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Vladimir Kramnik vs Garry Kasparov
Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000), London ENG, rd 6, Oct-17
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Classical Defense. Rubinstein Variation (D27)  ·  1/2-1/2

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-02-04  matein8: Here is an interesting draw (at least to me). By move 62, Kramnik is two passed pawns up but he cannot convert the win because Kasparov is about to win the bishop. So instead Kramnik goes for the draw by repetition.
Mar-03-04  Whitehat1963: I agree it is a fascinating game, if only for the way they both angle for what each seems to value in the way of a minute material or positional advantage. Early on Kasparov forces an isolated pawn on Kramnik, then later Kramnik gets bishop against knight with pawns on both sides of the board (advantageous according to Capablanca). Then still later the passed pawns versus the lost bishop as you (matein8) pointed out. I wonder if there's a clear win in there somewhere that either one of them. missed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Kramnik was very close to another win in this game. He was better the whole time. In move 49, b4! would have created a cruel zugzwang leading to a substantially better position than in the actual game (where white's king gets checked after 51...Kg6+ etc). But even as played, 49. Kh1 Nd8 50.Qf8! looks very good. 50...Rd1+ (50...Kh5 51.Qh8 Kg4 52.Rxh7 Rd1+ 53.Kh2 Ne6 54.g3 Kf3 55.Rh6 Ke2 56.Qxf6 ) 51.Kh2 Ne6 52.Rxg5+ Nxf8 53.Rxf5+ Kg7 54.Rf4 Ng6 55.Rxe4 should be winning even if it would be difficult in practical play. Even after the move played Kramnik is STILL better but fails to win as he does some slight mistake and Kasparov finds a way to utilize perpetual check ideas.
Apr-04-05  TedBundy: 8 years after the Fischer-Spassky match and Kasparov finally admits that he's been secretly studying Fischer's treatment of the QGA. And learnt the same lessons that the latter did - if initial black tactics fail to produce equality, the QGA offers long, weary, drawn-out affairs that are painful for black!
Apr-15-06  Dionyseus: <acirce> After 55.Rxe4 in the line you suggested, black has a draw. For example 55.Rxe4 f5 56.Rd4 Rxd4 57.Bxd4 Kf7 58.Kg3 b4 59.c6 Ke6 60.Bc5 f4+ 61.kh3 ne5 62.c7 Kd7 63.Bxb4 Nd3 64.Bd6 Nxb2 65.Kg4 Nc4 66.Bxf4 Nxa5 67.Kf5 Nc6 and white's king can't stop black's king from blockading any pawn promotions, drawn.
Apr-15-06  Dionyseus: Kasparov's 42...g5 was a mistake. He should have played Rxd6 43.Qxd6 Qe6 44.Qc7+ Ne7 45.Bd4 Qg4 46.Qd6 Qd1+ black has a perpetual check.
Jul-13-07  thechesscorner: . d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 e6 4 .e3 c5 5. Bxc4 a6 6. 0-0 Nf6 7. a4 Nc6 8. Qe2 cxd4 9. Rd1 Be7 10. exd4 0-0 11. Nc3

A very well known position arising from the Queen's Gambit Accepted. White's pieces are again on active “e” square, but black also has positional trumps. Earlier on white played a2-a4 to prevent Black expanding on the queenside with ... b7-b5. This has left black with an outpost on b4, which may be used by the Knight on c6.

11. ... Nd5

Black prevents Whites from playing an early d4-d5 by simply blocking the pawn. This is a theoretical position which has been assessed in various places as either equal or a slight advantage to Whites. 11.... Nb4 also preventing d4-d5 is Black's main alternative here.

12 Bb3

Whites has many other moves, including 12. Qe4 and 12. Bd3 Ncb4 13. Bb1 in the latter variation white's rook on a1 looks entombed, but white can often activate it with the imaginative Ra3.

12.... Re8 13. h4!?

Cutting edge stuff! As you may or may not know :-) h2-h4 is a common way for white to play in an attempt to soften up Black's kingside after ... g7-g6 but playing this early is a Kramnik inspired idea...

13. ... Ncb4

In his notes in Informator Kramnik gives the continuation 13. … Bxh4 14. Nxh4 Nxc3 15. bxc3 Qxh4 16. d5 Na5 17. Bc2, when has good compensation for the pawn.

