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Vladimir Kramnik vs Garry Kasparov
Korchnoi Birthday KO (2001) (rapid), Zuerich SUI, rd 3, Apr-29
Queen's Gambit Declined: Vienna. Quiet Variation (D44)  ·  1-0



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Given 55 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-11-10  montezuma44: Actually it's 8-7 for Anand in classical chess.
Oct-06-10  sevenseaman: While I rate Kasparov the best of the modern, (say after Fischer) world champions, I think Kramnik and Anand are close in sheer chess quality. Its the psychological aspect, a kind of presence or personal aura that Kasparov had the edge in.
Aug-15-11  newzild: A possible pun: "Birthday Bash".

Kramnik's combo is absolutely brilliant, and this definitely deserves to be GOTD. I initially wondered about Kaspy's 30...h5, as it allowed Kramnik to play 31. b3! and trap the bishop. Should Kaspy have played 30...Bc4 instead? No - the a-pawn wins the bishop in any case.

Aug-15-11  positionalgenius: <Birthday bash"> is certainly a fitting pun my good sir.
Aug-15-11  Ulhumbrus: The move 8...b4?! weakens an entire group of points on Black's entire Queen side.

10 Nxf6+!! loses time with the N but may be intended to avoid greater difficulties after 10 Ne4-d2 ( heading for b3) or 10 b3.

After 24 Bxa6!! Black's Queen is overworked. She is tied to the defence of the Rook on d4 and cannot therefore capture White's Biahop.

After 24...Rxd1 25 Rxd1 the Black Queen is still overworked but in a different way because after the move 25 Rxd1 the black Queen is tied to the defence of the b4 pawn in order to defend the potential threat of 26 Qxb4+ and so cannot capture White's Bishop: 25...Qxa6 26 Qxb4+ Ke8 27 Rd6! Qa7 28 Rb6 Nd5 29 Qb5+ Kf8 30 Rxb7 Qd4 31 Rxf7+ Kg8 32 Qa8 mate

After 29 Nxb4 if Black attempts to avoid getting his bishop trapped by 29...Bc4 on 30 Rc8! Bd5 31 Nxd5 exd5 32 a5!! it seems that the a pawn cannot be stopped eg 32...Ke7 33 a6 Rg8 34 a7 Nf6 35 a7-a8/Q

To add to the comments of other kibitzers here, this game seems worthy of a brilliancy prize.

Dec-06-11  engineerX: This has not been game of the day yet. Is it because there are many in front of it in the queue?
Feb-04-12  fokers13: <ulhumbrus> instead of 30..Bd5? Be2! leads to a very much drawn R+N ending.The text also leads to a similar drawn ending only instead of the losing 30..h5?? Kaspy should have played e5 allowing the K to escape through e6 in the event of Nc6+
Feb-04-12  drukenknight: does 33...g4 improve this any?
Feb-04-12  fokers13: Black can't play 33..g4:P
Jul-16-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Kramnik vs Kasparov, 2001.
Your score: 63 (par = 61)


Oct-18-12  Mudphudder: Kramnik once again with an amazing sacrifice in order to obtain passed pawns for the win!!!
Sep-18-13  TheMacMan: what if garry would have played .29 Bc4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Interesting game
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <hellopolgar> It seems that maybe Nc4 was much stronger than Bxa6:

Vladimir Kramnik - Garry Kasparov, Korchnoi Birthday KO 2001

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 x64:

1. (2.70): 24.Nc4 Rxc4 25.Bxc4 Rc8 26.Bb3 a5 27.Rxc8 Bxc8 28.Qe5 Bb7 29.Rc1 Bc6 30.Qc5+ Qxc5 31.Rxc5 Kd6 32.Rxa5 Ne4 33.Ra7 Nc5 34.Bc2 b3 35.Bd1 Bb7 36.Be2 Kc7 37.Ra5 Kd6 38.Kf1 f6 39.Bb5 Kd5 40.Ke2 Kd4 41.f3 e5 42.Ra7 2. (0.97): 24.a5 Qxa5 25.Nc4 Qb5 26.Ne3
3. (0.73): 24.Qe3 Qd6 25.Be2 Rc8 26.Rxd4 Rxc1+ 27.Qxc1 Qxd4 28.Qc7+ Nd7 29.Qxb7 Qxe5 30.Qxb4+ Qc5 31.Qd2 Qc6 32.Qg5+ Ke8 33.Qxg7 Qxa4 34.Qxh7 Qa1+ 35.Bf1 Qxb2 4. (0.54): 24.Bxa6 Rxd1 25.Qxd1 Bxa6

