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Garry Kasparov vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Fall of the Wall" (game of the day Dec-21-2009)
Astana (2001), Astana KAZ, rd 10, Jun-01
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1-0



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Given 27 times; par: 55 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-21-09  RandomVisitor: looks like 30...Kg7 or 30...Rxc2 is better.
Dec-21-09  Atking: <Fisheremon: <Hesam7> Black should activate its King first 29...Kg7 30. Ng4 and then 30...Rd2 with an equal game.> Again right. Black pieces are enough active to balance the pawn down. <<Karpova> I followed the Astana tournament which was quite interesting indeed. It's interesting to note that Kramnik deviated first (though not from theory) with 11...Ke8 (instead of going to the queenside) because of fearing a possible novelty from Kasparov. Kramnik thought for nearly an hour at one point of time (i think it was after 14.Rfe1) and this leads to the simple explanation for this horrible blunder: Kramnik was in <deep time trouble>. Winning this game Kramnik should win the tournament. Kasparov was white and can't afford a double humiliation. Even actually I think Kasparov could be leading in terms of opening novelty. But "funny" enough may be that Kasparov had possibly nothing real on Kc8 but had a special card vs Ke8. Psychological chess...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: At first glance it seems to be that white just rolled over black in this game but in fact black was in the game all the time until the atrocious blunder in the 30th move. After any reasonable alternative to 30...Rxf2?? like 30...Rxc2 or maybe 30...Ne6 white's advantage would be just symbolic or nonexistent.

To explain move like 30...Rxf2 is quite difficult despite of time pressure as I cannot believe that Kramnik would have missed obvious 31.Rf5. I guess that he simply hallucinated that Kg7 and Kg6 would break the pin and missed 32.Ng4 after which 32...Kg6 as well as 32...Rf1+ 33.Kh2 Kg6 fail due to possibility of Rf6+ with next g3.

Dec-21-09  sileps: Very creative play by Kasparov, I like it
Dec-21-09  kevin86: The pawn will queen.
Dec-21-09  WhiteRook48: Or Black will get mated.
Dec-21-09  SirChrislov: Vendetta! (This is Garry's first win against Kramnik's Berlin defense, right?)
Dec-21-09  Maatalkko: <7Heaven: Here, Kasparov shows how he handles the berlin defense which Kramnik relied on. Awesome! Why he couldn't pull this off at 2000? Whatever..Every world champion eventually loses to another player- excluding Alekhine,who didn't lose the title because,after regaining it from Euwe, decided not to play title matches(i find this an act of a coward,don't know about you)>

Alekhine didn't duck anyone after losing to Euwe. He was negotiating title matches when WWII broke out, at which point he couldn't have played any of his worthy challengers. After the war he was scheduled to play Botvinnik but he died first. He did avoid Capablanca in earlier years, which was pretty lame, but it's ridiculous to call Alekhine a coward due to post-Euwe events.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Alekhine enjoyed being world champion, which is why he made an extra effort to win it back from Euwe. Capablanca also liked the title, which is why he wanted to regain it. Botvinnik liked the title so much that he regained it twice. Karpov, after losing to Kasparov, won the devalued FIDE version instead. And Fischer still regarded himself as world champion during his 1992 comeback match, and presumably afterwards.

And so on. Did anyone *not* enjoy being world champion? Perhaps Spassky, who felt it was a burden. Or Lasker, who tried to resign it to Capa - but he'd held the title for over 20 years by then.

Dec-21-09  asianmonkey147: I think Symslov didnt enjoy it.
Dec-21-09  Kaspablanca: Mr. Kasparov, tear down this wall!
Dec-21-09  Mr. Bojangles: Good win by Kasparov.

Quite interesting that Kramnik who introduced the Berlin Defense - which is now popular today - to top flight chess in 2000 has now abandoned it.

Dec-22-09  7Heaven: In that time, the champion had full control over the title- he was to decide if he was going to play for it or not. And many matches were not played because the champion demanded that the challenger would bring cash(money prize) with him. So, I say again,Alekhine DECIDED NOT TO PLAY TITLE MATCHES after his second reign. That's why he died as world champion, something that not anyone has done before or since. And he was going to play with Botvinnik,yes, but because Botvinnik had BIG support from behind and if he didn't play him,Alekhine would only defame himself

PS: I am not saying that i know everything and i am right when everybody's wrong. This is just my opinion-which i believe that stands pretty well

PS II: Capablanca is my most favourite,but I don;t disapprove of Alekhine(even though he is considered a persona non grata). He proved himself as a chess genius

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <asian monkey> I agree about Smyslov, up to a point. He seemed almost relieved when Botvinnik took it back, or so I've read. But 30 years later he still had a great run in the Candidates matches, beating Ribli brilliantly. The hunger was still there.
Dec-22-09  Maatalkko: <7Heaven> I understand what you're saying. But you have to take WWII into account. All international sports stopped during the war, even the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. The only realistic time that Alekhine could have played a match was during 1937 to 1939, and there was a big dispute as to who should play. Besides, going two years without defending the title is hardly cowardly, as the general standard since then was three years.

