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Anatoly Karpov vs Vladimir Kramnik
Linares (1994), Linares ESP, rd 11, Mar-11
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran. Reynolds' Variation (D48)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <cotdt> After 40...Rb4 white can play also 41.Re4 and if 41...Rb3, then 42.Re3 (instead of Re8 with repetition) 42...Rb4 43.b3. I cannot say that this is won by force for white but in practice it would be very difficult to play it with black against player like Karpov. Also after 40...Kf7 41.Re3 Rb4 42.b3 white has a solid chance to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Also after 40...Kf7 41.Re3 Rb4 42.b3 white has a solid chance to win.> Well, here 42...Kg6 with threat Kh5 would be quite annoying. So 40...Kf7 41.Re3 Rb4 42.Rf3+ Ke7 (or Ke8 or Kg8) 43.b3 looks better.
Oct-05-06  positionalgenius: <Honza cervenka>Thanks for the winning lines.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Thanks for the winning lines.> I don't think that they are winning. They keep the game alive but due to very reduced material black has objectively fine chance to save it. Especially if he eliminates white b-Pawn his task would be quite easy. He can sac the Knight for both Ks Pawns with theoretical draw in K+R vs K+R+N endgame.
Oct-05-06  positionalgenius: <honca cervenka>Two super-GMs (and world champs)agree that its a win for white.Why is everybody saying draw?
Oct-05-06  Everett: <karpov and Kramnik are two of the greatest endgame players of all time.>

Karpov yes, but not flawless. Kramnik, good, but not considered one of the greatest.

<positionalgenius> The clear winning line is a long way off, but the advantage is still with white. Karpov would have to prove it, and it won't be easy. So the position is not a foreseeable win, at least not yet.

Nov-02-06  Sularus: <lostemperor: you have to learn to draw before you can paint>

harharhar! very funny!

Premium Chessgames Member
  pilobolus: To chessgames.
Somehow the Slovak chess player
Ftacnik name is copied to
event and site field.
Feb-28-07  micartouse: The comments on 18. Be3! by GM King seem very odd to me: "How many night's slaving over a hot chessboard had it taken for Anatoly to discover this possibility? We can only marvel at the alchemy that changes a position previously thought to be equal into one where White has ... a miniscule advantage."

With all respect to King, I think he's way off the mark here. I bet Karpov spotted the possibility almost instantly when trying to improve theoretically equal endgame lines. The move is natural and therefore an obvious candidate for exploration. Maybe he took a few minutes to work it out and convince himself it had potential, but I hardly picture him slaving away like some demented scientist. But who knows?

Feb-28-07  Brown: <micartouse> I took King's commentary to be snide, with the "..." pause, mocking Karpov, either for the work Karpov may have put into it, or for the "miniscule advantage" the novelty produces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Daniel ♔'s annotations are pretty cool.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Absolutely. I have always liked them, although they tend to be a tad sensationalist.
Aug-16-08  M.D. Wilson: <colles: <WMD: "Karpov has beaten me in Linares - 94, in that tournament he scored 11 of 13. I was making normal moves but I do not understand why there appears a lost position. Even after the game I could not understand anything> That reminds me of a statement made by Spassky to whom asked who was the strongest player he ever met: "It was not Fischer. It was Karpov: he was the only player that gave me feeling of not understanding what was going on the chessboard".>

Interesting. Yes, Spassky did say Karpov was the toughest player he ever faced in his many years against the best.

Aug-16-08  Woody Wood Pusher: This is one of my favourite Karpov wins, he completely outplays Kramnik and leaves his position so paralysed he loses on time just weeping over it. lol Kramnik is obviously a super strong opponent, but he is one of the top GM's who seem to react to even small novelties quite badly. Kasparov says Karpov can be counted among the World Champs with exceptional intuitive understanding, rather than relying on concrete analysis and this game particularly shows that difference between him and Kramnik, who also plays in positional style now.

I can't help but think if Kasparov had not been so completely out-researched in the opening for his WCM with Kramnik it would have been a totally different story!

