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Vladimir Kramnik vs Michael Adams
Gashimov Memorial (2017), Shamkir AZE, rd 8, Apr-29
Italian Game: Italian Variation (C50)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Great game by Kramnik. Yes, that h-pawn really helped.
May-06-17  crwynn: What i like about this game is that after move 16 the structure is basically symmetrical, and all that Kramnik can brag about is being 1st to occupy the b-file.

Then he spends the next 20(!) moves nibbling on the b&c files, until suddenly he offers an Exchange for a lethal mating attack on the 8th rank. He is certainly on a par with Capablanca and Karpov at the art of making something from almost nothing.

Nov-07-18  Mayankk: What’s the problem with the very simple 29 Rxa5 for White to go up a passed pawn, while still maintaining tension on the 5th rank?

Also what was Black trying to achieve by 28 ... Ne7? The d5 pawn seems adequately protected. Was it guarding against Nf5 to deny White Knight a strong outpost?

Nov-07-18  saturn2: I saw 39. Ng5+ hxg5 40. hxg5 Nh8 41. Rxh5+ Kg6 42. Rcxh8 winning a piece


39. Ng5+ hxg5 40. hxg5 Nf4+ 41. gxf4 exf4 42. Rxh5+ Kg6 43. Rh6+ gxh6 44. Rg8+ Kh7 45. Rg7#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Hi <Mayankk>. Then Black exchanges on e4, and traps the ♖ with ♘c6. It isn't safe on a6 because of ♘b4. After that he can round up the a♙ with ♖♖ on the a file, and end up with a small advantage.
Nov-07-18  zb2cr: 39. Ng5+, hxg5(forced); 40. hxg5, and mate looms.

40. ... Nf4+; 41. gxf4, exf4; 42. Rxh5, Kg6; 43. Rch8 threatening 44. Nh5#. This forces Black to sac his Queen with 43. ... f3+; 44. Kxf3, Qxf5+; 45. exf5+, Kxf5 and White is up by a Queen.

40. ... Nh8; 41. Rxh8+, Kg6; 42. R1xh5 again forces the sacrifice of the Black Queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I found 39. Ng5+ hxg5 40. hxg5, and saw that 40...Nf4+ 41. hxf5 Kg6 merely postpones the inevitable: 42. Nh4+ Kh7 43. Rh8#.

But what about 40...Nh4+ ?

41. gxh4 blocks the h-file. If 41. Rxh4, black can play 41...Kg6, and white has no checks (for now). But after 41. Nxh4 Nf4+ 42. gxf4 Qg4+ 43. Kh2 Qxf4+ (43...Qxh4+ 44. Kg2) 44. Kh3, it's all over.

Nov-07-18  Walter Glattke: What Al wazig said with 42.Nh4+. Mate still by 41.-Qxf5 42.exf5 or 41.-Qh6 42.Rh8+ Kg6 43.Nh4#
Nov-07-18  saturn2: <al wazir But what about 40...Nh4+ ?...If 41. Rxh4, black can play 41...Kg6, and white has no checks (for now).>

White has
42. Rxh5 Kxh5 43. Nxg7+ forking king and queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The rook on h1 x-rays the black king. This suggests 39.Ng5+ hxg5 40.hxg5:

A) 40... Ne7 41.Rxh5+ Kg6 42.Rh6+

A.1) 42... gxh6 43.Rg8+

A.1.a) 43... Nxg8 44.Qxg8+ Kh5 45.Ng7+ Kg4 (45... Kxg5 46.Nxe6+ Kf6 47.Nc5 wins decisive material) 46.f3+ Kxg5 47.Nxe6+ as in the subline.

A.1.b) 43... Kh5 44.Ng7+ as above.

A.1.c) 43... Kh7 44.Rg7#.

A.2) 42... Kxg5 43.Rxe6 wins decisive material.

B) 40... Ngf4+ 41.gxf4

B.1) 41... g6 42.Rh8#.

B.2) 41... Kg6 42.Rxh5 wins a piece (42... Kxh5 43.Nxg7+).

B.3) 41... Qg6 42.Rh8#.

