Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Externalities
Karpov and Kasparov have been strong chess rivals. They have played a total of 5 matches in 7 years which counts for 144 games.
Many stories and incidents took place over those years, mainly due to reasons outside the chessboard.
The first match where these two great masters confront each other started in Moscow in September-1984.
At that time, Karpov was the World Champion. The match extended until February-1985 after playing 48 games.
Nevertheless, the match ended undecided because FIDE president Florencio Campomanes cancelled the event.
According to Campomanes, the match had “exhausted the physical, if not the psychological resources, of not only the participants but all those connected with the match…”
After 7 months of rest, a new match started in September-1985 again in Moscow.
This time the rules established a limit of 24 games and the World Champion would be the player who had a better score. In case of a final 12-12, Karpov would remain the champion. After 10 games Karpov was leading by 5,5 to 4,5 but in game 11 something abnormal happened. Karpov made a crude blunder falling into a well-known trap in move 22!!.
The following diagram shows the position after Kasparov’s 22nd move:
A trap with a similar motif already appeared in one of Alekhine’s games 60 years before, which most probably both players knew.
The reason for Karpov’s loss of attention was most probably an external incident that appeared in the German press.
The day before the game, the German magazine “Der Spiegel” published a controversial story.
According to the magazine, Karpov had received a large sum of money from a computer sponsorship deal without notifying the Soviet authorities. That would have constituted a major violation of exchange control regulations.
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