14. h5

Kramnik continues the charge. The h pawn will be pushed to h6, thus inducing Black to make some sort of permanent weakness in his kingside. This plan is quite double edged, as the pawn itself on h6 can become a weakness, as well as a thorn in Black’s side. 14. … b6 Ne5

Amore recent example is 15.Bd2 Bb7 16.h6 g6
17.Ne4 a5 18.Bc4 f6 19.Rac1 Bc6 20.b3 Qd7 21.Re1 Kh8 22.Nh2 Na2 23.Rcd1 Nab4 24.Ng4 Bd8 25.Bxb4 axb4 26.Qf3 Qf7 27.Nd6 1-0 Stefansson- Izoria European Championship Ohrid 2001 15. .. Bb7 16. a5!

16. … b5!?

A risky decision as now White has access to the c5 square as an outpost. 16. … bxa5? 17. B14 Rf8 18. h6 g6 19. Nd7 Re8 20. Qe5 Nf6 21. Nc5 Bc6 22. Nxe6! Is gooid for white, but 16. … Rc8!? May be Black’s best move.

17. h6 g6 18. Ne4 Nc7?

This unforced retreat is a definite mistake. The natural 18. … Rc8 is stronger.

Jul-13-07  thechesscorner: 19. Nc5?!

19. Bd2 Bd5 ( 19. … Qxd4 20. Ng5, gives White a powerful attack) 20. Bxd5 Ncxd5 21. Rac1 gives Whites a clear advantage according to Kramnik.

19. ….Nc5 Bd5 20.Ra3 Nc6 21.Bxd5

21. Nxc6!? Bxc6 22. Bc2 keeps an edge according to the Slovakian GM Lubomir Ftacnick.

21. .. Qxd5 22.Ncd7 Rad8!

Kasparov shows defensive ingenuity. 22. … Qg4 wins the pinned Knight on d4, while 22. … f6 23. Rad3! Fxe5 24. dxe5 Qc4( or 24. … Qa2 25. Rc3) 25. Nb6 is very good for white.

23.Nxc6 Rxd7 24.Nxe7+ Rexe7 25.Rc3 f6 26.Be3 Kf7

Black have managed to simplify but White still has control of the c5 square and the c-file, while h6 could yet prove to be either a strength or a weakness.

27.Rdc1 Qb7 28.Rc5 Nd5 29.Qf3 Nb4 30.Qe2 Rc7!?

Perhaps the match situation of being a game down persuades Kasparov to play for a win. Objectively Black should repeat with 30. … Nd5

31.Bf4 Rxc5 32.dxc5 e5 33.Qd2!

White’s passed pawn on c5 gives him the better chances.

Nc6 34.Qd5+ Kf8 35.Be3 Qd7 36.Qf3 Kf7 37.Rd1 e4 38.Qe2 Qf5 39.Rd6 Re6 40.Rd7+ Re7 41.Rd6 Re6 42.Qd1 g5?

42. … Rxd6 Qxd6 44. Qc7+ Ne7 45. Bd4 Qd5 is equal ( kramnik)

43.Qh5+ Ke7 44.Qd1 Kf7?

44. ... Ke8! 45. Rd7 Re7 46. Rxe7+ Nxe7 47. Qd6. Qd7


now kramnik hits upon the right idea

45. … Kg6 46.Rg7+ Kxh6 47.Qd7 Re5 48.Qf7

Now Black is in virtual zugzwang

48. … Rd5 49.Kh1 Nd8 50.Rxh7+ Qxh7 51.Qxd5 Kg6+ 52.Kg1 Qc7 53.Qg8+ Kf5 54.Qd5+ Kg6 55.Qxe4+ Kg7 56.Qa8? in a hurry to win the a6 pawn, Kramnik creates a problem for himself. 56. Qd5! Nc6 57. Bd4 Kg6 58. Bc3 gives white a decisive advantage.

Jul-13-07  thechesscorner: 56. … Qd7


White still retains some winning chances after 57. f3

57. … Qd3 58.g3
Or 58. Qxa6 Qh7+ 59. Kg3 Qh4+ 60 Kf3 f5 and suddenly Black has counter play against the White King

58. … Nf7 59.Qb7 Kg6 60.Qxa6 Ne5 61.Qa8 Ng4+ 62.Kh3 Qf5!

