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Magnus Carlsen vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Kram for the Exam" (game of the day Mar-26-2009)
Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2009), Nice FRA, rd 10, Mar-25
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical Variation (E32)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-25-09  Ragh: 14.exf5?? This just opened up the f-file for black that helped him co-ordinate a crushing attack on white's king a few moves later.
Mar-25-09  slomarko: giving 2 question marks is perhaps a bit too much. its not totaly easy to see Bf2 is so crushing afterwards.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Is 9. Be3 a stronger move?

Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: Kramnik deserves the highest praise for this game, although he almost certainly won't get it. I especially like the manoeuvre 7...Ba5 and 8...Bb6, highly unusual in a Nimzo-Indian, and the key to Black's K-Side attack. Yes, 9.d5 looks less good than 9.Be3 as a reaction, but after the latter, then 9...Ng4 looks better for Black.
Mar-25-09  Oliphaunt: I think 8.a3 might be a better move:

if 8...e5?! 9.d5 Nd4 10.Nxd4 exd4 11.b4 dxc3 12.bxa5 no worries here, so probably 8...Bb6 instead

8...Bb6 9.d5 exd5 10.Nxd5 Ng4 11.Nxb6 axb6 12.0-0 Nb4 13.Qb3 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 for example. Much better than what happened in the game at least =)

Mar-25-09  hellopolgar: people who call him drawmnik or whatever need to stare at this game until they feel ashamed of themselves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kamalakanta: <hellopolgar: people who call him drawmnik or whatever need to stare at this game until they feel ashamed of themselves.>

I cannot express how happy I am for Kramnik. He is certainly a great player. People used to criticize Petrosian for not taking risks, but they forgot that, basically, Petrosian hated to lose!

Kramnik is a great player, which also speaks volumes about Anand.

My only complaint/observation is what Bronstein used to point out...we have the same masters facing each other at the top in successive tournaments, while very good masters are denied an opportunity to compete.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: 7...Ba5, with the ideas of Bb6 and Nb4, is an interesting novelty by Kramnik (the usual move is 7...e5) which seems to have completely confused Carlsen.

<Vladimir Kramnik was almost at a loss for words to explain what had happened in his blindfold game against Magnus Carlsen. "He is a strong player and especially in blindfold he was playing well here. He must have been completely out. I cannot consider this as a normal win." Indeed it doesn't happen often (did it ever happen before since he earned the grandmaster title?) that Carlsen loses with white in 20 moves. Kramnik was surprised by 9.d5, didn't understand why Carlsen didn't take back with the e-pawn on move 11, and was completely puzzled why he didn't play 14.Qg3 (the only move) after 13...f5. "What was he calculating? [apparently Carlsen thought for several minutes on this move] After 14...Bxf5 he can resign."> (

Mar-25-09  chessplanet8: I agree with Oliphant, 8 a3 preventing Nb4 and later on at some point b4 was a lot better.

9 d5? plays right into Kramnik's idea with ..Bb6 targetting f2. Better was 9 Be3 Ng4 10 h3 Ne3 11 fe3 Qg5 12 Rf3 which is playing it safe.

12 h3? wouldn't have been good because of 12..Ne5 13 Bb1 Bxh3! with the Bishop untouchable because of 14..Nf3+!

Also 7 Nf3, keeping an eye on h4, is an alternative to 7 Nge2.

Beautiful blindfold masterpiece by Vladimir Kramnik.

I needed the board to evaluate 20 Nce2 (instead of the cheapo 20 Bh7+). It looses to 20..Bg1 21 Ng1 Rg1+! 22 Kg1 Qe1 curtains.

Mar-25-09  shintaro go: People who claim Carlsen as the next best blindfold player in the world should take a look at this game.
Mar-25-09  JonathanJ: people who start sentences with people who are people who...
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <chessplanet8: I needed the board to evaluate 20 Nce2 (instead of the cheapo 20 Bh7+). It looses to 20..Bg1 21 Ng1 Rg1+! 22 Kg1 Qe1 curtains.>

From the final position the game could have continued:

21. Nce2 Bxg1 22. Ng1 Rxg1+ 23. Kxg1 Qe1#

But a more aesthetic finish would have happened if White had decided to accept the queen sacrifice:

21. Nce2 Bxg1 22. Qxh4 Bh2+ 23. Ng1 Rxg1#

The white king in the corner is mated by a rook adjacent to it, supported by a bishop adjacent to both the rook and the King, with the bishop supported by a hanging knight. At the same time, the black king is also trapped in a corner by a bishop and queen. It's difficult to imagine how such a position could have come about retroactively.

