd4 Rxa3
19... Qb6 is understandably popular, when play continues
20. Nf5 Ne5 21. Rg3 g6 22. Nf3 Ned3 . Now White chooses between 23.Be3, 23. Qd2, and 23.Rf1. Here is one spectacular example:
23. Qd2 Bxd5? 24. Nxh6+! Bxh6 25. Qxh6 Qxf2+ 26. Kh2 Nxe1 27. Nh4! Ned3 28. Nxg6 Qxg3+ 29. Kxg3 fxg6 30. Qxg6+ Kf8 31. Qf6+ Kg8 32. Bh6 1-0 (32) Anand,V (2788)-Adams,M (2719) San Luis 2005  )
20. bxa3 Nd3 21. Bxd3 cxd3 22. Bb2
22. Re3 has become the main move, and while it seems more logical than Kasparov's move it's not clear that it's better. The argument in its favor is this: we know that the rook belongs on g3, but we don't know if the bishop is better on b2 - aiming at g7 - or back on c1 - aiming at h6. So move the rook first, and wait and see what happens in the meantime. As it turns out, however, White should meet
22... Nc5 with
23. Bb2 anyway, as
...  Qa5 with complicated play that seems for the moment to be headed for a draw. (The usual story when analyzing such opening variations with a computer.)  )
22... Qa5 23. Nf5 Ne5 This isn't so bad, but it completely disappeared after this, its one and only outing.
23... g6 has been played 18 times. In its first test, black won, and in all 17 games since then the result was a draw. Here's a high-level example:
24. Ne3 Ne5 25. Nb3 Qa4 26. Bxe5 Rxe5 27. Ng4 Re7 28. Nf6+ Kh8 29. Qxd3 Bg7 30. Qf3 Qxa3 31. Re2 Qa8 32. Rc2 Qd8 33. Qf4 Re5 34. Ng4 Re7 35. Nxh6 Qf8 36. Ng4 f5 37. exf5 Qxf5 38. Qxf5 Re1+ 39. Kh2 gxf5 40. Ne3 Be5+ 41. g3 f4 42. gxf4 Bxf4+ 43. Kg2 Bxe3 44. fxe3 Rxe3 45. Nd4 Rd3 46. Nxb5 Rxd5 47. Nxd6 Rxd6+ 48. Kg3 Bc6 49. Kf4 Kg7 50. Rc5 Be8 51. Ke5 Rh6 52. Rc3 Rh5+ 53. Kd6 Bg6 54. Re3 Bf5 55. Ke5 Bc8+ 56. Kd4 Kf6 57. h4 Bf5 58. Rb3 Be6 59. Rb4 Rxh4+ 60. Kc3 Rh1 61. Kd4 Rd1+ 62. Ke4 Bd5+ 63. Kf4 Rf1+ 64. Ke3 Ke5 65. Ke2 Rh1 66. Kd2 Be4 67. Rb5+ Kf4 68. Rb3 Rh2+ 69. Kc3 Rh8 70. Kc4 Rc8+ 71. Kd4 Rd8+ 72. Kc3 Bd3 73. Rb4+ Ke3 74. Rb2 Rc8+ 75. Kb3 Kd4 76. Kb4 Rc6 77. Kb3 Rc1 78. Rd2 Rc8 79. Rb2 Bc4+ 80. Kb4 Kd3 81. Rh2 Rb8+ 82. Kc5 Rb5+ 83. Kd6 Rg5 84. Rh3+ Kd4 85. Rh4+ Kc3 86. Rh3+ Kb4 87. Rh7 Rd5+ 88. Ke7 Kc5 89. Rg7 Rh5 90. Kf6 Kd6 91. Rg5 Rh4 92. Rg7 Be6 93. Kg5 Rg4+ 94. Kf6 Rf4+ 95. Kg5 Rf2 96. Kg6 Ke5 97. Kg5 Bf7 98. Kh6 Kf6 99. Rg6+ Bxg6 1/2-1/2 (99) Grischuk,A (2733) -Karjakin,S (2722) Bilbao 2009  )
24. Bxe5 The natural
24. f4 is good for a draw but nothing more:
24... Nc4 25. Nxh6+ gxh6 26. Qg4+ Kh7 27. Qf5+ Kg8 28. Qg4+  )
24... dxe5 25. Nb3 Qb6
25... Qxa3 is playable, but it's understandable that Black didn't want to pull his queen too far away from the defense.  )
25... Qa6! may be the most precise move, defending the 6th rank but also keeping the a-pawn in the crosshairs.  )
26. Qxd3 Ra8
26... Bc8! was a good idea, not letting the powerful knight survive - at least on f5.  )
