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Garry Kasparov vs Vladimir Kramnik
Kasparov - Kramnik Classical World Championship Match (2000), London ENG, rd 1, Oct-08
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Berlin Wall J. Rogers Line (C67)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-09-04  Bobak Zahmat: Quite fast draw. But still a game with traps and things to learn from.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <still a game with traps> I could not find a single trap. A typical first game match with a fast draw.
May-21-07  inthestepsofTal: Fischer wouldnt have drewn so quickly here. As someone said, Fischer knew that if you played out a boring game to the end, funny things could happen. That was proved in his road to the world championship.
Nov-15-07  qskakaley: Why can't White play 10.Ng5 intending a fork on f7? OBVIOUSLY, Black is not going to allow this, but which is Black's best continuation? 10...Ke8 ? I am going to be honest, I feel like there HAS to be a way to exploit Black's open king and imprisoned rook on a8! Then again, Garry and many others have played the Berlin and haven't found the answer, so who am I to judge?
Jan-09-08  littlefermat: inthestepsofTal,

Kasparov was down on time, the following website gives annotations and commentary of the 2000 WCC.

Jan-09-08  acirce: A short game but one of very high technical quality, at least from Black's side.

White has no advantage at all in the final position and even though there may be play left it's hard to see very realistic winning chances. Black had simply solved all his problems and it was time to offer a draw. Also considering the clock situation it was naturally accepted.

A very successful first game for Kramnik, gaining a fairly safe draw with Black and showing that the main weapon he had prepared with Black seemed to work. His seconds were terrified during the game and thought several times that Black's position was near a collapse and only survived by some kind of miracle but Kramnik didn't understand what they were talking about when they told him. But it is indeed fascinating to study how Black always has to be extremely precise in timing. Overall, the Berlin is an extremely interesting line full of the most intricate subtleties. It also gives rise to very aesthetically pleasing games. I wish Kramnik would start playing it again (unless of course the reason he stopped playing it is that he simply doesn't consider it as good as he used to).

Feb-22-08  Curtis Flowers: It's a solid defense for the black pieces.
Sep-11-08  Karpova: Vladimir Kramnik: <I had to get used to the conditions of the World Championship match. I wasn't looking at Kasparov and his reaction to the Berlin - I wasn't up to that, I had to get into the match, in conditions of colossal stress and excitement. With all the unexpectedness of the choice of the Berlin, Kasparov nevertheless knew the theory of this variation and followed the moves of a game that had been played a couple of months before the match.

I should point out that grandmaster Almasi became one of my main assistants, without realising it himself. He was the first to use the interesting plan with the retreat of the king to c8 rather than e8, he suggested it to me, as it were. I offered the draw in Game 1, it was important to me to hold my own, to show that I'd come out for the first World Championship game of my life, calmly made a draw and got into the match. It was still a very unfamiliar situation, like playing all your life for Lokomotiv and then coming out to play for Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League. Of course, you have to get used to the new situation, kick the ball a couple of times so they don't laugh at you. To understand and prove yourself that you're at that level, that you're worthy of it.>

Bareev, Evgeny & Levitov, Ilya: "From London to Elista", Alkmaar, 2007, pages 38-39

Sep-27-08  Cactus: Supposedly, Kasparov had less than ten minutes when they agreed to a draw. So perhaps Kramnik should have continued?
Oct-10-08  kozo: <Cactus> Black is in absolutely no position to be taking the advantage, he has just fortified his position and blockaded white's pawn majority. The only way of playing on I can see other than just repeating moves is Rh5-h8-d8, where the exchanges don't seem to help.
Oct-10-08  percyblakeney: It isn't often Kramnik plays for a win with black, and in this position in a first match game against Kasparov it would have been surprising if he had wanted to play on. Topalov played to win with black in the first game in 2006 instead of taking the draw and that didn't end to well for him...
Oct-10-08  percyblakeney: Come to think of it, Kramnik has actually won not only the first game, but also his first games with black, in the matches against Leko and Topalov. Against Kasparov he won the second game, after this draw. It will be interesting to see if he once again gets a great start.
Nov-11-08  newzild: I wouldn't take a draw with white here. He has a pawn majority on the kingside. It's interesting that this position is considered equal by K and K.
Oct-05-11  visayanbraindoctor: Analysis at Bridgeburner chessforum by User: bridgeburner



Kasparov vs Kramnik, 2000 is the <first game of the Kasparov-Kramnik World Championship Match (2000)>, which was set up by the Braingames organization during the split from FIDE.

