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Vladimir Kramnik vs Magnus Carlsen
Tal Memorial (2011), Moscow RUS, rd 3, Nov-18
English Opening: King's English Variation. General (A20)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 13 OF 13 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-29-11  Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7> How about this: 20 Qg4 Rh7 or 20 Qg4 g6. The idea is suggested indirectly by Nimzovich. In his game against Opocensky he says " White has been untrue to his Queen side. The just punishment will consist of Black's becoming stronger there" If we apply Nimzovich's remark to the ptrsent case, by the move 18 c5 White has been untrue to his King side. The just penalty is for Black to become stronger on the King side. This suggests an alternative in reply to 20 Qg4, eg 20...Rh7 or 20...g6.
Nov-29-11  Ulhumbrus: <haydn20: <Hesam7>,<Ulhumbrus> V. interesting discussion of 20. Qg4. It is certainly better than 20. Qh5, but I wonder if the direct approach 20. f6 g6 (forced?) 21. Na4 (cutting off the DSB)followed by Be3 and Qc1 is even stronger. I have yet to ck other sources.> This suggests playing 18 f6 instead of 18 c5, and it may be worth comparing 18 f6 with 20 f6.
Dec-02-11  Hesam7: <Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7> How about this: 20 Qg4 Rh7 or 20 Qg4 g6.>

After 20. Qg4! Rh7? 21. Bxh6 both 21. ... Rxh6 22. Qxg7 and 21. ... gxh6 22. Qg8+ are losing. For 20. Qg4! g6 look at my forst post on this matter.

Dec-02-11  Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7: <Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7> How about this: 20 Qg4 Rh7 or 20 Qg4 g6.> After 20. Qg4! Rh7? 21. Bxh6 both 21. ... Rxh6 22. Qxg7 and 21. ... gxh6 22. Qg8+ are losing. For 20. Qg4! g6 look at my forst post on this matter.> On 20 Qg4 Rh7 21 Bxh6 suppose Black plays 21...g6 now. Then if White plays 22 Rxb7 ( so as to reply to 22...Bxb7, which lifts the pin on the f5 pawn, with 23 fxg6) Black has the option of 22...Rxh6 in reply and the black rook covers the g6 pawn as well.
Dec-02-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: In the Tal memorial of 2011 Carlsen really tried hard to complicated his games - and to win with Black and White. Nearly all of his games were at least interesting.

This here was so complicated that I haven't even got the basic ideas when first plying through it. I had no clue who was better. Sometimes I had the feeling that both are worse and maybe a third party would win?!.

He is a great chess player - even though I am no fan.

Dec-02-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: ---and it was no uncommon opening.
Dec-02-11  haydn20: This game shd. silence those who whined about the proliferation of dull draws. Agree with <lost>: this is some line of the English, no?
Dec-02-11  Hesam7: <Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7: <Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7> How about this: 20 Qg4 Rh7 or 20 Qg4 g6.> After 20. Qg4! Rh7? 21. Bxh6 both 21. ... Rxh6 22. Qxg7 and 21. ... gxh6 22. Qg8+ are losing. For 20. Qg4! g6 look at my forst post on this matter.> On 20 Qg4 Rh7 21 Bxh6 suppose Black plays 21...g6 now. Then if White plays 22 Rxb7 ( so as to reply to 22...Bxb7, which lifts the pin on the f5 pawn, with 23 fxg6) Black has the option of 22...Rxh6 in reply and the black rook covers the g6 pawn as well.>

20. Qg4! Rh7? 21. Bxh6 g6?? 22. fxg6! Bxg4 23. gxh7:


click for larger view

it is over.

Dec-02-11  Hesam7: <Ulhumbrus: <haydn20: <Hesam7>,<Ulhumbrus> V. interesting discussion of 20. Qg4. It is certainly better than 20. Qh5, but I wonder if the direct approach 20. f6 g6 (forced?) 21. Na4 (cutting off the DSB)followed by Be3 and Qc1 is even stronger. I have yet to ck other sources.> This suggests playing 18 f6 instead of 18 c5, and it may be worth comparing 18 f6 with 20 f6.>

18. f6 is definitely is interesting. Here is a very complicated line: 18. ... g6 19. Be3 Be6 20. Qd2 c6 21. Ne7 Nd7 22. Qf2 Rh7 23. Ng8 Rh8 24. Nxh6 b5 25. Nd5 a5:


click for larger view

White won the h-pawn but Black certainly untangled himself and looks much better compared to 18. c5 line. Maybe 18. f6 g6 19. Be3 Be6 20. c5 is an improvement for White but I think Kramnik's choice in the game was superior anyway.

