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Vladimir Kramnik vs Anatoly Karpov
Dortmund Sparkassen (1997), Dortmund GER, rd 1, Jul-04
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Catalan Defense (A14)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-25-05  KingG: < He was able to get to unique middlegame positions by avoiding all the typical KID, Grunfeld, Nimzo, Slav, QGA, Semi-Slav> This is news to me. Kramnik very often played mainline KIDs, Grunfelds, Semi-Slavs, etc.
Nov-25-05  aw1988: <KingG> Since when did Kramnik play the Grunfeld?
Nov-26-05  Karpova: <aw1988> against Kasparov in their match in 2000... kramnik was on the white side of course and this is what the discussion here is about.
Nov-26-05  aw1988: By Brown's kibitz, it made it seem that he for a short period of time avoided the Grunfeld in favour of this, what, Reti setup. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I take it as "he usually plays the Grunfeld".
Nov-26-05  aw1988: And of course, Kramnik only has one game with the Grunfeld as Black in this database.
Nov-26-05  aw1988: I admit he may have some games as White, but not as Black...
Nov-26-05  KingG: Yeah, i don't understand <Brown>'s kibitz. I know Kramnik sometimes played the Reti, but usually (as far as i know) he would transpose into mainline Grunfelds, KID, etc.
Nov-26-05  aw1988: <KingG> Except: <This is news to me. Kramnik very often played mainline KIDs, Grunfelds,>

When did Kramnik ever play 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 as Black?

Nov-26-05  KingG: I meant he played the White side of these openings.
Nov-26-05  aw1988: OK, it's when you say 'he played mainline Grunfeld' it sounds like he is Black.
Nov-26-05  KingG: It takes two to Tango, as they say.
Nov-27-05  Brown: Frankly, I'm puzzled by everyone's confusion. Kramnik is white here, I list his typical white set-up at this time, and by doing so give evidence that he avoided many of the main-lines that his typical opponents defending the black side would use.

Never mentioned him playing black. Since he is playing white here, a form of "English" as stated, and having specifically used the word "avoided," it is baffling to see how people can come to the conclusion that I was talking about Kramnik from the black side, and that he liked to play Grunfelds.

Nov-27-05  KingG: <Brown> No one said that you were talking about Kramnik playing Black. That was just <aw1988> misunderstanding my post.

But i don't agree with your statement that Kramnik used the English to avoid the mainline KIDs, Grunfelds, etc. If you look at his games as White from this period, you will see that, although he did play some 'English' games, most of his games transposed into mainline Semi-Slavs, KIDs, Grunfelds, etc.

Nov-27-05  Brown: <KingG> You are probably right there. I think I just got carried away listing black's openings. The Semi-Slav seems near impossible to work around, except with perhaps the exchange variation. Kramnik was never scared of the KID anyway, but by playing Nf3, he does avoid many Grunfeld lines, limiting his need to address some black specialists in that area. Also, g3 is not seen in the mainline of Grunfelds, Slavs or Semi-Slavs, yet Kramnik has often played this way.

Basically this way of opening allowed Kramnik to have greater control over what he sees over the board. I think it's a good way to play for him, and I don't know why he has since seemingly moved away from it.

Nov-27-05  KingG: <Brown> Well, he was also extremely good with 1.d4. Personaly i prefer 1.d4, because playing an early 1.Nf3 can rule out a lot of good lines against various openings. For example: Modern Benoni, Taimanov Attack; QGD exchange, 'Ne2, f3 variation'; Mainline Grunfeld exchange variation.

As you say, he could get around this by playing the English, but i'm not sure it's worth it. It's a matter of taste i guess.

Nov-27-05  Brown: <KingG> You bring up good points. Have you checked out Khalifman's works on Kramnik's Nf3 - c4 set-up. Pretty extensive stuff.

No doubt Kramnik is excellent in anything (when on good form) and as good as it gets with 1.d4, yet his unique stamp on the opening, and the way his chess is best expressed IMHO, is the method in this, and numerous other, games.

Note this excellent collection by a fellow chessgamer.

Game Collection: A 1. Nf3! Repertoire

Nov-27-05  acirce: <Brown> I have those volumes, they're great (just like Khalifman's similar works around Anand with 1.e4). Some of the most beautiful games in all of chess are Kramnik's when he's using that setup.
Nov-27-05  Brown: <KingG> And I see that you and I are really on the same page on the Kramnik Topalov game page.

<KingG: <strifeknot>Yes, i agree, but more often than not, he transposes into d4 openings, that's why i didn't mention it. In fact, i think Kramnik rarely plays d4 as the very first move, although as i say, it tends to transpose. As for being one of the most interesting Queen's gambit players, i also completely agree, that's why i think he should go back to 1.Nf3/1.d4. I find his games with those opening moves far more interesting than his games with 1.e4(of course that's just my opinion, others may disagree).>

Nov-27-05  Brown: <acirce> Let's hope that Kramnik will get back to that, or address another opening and make it his own (like the Berlin, or the Sveshnikov Sicilian). Perhaps he feels pressure to be good at both d4 and e4 opening, like Karpov and Kasparov.
Nov-27-05  KingG: <Brown> Yes, i have been saying for ages that Kramnik should go back to 1.Nf3/1.d4. Even playing against weak players in a simul, he did better with 1.d4 than 1.e4.
Nov-27-05  Brown: BTW, why 18...Bc6, I was thinking 18...Nc4 followed by 19...e4 (if not 19.e5, or maybe even 18...e5 immediately.

Biggest problem for black is that he has no pawn breaks. Karpov ends up in Gruenfeld pawn structure with the very inactive bishop on e7, and blocks the c-pawn first with his knight, then with his bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Using the English against the Queens Indian was a pet line that Kramnik played for awhile in the mid to late 90s. He had won a nice game with this line several months previous to this game against Anand in Las Palmas (Dec 1996). Anand had played 10..c5 which seems more promising. With his big space advantage Kramnik played logically for a kingside attack. I don't really understand 18..Bc6 though Kramnik was complimentary of it. He was, however, critical of 21..Qd7. The idea was to follow up with ..Ne7 but Karpov missed Kramnik's clever tactics. Kramnik recommended 21..Na5 instead with the idea of ..c5. The idea behind 22 Qf3 was 22..Ne7 23 24 Qf6..Kh7 25 Qf7+..Kh8
26 Nf4..Rg8 27 Ne6. Kramnik said that 26 Qe3 would have been simpler though he still gets a great attack with his pawn sacrifice 26 fe. 30 e4 with the idea of ef and e5 is quite powerful. His second pawn sacrifice 33 d5 and 34 e5 is also really nice. Kramnik missed that he could mate with 35 Rg5 followed by 36 h6 but this did not endanger the win. Seirawan recommended 37..Rcc7 which Kramnik did not mention. However it seems that 38 Re3 followed by 39 e6 would have been a good response to this.
Oct-10-08  shintaro go: An old-fashioned beatdown on a former World Champion by Kramnik.
Dec-18-08  mateifl: Great game !
Feb-11-16  duplex: Kramnik dominating KARPOV so clearly have never seen before..
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