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Vladimir Kramnik vs Evgeny Alekseev
Tal Memorial (2007), Moscow, rd 6, Nov-16
Catalan Opening: General (E00)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-16-07  notyetagm: <KamikazeAttack: ... With such respect from his peers for his White play prowess, one might begin to understand Kramnik's "draw with Black, win with White" strategy ... if in fact this strategy is true.>

That is a great strategy -if- you can play nearly 3000-elo chess with White, which apparently Kramnik can.

Nov-16-07  KamikazeAttack: I knew Kramnik was difficult to play against as black because I followed his games with Kasaprov very closely.

Despite the tons of draws thay had, Kasparov was always ever struggling for equality. He pushed Kasparov to the limit as if Kaspy owed him money.

Nov-16-07  Resignation Trap: Kramnik briefly explains this game in an interview (in English): .
Nov-16-07  cannibal: <thedarkisrising: what about his performance rating as black, probably around 27OO I guess?>

Nice shot. 2702, according to the same site (Smeets draw included).

Nov-16-07  SickedChess: the game Kramnik-Alekseev and Shirov-Carlsen
Nov-16-07  KamikazeAttack: <Resignation Trap: Kramnik briefly explains this game in an interview (in English): .>

So Kramnik prepared against Alekseev's 5. b5 for Mexico. Poor Alek, he shouldn't have gone into that line. Then again it is a leaning experience for the young man.

Interestingly Kramnik more or less confirmed the "draw with Black, win with White" strategy.

Nov-16-07  Softpaw: <notyetagm: That is a great strategy -if- you can play nearly 3000-elo chess with White, which apparently Kramnik can.>

That strategy/repertoire design worked extremely well for Karpov, Petrosian (et al.) as well.

Nov-16-07  Softpaw: Apropos...

András "Black is Okay" Adorján:

< The overwhelming majority of chess players try to build up a serious repertoire as White, and aim for safety as Black....

I personally think that Anatoly Karpov can be ‘blamed’ for this one-sided approach to a certain extent. In the best 15-20 years of his career, he had a ‘shamelessly’ good score in his White games, and therefore he was not forced to play for a win as Black...>

Nov-16-07  KamikazeAttack: <That strategy/repertoire design worked extremely well for Karpov, Petrosian (et al.) as well. >

Just goes to prove what coaches in all sports usually say: find/know ur strentghs and enchance them.

Nov-16-07  KamikazeAttack: Interesting article Softpaw.
Nov-16-07  Marmot PFL: <Anybody have an idea what Kramnik's rating might be if he were allowed to play white every game?> It's only been 4 whites in 6 games so far. maybe he forfeited white in the match just to show it didn't matter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Two outstanding moves in this game are the pin-breaking 18. Nd5!, which entices and leaves Black at a severe disadvantage after the pin 17...Ba6, and the attacking 23. Rc7 !! which gambits a pawn for a mating attack.
Nov-16-07  Whack8888: <Em eeeeem so u be Kramnik now?>

Yes Kamikaze Attack, that was exactly what I was getting at. I am Kramnik now.

Nov-17-07  AgentRgent: <KamikazeAttack: Em eeeeem so u be Kramnik now?> Apparently you missed where he typed: "I had a game similar to this where I was able to push a pawn to e6."
Nov-17-07  Elixir of Life: Hmmm... is this game decided by some big mistakes by Alekseev, or is it won by exploiting minor inaccuracies?
Nov-17-07  jamesmaskell: Playing a relatively unknown variation against a Catalan specialist is a big mistake in itself. He would have prepped all the sidelines in case someone tried it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: It wasn't a Catalan, but an attempt to dodge it by 3...c5; you might call it a rare line of the Benoni. In an interview after the game (, Kramnik says that he doesn't know the name of the opening... he also says that he was using his preparation for Mexico, and considered 9...Na6 as the crucial response by Black in this line - looking at 9...b4 only briefly, and thinking White gets a slight advantage without any risk in the endgame, the kind of positions in which he feels so comfortable. In response to the question where was Black's "big mistake" he says he doesn't know - the position is very unpleasant for Black in general and worsens slowly move by move.
Nov-17-07  jamesmaskell: I saw the interview as well... It was a Benoni response to a Catalan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <jamesmaskell> Not that it matters so much... but at least according to ECO, in order for the opening to qualify as a Catalan it's not enough for White to fianchetto his LSB - Black has to play 3...d5 as well (Catalan, Closed (E01)).
Nov-17-07  KnightOnEverest: 30 ..,Nd4 . What happens later ???
Nov-17-07  Towershield: <KnightOnEverest> Rxd3 Rc8+ mating.
Jun-16-08  notyetagm: IM Richard Palliser posting in the forums at

<This Sosonko-Kramnik Gambit, as I quite like to refer to it as, is indeed pretty fascinating and dangerous. There's some coverage in the forthcoming <'Dangerous Weapons: The Benoni and Benko'>! That should be published in about a month's time.>

Jun-16-08  notyetagm: What a beautiful game this is by Kramnik.
Jun-30-08  notyetagm: Kramnik vs E Alekseev, 2007

In an article titled "The Sosonko-Kramnik Gambit", the new book <Dangerous Weapons: The Benoni and Benko> ( examines the line played by Kramnik in this game, 6 e2-e4!? in this Catalan/Benoni system.

Position after 6 e2-e4!?

click for larger view

Oct-02-10  Hesam7: According to Avrukh 8. ... f5 is more challenging than the 'passive' 8. ... Nd6. I wonder what kramnik's response to that would have been ...
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