Dec-02-11  Hesam7: <haydn20: <Hesam7>,<Ulhumbrus> V. interesting discussion of 20. Qg4. It is certainly better than 20. Qh5, but I wonder if the direct approach 20. f6 g6 (forced?) 21. Na4 (cutting off the DSB)followed by Be3 and Qc1 is even stronger. I have yet to ck other sources.>

20. f6 g6 21. Na4 Nd7 22. Be3 c6 23. Bxd4 exd4 (23. ... cxd5? 24. exd5 exd4 25. c6 O-O 26. cxd7 Qxd7 27. Qc1 g5 28. Nb6 Bxb6 29. Rxb6 ) 24. Ne7!


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<A> 24. ... Nxf6? 25. Nxc8 Rxc8 26. Rxb7 Bb8 (f7 is hard to defned)

<B> 24. ... Nxc5 25. Nxc5 Bxc5 26. Nxc8 Qxc8 27. e5

<C> 24. ... Ne5 25. Rf2 Rb8 26. Rfb2 Qc7 27. Nxc8 Qxc8 28. Rb4 (b7 & d4 can't be defended simultaneously)

Dec-04-11  Ulhumbrus: <Hesam7> How about this: 20 Qg4 Rh7 21 Bxh6 Kf8
Dec-10-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: This is an astonishing game for the few mistakes committed by either side in spite of its messy, difficult, and bizarre positions, some of which look as though they came from a computer's dreamscape. It's hard for a human player to figure out what is really happening.

Carlsen's surprising backrank maneuvers remind me of the play of some of the historical greats of positional chess- Steinitz, Nimzovich, Petrosian, and Karpov. Note that he keeps his pawn structure sound and pieces well coordinated throughout this bizarre mess. This is a hallmark of the supreme positional players of history. They often do such things out of intuition.

In positional play, IMO Carlsen may have already surpassed Kramnik in the past 2 or 3 years. Although Carlsen's fans keep on hypying up his brilliant tactics, it's his positional play that makes him stand out from the rest. The winning tactics he finds usually follow out of his superior position. It's getting into these superior positions that is the secret to his success.

Note that most of Kramnik's victories against Carlsen are not due to him outplaying Carlsen in positional play; they're due to very sharp tactical attacks. Kramnik used to be very good at this in his youth- finding sharp tactical blows that suddenly change the nature of a game into a pure tactical melee that ends in a king hunt wherein positional considerations become insignificant and the game devolves into the tactics of directly hunting down the opponent's king. (Examples: Kramnik vs Beliavsky, 1995, Kramnik vs Short, 1995, Kasparov vs Kramnik, 1996, and if you want one of the rare recent ones Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2009)

Overlooking the occasional tactical shot seems to be Carlsen's only relative weakness (in spite of some of his fans proclaiming him to be a tactical god). Most of his losses and near losses are due to missed tactical shots. If Carlsen plugs up this relative weakness, he would become nearly invincible.

Dec-10-11  swissfed: London Chess Classics Round 4

Always inspiring to play V.Kramnik. Yesterday was no exception. Despite the innocent looking opposite colored bishop ending following the Nimzo Indian opening, I had a clear advantage due to the monster bishop on d4. His weakness on g7 tied up his king and if I can activate my rook black is in real trouble. After the advance of my h-pawn I had planned to recapture with the rook but suddenly found gxh6 very interesting. I must have overestimated this variation and when Kramnik defended well the game ended in a draw just after the first time control. Magnus Carlsen, London, December 7, 2011

2011-12-08 02:42:05

Dec-10-11  FSR: If two 1300s had played this game I'd say that they don't know anything about chess. A very confusing game, in which Carlsen especially seemingly ignores every principle I was taught in my chess youth.
Dec-13-11  Ulhumbrus: <visayanbraindoctor: This is an astonishing game for the few mistakes committed by either side in spite of its messy, difficult, and bizarre positions, some of which look as though they came from a computer's dreamscape. It's hard for a human player to figure out what is really happening.>

I had thought initially that 18 c5 may have been the main mistake. However the analysis given by <Hesam7> suggests another possibility.

What if the Queen side attack c5 assists White's King side attack instead of diverting resources away from it?