Nov-07-18  SChesshevsky: <Mayankk> 28...Ne7 looks like it's aimed at the c6 square also. Kramnik seems to really be busting black positionally. Tying him down almost in zugzwang until Adams gets out of position maybe looking for threats to the queen and doubling on the 7th initially.

Given how blacks tied down, there probably is a prosaic win somehow by picking off the a pawn. But I think Kramnik would rather try for a more artistic finish and it looks like he got one.

Nov-07-18  Cheapo by the Dozen: Rh8+ doesn't work because of the g6 knight. But Ng5+ busts things open, and there's no way Black can avert Rxh5# except by an unblocking move with ... well, with the aforementioned other knight. Oops!
Nov-07-18  Walter Glattke: Idea: A2) 40.-Ne7 41.Rh8+ Kg6 42.R8xh5 f6 43.Qh8 Nxf5 42.Qh7+ Kf7 43.g6+ Kf8 44.Qh8+ Qg8 45.Qxg8+ Kxg8 46.Rh8# C) 40.-Nh4+ 41.Nxh4 Nf4+ 42.Kf3 g6
43.Rh8+ Kg7 Qf8/g8#
Nov-07-18  latebishop: In the main line on either 40. Ne7 or Nh8 White has the beautiful interference move 41. g6+ with mate next by 42.Rh8 or Rxh5
Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: 39.Ng5+ hg5 40.hg5 Ne7 41.R:h5+ Kg6 42.g4
( Δ 43.Nh4#)42...N:f5
(42...f6 43.Nh4+ Kf7 44.Rf8# )

43.ef5+ Q:f5 44.gf5+ K:h5 45.Q:e5 f6 46.Qg3 and Rh8#

Nov-07-18  latebishop: On second thoughts Black would just play 41. Kxg6. This comes from studying the position too late at night.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: 39 Ng5+ hxg5 40 hxg5 Nf5+ 41 gxf5 ...

The escape square of g6 that the knight has just vacated is an illusion! White is still threatening 42 Rh8+ Kg6 43 Nh4#!

41 ... g6
42 Rh8#

41 ... Kg6
42 Nh5+ Kh7
43 Rh8#

41 ... f6
42 Rh8+ Kg6
43 Nh4+ Kf7
44 Qf8#

At this point black might resign, but 41 ... exf4 does put up a bit of resistance for a move or two more...

41 ... exf4?
42 Rxh5+ Kg6

At this point white can kill black immediately winning the queen!

43 Rh6+!!!

click for larger view

43 ... Kxg5
44 Rxe6 +-

Taking the rook leads to a mate not soon after...

43 ... gxh6
44 Rg8+ Kh5
45 Qxf4 mating


Yes! Even got the resignation...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: When you partly miss the Monday and Tuesday puzzle but fully get the Wednesday puzzle.

Can't wait 'til Sunday.

Nov-07-18  N0B0DY: gets it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <agb2002> <The rook on h1 x-rays the black king. This suggests 39.Ng5+ hxg5 40.hxg5:

A) 40... Ne7 41.Rxh5+ Kg6 42.Rh6+>

There is also 42 g4! in this line.

click for larger view

The threat is 43 Nh4#. Black has to take the knight so after 42...Nxf5 white wins with 43 exf5+.

click for larger view

Nov-07-18  saturn2: <Jimfromprovidence The threat is 43 Nh4#. So Black has to take the knight.>

Not necessarily because of 42..f6

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I went with 39.Ng5+ hxg5 40.hg Ne7 41.Rxh5+ Kg6 42.Rch8 threatening Nh4#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  landshark: <Saturn2> < Not necessarily because of 42...f6> Then 43. Nh4+ Kf7 44. Rf8#
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Jim> Thank you!

42.g4 looks simpler and stronger than 42.Rh6+.

Nov-08-18  Clement Fraud: Kramnik is a master of these Italian Game positions, and from both sides of the board: (Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2017 & Anand vs Kramnik, 2018).

I am slightly at a loss as to where Adams went wrong here: It could be argued that Adams drifted planlessly in the middle game (whilst Kramnik played with purpose). The brief time that black had his Rooks doubled on the Queen file - starting with 26... Red8 - still led to no meaningful activity. Following the exchange of light squared Bishops on move 12, might it have been better for black to have recaptured with his Bishop Pawn?

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