Quantitative mapping of this game between these players follows. Figures in brackets immediately after each move are the corrected engine evaluations generated on the forward slide that followed the initial reverse slide originating from the last move of the game after all moves had been inputted into the engine. Some evaluations are bolstered by analysis, while some are the result of further –occasionally multiple - slides in one or both directions. This smoothed out nearly all fluctuations in the engine’s evaluations, apart from in the opening.

General methods used are described in the bio of User: bridgeburner (at the top of this page).

Engine preferences are included throughout the game where they differ from players preferences except in the well trodden opening, where evaluation values are included for completeness rather than in the interests of complete accuracy which is not knowable in the opening.

Some analysis is included to provide some idea of the reason for the engine preferences where they didn’t coincide with the moves played. In this game, despite it having theoretical importance, the variations were not explored in depth (ie: move by move deep slide), and therefore the variations posted next to the engine preferences are a cut and paste of engine analysis, albeit an extremely deep ply cumulative result of sliding back and forth along the main line.


The first game was a typically cautious opening foray, with cautious probing by Kasparov to test Kramnik’s defence. After the opening novelty by Kramnik, the game quickly settled into a draw much to the relief of some of Kramnik’s excitable assistants. While the game may have had some razor wire variations, neither player erred. This game stabilized Kramnik’s confidence in himself as a credible challenger and provided the platform for his victory in the second game and ultimately, the match itself.

Oct-05-11  visayanbraindoctor: PART 2


Commentary for this game is extracted from Karsten Mueller ’s online publication <Kasparov-Kramnik 2000).


<1. e4> (0.21) <1…e5> (0.21)

<2. Nf3> (0.21) <2. ..Nc6> (0.26)

Müller: <A bit of a surprise, since normally the Petroff with 2...Nf6 is Kramnik’s main weapon against 1.e4.>


<3. Bb5> (0.22)

Müller: <!? Kasparov is not to be outdone and plays the Ruy Lopez instead of the Scotch. It is apparent that both players have worked out some unusual openings strategies for this match.>


<3…Nf6> (0.22)

Müller: <The Berlin Defense is not encountered as often as the main variation with 3...a6, but it doesn’t have a bad reputation. Initially both players follow well-known paths to the endgame.>


<4. 0-0> (0.13) <4…Nxe4> (0.14)

<5. d4> (0.13) <5…Nd6> (0.13)

This appears to have been first played by James Innes Minchin against George Alcock MacDonnell in 1866, a novelty that allowed him to draw against the famous player.


<6. Bxc6> (0.13) <6…dxc6> (0.13)

<7. dxe5> (0.13) <7…Nf5> (0.13)

Minchin played <7…Ne4> and drew. While the stats show it is a reasonable defense, this move has been superceded by the now universally played text move, successfully introduced by Fritz Riemann in 1880 in his Berlin match against Emil Schallopp. Schallop’s response was <8. Qe2> which was met by <8…Nd5>, soon winning a pawn and eventually, the game.


<8. Qxd8+> () <8…Kxd8> (0.13)

Müller: <This is an interesting and often discussed position. White has a vital extra pawn on the kingside, and Black cannot castle. In return, Black has the bishop-pair and no easily exploitable weaknesses. Opinions about the evaluation of the position are inconclusive. We will see if the discussion is taken up again in the course of this match.>


<9. Nc3> (0.13)

Lasker experimented with 9. g4 in a 1901 simul and was soundly beaten: Lasker vs A Y Hesse, 1901. Unsurprisingly, it never caught on and there is no record in the database of this move being played again.