If the analysis given by <Hesam7> is right, this suggests that Kramnik's mistake was not 18 c5 but 20 Qh5 instead of 20 Qg4 and for this reason: Because it is after 20 Qg4 that White's Queen side attack is able to assist properly White's King side attack.

It is after the move 20 Qg4 that White's Queen side attack which includes moves such c5 and Rb1 followed by the sacrifice Rxb7! is able to act properly in concert with White's King side attack which includes moves such as fxg6.

In other words, it is the choice of the move 20 Qg4 instead of 20 Qh5 which enables White's Queen side attack to cooperate properly with White's King side attack.

I am not sure yet whether the analysis given by <Hesam7> is right or not. It may be. The position warrants examining further.

Dec-13-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Ulhumbrus> I do not have an engine, but I appreciate your efforts to analyze this interesting game. White has a clear space advantage, but no forcing lines; and Black's sound pawn structure and well-coordinated pieces means the slightest mistake by White can turn the game around. With no clear weakness to exploit, White has to create them and has to maintain the initiative. I think that the nature of the middlegame is that if White fails to maintain the initiative or create clear weaknesses, he will end up with a worse game, as black's pieces can rebound and white has weak squares in the center. Due to the difficult nature of the positions involved, only a computer can efficiently analyze this.
Jan-10-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < Uncommon Opening >

I doubt an opening that looks like the English opening is uncommon. 1.c4 is the fourth most common move played.

Mar-14-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: Definitely one of the weirdest games ever played.
Mar-14-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR> Fred Reinfeld would turn over in his grave at the sight of 3....h6, same as in some modern French games I have seen.
Mar-14-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Opening sort of looks like this game.

Carlsen vs Nakamura, 2013

Mar-14-13  FSR: <perfidious: <FSR> Fred Reinfeld would turn over in his grave at the sight of 3....h6, same as in some modern French games I have seen.>

Yup. And I can't say that I have a higher opinion of it. This whole game is bizarre, and makes me wonder if I understand anything about chess.

Mar-14-13  RookFile: Sure. Strange game, you surely get the feeling that white should have won this.
Mar-15-13  FSR: I'm still trying to understand 3...h6. Evidently it's a "high-class waiting move." Black doesn't feel like 3...d5 or 3...c6, both of which are playable. Nor does he want to develop his bishop yet; 3...Be7 is passive, 3...Bb4?! would leave the bishop floating in air, and 3...Bc5 could be met by 4.e3 followed by Ne2 and ultimately d4. 3...Nc6 seems like a more constructive move than 3...h6, but Black probably is not happy with 3...Nc6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Nd5, which scores well for White. Opening Explorer Then if 5...Nxd5, 6.cxd5 kicks Black's remaining knight. So instead Black waits with 3...h6, when 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Nxd5 Nxd5 6.cxd5 hits only air. If White doesn't play 5.Nd5, Black can follow up with ...0-0 and ...Re8, giving himself the option of responding to an eventual Nd5 with ...Bf8 or ...Bc5 without having to worry about White pinning the knight on f6 with Bg5. If White instead plays 4.e4, Black happily occupies the diagonal with 4...Bc5, which has given Black a 3/3 score in CG.com's database. Opening Explorer

So maybe 3...h6, which scores an amazing 56.4% for Black, Opening Explorer, is really a brilliant move. But I imagine that not only Reinfeld, but also for example Botvinnik, would be aghast. According to an account I read in a book on the English, Botvinnik said that 1.c4 e5 was weak, since the Sicilian was a strong defense and here Black was giving it to White with an extra tempo. And if we compare the situation with colors reversed, it's as though White responded to the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6) with 3.h3?! No one does that, Opening Explorer, so it's startling to say the least to see Black playing it in a position where the Sicilian player has a tempo more. Chess is a hard game.

Mar-24-13  fgh: <PhilFeeley: Definitely one of the weirdest games ever played.>

Easily the most interesting game of the 21st century, along with Anand vs Topalov, 2005.

Of course, some people will not notice any difference between these two games and Janosevic vs Geller, 1968.

May-05-14  Chris321: This game has certainly weird moves judged on face value,the end position looks better for black because of the two very active B pair and the c3 passed pawn,but White will not let Black do anything with those advantages,the Knight and Queen and f6 pawn got an eye on the Black King that will go nowhere slow or in a hurry...but even so the maneuvring in this game is unusual and deeply positional concepts that Nimzovitch or Petrosian would be excited about as well as proud of even,i think!.
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