(Doe, 24.02.2014)

Jul-28-14  rossvassilev: I agree with TheMacMan: I think 29..Bc4 would have saved the game for Garry, at least a draw. Anyone care to disagree?
Nov-18-17  Timi: Move 24 from White should be a Sunday Puzzle
Aug-08-18  Caleb554: It is rather telling that Kramnik has plus score against(5-4) Kasparov in classical chess. Kramnik's first victory over Kasparov was in Linares 1994 when he was 18 years old. Kasparov edges with one game (22-21) if blitz and rapid are included.

I think Kramnik was as good as Kasparov in purely chess terms. Kramnik has huge benefit of studying Kasparov's and Karpov's games and also great soviet education which Karpov and Kasparov contributed a lot. Kasparov has more attacking talent, ability to play dynamic chess, keep positions sharp and play a sharp chess from the opening. Kramnik had better understanding of positional and strategic elements and could fight on board like a street-fighter, defending in positions he is worse very tenaciously.

Feb-25-21  Gaito: The position after 23.Ne5 is well worth a detailed post-mortem analysis (See diagram below):

click for larger view

To be sure, in a classical game with plenty of time to think, Kasparov would have found the correct move 23...a5 with equality, but being short of time (there was no increment in this game) he blundered with 23...Rd4?? Kramnik was presumably pressed by the clock too, and so he did not have time to find the correct refutation: 24.Nc4! Instead, he played the flashy (but not altogether correct) 24...Bxa6?, and he was lucky to win anyway thanks that Black would blunder again on move 29. After the hypothetical 24.Nc4! Black would have had to surrender the exchange with 24...Rxc4, because 24...Qa7? would lose quickly to 25.Qxb4+, whereas 24...Qc5 would also lose to 25.Ne3 Qe5 26.Nf5+ winning outright. Therefore we would have 24.Nc4! Rxc4 (forced) 25.Bxc4 Rc8 26.Bf1 Rxc1 (best) 27.Rxc1 (see diagram below):

click for larger view

Black has a pawn for the exchange, but White seems to have a clear advantage: his king is safer than Black's king, and White's pieces enjoy great freedom and mobility. I believe that Kramnik would easily have won this position against Kasparov or anybody.

Feb-25-21  Gaito: "Good players are often lucky" said Capablanca. After having missed to snatch his chance to win with 24.Nc4!, Kramnik was lucky to have a second opportunity in the following position:

click for larger view

Black might have assured the draw with 29...Bc4. Instead, he blundered again with 29...Be2?? Kramnik would not give his opponent a second chance to escape alive, so that after 29...Be2?? White played 30.f3! and suddenly Black's bishop is found in a most uncomfortable place with real danger of being trapped, as 30...Bc4 doesn't work now on account of 31.Rc8! Bd5 32.a5 and this pawn would run quickly for promotion. Kasparov realized that he was playing with a rook down, and so he decided that the quickest way to bring his rook into the game was by 30....h5, followed by ...Rh8-h6-g6. That meant three tempi to get his rook into the game, and Kramnik needed only two tempi to trap Black's bishop with b3 and Kf2. Thus the ouotcome of the game was decided. After 30...h5 31.b3 (he could as well have played Kf2 first) Rh6 32.Kf2 the black bishop has been trapped. White's final moves were instructive: 32...Rg6 33.Kxe2 Rxg2+ 34.Kd3 Rg3 35.a5! (he doesn't mind to have his f3 pawn captured with check, as the promotion of his a pawn is far more important. This reminds me of a famous ending Capablanca vs. Tartakower, N.Y., 1924, where Capa didn't mind to have his pawns captured with check)

