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Vladimir Kramnik vs Artur Yusupov
Dortmund (1998), Dortmund GER, rd 6, Jul-02
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. General (D58)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: This game demonstrates the difference between a top GM and regular player:

After 33...Rb2, we had this position:


click for larger view

Most regular players would go with 34.Qe2, which double-attacks the knight.

Note that the knight can't move since that would uncover the bishop's attack on Pg6 (e.g. 34...Nb4? 35.Qe7+! Kg8 36.Qe8+ Kg7 37.Qxg6+ Kf8 38.Re1 ). Therefore, the best black can do is 34...Rxc2 35.Qxc2 Nb4 36.Qe2, which loses the exchange, but white still finds it difficult to win due to black's advanced passed pawn.

But Kramnik didn't play 34.Rb2. He foresaw the difficulties above, and found it far superior to first play <33...Qe7+!!>, forcing the king to retreat <34...Kg8> (better than 34...Kh8 35.Qf8+! Kh7 36.f5!, threatening f6).

NOW white plays <35.Qe2> [diagram]


click for larger view

This is stronger because the king isn't guarding the g & h pawns, and particularly because the g6 pawn can be captured by the queen with check.

For instance, if black continues as above with <35...Rxc2 36.Qxc2>, then <36...Nb4 37.Qxg6+! Qg7> (not 37...Kf8 38.Re1+ ) 38.Qe4!> and the knight has nowhere to go. If black tries to save it with <38...Na2>, then <39.Rd1!> will mate soon.

And if black doesn't move the knight, then (e.g. <36...Kg7> or <36...Qc4>, then <37.Rd1> is decisive (winning the pinned knight, since the knight is either pinned against its queen, or pinned against a mating attack if Rd8+ is allowed).

Aug-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: You make a good point, but let's at least call Yusupov a "former top GM" rather than a "regular player."
Sep-30-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Kramnik:"I arrived at Dortmund feeling rather tired after the match with Shirov. In addition, before the tournament I was slightly unwell, and I did not have the feeling I was in the best form jumping ahead. Nevertheless I managed to take first place on the tie-break. I say managed, because I enjoyed a definite dose of good fortune. I should mention the game with Yusupov: very tense and interesting, where we both played fairly well."

14..a6 was new though Kramnik felt it was too slow; 14..Nf6 and 14..Bf6 had been played previously. Black has since had some success with 14..c4. 16..Nf6 17 Nxd5 followed by 18 Be4 would have won a pawn for White. After Yusupov's 16..Nb6 17 Nxd5 would not have worked due to 17..Bxd5 18 e4..Bc4. 23..c4? would have been a blunder due to 24 Qxb2..c3 25 Qa1. Kramnik felt that Black would have had good counterplay after 24 Qxe5..Rb5 but allowing the c-pawn to survive was double-edged as well. Perhaps 30..Re8 would have been a better defense as after 31 exf+..Kxf7 32 Qf3..Qe4 the game is balanced. 32..c3? was the losing move allowing the Bishop to return to c2 with the b1-h7 diagonal now fatally weakened; either 32..Rf8 or 32..Nc5 would have been tougher defenses.

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