Sep-24-08  Woody Wood Pusher: '40..Kf7 41.Nd6+! While Kramnik was grieving over the fact that after the retreat of his king to g8 his pieces would be completely paralysed, the flag on his clock fell...'


Oct-18-10  HowDoesTheHorsieMove: It's been a few years so I thought I'd see what Stockfish 1.8 had to say about the final position.

The evaluations started at about -1.3 up until ply 34, then got worse.

Best evaluation is -2.06 at 35 ply for 40..g6 41.Kf2 Rb4

Next is -2.30 for 40..Kf7 41.Nd6+ Kg8 42.g6

Of the other moves I saw that 40..Rb4 41.Ne5 Rxb2 was even worse.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <HowDoesTheHorsieMove> Are you serious? Stockfish says that Black is so much better? Can you give some longer variations with supposedly best play for both sides? Thanks.
Dec-01-10  picard: codtd - "GM's are poor endgame players in general". Wow. What a statement. That might be the most retarded thing i have ever read. Mastery of the endgame is essential to becoming even a "pretty good" player. How in the world do you become a GM without being good in the endgame???? I Dont know if you are serious or just trolling, but either way, you are an idiot.
Apr-30-11  Everett: <Fusilli> I think those scores are from the black side, since the position starts at <40...> Karpov apparently is winning here.
Jun-04-13  jancotianno: If only Capablanca were here to completely solve all the intricacies of the position.
Sep-07-14  AngeLa: .." if not Kramnik flag "FELL" it would be a draw, sorry guys... the game has been decided, " lol
May-29-17  Ulhumbrus: 18 Be3 attacks the knight on c5 that defends the isolated e6 pawn. If Kramnik can find no good way to defend the e6 pawn and has to sacrifice it this suggests that the capture 15...Qxe5 exposes Black to attack on the e file more than Black may have anticipated
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Well, Kramnik was only 19, so its not too surprising to see him pushed around by the veteran Karpov


May-29-17  visayanbraindoctor: IMO 15. e5 is a profound positional sac. It looks as if black is quite OK after Qxe5, but White's intentions becomes clearer after he exchanges off Black's Knight on c5 with his dark square Bishop, with the maneuver

16. Re1 Qd6 17. Qd6 Bd6 18. Be3 O-O 19. Rad1 Be7 20. Bc5 Bc5 21. Nxe6

White has not only regained the pawn but has centralized his rooks and placed a terrifying Knight at e6.

To most of anyone else, except the likes of positional genius Karpov, this series of moves would not be evident at all from the initial position before e5! He must have already seen 18. Be3! beforehand, and properly evaluated the resulting positions as being favorable to him.

Karpov has also evaluated that the strong centralized positions of his Rooks and Knight would allow him to quickly rush up his Kingside pawn majority, which he immediately did.

22. h3 Bf8 23. g4 h6 24. f4

What Kramnik probably meant is that he had no inkling of what Karpov's plan was like while he was playing exactly as Karpov wanted him. Kramnik knew how he was supposed to play and could not sense any danger in it. Then he finds out that he is defenseless against Karpov's Kingside majority.

It's a almost certainly that Kramnik never saw Karpov's kingside pawn rush from the initial position at 15. e5, but Kaprov probably already had an idea of it even then. I've seen another game (I forgot Karpov's opponent) where Karpov essentially did the same thing (but not in as flashy a style as in this game).

Essentially, Karpov's plan consisted of:

1. Clearance sac with e5.

2. Remove Black's strong Knight at c5.

3. Centralize Rooks and Knight.

4. Rush up Kingside pawn majority.

Not easy to see to the end at all. Kramnik certainly could not see #4 from the initial position until it was too late.

That's why Kramnik said he could not understand what Karpov was doing (until it was too late). Karpov saw so much farther ahead of Kramnik, as to leave Kramnik wondering what the heck went wrong. (Reminds me of what Capablanca's opponents used to say.)

May-19-18  Toribio3: I like this game. You can learn a lot lesson from this experience. Seemingly, it was likely to end in a draw but in the end, it was a disaster for Black!
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