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Vladimir Kramnik vs Pentala Harikrishna
Gashimov Memorial (2017), Shamkir AZE, rd 4, Apr-24
Spanish Game: Closed. Martinez Variation (C78)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: Perhaps the most artistic ending to this masterpiece would have been 40...Qg4 41.Be7+!! Rxe7 42.Qf6+ Bf7 43.Qxe7+ Kxe7 44.Bf5+. Kramnik is a true artist of the chessboard.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Crazy rook sacrifice. Harikrishna must have been blowing his circuits to find the follow-up and guess what? There wasn't any! (except the great pawn snatch 27.Qxb5). Maybe Kramnik actually foresaw he'd end up with three connected passed pawns, though, which ain't chicken feed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: I just watched Huschenbeth's analysis on youtube and there's no trick, folks, K just sacced a rook against 2 pawns and the computer kept favoring black, but when you're Kramnik the great adage applies: "póint values, shmoint values, it's all the position".

<luzhin> How do you come up with these things?

Apr-24-17  ReneDescartes: Kramnik hss got to be the greatest exponent of passed pawns ever to play the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: greatest "proponent"?
Apr-24-17  Sally Simpson: A wonderful piece of chess. The shock of the sacrifice.

And from Kramnik of all people.

If Topalov had played the sac then you dig in and fight it out. When Kramnik throws a Rook at you for three pawns then you just know you are in very serious trouble and on a narrow ledge.

One of the best games I've seen this year.

Apr-24-17  Raginmund: Kramnik is the best ever!!!
Fantastic, deeeeeeeeeeep long term sac, today we saw a speculative sac, not a novelty by Kramnik, he's old/new style is capable of this.

Very happy to watch this game

Apr-24-17  jphamlore: This kind of sacrifice also reminds me of Kasparov.
Apr-25-17  blackdranzer: <hehateme> home prep you say ? No wonder he hates you !

<sally> kramnik has played many such positional sacrifices , especially exchange sacrifices.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: A Rook for three pawns? Just seems like something from the kitchen, but certainly the best players could also do this OTB.

In these kinds of games too many times you see the side with the pawns get wiped out because of one slight error in calculation, but not this time. A world champion at work!

Apr-25-17  paavoh: Huschenbeth mentioned <> that instead of 26.-Nf6 Black could have played 26.-Kg6, followed by Bg8 and Kh7, but he did not give too much detail.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Probably the most remarkable game I have seen so far in 2017. Congratulations to Kramnik for producing such a brilliant gem.

It's not perfect though. Kramnik I believe lost thread of the game early on during the sequence

18. Bg5 Nc5 19. Ba2 h6 20. Bh4 g5

Some comments:

19. Ba2?

I don't quite understand why Kramnik would not want to exchange off the strong Black WSB on e4 by Bc2.

20. Bh4?

I think this is a clear positional mistake. After g5, the White DSB has been practically locked out of the game.

Now all that Hare has to do is to remove his Knight from f6, and push his f-pawn f5 and f4, and White's bishop would have been transformed into a big pawn. Black would be winning positionally.

I thought at this point that Black has achieved an almost decisive advantage, thanks mainly to Kramnik's strangely poor play.

But then Kramnik turns it around. He must have seen that he has drifted into a practically lost position, and came up with the brilliant and fantastically imaginative sacrificial maneuver that everyone is talking about.

23. Rad1 Nfe4 24. Rd5 f5 25. Rxe5 dxe5 26. Bxe5+

I think White is still objectively lost, but this rook sac was Kram's best practical option, and he courageously took it! White's dark squared bishop that was about to be trapped suddenly turns into a monster, supplementing his WSB in raking the open diagonals across the center. Kram also manages to grab two and later three pawns for his rook.

As a human being, I would actually prefer playing White at this point. It's easier to find reasonable moves, and there is a ready-made plan that plays itself: just push up your three connected Queenside pawns if Black dilly-dallies around. Even though a computer would surely beat White's position, we must remember that it was two humans that were playing the game. Hare actually played well for many moves, in spite of what must have been the tremendous pressure he was feeling.

In the end, Kram did start pushing his pawns and Hare erred a few times. A game that hallmarks Kram's brilliance and Hare being just human.

Apr-25-17  ozmikey: A great example of the "computer evaluations aren't everything" principle! I think most carbon-based lifeforms would indeed feel more comfortable playing White after move 27, despite the material disparity. And as Black in such situations, one always has the nagging thought "Why on earth can't I find a way to win here? I'm a rook for a few pawns up!".
Apr-25-17  Fanques Fair: Incredible game by the ex-world champion. A positional rook sacrifece for three pawns !!!

Remarkable concept. Kramnik judged that the continuous pressure of his queen and bishop pair against Blacks weakened kingside plus his pawn trio on the queenside was more than enough compensation for a whole rook.

And it´s curious to notice that it might have something of the old rivalry between him and Topalov : the latter sacrificed a rook 2 rounds before, in beautiful style, it may have inspired Kramnik to respond to this.

Apr-25-17  Fanques Fair: It must be noted also that after some 15 years without playing 1-e4 , Kramnik has been achieving great results from that !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Occasionally, Kramnik demonstrates his sky-high level telling "I am still here and you better beware!"
Apr-25-17  Willchess: Kramnik is simply the God of positions like this
Apr-25-17  Captain Hindsight: Better would have been <26... Kg6 27. Bd4 Bg8 >
Apr-25-17  ndg2: Vlad scoring big. Tal would have approved of such unclear sac!
Apr-25-17  MichaelAndrewLo: Another analysis video!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Gustaffson chimes in
Apr-28-17  Howard: Looking at the Chessbomb website, it appears indeed that Black missed at least a couple improvements, though it's hard to tell if he had a completely forced win.
Apr-29-17  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 31...Qb7, 31...Bf7 makes way for ...Kg8
Jul-06-17  Saniyat24: What a game...!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Beholder: <ReneDescartes: Kramnik hss got to be the greatest exponent of passed pawns ever to play the game.>

<HeMateMe: greatest "proponent"?>

Also greatest imponent.

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