<9…Bd7> (0.13)

According to the database, this move debuted in this game. The earliest response to 9. Nc3 was 9…h6 in Wemmers vs F Riemann, 1880, a move which was played almost universally until it was gradually supplanted in late 20th century theory.


<10. b3> (0.03)

10. h3 has since become more popular, and if results are any indication, is a better move.


<10…h6> (0.19)

<11.Bb2 > (0.21) <11…Kc8> (0.54)

<12. h3> (0.41)

Müller: <This is Garry’s novelty. Kramnik now responds in a way that makes it difficult for White to achieve g4, because it can be attacked with h7-h5. 12.Rad1 a5 13.h3 b6 14.a4 Bb4 15.Ne2 Re8 16.Nf4 g6 17.g4 Ng7 18.Rd3 Ne6 19.Nxe6 Bxe6 20.Nd4 Bd7 21.Ne2 Bd6 22.f4 f5 23.exd6 Rxe2 24.dxc7 Kxc7 25.Be5+ Kc8 26.Rfd1 Be6 27.Rd6 1–0, Shirov vs Krasenkow, 2000>.


<12…b6> (0.46)

Engine preference: <12….a5> (+0.41) <13.Rad1 Be7 14.a4 15.Nxh4 Bxh4 16.Ba3 Bf5 17.Rd4 Bg5 18.f4 Bh4 19.Rd2 Rd8 20.Re2 21.Kh2 c5 22.g3 Be7 23.g4 Bd7 24.Nd5 Bh4 25.Rd1>

Oct-05-11  visayanbraindoctor: PART 3


<13. Rad1> (0.44)

Müller: <Kasparov has 1:13 remaining vs. 1:48 for Kramnik, which tells us who stayed in the main line of his preparation longest. The position is a bit better for White, but the black bishops are not easy to overcome.>

Engine preference: <13. a4> (+0.54) <13…a5 14.Rad1 Be7 15.Rd3 Nh4 16.Nxh4 Bxh4 17.Ne2 Bf5 18.Rf3 Bxc2 19.Rxf7 Bxb3 20.Rxg7 Re8 21.Nd4 Bxa4 22.Nf5 Bd8 23.Nxh6 Be7 24.f4 Bf8 25.Rh7>


<13…Ne7> (0.47)

Engine preference: <13…Be7> (+0.44): <14.Rd2 a5 15.a4 Rd8 16.Rfd1 Nh4 17.Nxh4 Bxh4 18.Ne2 Bf5 19.Rxd8+ Bxd8 20.Nd4 Bd7 21.Re1 g6 22.e6 fxe6 23.Nxe6 Kb7 24.Nf8 Bf5 25.Re2 h5>


<14. Ne2> (0.41)

Engine preferences:

1. <14. Rd2> (+0.47) <14…Bf5 15.Ne2 Kb7 16.Ng3 Be6 17.Rfd1 Ng6 18.Nh5 Rg8 19.Nd4 Bd7 20.f4 Bb4 21.Rd3 Be7 22.c4 Raf8 23.a4>

2. <14.Rfe1> (+0.43) <14… c5 15.Ne2 Ng6 16.h4 h5 17.Ng5 Be7 18.Nxf7 Rf8 19.Ng3 Bg4 20.e6 Bxh4 21.Bxg7 Re8 22.Rd3 Rxe6 23.Rxe6 Bxe6 24.Ne5 Nxe5 25.Bxe5>

3. <14. Ne4> (+0.41)


<14…Ng6> (0.41)

<15. Ne1> (0.41) <15…h5> (0.41)

<16.Nd3 > (+0.24)

Müller: < Kasparov has only 39 minutes left, which indicates that he has had problems finding a plan that would bring serious danger to his opponent. 16.Nf3!? 16 Ng5 was also possible, and takes advantage of the fact that 15...h5 has weakened the g5-square.>

Engine preferences:

