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Garry Kasparov vs Vladimir Kramnik
Corus (2001), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 5, Jan-18
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-23-06  KingG: 25.g4!, would have given White a big advantage. The point is 25...hxg3+? 26.Nxg3 Rxh3 27.Rxd4 Rxd4 28.Nf5+
Sep-22-06  positionalgenius: this is a high quality draw,and Kramnik's play is quite instructive.Still as <kingG>stated g4! was a good move that Kasparov missed.
Sep-22-06  euripides: White can try to win at the end by 47.Kd4 Kxe7 48.Kd5 g6 49.Ke5. Now White has the vertical opposition. But Black can convert it into a drawing horizontal opposition with 49... Kf7 50. Kd6 Kf6 or even 50...g5.
Sep-22-06  positionalgenius: <euripides>Thanks for the analysis.
Sep-22-06  Tenderfoot: 44...Re3+ Was pretty good, making the trade one rank down and allowing for 46...f5 which protects the pawn on h4. A nice endgame.
Apr-29-07  notyetagm: <KingG: 25.g4!, would have given White a big advantage. The point is 25...hxg3+? 26.Nxg3 Rxh3 27.Rxd4 Rxd4 28.Nf5+>

Yes, Kasparov missed a great opportunity to stick his great rival Kramnik with a loss in this game.

Position after 24 ... ♖h8-h5?!:


click for larger view

Here Kasparov (White) wanted to play 25 g2-g4! for the <STRATEGICALLY> desirable reason of advancing his healthy kingside 4-3 pawn majority. But Kasparov thought that Black would simply take en passant after 25 g2-g4! h4xg3? 26 ♘e4xg3.

(VAR) Position after 25 g2-g4! h4xg3? 26 ♘e4xg3:


click for larger view

But here the great tactician Kasparov missed the importance of the <KNIGHT OPPOSITION> Black d4-knight vs White g3-knight. Wherever Kramnik (Black) moves his threatened h5-rook, say 26 ... ♖h5xh3, Kasparov simply plays 27 ♖d1x♘d4! <REMOVE THE GUARD>

(VAR) Position after 26 ... ♖h5xh3 27 ♖d1x♘d4!:


click for larger view

and White wins material no matter what Black does:

27 ... ♖d8x♖d4 28 ♘g3-f5+ and 29 ♘f5x♖d4
27 ... ♖h3x♘g3 29 ♖d4x♖d8

So it turns out that Kramnik (Black) -cannot- take the White g4-pawn en passant after 25 g2-g4! because of <TACTICS> and he must allows Kasparov (White) to play this <STRATEGICALLY> desirable pawn advance, yielding Kasparov a large advantage.

This is one of the best examples I have ever seen on the interplay between <STRATEGY> and <TACTICS>. <TACTICS> allow Kasparov to play the <STRATEGICALLY> desirable 25 g2-g4! advance even though this move does not look possible at first glance.

May-09-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Both players seemed to miss 25.g4 even in analysis afterwards, or at least it's not mentioned in the http://www.chesscenter.com/wijk2001... report. But even later Kasparov had good winning chances - had he played 40.f5! he assessed his chance to win to 70% and Kramnik agreed it would have been hard to save.
Apr-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "As expected, we played the Berlin Defense. It was successfully employed (four times!) by Kramnik during the World Championship match in London. To find a way to win here is a question of principle now."

-- Garry Kasparov (on facing Kramnik and the Berlin Defense at Corus)

Apr-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: 34 ... f6?

"This is a blunder. Correct is 34 ... bxc5. Then, according to Yury Dokhoian, Kasparov's second, 35. Ra4 c4 36. Ke3 c5 37. Kd2 Kxf4 38. Kc3 Kxe5 39. Kxc4 Kd6 40. Kb5 Ra8 41. a6 Rb8+ 42. Ka5 (42. Kc4 Kc6 is equal) Kc6 43. a7 Rb5+ 44. Ka6 Rb6+ 45. Ka5 Rb5+ draws. Also, 35. Ke3 c4 36. Kd4 Kxf4 37. Rf3+ Kg5 38. Rxf7 Rxa5 39. Rxg7+ Kf5 40. Rf7+ Ke6 41. Rf6+ Ke7 42. Rf2 Rd5+ 43. Kxc4 Rxe5 heads toward a draw."

40. Rxc6?

"Returning blunder for blunder, Kasparov let Kramnik off with an easy draw. Correct is 40. f5!, and if 40 ... Rxe7, then 41. Rxc6 bxc5 42. a5 Re5 43. Rxc7+ Kg8 44. a6 Rxf5+ 45. Kg4 and Black must resign because he cannot get his rook back to stop the a-pawn. In this line, 41 ... Kg8 42. cxb6 cxb6 43. Rxb6 Ra7 44. Rb4 Ra5 45. Kg4 Rd5 46. Rb2 Rd4+ 47. Kh5 Rxa4 48. Kg6 Ra8 49. Rb7 Kh8 50. Rb4 Kg8 51. Rxh4 Ra2 52. g4 Ra7 53. Rh7 Rb7 54. h4 Rb4 55. g5 fxg5 56. Rxg7+ Kh8 57. Re7! (and not 57. hxg5 Ra6+ 58. f6 Rxf6!) Rb8 58. hxg5 also wins for White. Moreover, 41 ... g6 42. cxb6 cxb6 43. Rxb6 gxf5 44. Rb4 will win for White."

40 ... Ra8!

"Kasparov admitted to having underestimated this move."

Robert Byrne, "65th Square: A Comeback?"

"Chess Life" May 2001

Aug-13-11  keithbc: what is wrong with just taking Kasparov's a pawn on move 34...Rxa5? This possibility is not mentioned in mags I have read on this game!
Feb-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: A few months earlier in their World Championship match Kramnik had played 9..Bd7 twice and 9..h6 twice and had never been in danger of losing; here he varied with 9..Ke8. 10..Be7 had been played once previously in Van den Doel-Miles Groningen 1997 won by Black (not included in this database); in that game Black had played 11..Bb4. Normally Black would be expected to try and hold on to his 2 bishops; Kramnik's strategy here was unorthodox. Kramnik's 14..Ne7 has not been repeated; in 4 subsequent games Black has played 14..Ke7. Taking the pawn with 18..Bxc2 19 f5..Nf8 20 Rf2..Bd3 21 Rd2 would have been strong for White.

<keithbc: what is wrong with just taking Kasparov's a pawn on move 34...Rxa5?>

Most King and pawn endings are lost for Black as Black cannot create a passed pawn om the queenside while Whiye can on the kingside. Karsten Mueller offered the following variation: 33..Rxa5? 34 Rxa5..bxa 35 c5..a4 36 a3..g6 37 g4+..hxg 38 Kxg3..g5 39 fxg..Kxg5 40 h4+..Kf5 41 h5..f5+ 42 Kg4 and White wins.

An excellent game which reminds one of how great Kramnik played in the WC match; he almost made as many errors in this game as in the entire match.

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