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Vladimir Kramnik vs Alexey Shirov
Vienna Millenium (1996), Vienna AUT, rd 1, Aug-09
Slav Defense: Chameleon Variation. Advance System (D15)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I don't know what to make of this. First Black plays this 4...a6 move, which seems to me to be a little slow.

Then Black plays ...Ra7, a move that looks as artificial as blue astroturf.

A few moves later, While Black is getting his rook out of the corner, White achieves the d4-e4 pawn duo, which is supposed to be a big strategic coup, no?

And yet, even though you'd think all the cards are in White's favor, after 17 ...e5 White's pawns drop like ripe apples!

And so the question is, of course: Where did White go wrong?

Aug-16-02  pawntificator: I think he should have pushed d5 instead of capturing e5 and attacking the queen.
Aug-16-02  MorphyFan: I think pawntificator might have a point. When white took that pawn at e5 he did open up the middle of the board and leave his poor e pawn isolated. But I think what really killed whites offensive was the time he wasted shifting his queen around the middle of the board. These moves i think showed how white had no real plan, and resorted to aimlessly marching back and forth trying to maintain that e pawn. This allowed black to mobilize his forces and gain a few pawns, and eventually the endgame.
Aug-16-02  pawntificator: Any fan of Morphy's is a friend of mine! Yeah, those idle queen moves certainly didn't help white any. And I hate to call Kramnik a patzer, but was he trying to help black position his knight by playing 24. Qd4+? Why would he put himself on the same rank with the rook when he must have known the knight would be used to block check and attack e4. sheesh
Aug-16-02  refutor: Sneaky...Ra7 does look like a horrible way to cover b7 but if shirov played it, it can't be all bad...let me go refer to fire on board (which i can't sing the praises of enough) In the preface to the game shirov writes "when i learned that i would play kramnik with black, i was not especially confident because the memory of how i lost to him in dortmund, without getting out of the opening, was still very fresh. therefore i chose a setup involving some risk, but in which the chances to safely reacha middlegame fight were still very good...i returned to the chebanenko system, which i played a lot during 1993-94, scoring 3 out of 4". With regards to 6. ... Ra7 shirov states "Against Ivan Sokolov at the Yerevan Olympiad, 1996 i switched to 6. ... Qc8. i am still trying to figure out which of the two moves are better". Does your ...Qc7 that you suggested v. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Qb3 work here? Shirov gave a question mark to 17.O-O-O? recommending 17.e5 as a big improvement and giving an exclamation to his own 17. ...e5! commenting that "now white's centre collapses while the isolated e4-pawn remains as a weakness" if that's enough to cause a lost game, i'll never become a grandmaster. ;)
Mar-17-08  notyetagm: This game is a simply -masterful- demonstration of positional play by Shirov.
Mar-17-08  notyetagm: Game Collection: Coordinated play in middlegame -- Capablanca

Kramnik vs Shirov, 1996

Position after 29 ... ♖d8-d4!

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Black has four(!) pieces attacking the isolated White e4-pawn: Black g6-bishop, f6-knight, e5-queen, and d4-rook.

Now -that- is what I call <COORDINATED PLAY>.

Mar-30-08  hexequi: Addressing <Sneaky's> point about Ra7: "Then Black plays ...Ra7, a move that looks as artificial as blue astroturf."

Black gets the better end of the deal. Yes, Black's rook is out of play on a7, but White's Queen on b3 is equally out of play, both being tied to b7.

Maybe Ra7 isn't as artifical as it first seems?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: <psentificator> How else was Kram supposed to defend c5? b4? If he played b4? then you could call him a patzer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: The real mistake here was 15.e4? 16.e5 would not have helped due to 16...b6! 17.cxb6 Nxb6 followed by ...Rd7 and d4 falls.

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