The award that irritated Kasparov

Before becoming one of the more conservative-style players in the elite – which translates into many draws with hardly any fighting and numerous soporific games – Teimur Radyábov (Baku, 1987; “Radjabov” on the official lists) was one of the most amazing child prodigies in chess history. He started playing at the age of 3, and won medals in Europeans and World Cups of various ages; among them, the gold medal in the European Under 18 in 1999, at age 12. At 14 he became the 2nd youngest grandmaster in history.

At 15, he won with black Kasparov in Linares the very controversial game glossed in this video, which received the special award for the most beautiful of the tournament in the face of the fury of the Russian. The jurors argued that beauty is a subjective concept, and that the mere fact that a 15-year-old boy dared to sacrifice a long-term piece against the almost invincible Kasparov was beautiful in itself. Some great teachers shared that reasoning; others rejected it because the sacrifice is scientifically incorrect. Today’s machines dictate that, with a perfect replica, Kasparov would have achieved a slight advantage.

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