27. Rc1 g6 Ousting the knight is a good idea in general, but this does slightly weaken Black's kingside.
27... Bc8  )
28. Ne3 Bxa3 29. Ra1! Ra4!
29... h5 30. Qc3 f6 is also playable, but perhaps White has a little pull after
31. g4!  )
30. Ng4 This wouldn't be threatening, had Black chosen 27... Bc8 rather than 27...g6. Even so the position is still equal if Black plays perfectly.
30... Bf8?
30... h5! 31. Nxe5 Bb2 32. Rxa4 bxa4 33. Nc4 Qf6! 34. Nbd2 Qc3! 35. Nxb2 Qxb2 36. d6 Bc6 37. d7 Bxd7 38. Qxd7 a3 39. Qd8+ Kg7 40. Qd5 a2 41. Nb3 a1=Q+ 42. Nxa1 Qc1+! 43. Kh2 Qf4+ is an attractive drawing variation that's possible for a Karpov to calculate with time on the clock, but probably not in time pressure.  )
31. Rc1! Qd6
31... f6 32. d6! Qxd6 33. Qxb5 Ra7  )
32. Nc5! Even better than
32. Qxb5 Rb4 33. Qd3 , which is essentially a pawn for nothing.  )
32... Rc4 33. Rxc4 bxc4 34. Nxb7 cxd3 35. Nxd6 Bxd6 36. Kf1 This endgame is winning.
36... Kg7 37. f3! f5 38. Nf2 d2 39. Ke2 Bb4 40. Nd3 Bc3 41. Nc5 The knight swings around to b3 and captures the pawn, after which the technical task shouldn't be too difficult - especially when one can work it out during an adjournment.. Kasparov sealed this move, and Karpov resigned without resuming.
Kasparov, Garry vs. Karpov, Anatoly
World Championship 33th-KK3 | London/Leningrad | Round 16 | 15 Sep 1986 | ECO: C92 | 1-0
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Re8 11. Nbd2 Bf8 12. a4 h6 13. Bc2 exd4 14. cxd4 Nb4 15. Bb1 c5 16. d5 Nd7 17. Ra3 c4 18. Nd4 Varying from the
18. axb5 of game 14.  )
18... Qf6 19. N2f3 Nc5 20. axb5 axb5 21. Nxb5 Rxa3 22. Nxa3 Ba6 Black has full compensation for the pawn, which will be evident once a Black knight lands on d3. Despite the strength of such a knight, both sides will be playing for the attack.
23. Re3 Rb8
23... Nbd3 24. Bxd3 cxd3 25. b4 Nxe4 26. b5 Bb7 27. Qxd3 Qa1 28. Qb1 Qxb1 29. Nxb1 Rc8 30. Re1 Bxd5  )
24. e5!? dxe5 25. Nxe5 Nbd3
25... Ncd3 26. Bxd3 Nxd3 27. Rxd3 cxd3 28. Nd7 Qd8 29. Nxb8 Qxb8  )
26. Ng4
26. Qc2! Rb4 27. Nc6 Rb6 28. Re8 Rxc6 29. dxc6 Qxc6 30. Rd8 Qb6 31. Ra8 Qc6 32. Rd8 Qb6 33. Re8 Qc6 34. Re3 Qd5 35. Ba2 Ne6 1/2-1/2 (35) Korosec,S (2424)-Isaev,A (2495) ICCF email 2010  )
26... Qb6
26... Qf5! 27. Bxd3 cxd3 28. Nb1 Bd6 29. Nc3 h5 30. Nh2 Nb3 31. Re4 Nxc1 32. Qxc1 Be5 33. f3 Bxc3 34. bxc3 Qxd5  )
27. Rg3 g6
27... Ne4 28. Nxh6+ Kh7 29. Be3 Qxb2 30. Nxf7 Nxg3 31. fxg3 Bxa3 32. Qh5+ Kg8 33. Bxd3 cxd3 34. Ng5 d2 35. Qf7+ Kh8 36. Qh5+ Kg8 37. Qf7+  )
28. Bxh6
28. Bxd3 cxd3  )
28... Qxb2
28... Ne4 29. Nxc4 Bxc4 30. Bxd3 Nxg3 31. Bxc4 Bxh6 32. Nxh6+ Kg7 33. Nxf7 Kxf7 34. Qf3+ Nf5 35. g4 Qxb2 36. gxf5 Qb1+ 37. Kg2 Qxf5 38. Qxf5+ gxf5  )
29. Qf3 Nd7
29... Qxa3 is playable:
30. Nf6+ Kh8 31. Qh5 is flashy, but Black survives with
...  Rxb1+ 32. Kh2 Rh1+! 33. Kxh1 Nxf2+ 34. Kg1 Qxg3 and now it's White who is fortunate to keep a draw in his pocket:
35. Bg7+! Kxg7 36. Ne8+ Kg8 37. Nf6+ Kg7 38. Ne8+  )
30. Bxf8 Kxf8 31. Kh2 Rb3
31... Qxa3? isn't as good this time around.