Feb-25-21  Gaito: Just for the sake of comparison. Take a look at the following diagram, from the famous ending Capablanca vs. Tartakower, N.Y., 1924.

click for larger view

Capablanca did not mind having his pawns captured with check, as he saw that the promotion of his g pawn was far more important: 35.Kg3! Rxc3+ 36.Kh4 Rf3 37.g6 Rxf4+ 38.Kg5 Re4 39.Kf6!, etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: I realize that this was only a 'rapid' encounter, and I could well be missing something (very likely)... but couldn't White have played 17.Nb5 (threatening Nb5-c7+)?

If Black responds with 17... O-O? - then 18.Bxh7+!

Just a thought!?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Yuridmi: The 17. Nb5 route looked good to me too. Then merciless "Fritz" played 17. ... Qg2 and announced, "Eso es jaque mate, Amigo!"

In 1986 I would have played 17. Nb5, gotten mated, and then bought a round of Mint Juleps for the whole South Louisiana Chess Club

Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: <Yuridmi> Many thanks indeed....

I am sipping on my Mint Julep now 😌

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I love the mint julep season! You can't buy it in a can, a mint julep in a can is waay to sweet, undrinkable. But, a good bartender can make a heavenly mint julep, just the right amount of mint, just sweet enough.
Sep-18-23  Nimzowi: I was in Hotel Savoy in Z�rich to watch this tournament. I can give you a few informations about this game: - the assumption that Kramnik hadn't seen Nc4! is ridiculous. He had a long think before Bxa6. I had seen Nc4, I didn't even consider another move. The IM sitting next to me also mentioned Nc4, another friend I spoke to after the game also considered only Nc4. We didn't know if it was winning, but we saw it, liked it and assessed it as much better for white. After the game, we were under shock of the beauty of the game, we probably assumed, at least it was my case, that Bxa6 was even stronger. Wrong, of course. In his notes, Kramnik explained Nc4 is simpler, gave the technically winning line after Nc4:and added:" but I was already aimed at the following combination". He also said that for him Bxa6 was giving him an advantage in all variations. - It seemed to me that everyone in the room was shocked by Bxa6!!??, except one guy: Garry Kasparov. For me this was the second surprise, Garry obviously expected the move and very quickly took the rook on d1. I was like "What the hell??😅" Not because of the rook move but because he played it after just a couple of seconds. - Garry was shocked by another move, however, a move that not many people have commented on, a move I was expecting even though I didn't understand the position: the very next one. Kramnik recaptures immediately the rook with his own rook, but Kasparov had expected a recapture by the queen. For the 3rd time in a row I was shocked, this time because of Garry's surprise after what seemed like the most natural recapture. In his notes, Kramnik made no secret about it: "Exactly this move turned out to be a surprise for Kasparov (judging by his reaction)..." and gave a short line leading to a balanced position after the queen recapture. - Vladimir also considered 26.a5 during the game, leading to a dangerous attack after 26...Qc5 27.Rc1, Qb5 28.Rc7+ - Kramnik rightly called 29...Be2 the decisive mistake, and analysed both 29...Ke7 (the move I would have played) and 29...Bb7 to a win for white. He called 29...Bc4 the correct continuation, gave a line concluding "White has big advantage, but it's not that easy to win". Imo this assessment and the beauty of the combination explain his decision to go for Bxa6 instead of Nc4!. Personally, I'm so glad he chose Bxa6!!? - I only understood Vladimir's idea after 30.f3!,and would have therefore answered the move with ...Bc4, despite the loss of tempo. Kramnik correctly analysed this variation to a win for white in his notes. Let me add there was a huge ovation when Kasparov resigned. Garry was not happy at all but behave correctly and politely during the prize ceremony. My friend and me were still under shock by what we had witnessed, my friend calling Vladimir "The Boss". To this day, this is the most beautiful and deepest combination I have witnessed live, even though Nc4 was objectively the right move.
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