Kasparov counter attack is assuming dangerous position, so much to that Kramnik now decides to bail out by giving perpetual check.

63.Qg8+ Kh6 64.Qh8+ Kg6 65.Qe8+ Kh6 66.Qh8+ 1/2

Aug-08-07  KamikazeAttack: I still believe as I did back then that Kasparov could have done better in this game.

Using more accurate play and with the hanging White h pawn, at the very least, he should have equalised much earlier instead of the torture he endured till the end.

By this stage of the match his confidence had taken a battering and that showed in his quality of play. The quality of play and energy shown by Kramnik thus far were beginning to drain the champ.

Dec-25-10  GilesFarnaby: I have been for months looking at the classical lines of QGA for black, and I would like to share some of my views:

The general scheme is that not only black bishop remains inactive in most of the opening, as in QGD, but also that black gets some nasty threats (or at least pressure that will somehow force a specific development) along the d file and has to constantly care about a possible e pawn advance: not being able, as black, to spot some positional nuances (that I´ll try to talk about a little here) means having a long-lasting positional disadvantage and sweating and suffering as if pursued by a lion if we just wanted a draw, let alone achieving winning possibilities.

On the other hand, if we do things correctly we will end up with a dynamic position that will allow us a great coordination and an easy and enjoyable middle and engdame.

About the game, is obvious that Kasparov wanted to create an isolated pawn for Kramnik with 8...cxd4: after 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.Rd4 Qc7 ...

click for larger view

... 12.Nc3 Bd7 13.b3 0-0 etc it would have been the same but with the white rook misplaced, so if, as white, you want to avoid isolated pawns just don´t choose this line.

12.Bb3 is played in order to avoid a NxB exchange or having to retire the B to a2 if ...Na5 (in a Ruy López fashion). Ba2 won´t render much since there is no c pawn to push Nd5 out of its outpost and black even has a replace in case one N is removed from the board with the typical maneuver Ncb4.

12...Re8 doesn´t have quite a good record, for black, and allow me to deem it weak for a World Champion´s 12th move; the only justification is that Kasparov was defending against a possible d pawn push, forcing an exchange with black´s e pawn and thus removing the isolated pawn from the board. Other more common, and more succesful, alternatives for black are 12...Ncb4 13.Bd2 b6 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Ne5 Bb7... or the semi-waiting semi-profylactic move 12...h6.

13.h4, I think is the novelty, and also a typical Kramnik move, trying to freeze any aggresive maneuver that could arise from Kasparov. Vlad has also employed this kind of pushes in the Slav, the Petroff and the Ruy López, ´tho he doesn´t do it so often now since Anand was able to exploit succesfully (as white) Vlad´s Q-side expansions during 2005 and the following years. If 13...Bxh4 14.Nxh4 Nxc3 15.Qg4 protectiong Nh4 and threatening Bh6 and with the black N in c3 having no escape:

click for larger view

14...b6: another typical move, not yet compromising fully on the Q-side (because nasty N-outposts could arise for white if he did so) but opening a square for the B to develop through b7 (14...Bd7 would be met with 15.Ne5 with positional advantage for white, who could decide to change NxB any moment he likes)

16.a5: an aggresive approach. ´Tho this W. Ch. match is generally remembered for Kramnik´s will to draw in queenless positions as black there is also the counterpoint of him willing to complicate matters with white. This move seeks what ...b6 was not intending: to weaken the Q-side to penetrate with the c3 or e6 Ns, which are both ready to hop further in enemy territory. If 16...bxa5 17.Ba4 (exposing the R´s bad placement!)...

click for larger view

...Rf8 18.h6 g6 19.Nd7 Re8 etc.

16...b5 and this is an strategic blunder, condeming a6 to be a backward pawn that will be either weak or in necessity of constant nurturing, and freeing b6 and c5 for Kramnik´s N to hunt like archers on a hill.

17...g6 this compromise is not yet exploitable for white since Bc1 is not yet in the proper diagonal to do so and f6 is covered by two black pieces, and of course there is always ...Bf8 if needed. Rather, the point of 17.h6 is just to cancel Kasparov´s activity, being Kramnik probably aware of how active can black be out of the opening if the QGA is correctly played (unlike here, where in less than 20 moves Kasparov has accumulated two innacuracies: ...Re8 and ...b5, and that is awful when you are in a desperate need for coordination and activity!)