32. Nh6 N7e5 33. Qf6 Qb2 34. Rxg6! Threatening Rg8#.
34... Ke8 35. Rg5 Ng4+ 36. Nxg4 Qxf6 37. Nxf6+ Ke7 38. Bxd3 cxd3 39. Ne4 The d-pawn is nice, but it isn't enough to make up for White's two extra pawns.  )
31... Rb6 is a good move, guarding the vulnerable 6th rank. This should maintain equality - if that's what Black wants. Given the match situation and the position on the board, Karpov wanted the full point.
32. Nxc4 Qxb1 33. Nxb6 Qxb6 34. Nh6 Nf6 35. Ng4 Nxg4+ 36. Qxg4 Nxf2 37. Qh4 Nd3 38. Rf3 Qd6+ 39. Kh1 Qe5 The centralizing  )
31... Qd4 also maintains equality.  )
32. Bxd3 cxd3?! This is playable, but it's getting dangerous.
32... Rxd3 33. Qf4 Qxa3 34. Nh6 Ke7 35. Rg4!? Qa1 36. Qxf7+ Kd8 37. Rxg6 Bb7! 38. d6! Rxd6 39. Qg8+ Kc7 40. Qxc4+ Bc6 41. Rxd6 Qe5+ 42. Kg1 Qa1+  )
33. Qf4 Qxa3? In terrible time trouble Karpov finally takes the knight, at almost the worst possible time. Now White wins by force.
33... d2! 34. Nh6 Nf6! 35. Qd6+ Ke8 36. Qc6+ Kf8! 37. Qd6+ Ke8 38. Qxa6 d1=Q 39. Qc8+ Ke7 40. Qc5+ Kd7! 41. Nc4 Qba1! leaves White no choice but to force a perpetual.  )
34. Nh6 Qe7 35. Rxg6 Qe5 36. Rg8+ Ke7 37. d6+! This is almost certainly what Karpov missed. Without this resource Black would be winning, but now it's over. White wins Black's queen, and Black doesn't have enough compensation.
37... Ke6
37... Kxd6 38. Nxf7+  )
37... Qxd6 38. Nf5+  )
38. Re8+ Kd5 39. Rxe5+ Nxe5 40. d7! Rb8
40... Nxd7 41. Qxf7+ wins the rook.  )
41. Nxf7 The time control has been made, and Karpov had time to survey the damage and recognize its irreparability.
41. Nxf7 Nxf7 42. Qxf7+ Kc5 43. d8=Q Rxd8 44. Qc7+  )

Despite those wins, the match was hardly one-sided. Karpov was a fighter. Down three points after losing Game 16, he could easily have given up and gone through the motions the rest of the way, but he didn’t. Instead, Karpov bounced back by winning three games in a row. Games 17 and 19 were particularly noteworthy:

Karpov, Anatoly vs. Kasparov, Garry
World Championship 33th-KK3 | London/Leningrad | Round 17 | 17 Sep 1986 | ECO: D98 | 1-0
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 Bg4 8. Be3 Nfd7 9. Rd1 This is still playable, but it has fallen out of fashion.
