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Vladimir Kramnik vs Loek van Wely
Corus Group A (2004), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 2, Jan-11
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-12-04  AdrianP: An interesting example of how to beat the Dragon in a positional way. Kramnik castles K-side and manouevres around quietly until by move 33 he has a dominating position, having a complete monopoly over the a-file and having robbed Van Wely of any counterplay. Van Wely goes in for a dubious piece sac 33...Nxg4 and Kramnik finds a very sharp refutation with 37. Rh8!! (not dissimilar to Akopian's devastating Rh7 against Kramnik the day before!). Thereafter, Kramnik takes no chances... apparently he could have put Van Wely away with 38. Qh6+ but he chooses the least double-edged route.

45. Qd4! puts the last nail in the coffin... the point is 45... Qxd4? 46. Nxe6! picking up another pawn. Most other moves allow the W R to penetrate to the 7th rank which spells curtains for B.

Premium Chessgames Member
  lostemperor: An online report from "Waik aahn Zay". Van Wely was hoping Kramnik did not see 37 ♖h8! because of his timetrouble. A better bet would be 36... f5 37. ♖e1 e5 38. ♘e3 ♖f4
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Here is a case where controlling the a-file leads to victory. Usually a center or near center file is controlled for victory,rarely is it way over in left field.
Jan-12-04  actual: I think this is an accelerated dragon line with Nc3 played instead of c4 maybe Van Wely wanted to play the Sveshnikov (B33) but Kramnik played a different move order 1. e4 2. ♘f3 3. ♘c3
Jan-12-04  JerseyDevil: Does anyone know what the line is for the double-edged Sicilian????????
Premium Chessgames Member
  jaime gallegos: I saw the game yesterday, Is not playable 33.Rh8 ? It is a winning move, following 33. .. Kxh8 34.Qh6+ Kg8 35.Ra8+ Qc8 36.Rxc8 Rxc8 37.Qxh4
Premium Chessgames Member
  jaime gallegos: Following the game 38. Qh6+ instead of 38.Rxh4 wins quickly ...
Jan-12-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: 10...Nxd4?! Usually the knight has a loftier post on c4, where it will either exchange off the menacing white-squared bishop or block it. The positional struggle that ensued seemed to favor white.
Jan-13-04  AdrianP: Exchanging off the N on d4 is becoming quite a trendy idea in many lines of the Dragon (cf. e.g. Akopian vs Kramnik, 2004). The latest issue of Chessbase Magazine has an article on this line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 (CBM 97) (GM Rogozenko). The main ideas seem to be (i) to avoid heavily theoretical lines and (ii) to slow down W's plan of exchanging off the dark-squared bishops.
Jan-20-04  SicilianDragon: First of all Akopian-Kramnik is a Najdorf, NOT a Dragon and the structure and move order make a world of difference. Secondly, While Nxd4 pretty much rules out Bh6, allowing the bishop to come to the a1-h8 diagonal REDUCES the power of Black's Bg7. In the line you give from CBM White has already commited to queenside castling and an important factor in this game is that white can afford to open the queenside because his king is not there. Though the idea of Nxd4?! (I agree strongly with Bill's assessment) has often been used to dodge theoretical lines, such as the Soltis and Main Lines in the 9. Bc4 Yugoslav, in any case it is almost certainly inferior and Van Wely played his move order such that white could castle kingside and this made it even worse!!!!
Jan-21-04  AdrianP: <SicilianDragon> You're quite right re Akopian v Kramnik not being a dragon but a Najdorf... oops! ...and I agree that totally different considerations come into play.

I agree that this is a sideline, but it's not unplayable. Tiviakov, Leko and Adorjan have all played it successfully (not to mention the unfortunately named FM Bator...). Looking just at Games Like Kramnik vs Van Wely, 2004 B seems to be doing surprisingly well in this line.

Jan-21-04  refutor: <siciliandragon> look at the position after 10.Qd2 and tell me that's not a dragon? the eco position for B77 is 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 with 9. ... Bd7 10.Bb3 that transposes perfectly to the position on the board after move 10
Jan-21-04  AdrianP: <refutor> siciliandragon was talking about Akopian-Kramnik, pointing out my error, not this game.
Mar-29-04  tking: Both sides blundered after 37. Rh8. VanWely's 37...f6? should have been crushed by 38. Qh6+, but he had a reasonable defense with 37...Re3+ 38. Nxe3 Kxh8 because the N is blocking the Q's way to h6. He still is losing after White takes the h4 pawn, but Rh8 was not the crusher it seemed to be! I suspect a lot of time trouble here.
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