X3D Fritz - Garry Kasparov (2830) [D27]
X3D Man-Machine World Championship
New York (4), 18.11.2003
1.d4 Already a bit of a surprise from X3D Fritz. Computers almost always play 1.e4 against humans because it leads to open positions with sharper, more concrete play, at least speaking very broadly. Of course any chess opening can lead to a sharp position, as we see here. The X3D Fritz team had a specific opening line in mind when they went for 1.d4 in this critical game four.
1...d5 For a long time Kasparov played 1...Nf6 exclusively against 1.d4. That move usually led to the aggressive Grunfeld or King's Indian Defenses. Lately, however, he has been playing the more solid move here, staking out space in the center right from the start.
After the game Kasparov said that he wasn't completely surprised by 1.d4 and had done some preparation with his seconds for the match, Grandmasters Yuri Dokhoian and Mikhail Kobalia. (Dokhoian is his long-time trainer.)
2.c4 The Queen's Gambit, offering a pawn to deflect Black's central d-pawn from its solid post. This has been one of the most common opening systems at every level of the game.
2...dxc4 The Queen's Gambit Accepted, as Black accepts the offer of the pawn. Unlike other gambits Black only rarely attempts to hold on to his extra pawn in this variant. Doing so subjects him to too much attacking pressure. Instead he develops his pieces. Kasparov has played this before but the commentators weren't sure he would enter such an open, double-edged opening against X3D Fritz.
3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bxc4 Reestablishing material equality. 5...c5 Black counterattacks the white center immediately. 6.0-0 a6 Threatening to play 7...b5 and 8...c4 with a pawn advantage on the queenside.
7.Bb3 [7.dxc5 This is a common line, but of course the X3D Fritz team wouldn't want to see the queens come off the board like this. They want as much activity and piece power on the board as possible to press the computer's advantage in tactics and calculation. 7...Qxd1 8.Rxd1 Bxc5; 7.a4 Nc6 8.Qe2 cxd4 9.Rd1 Be7 10.exd4] 7...cxd4 (D1)
Kasparov heads into a line he has played before. You can see why the X3D Fritz team liked this line. All the pieces are still on the board and there are open lines for attack and piece play. There are no lines of blocked pawns to inhibit the computer's calculating ability.
The downside is unrelated to the objective characteristics of the position. It's that Kasparov knows this position very well and is likely to have studied it deeply. This turns out to have been exactly the case.
[7...b5 This move, quickly developing the bishop to b7, is the most popular here. 8.a4 b4 9.Nbd2 Bb7]
8.exd4 Now White has what we call an isolated queen's pawn, a very common structure. The pawn on d4 has no pawns alongside it to defend it and it can be a target for Black's forces. In compensation White has excellent open lines for developing his pieces and the pawn controls important center squares. It is also possible to advance the pawn to start an attack.
8...Nc6 9.Nc3 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bf4 This move made it clear to Kasparov that the X3D Fritz team was headed into a line that was played in several very high-profile games a few years ago. Kasparov played in two of them, one with white in 1999 and one with Black in 2001!
That 2001 game was against no lesser an opponent than world #2 Vladimir Kramnik on the stage in Moscow. Kasparov had won that game and no one had dared to play that line for White since then. Kasparov now started to play slower, warily looking ahead for what X3D Fritz had in mind.
More precisely, what the X3D opening book team had in mind. The machine was still playing out of its opening library, not thinking on its own at all. There is a dead giveaway by the way the machine plays its moves instantaneously when it is still in its database book. When that's going on Kasparov knows that he is still following the programmers' preparation.
11...Na5 Attacking the bishop. Exchanges are usually to the defender's benefit, especially in a cramped position. [11...b5 12.d5 exd5 13.Nxd5+/- Nxd5 14.Qxd5 Bb7 15.Qh5 Bf6 16.Rad1 Qc8 17.Bd6 g6 18.Qh6+- 1-0 Epishin,V-Jonkman,H/Amsterdam NED 2000/(30)]
12.d5 Wantonly giving up the weak pawn in order to open lines and create complications. Kasparov himself played 12.Bc2 against world #3 Anand in 1999.
[12.Bc2 b5 13.d5 1/2-1/2 Kasparov,G-Anand,V/Wijk aan Zee 1999/CBM 69/[Huzman] (22) (13.Qd3 Bb7 14.Be5 g6 15.Qe3 Nc4 16.Qh6 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Nh5 18.Ne4 f5-+ 0-1 Akesson,R-Degerman,L/Ronneby 1998/EXT 99 (23)) ]
12...Nxb3 13.Qxb3 (D2)