9... Nc6 10. Be2 Nb6 11. Qc5 Qd6 12. e5 Qxc5 13. dxc5 Nc8
13... Nd7 is good too. Karpov thought this was bad due to
14. h3 Bxf3 15. gxf3! , when the e-pawn is poisoned as either knight capture is met by 16.f4, winning a piece. But after
15... Rfd8 16. f4 g5! Black seems to be just fine.  )
14. h3! An improvement over game 15, which finished in a short draw.
14. Nb5 Rb8 15. Nxc7 e6 16. Nb5 N8e7 17. Rd2 b6 18. cxb6 axb6 19. Bg5 Nf5 20. b3 h6 21. Bf6 Bxf3 22. Bxf3 Nxe5 23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. O-O Rfd8 25. Rfd1 Rxd2 26. Rxd2 Rc8 27. g3 Rc1+ 28. Kg2 Kf8 29. Be4 Ke7 1/2-1/2 (29) Karpov,A (2705)-Kasparov,G (2740) London/Leningrad 1986  )
14... Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Bxe5 16. Bxc6 bxc6 17. Bd4 Bf4
17... Bxd4 18. Rxd4  )
18. O-O a5 Kasparov absurdly gives this a "??" in his 1987 book on the match, but while 18...e5 is a crisper and indeed better move, White's advantage is still pretty small at this point.
18... e5 is a bit better, and should equalize or at least keep any White advantage down to a minimum. This was seen in a Karpov-Timman game later that same year:
19. Be3 Bxe3 20. fxe3 Ne7 21. Rd7 Nf5 22. Rxc7 Rfc8 23. Rd7 Rd8 24. Rfd1 Rxd7 25. Rxd7 Nxe3 26. Rc7 Rb8 27. b3 Rd8 28. Ne4 Rd4 29. Nf6+ Kg7 30. Rxc6 Rd2 31. g4 Nc2 32. Kf1 Nd4 33. Ra6 Nf3 1/2-1/2 (33) Karpov,A (2705)-Timman,J (2620) Tilburg 1986  )
19. Rfe1 a4?
19... f6 is still fine, or put differently, it's not too late for Black to play for and achieve ...e5.  )
20. Re4 Bh6 21. Be5 a3 22. b3 Na7!? 23. Rd7!
23. Bxc7 Bg7 24. Nb1 Nb5 25. Rxe7 Ra7 26. Bd6 Rxe7 27. Bxe7 Ra8  )
23... Bc1?!
23... Rfc8  )
24. Rxc7 Bb2 25. Na4!
25. Rxe7 Bxc3 26. Bxc3 Nb5 followed by ...Ra8-d8-d2 gives Black enough counterplay to make things challenging.  )
25... Nb5 26. Rxc6 White has won a pawn while remaining active, and the advantage is decisive.
26... Rfd8 27. Rb6! Rd5? Objectively bad, but a little tricky.
28. Bg3
28. Nxb2?? Rxe5! 29. Nc4 Rxe4 30. Rxb5 Re1+ 31. Kh2 Rc8  )
28... Nc3 29. Nxc3 Bxc3 30. c6 Bd4 31. Rb7
Karpov, Anatoly vs. Kasparov, Garry
World Championship 33th-KK3 | London/Leningrad | Round 19 | 24 Sep 1986 | ECO: D97 | 1-0
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 O-O 7. e4 Na6
7... a6 is another major move, but Kasparov stayed faithful to 7...Na6 throughout his career.  )
8. Be2 c5 9. d5 e6 10. O-O exd5 11. exd5 Bf5
11... Re8 and while  )
11... Nb4 has been a minor move so far Li Chao managed to defeat Boris Gelfand with it a couple of weeks ago.  )
12. Bf4 In their Seville match the next year Karpov twice played
12. Rd1 , with both games finishing in a draw. In more recent games Kasparov also faced  )
12. Be3 , which went on to become the main move in the position after 11...Bf5.  )
12... Re8 13. Rad1 Ne4 14. Nb5 Qf6
14... g5!?  )
15. Bd3 Nb4?! Black's pieces following this exchange sacrifice are very active, but not enough to compensate for the material.
