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Vladimir Kramnik vs Francisco Vallejo Pons
Linares (2004), Linares ESP, rd 8, Feb-27
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Traditional Line (B92)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  SicilianDragon: Another lazy draw by the "World Champion"
Feb-27-04  PinkPanther: World Champion? that was a good one. Say whatever you want, but Ponomariov almost never draws games like this. I'm not saying never, but very rarely. Kramnik's treatment of this opening was crap, What kind of a move is f3?? F4 is the only move there that gives black trouble equalizing in the position. Did Kramnik go out of book there, or was this just some sort of terrible novelty? Also, I don't understand why he switched to this variation today anyway. After all, he did blast Veselin Topalov just the day before with Be3 variation.
Feb-27-04  Calchexas: f3 seems to be a very drawish-type move; just the kind of thing you want to play if you play like Kramnik.
Feb-27-04  Kenkaku: Since when does one have to play aggressively in tournaments to be world champion? The bottom line is Kramnik beat Kasparov in a match. If he can continue to play matches well, he has nothing to fear pertaining to the title. Why should his tournament play be of such concern? Perhaps he is saving novelties for the match with Leko. Perhaps he simply wants to continue playing his solid style of chess, even if that means playing for the draw most of the time. He has won his fair share of tournaments, and rarely fails to come in one of the top positions with his drawish style. The only thing pertaining to Kramnik's play that one can complain about is his large percentage of short GM draws in this tournament. He isn't trying to entertain anyone with exciting chess.
Feb-27-04  Kaspablanca: I agree Kenkaku. I have a question for la pantera rosa(PinkPanther)What if Garry beat Kramnik in 2000?, of course youŽd consider in that case Garry as the only, the real world champion. Ok Kramnik is playing very strange to draw very quickly but HE IS THE WORLD CHAMPION cause he is the only human to beat Garry in a match.
Feb-28-04  PinkPanther: I haven't considered Kasparov the World Champion ever since he branched off from FIDE in the early 90's. So to answer your question, no, I wouldn't have regarded Kasparov as the Champion then either. And even if Kasparov would have been the true World Champion during the 2000 match, it wouldn't have mattered to me because that "World Championship Match" was organized by an organization which has no jurisdiction in the world of chess.
Feb-28-04  Calchexas: I never meant to insinuate that playing like Kramnik was bad. It's just that, a) being World Champion, Kramnik shouldn't have problems winning, and b) he draws games early on and doesn't even try to win in some cases. On the other hand, I don't know many people who WOULDN'T play at least a little on the safe side when it started to count. If I get a draw offer and I'm not up a LOT, I'll usually take it. I'll offer draws even when I'm up a pawn or two (usually because I'm entering an endgame I'm not comfortable with.) What I'm saying is, playing cautiously isn't bad, it's just that Kramnik didn't need to that early on, as White against a player he has a 110-point lead over.
Feb-28-04  Kaspablanca: Pinkpanther: Then you mean that the real world champion is Ponomariov?!?:)
Premium Chessgames Member
  square dance: yeah ponomariov proved his worthiness as a world champion by refusing to defend his fide(not wc) title against kasparov in a match. at least kramnik is going to defend his title. oops hope i didnt jinx the match with leko. ;)
Feb-28-04  Kenkaku: <square dance> Though one must say Kramnik has definitely taken too long to defend it.
Feb-29-04  PinkPanther: <square dance>
And Kramnik has defended his title? I don't put Ponomariov in the same category as Alekhine, Capablanca, Fischer, Botvinnik, Spassky etc., but he is a World Champion nonetheless. He did win the World Championship right??? Yes, so therefore he is a World Champion, even though I admit it wasn't under the best of circumstances.
Feb-29-04  Kaspablanca: Pinkpanther considers Ponomariov world champion!,hahahahaha,hahahahahaha, oh man you made my day, i am waiting for your next joke. You know fide ko tournament is a joke, thus Ponomariov as world champion is a joke. Why he did not want to defend his "title"? He must prove he is a real world champion, defending his "title" against Kasparov, in a serious match where the true abilities are proven, not the ko format where anybody there can lose a single game and is out.
Feb-29-04  Calchexas: Ko? Oh, c'mon, you said it yourself. It's a ko tournament. Kasparov can't take it back.

(To those of you who don't play Go, pay no mind to that joke. To those of you that do, I'm sorry for whatever pain that caused.)

I don't see how you can consider anyone "World Champion" at the moment. There are 4 who can be considered the chess champion of the world: Kramnik, Ponomariov, Kasparov (ranked #1), and Fischer (never defended his title, only lost it by default.) I favor Kasparov (after all, he's ranked at the top and was champ for a really long time), but don't think any of these really deserve the title. Until the two Championship titles are reunified, there really can't be a World Champ.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phoenix: <Ponomariov...but he is a World Champion nonetheless.>


Feb-29-04  ketchuplover: This is a funny place :)
Jun-27-04  RonB52734: Getting back to the game, and accepting that white did play 10.f3, I'm interested in white's 11.Be3. At around move 11 it seems to me white is wanting to put his c3 Knight on d5 -- it looks like a good spot for the knight and it seems that any subsequent exchanges on d5 favor white. After that (and assuming black declines to exchange on d5, which it seems to me he should) white will want to follow by putting the dark squared bishop on e3. What's interesting to me in the game is that white seems to know that black has his eye on moving the d pawn to d5. It looks to me like white plays 11.Be3 (instead of 11.Nd5) to invite black to play 11...d5. That way, when black does play the move, white's 12th move capture on d5 is a pawn better than an 11th move occupation of d5. Just an idle thought.
Jun-27-04  RonB52734: Incidentally, my only comment about 10.f3 is this: 10.f3 does two things. First, it relieves the knight on c3 from the duty of protecting the pawn on e4. It thus looks toward the eventual placement of the c3 knight on d5. At the 10th move, it looks like white's pieces are best positioned for a Q-side attack, and 10.f4 would seem to tend toward a K-side attack. Second, 10.f3 recognizes that black is wanting to play d5, and therefore shores up the support against a subsequent d5xe4. But I recognize that 10.f4 is a nifty attack on the center. Mind you, I'm no expert, I'm just spouting what I see and hoping in fact you'll explain what I'm NOT seeing. :)
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