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Vladimir Kramnik vs Pentala Harikrishna
"Rook Out!" (game of the day Feb-08-2018)
Gashimov Memorial (2017), Shamkir AZE, rd 4, Apr-24
Spanish Game: Closed. Martinez Variation (C78)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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find similar games 3 more Kramnik/Harikrishna games
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-25-17  paavoh: Huschenbeth mentioned <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA1...> that instead of 26.-Nf6 Black could have played 26.-Kg6, followed by Bg8 and Kh7, but he did not give too much detail.
Apr-25-17
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 itīs 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 !
Apr-25-17
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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqY...

Apr-26-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Gustaffson chimes in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t0...
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...!
Sep-18-17  Beholder: <ReneDescartes: Kramnik hss got to be the greatest exponent of passed pawns ever to play the game.>

<HeMateMe: greatest "proponent"?>

Also greatest imponent.

Dec-21-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ciberchess: One of the best games of 2017, no dubt.
Dec-22-17  tonsillolith: Despite the lavish praise for Kramnik now, I expect the haters will be going on soon enough about how Kramnik is washed up and needs to retire. Just wait until his next loss.

He sure has the longevity though. There are very few "old folks" who used to be in the top echelon when they were younger and are still up there, kicking it with the young uns.

Even Ivanchuk, who was Top 10 for decades, has finally slipped to the next tier down.

Dec-22-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tonsillolith>, happens all the time here--one need only follow Carlsen's latest event to observe how his every move is mercilessly flayed. One would swear that some posters are stronger than computers, the way they regale us with long-winded rubbish to the effect that no-one can put a foot right.
Feb-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: [Fritz 10]: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 [last book move] Opening Explorer 8. a3 0-0 9. Nc3 Nb8 [9 ... Bg4 10. Nd5 =] 10. Ne2 Nbd7 11. c3 Bb7 12. Ng3 c5 13. Re1 Rc8 14. Nf5 [14. Nd2 Re8 ⩲] c4 [=] 15. dxc4 Bxe4 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 17. cxb5 axb5 18. Bg5 Nc5 19. Ba2 h6 20. Bh4 g5 21. Bg3 Bh7 22. Qe2 Kg7 23. Rad1 [23. Red1 Nfe4 =] Nfe4 [=] 24. Rd5 [24. h3!? =] f5 [ ⩱] 25. Rxe5 dxe5 26. Bxe5+ Nf6 27. Qxb5 Nce4 28. Bd4 Rfd8 29. h3 Rb8 30. Qe2 Bg8 31. Bb1 Qb7 32. b4 Re8 33. c4 Qc6 [33 ... Qa6!? 34. b5 Qxa3 35. Bxe4 Rxe4 ⩱] 34. Qb2 [ ⩲] Rbd8 [34 ... Kh7 35. Rc1 ⩲] 35. c5 Qe6 [35 ... Bc4!? 36. a4 Qxa4 37. Bxe4 Rxd4 38. Nxd4 Rxe4 39. Nxf5+ Kg6 40. Rxe4 Nxe4 ±] 36. b5 [+-] Kf8 [36 ... Qb3 37. Qa1 Kg6 38. Ne5+ Rxe5 39. Bxe5 Qxb5 40. Bxf6 Nxf6 =] 37. c6 g4 [37 ... Qe7 +-] 38. hxg4 fxg4 [38 ... Nxg4 otherwise it's curtains at once 39. c7 Rd7 +-] 39. Bxe4 gxf3 40. Bxf6 Rd6 [40 ... Qg4 41. Be7+! Rxe7 42. Qf6+ Bf7 43. Qxe7+ Kxe7 44. Bf5+ Kd6 45. Bxg4 +-] 41. Bg7+ Kf7 42. Be5! 1-0.

5. d3 is the Ruy Lopez Anderssen with a quiet center; this game went 5. 0-0 Be7 6. d3 which is similar. After 9. Nc3 it is more of a Spanish Four Knights situation as usually White's QN goes to d2. Since White won, pundits will claim that White's Rook sacrifice was bold while Black's Kingside Pawn play was reckless; had Black won, expect the reverse. Note White has lots to do through advancing the Queenside Pawns, meanwhile Black had little to do.

Some insightful commentary:

<25. Rxe5!!?? After spending 11 minutes, a gutsy call by Kramnik. Just awesome assessment of the resulting position, even though I feel all lines could not have been evaluated. Hari must have felt a lot of pressure, using 14 min for 26 ... Nf6 and several more minutes on other moves in this sequence.>

<The first half of this game looks like a typical Spanish with black defending and reaching what looks like an equal game. Suddenly white sacrifices a rook for open lines to black's king and three passed pawns, which however are not very far advanced. After this positional sacrifice both sides play logically but black (in time trouble probably) misses 33...Qa6 attacking a3 and c4, white's pawns move forward and in a few more moves black is lost. This is a creative win for white, even if analysts find a refutation this would be extremely hard to do at the board.>

<Fantastic rook sac by Kramnik. Certainly Harikrishna made some subpar moves, like 33...Qc6 (33...Qa6 is better), 34...Rbd8 (34...Kh7 is better), and finally the fatal 36...Kf8? (36...Qb3 was essential), but I am not clear that Black ever had a winning advantage, in spite of the extra rook.>

<I think 33...Qa6 is not easy to play, as it isn't so simple as attacking c4 and a3: the point is presumably to take on c4 with the bishop and avoid getting pinned by Rc1, as would have happened with the queen on c6 (taking on c4 with the queen is bad because of Rc1-c7). Sounds nice, but this is a passive placement of pieces, and 33...Qa6 34.Qb2 Bxc4 35.Ne5 is unsettling to look at for Black, even if the computer decides there is nothing for White.>

<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 LSB 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. Hari actually played well for many moves, in spite of what must have been the tremendous pressure he was feeling.>

<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. It must be noted also that after some 15 years without playing 1-e4 , Kramnik has been achieving great results from that!>

This game also finished at #4 in IM Danny Rensch's rundown of 2017's best games over at <chess.com>.

Feb-08-18  scormus: An absolute masterpiece !!
Feb-08-18  schnarre: ...An awesome finish!
Feb-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Pawn steamrollers are today's theme. The puzzle of the day had one as well:

Csom vs Yusupov, 1982

41.? White to play and win

I for one appreciate the attention cg.com has given to "the soul" of chess.

Feb-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <thegoodanarchist> Well put!

I remember this game from last year: I was completely dazzled by White's blissful play despite him being down a rook

Feb-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I liked 41 Bg7+ Kf7 42 Be5, below.


click for larger view

The bishop on e5 attacking the rook is safe as the check on g7 prevents 42...Qxe5 because white now has 43 Bg6+.

Feb-08-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajile: No k-side fianchetto plus Black bishop on b7 = please put your knight on f5 and make me suffer.
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