Mar-25-09  whatthefat: Good lord, this reminds me of a Nimzo disaster I had in a tournament a while back. Only, I had full sight of the board...
Mar-26-09  Kaspablanca: Kramnik is playing better blinfold! he should cover his eyes when playing rapid in this tournament:)
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: In my playing days, both fifth moves were considered weak, as 5...c5 was supposed to give Black a good game. Our great rival Arno Nickel played an amusing game as Black in this variation: he sacrificed a pawn against White, but both players ended up blockading each other so well they couldn't go anywhere!

H van Unen vs A Nickel, 2005

Mar-26-09  Woody Wood Pusher: I've always said there is a big difference between 'smooth' and 'with bits'.

This game proves it.

Hopefully Magnus will get the smooth orange juice tomorrow and recover some ground.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I don't think Kramnik l played well against Anand - his preference is for more subtle and complex "positional games - whereas Anand seems to be a mainly tactical genius - of course he instinctively, and consciously, understands strategy. These things are relative.

This game - being a Rapid Blindfold is not significant. It is an interesting and ingenious game though.

But I have seen games by Kramnik that are quite wonderfully complex and "tactical" - here he is playing Blindfold perhaps thus the choice of the deceptive d6 etc rather than d5 or c5 (easier to visualise, unusual compared to the "traditional" c5?)

Carlsen is a great player but seems best in relatively straightforward positions but he can play beautiful games -

but how anyone can play without sight of the board is beyond me... (I have seen a Master play a blindfold simul and I know how it can be done - but it is beyond my abilities - of course, however, these players are GMs because they can visualise so much better than patzers such as myself ..BUT!?!!)

I also was feel that Blindfold is somehow not really chess...

So I just go past anything (or most things) with "blindfold" in it or called blindfold ... it just seems too freakish for me...but that is my prejudice!

Mar-26-09  TheaN: Didn't get 15....Bxf2! at first, and that IS crucial as it is the hallmark of 13....f5!?

If <16.Rxf2>, Black must continue with <16....Qxf2>, where Bxb1 does not work due to Qg3!. Now play will continue either:

<17.Qxf2 Nxf2> up an exchange, if <18.Kxf2 Bxb1 > and White is way worse. Or <17.Kh1 Qe1 18.Ng1 Nf2 19.Kh2 Bxb1> and White's position falls apart completely. Nice combo by Kramnik here. And that's actually the only point missing in the kibitzing: we are talking about blindfold, you know.

Mar-26-09  percyblakeney: <People who claim Carlsen as the next best blindfold player in the world should take a look at this game>

You can't evaluate a player just by looking at his worst game :-) Carlsen has played well in the blindfold section both this and the previous year but didn't seem to be awake here. Kramnik finished the game very nicely though.

Mar-26-09  NewLine: This game is even not bad enough to deserve a GOTD title...

p.s. People who make any conclusion out of this game are clearly blindfolded...

Mar-26-09  JuliusCaesar: Carlsen is only 18 and clearly still has gaps in his chess knowledge. Yesterday's disaster is a good example of that. When Kramnik played Bb6, he's basically ruling out d5 from White. Yet no alarm bells go off in Magnus's brain and he plays d5 anyway. It would appear that this dark-square mating mechanism, familiar to most club players who play the Benoni (Qh4, Ng4 and B on a7-g1 diagonal), was not part of Magnus's chessic DNA. Otherwise he would've played Qg3 and bitten the bullet. It was a lesson he won't forget.
To Kramnik, with his Russian/Soviet chess background, this game was like stealing candy from kids. I'm betting he couldn't believe his luck.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: "people who call him drawmnik or whatever need to stare at this game until they feel ashamed of themselves."

That's really not practical. Other people would need to bring them food every few hours for days and days.

Mar-26-09  donehung: This is the kramnik i like to see.
Mar-26-09  newton296: why didn't kramnik play like this against anand when it counted .

great combo starting with ...Bxf2!! ...Bxf2!! is also the move that makes the prior move ...f5 make sense .

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <newton296 why didn't kramnik play like this against anand when it counted .>

At the risk of being unoriginal, because Anand wouldn't let him.

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