Dec-25-10  GilesFarnaby: 18...Nc7: the results of Kramnik´s strangling are beggining to be noticeable, making an aggresive player like Kasparov maneuver in an open position like it was a closed Benoni or Ruy López. Some other more straight move, like 18...Rc8, would have certainly proposed a more vivid game on his side:

click for larger view

Followed, e.g., by 19.Bd2 Nc2 20.Bxc2 Rxc2 21.Qf3 f5.

19.Nc5: there it goes! Making use of both the ready-made holes in Kasparov´s camp and of the isolated pawn that Kramnik treats in the most orthodox fashion by avoiding early exchanges and supporting pieces that otherwise would be hanging: we shall remember that if pieces are exchanged early we will fail to get anything good out of the isolated pawn and it will quickly turn into an easy target for the opponent.

19...Bd5: now that the B is attacked Kasparov has to take a decision: what to do with this little bugger? Since he can´t defend, nor attack with it (the diagonal the B is in doesn´t have anything really interesting) he proposes a trade, being probably also conscious of the fact that, in the near future, Bc2 by Kramnik could be quite nasty.


click for larger view

A creative and very useful decision. Since Bc1 is already properly placed (Bd2 would block the R, Be3 would block the Q and Bf4 is shaky since it can be met with ...Bg5 or ...Nd5 in the future) and white´s objective is to clear the c6 square (actually defended by Bd5 and Nb4) to place the N that will fork the Q and the defending B, Kramnik defends Bb3 while creating a very embarrasing threat; if ...Bb3 Rxb3 and Vlad will gain a tempo since the N will have to retire and, even more important, he will be able to rape Kasparov´s position by the aforementioned Nc6. Nonetheless 20.Bd2 would have probably given white more practical chances -since he needs active play-, but is not a very "Kramnikian" move.

20...Nc6. Here ...f6 and ...Bd6 would have also defended, but Kasparov seemed wired to passive play that day.

E.g., 20...f6 21.Bd2 fxe5...

click for larger view

...22.Bxb4 exd4 23.Bxd5 exd5 and white won´t have anything but a plus thinner than modern female underwear.

22.Ncd7: the position looks dangerous, but in the engine realm is a roughly equal affair. It doesn´t even have dangerous only-moves for Kasparov and Kramnik, after setting Kasparov in the passive defense mood, has failed to be hyper-aggresive, and that was his only real chance to fight for a significant advantage in the opening. Even if Kramnik removes the defending B there is always ...f6 and now the one who will have problems is the poor stranded h6 pawn.

...And the rest I´m not commenting on since I don´t consider that strictly belongs to the opening discussion.

Apr-22-12  lopezexchange: thechesscorner above has a nice analysis.

i think 43.Rd7+,Kg6; 44.Rg7+,Kxh6; 45.Qd7 gives white the win. Any thoughts?

Oct-12-14  Howard: According to Kramnik's analysis in Informant 80, he missed at least one clear win, but I don't recall where.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: In game 4 Kramnik had played 7 dxc; here in game 6 he played the sharper 7 a4. 13 h4!? was new; 13 Ne5 and 13 Bd2 had been played previously. 13..Bxh4?! would have been too risky after 14 Nxh4..Nxc3 15 bxc..Qxh4 16 d5..Na5 17 Bc2. Kramnik and Svidler were both critical of 18..Nc7 saying that it decreased the coordination of Black's pieces; 18..Nc6 and 18..Rc8 were alternatives. 23..Qxc6? 24 Qe5..f6 25 Nxf6+..Bxf6 26 Qxf6..Qd7 would have netted White a pawn. 31..Rcd7? 32 Be5!..fxe 33 Qxe5..Rd8 34 Rc7 would have been winning for White. 42..g5? led to a strong initiative for White; better was 42..Rxd6 43 Qxd6..Qe6 44 Qc7+..Ne7 45 Bf4..Qd5 setting up a perpetual check. Kramnik's 56 Qa8? won a pawn but Gave Kasparov too much active play after 57..Qd3! which was enough for a draw.

Another great game following games 2-4.

Kasparov on Kasparov: Part I
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