15... Bd7 seems best.
16. Be5 Bxb5 17. Qxb5 Rxe5 18. Qxb7 Ree8 19. d6 Nxd6 20. Qxa6 Nf5 21. Qxf6 Bxf6 22. Bxf5 gxf5 23. Rd2 c4 1/2-1/2 (59) Atalik,S (2593) -Dominguez Perez,L (2723) Loo 2013  )
16. Nc7 Nxd3 17. Nxe8 Rxe8 18. Qxd3 Qxb2 19. Rde1
19. d6! is a strong alternative.
19... Nf6 20. Qc4 Re4 21. Be5! Rxc4 22. Bxb2 Nd7 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Rfe1 Kf6 25. Re7 Rb4 26. h3  )
19... Qb4
19... Qxa2! 20. Qb5 Rd8 21. Qxb7 Qxd5 22. Qxd5 Rxd5 23. g4 Nf6! 24. gxf5 Rxf5 25. Be3 Rxf3 26. Bxc5 was Black's best chance, and the only reason why 19.d6 is a bit better.  )
20. Nd2! Qa4 21. Qc4
21. Nxe4 Bxe4 22. Qb3 Qd7 23. f3 Bd4+ 24. Kh1 Bxd5 25. Rxe8+ Kg7! 26. Re7! Qd8 27. Rxf7+ Kxf7 28. Qa4  )
21... Qxc4 22. Nxc4 Bc3 23. Nd2! Bxd2 24. Bxd2 Bd7 At first glance, it looks like Black is in great shape. Now that the rook is protected on e8, Black threatens to take on d2, and there's ...Bb5 as well. Unfortunately for Kasparov, White has a neat resource.
25. Bf4! Bb5 26. f3 g5
26... Bxf1 27. Kxf1 Nf6 28. Rxe8+ Nxe8 29. Be5! Ng7 30. d6 Ne6 31. d7 f5 32. Bf6 Kf7 33. d8=Q Nxd8 34. Bxd8  )
27. Bxg5! Bxf1
27... Nxg5 28. Rxe8+ Bxe8 29. h4 is another funny line in which Black almost escapes, but not quite.  )
28. Kxf1 Nd6 Again Black seems okay at first glance, but White still has a powerful resource.
29. Be7 Nc8 30. Bxc5 With an extra pawn and the superior minor piece, White's advantage is decisive. The remaining moves are, as usual, about the players making it to the time control.
30... Rd8 31. Re5 f6 32. Rf5 b6 33. Bd4 Ne7 34. Bxf6 Rxd5 35. Rg5+! Rxg5 36. Bxg5 Nc6 37. Ke2 Kf7 38. Kd3 Ke6 39. Kc4 Ne5+ 40. Kd4 Nc6+ 41. Kc4 The last move was sealed, and Kasparov resigned without resuming.

Now the champion showed his resilience. Kasparov still retained a competitive advantage with draw odds in the match, so the burden remained on Karpov to win one more game. After a short draw with White in Game 20, Kasparov held off Karpov’s attempts to keep the momentum going in Game 21. That game also ended in a draw. By now Kasparov had regained his bearings, and in Game 22 he won the last decisive game of the match, finishing with a beautiful tactical idea.

Kasparov, Garry vs. Karpov, Anatoly
World Championship 33th-KK3 | London/Leningrad | Round 22 | 03 Oct 1986 | ECO: D55 | 1-0
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Rc1 c6 9. Bd3 Nd7 10. O-O dxc4 11. Bxc4 e5 12. h3 exd4 13. exd4 Nb6 14. Bb3 Bf5 15. Re1 In its early days this variation was a potent weapon for White, but now it almost invariably leads to a draw.
15... a5
15... Re8 16. Rxe8+ Qxe8 17. Qd2 Qd7 18. Re1 and here both 18...Rd8 and 18...a5 19.a3 Re8 are practically foolproof paths to the draw.  )
16. a3 Re8 17. Rxe8+ Qxe8 18. Qd2 Nd7
18... Qd7 is correct, headed for positions like those seen in the previous note.  )
19. Qf4
19. Re1  )
19. g4!?  )
19... Bg6 20. h4 Qd8 21. Na4 h5 22. Re1 b5
22... Qb8  )
23. Nc3 Qb8 24. Qe3 b4 25. Ne4 bxa3 26. Nxf6+ Nxf6 27. bxa3 Nd5 28. Bxd5 cxd5 29. Ne5 Material is equal and the pawn structure is almost completely symmetrical, but White's knight is obviously superior to Black's bishop.