I agree that all pre-WWII world champions except Steinitz were not eager to voluntarily defend their titles (Euwe did not magnanimously offer to defend his; a rematch was part of the contract for his 1935 match). Still, even though Alekhine reigned for 9 years until his death without defending, it's hard to see how he could have done otherwise given that World War 2 took up six of those years. I guess he could have played Bogoljubow or Keres in Vichy France, but he would have taken even more heat for that decision.

Dec-23-09  7Heaven: I have read many articles and checked many informations regarding WW II and chess. I read that Alekhine,along with Bogoljubow and other chess players avoided captivity-Alekhine even played some tournament organized by the nazis(he wasn't a friend of them of course).

Alekhine first got his(greedy, as it has been proven) hands on the world title at 1927 while WW II started at 1939. That's almost 12 years. During that time,Alekhine 'carefully' picked his 'challengers'. He underestimated Euwe, who showed him a thing or two- i really liked that. But Euwe payed his good sportsmanship (as did Spassky later) by granting him a rematch(I 've read he did this by respect to Capablanca). Alekhine didn't give Capablanca a rematch. Capablanca proved that he was the rightful challenger but never got his chance- because Alekhine knew that he would lose.

Anyway,chess is a cycle (champion,next champion). And we don't need to discuss things like that

May-09-10  talfan: "But 30 years later he still had a great run in the Candidates matches, beating Ribli brilliantly. "

Actually the match was a draw, and Smislov won in a roullete spin. Talk about fairness( not that was Smyslov's fault)!! Even so, it was a fantastic achievement reaching the final at his sixties.

May-09-10  TugasKamagong: Actually Smyslov did indeed beat Ribli brilliantly in the semifinals of the 1983 Candidates' matches. The score was 3-1 with 7 draws, or 6.5 points for Smyslov and 4.5 for Ribli. When <Domdaniel> used the word "brilliantly" it was probably because he recalled this game:

Smyslov vs Ribli, 1983

Prior to that, in the quarterfinals, Smyslov-Huebner had been a 7-7 stand-off, 1 win each and 12 draws. That was the match that was decided by a spin of the roulette wheel.

Aug-13-10  hasany81: I can't view the game to the end. Please help me.
Dec-02-10  hedgeh0g: <kevin86>: <The pawn will queen.>

Thank God for kibitzing...

Dec-13-10  whiteshark: <hedgeh0g: <kevin86>: <The pawn will queen.>

Thank God for kibitzing...> I couldn't help laughing lustily. :D

Feb-06-13  Eyal: A year too late.
Premium Chessgames Member
  naresb: That's the Ultimate Tactical play from Kasparov, Whether there are any chances for Kramnik? 32... Kg6 followed by transition to Kh5-Kh4-Kg3. Could that have created some chances for Kramnik?
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the last (10th) round of this 6 player double round robin; Kasparov was a half a point behind Kramnik entering the round so this result was decisive. 11..Ke8 was a new move; in the title match the previous year Kramnik had preferred 11..Kc8 with the idea of ..b6 and ..Kb7. With 15..Nf4?! Kramnik underestimated Kasparov's pawn sacrifice 16 e6!; better was 15..c5 which has been played a few times since this game. Kramnik spent an hour on 17..c5 but Kasparov thought that 17..Rh7 might have been a stronger move. Kasparov was it too much of a hurry to win back his pawn with 20 Bxg7?!; 20 f4 would have been better.

Stohl after 25 Rxd1:

"The preceeding setries of forced moves has led to a deceptively simple endgame. Although White has admittedly squandered a part of his advantage, his better pawn-structure still remains a permanent factor of the position. Once he fully consolidates his ranks, he can start advancing his kingside pawns, so Black must hurry up and seek activity. Kramnik realizes this, but his bid for counterplay requires accuracy and this in turn is complicated by the lack of time on his clock."

25..Nf4?! 26 Kh1 worked to White's advantage as the g-pawn was taboo; better was 26..Nd4 going for queenside counterplay. White avoided the knight ending with 28 Rxd5..Nxd5 26 Nb4 which would have been unclear.

A great game by Kasparov.

May-29-18  ewan14: Did Boris Spassky not play the Berlin back in the sixties ( as opposed to the Marshall ) ?
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