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Vladimir Kramnik vs Joel Lautier
Belgrade Investbank (1995), Belgrade SRB, rd 9, Nov-24
English Opening: Symmetrical. Four Knights Variation (A35)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-27-07  Shadout Mapes: Incredible endgame play. Kramnik uses his lead in development to seize the initiative, not giving black any time to breathe. The plan of g4-f4-g5-gxh6-Rxh6 followed by 26.Rh3! forcing a won endgame with equal material and an outside passed pawn is incredibly well-conceived and executed. The advance of the h pawn on moves 35-40 is comical.
Aug-16-13  benicio: Very interesting endgame play, buy I don´t know what Kramnik would played if Lautier was played 20...,hxg5 21.fxg5 and then 21...,b6. I think white wouldn´t had a passed h pawn, and it would be difficult for white to win the endgame.
Jul-09-15  SpiritedReposte: A very audacious h-pawn.
Mar-26-21  I like ya cut g: <benivio> That is exactly what I thought. 20... b6 creates a pawn island on h6 which Kramnik successfully attacks. Because of that I would rate 20... b6 would almost be the desicive mistake. After 20... hxg5 21. fxg5 b6 22. h4 g6! Black should be able to hold a draw even though all black pawns are on the same color of his bishop but I think he could fix that with b7-b6 then Bc8-b7.
Mar-26-21  Whitehat1963: Simple, logical, precise, and difficult to execute correctly over the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: It is a little strange to me but it seems that if the pawn is on a3 instead of a2, black seems to be drawing - specifically:

Instead of 26 Rxd4+ right away, Black plays Ra4

White plays a3

Then black plays Rxd4+

Rd3 Rxd3+

And this is apparently equal with best play

Vladimir Kramnik - Joel Lautier 1-0 9.0, Belgrade Investbank 1995

click for larger view

Analysis by Stockfish 15 - 3 threads max:

1. = (0.00): 29...Ke7 30.Kc4 a6 31.h4 Kf6 32.h5 Kf5 33.Kd3 Kf6 34.Kd4 Kg7 35.Ke5 b5 36.Kd6 a5 37.Kc5 b4 38.axb4 axb4 39.Kxb4 The position is equal

(Gavriel, 03.04.2023)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Comparing two particular positions side by side:

White to play here as example is drawing only:

click for larger view

Put the pawn back on a2:

click for larger view

White to play here is winning

Funny stuff

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: The key difference is that on Kc5 if the pawn is on a3, then b4 is annoying for White. If the pawn is on a2, then b4 is no problem, White can play Kb5


click for larger view

which is winning for White

So coming back to this game, it seems Black missed a draw by not putting the pawn on a3 earlier! I think someone needs to urgently message Lautier on Facebook about the draw he missed :)

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