29... Qd8
29... Qb2  )
30. Qf3! Ra6 31. Rc1!?
31. Nxg6 Rxg6 32. Re5 Qxh4 33. Qxd5 Rb6 34. Qxa5 Rb1+ 35. Re1 Rxe1+ 36. Qxe1 Qxd4 37. Qe8+ Kh7 38. Qxf7 Qa1+ 39. Kh2 Qxa3 40. Qxh5+ is drawn, according to endgame theory.  )
31... Kh7?!
31... Qxh4! 32. Rc8+ Kh7 33. Nxf7 Bxf7 34. Qxf7 looks scary, and in time pressure probably is scary. Nevertheless it doesn't seem that White can achieve very much after
34... Rf6 35. Qg8+ Kh6 36. Qh8+ Kg6 37. Qe8+ Kh7 38. Qe2 Rg6 - if anything.  )
32. Qh3?!
32. Qf4!  )
32... Rb6 33. Rc8 Qd6?!
33... Qe7 is much better, overprotecting f7 and keeping an eye on White's h-pawn.
34. Qg3 a4 35. Ra8 Bc2 In the game version of the line, this hangs the f-pawn here it's fine, and the position is equal.  )
34. Qg3 a4?
34... Qe7  )
35. Ra8 Qe6
35... Ra6?? 36. Nxf7! Bxf7 37. Qd3+  )
35... Bc2?? 36. Rh8+! Kxh8 37. Nxf7+  )
36. Rxa4 Qf5 37. Ra7 Rb1+ 38. Kh2 Rc1?
38... Rb2  )
39. Rb7
39. a4  )
39... Rc2 40. f3 Rd2? The players made the time control, and here Kasparov thought for a long time on the sealed move. After every move but one Karpov would escape with a draw, but Kasparov found the only winning move.
40... Qe6  )
41. Nd7!! It turns out that the Black king is in grave danger, whether it goes to the back rank after the coming Nf8+ or to h6 instead.
41... Rxd4 42. Nf8+ Kh6
42... Kg8 43. Rb8  )
43. Rb4!! The rook is doing a great defensive job, so it must be exchanged away so that White's queen can attack on the c1-h6 diagonal.
43... Rc4
43... Rd2 44. Qe1 Qd3 45. Qe5 leaves Black without the ability to cover g5, f4, and e3 at once.  )
43... Rxb4 44. axb4 Bh7 allows a different kind of win:
45. Qd6+ Qf6 46. Qxf6+ gxf6 47. Nxh7 Kxh7 48. b5 d4 49. Kg1  )
43... Rd3 44. a4 Ra3 45. Rd4 f6 46. Rxd5  )
44. Rxc4 dxc4 45. Qd6 Threatening Qd2+.
45... c3 46. Qd4 Threatening not only to take the pawn, but also to take on c3.
46. Qd4 Bh7 47. Qxc3! Now White threatens to give check on d2 or e3, trade everything, and promote the a-pawn.
47... Bg8 48. Qd2+ g5 49. Qxg5+ Qxg5 50. hxg5+ Kxg5 51. a4 f5 52. a5 Bc4 53. Nd7 Kf4 54. Nc5 Ke5 55. a6 Kd6 56. a7 Bd5 57. Nd3 wins easily. Black cannot exchange off White's kingside pawns, and in the meantime Black must either protect his kingside pawns and lost his bishop for White's a-pawn, or else chase the a-pawn and lose the kingside. Either way the result is an easy win for White.  )

There were many other beautiful games between the two players, but overall the 1986 match had the greatest concentration of memorable games, at least from Kasparov’s side of the board.

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Dennis Monokroussos is a FIDE master who has written about chess on his blog “The Chess Mind,” since 2005. He has been teaching chess for almost 20 years and for the last 10 years has been making instructional chess videos, which can be found at ChessLecture.com. Between 1995 and 2006, he taught philosophy, including a four-year stint at the University of Notre Dame.