1. <16. Kh2> (+0.41): <16…h4 17.f4 c5 18.Nc3 Ne7 19.Nf3 Nf5 20.Rfe1 Be7 21.Rd2 Be6 22.Nd5 Kb7 23.c4 Rae8 24.Kg1 c6 25.Nxe7>

2. <16. c4> (+0.40): <16…h4 17.Kh2 c5 18.Nc2 Be6 19.Ne3 Rh5 20.f4 Ne7 21.Nc3 Kb7 22.Ncd5 Re8 23.Ng4 Rd8 24.Nde3 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 g6 26.Nf6 Rh8 27.Neg4>

3. <16. f4> (+0.32): <16…Nh4 17.c4 Bc5+ 18.Bd4 Bxd4+ 19.Nxd4 c5 20.Ndf3 Nf5 21.Kf2 Bc6 22.Nc2 Kb7 23.Ne3 Nxe3 24.Kxe3 Rhe8 25.Rfe1 Rad8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.f5 a5 28.h4>


<16…c5> (+0.40)

Engine preference:

1. <16…Kb7> (+0.24): <17.Nc5+ Bxc5 18.Rxd7 Rae8 19.Rxf7 Nxe5 20.Bxe5 Rxe5 21.Nf4 Rf8 22.Rxf8 Bxf8 23.Ng6 Re8 24.Nxf8 Rxf8 25.Rd1 g6 26.Rd7 b5 27.Kf1 Rf5 28.Ke2 Kb6

2. <16…a5> (+0.30): <17.Rfe1 Bb4 18.c3 Be7 19.c4 a4 20.Nd4 Nf8 21.Bc3 Kb7 22.Nf4 axb3 23.axb3 Ra2 24.e6 fxe6 25.Ndxe6 Bxe6 26.Nxe6 Nxe6 27.Rxe6 Bc5>


<17. c4> (+0.19)

Müller: < Closing up the position is advantageous for White. Black’s bishop-pair is better in open positions.>


<17…a5> (+0.20)

Müller: <Kramnik wants to open the a-file for his rook with an eventual a5-a4.>


<18. a4> (+0.00)

Müller: <Kasparov nails down the queenside in typical fashion. Black can no longer mobilize his pawn majority because of the doubled pawn (after ...c6 and ...b5, White simply stays put), while at the same time Kasparov is able to get a passed pawn on the kingside in the long run. Kasparov has 37 minutes left and strolls across the stage looking confident, while Kramnik, who has much more time on his clock, seems quite uncomfortable in his seat.>

Engine preferences:

1. <18. f3> (+0.20)

2. <18. Ne1> (+0.17) <18…Be7>

3. <18. Nc3> (+0.16): <18…Be6>


<18…h4> (0.14)

Müller: <!? Kramnik 49:00. 18...Be7?! 19.Ndf4 Nxf4 20.Nxf4 Bf5 21.Nd5 Bd8 22.Ne3± (Fritz).>

<Engine preference>: <18…Be7> (+0.00): <19.Ne1 Rd8 20.Nc2 Bf5 21.Ne3 Bd3 22.Rfe1 Bg5 23.Nc1 Bb1 24.Rxd8+ Kxd8 25.Rd1+ Kc8 26.Ne2 Ba2 27.Nc1 Bb1 28.Ne2 Ba2 29.Nc1 Bb1>

Oct-05-11  visayanbraindoctor: PART 4


<19. Nc3> (+0.00)

<Engine preference> <19. Ndf4> (+0.14): <19…Bf5 20.Nxg6 Bxg6 21.Rd2 Bf5 22.Nf4>


<19…Be6> (+0.13)

<Engine preferences>: <19…c6> (0.00)


<20. Nd5> (0.13)

Müller: <Even after 20.f4 Rh5 21.Nd5 Kb7 22.Ne3 Ne7 Black can stop f2-f4-f5.>

GAME MOVE 20-21:

<20…Kb7> (0.13)

<21. Ne3> (+0.13) <21…Rh5> (+0.13)

Müller: <This unusual development of the rook is directed against f2-f4-f5.>

GAME MOVE 22-23:

<22. Bc3> (+0.13) <22…Re8> (+0.13)

<23. Rd2> (+0.10)

<Engine preference> <23. Bb2> (+0.13): <23…Bc8 24.Rfe1 Rh8 25.Rd2 Rh5>


<23…Kc8> (+0.36)

<Engine preferences>

1. <23…Be7> (+0.10): <24.f4 Bc8 25.Rfd1 c6>

2. <23…Bc8> (+0.10): <24.Rfd1>

3. <23…Rg5> (+0.18): <24.Kh1 Bc8 25.Kh2 Be6 26.Bb2>


<24. f4> (+0.36) <24…Ne7> (+0.36)

<25. Nf2> (+0.36) <25…Nf5 > (+0.36)

Müller: <Black has achieved a solid blockade; neither side can make any progress>

Draw agreed.

Final position:

click for larger view

<CONCLUSION> The biggest jump in engine evaluations came with Kramnik’s innovation at <11…Kc8> (+0.33), which lead to a well-analyzed position that he was able to hold without apparent difficulty. In fact, Kasparov used up far more time in the opening.

There were no errors as defined in the Project, ie: no evaluation jumps of 0.60 or more.>

Oct-05-11  visayanbraindoctor: Kramnik may have seized the psychological advantage with this game. Kasparov probably had spent tons of effort preparing for the Petrov; and Kramnik just trashed all these efforts.

The psychological hit on Kasparov must be understood in the context that Kasparov's greatest weapon in his career was his unsurpassed opening preparation. His repertoire as white nearly always got him into at least equal middlegames wherein he had room to use his considerable native skills to beat his opponents. Suddenly he realized that Kramnik had neutralized this white advantage, that winning with white would be a real problem. This game was drawish with little room for struggle right out of the opening.

On the other hand, Kramnik's morale must have been tremendously boosted by this game. He realized that he he might just have deprived Kasparov of his biggest weapon.

Now both players understood that Kasparov could not rely on any opening surprise anymore to get into the kind of middlegames that he liked. Kasparov would have to work hard over the board to obtain a winning advantage with white for the rest of the match.

In contrast, in the 1995 WC match Kasparov crushed Anand when he repeatedly obtained advantageous middle games right out of openings that Anand mishandled. Kramnik, who was Kasparov's second in that match, understood this completely; and knew that depriving Kasparov of any opening advantage would double his chances for a possible match victory.

As the match progressed and it became apparent that Kasparov really could not derive any significant advantage over the Berlin, his morale must have kept on sliding down, while Kramnik's confidence kept climbing up.

Jun-19-15  Besheer: Sick !!!! Sure is he kasparov ???!!
Nov-29-15  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 21 Ne3, 21 Ne2-f4 prepares to remove Black's bishop pair by Nxe6. If after that a long slow game does not lead to a win, neither does the text
Jan-05-16  nummerzwei: In his NiC notes, Jonathan Speelman gave an intriguing line: 16. f4 Se7 and now

click for larger view

17.Rxd7 Kxd7 18.f5

click for larger view

calling this 'consequent'. White has given up a full exchange in order only to get control over the light squares and be able to advance the f-pawn.

This is quite unsound according to the engines (don't get me started on common sense!), but certainly thought-provoking. I wonder if any such sacrifice has ever been played in practice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Two months earlier at Polanica Zdroj Almasi and the Krasenkov had played the rarely played 9..Bd7 against Shirov; now it has become one of the main lines. 18..Bf5?! 19 Ng3..Be6 20 f4..h4 21 f5! would have given Kasparov the kingside initiative he wanted. 19..Bf5? would have given White a tempo to achieve f5 after 20 Nd5..Kb7 21 Ne3..Be4 22 f3..Bc6 23 f4. Kramnik's light square blockade on the kingside was quite impressive. They agreed to a draw due to 26 Nxf5..Bxf5 27 Ng4..Be7 28 Ne3..Be6 and now 29 f5? would have been refuted by 29..Bg5!.

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