The Most Important Opening Novelties From The Modern World Championships

8.  Kasparov – Karpov (1987 game 2) – 9. … e3

Every once in a while you hear stories of novelties that have been saved up for 25 years before finally seeing the light of day. According to Karpov he prepared this novelty for his match against Korchnoi in Baguio in 1978 (9 years prior to this game). This move had such a profound affect on Kasparov he soaked up approximately 80 minutes on his reply d3! (which followed by Qb3 which Yusupov claimed refuted Karpov and Zaitsev’s idea). Karpov had this to say,

I recall that Kasparov’s use of the English Opening in this match was unexpected for me. However, strange as it may seem, it was I who managed to produce a surprise at the start. In any case, in the present game my opponent thought for over one and a half hours over his tenth move! It is interesting that the novelty, which had such an effect on Kasparov, was prepared by me as far back as the end of the 70’s for my match in Baguio. But at that time it had remained unused.


It was precisely this move, suggested in his day by my long time second, Igor Zaitsev, that plunged my opponent into seep thought. Previously Black had automatically taken on f3; Incidentally, I had played this in the fourth game of the match.

In principle, the point of the thrust e4-e3 lies in upsetting the harmonious development of White’s pieces, driving a wedge into his position. Though this idea is not original, I was convinced it had not been played before in the present situation. But how surprised I was one day, when, upon opening the Chess in the USSR magazine, I saw the game Berndt – Seitz, played nearly ten years before the duel in Seville. – Anatoly Karpov

To date this line has been played in 71 games and 24 GM games scoring 33.8% for white in the big database. Prior to this novelty people would take on f3.

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