WHAT’S in a name? In 1989, when Garry Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s record for achieving the highest-ever chess rating, Mikhail Tal joked, “Garry is playing so well, that now he can calmly perform under his previous surname.”
Tal’s remark was alluding to a key moment in the development of the young Harry Weinstein from Baku, in Soviet Azerbaijan. Kasparov’s Jewish father had died from cancer when he was seven and, at 12, the family adopted the new surname, a Russian version of his mother’s Armenian name. Kasparov’s trainer, Alexander Nikitin, considered this to be a career-changing decision and insisted on it to fully realise his potential, explaining. “From my time in the USSR Sports Committee, I knew what inexplicable problems could be encountered by a youth with an ‘incorrect’ surname.”
This, and many more fascinating insights can be found in Garry Kasparov Part 1: 1973-1985 the first of three autobiographical volumes by the world’s best ever player (Everyman hardback, £30). In addition to an account of his childhood and rapid rise through the ranks to be the youngest world champion at age 22, there are 100 games with high-quality objective annotations.
Today, we have a classic kitchen sink attack with one of Garry’s favourite games from his early years. After 25...Rf7 GM Sam Palatnik offered his young 15-year-old opponent a draw. Not wishing to be impolite, Kasparov responded with 26 Bxf5!
G Kasparov - S Palatnik
1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 g6 5 Bc4 Nb6 6 Bb3 a5 7 a4 Bg7 8 Ng5 e6 9 f4 dxe5 10 fxe5 c5 11 0–0 0–0 12 c3 Nc6 13 Ne4 Nd7 14 Be3 Ne7 15 Bg5 cxd4 16 cxd4 h6 17 Bh4 g5 18 Bf2 Ng6 19 Nbc3 Qe7 20 Bc2 b6 21 Be3 Ba6 22 Rf2 Nh8 23 Bxg5 hxg5 24 Qh5 f5 25 Nxg5 Rf7 26 Bxf5! Rxf5 27 Rxf5 exf5 28 Nd5 Qe8 29 Qh7+ Kf8 30 Qxf5+ Kg8 31 Qh7+ Kf8 32 Ra3 Rc8 33 Rf3+ Nf6 34 h3 Qg6 35 Rxf6+ Bxf6 36 Ne6+ Ke8 37 Nxf6+ 1–0