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Vladimir Kramnik vs Boris Gelfand
Dortmund Sparkassen (2007), Dortmund, GER, rd 2, Jun-24
Semi-Slav Defense: Stoltz. Center Variation (D45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-25-07  Karpova: Some people are indeed not able to get that Kramnik was sick before the tournament started and recovered. Therefore he's not suffering from this sickness anymore or he wouldn't have played.

Great play by Kramnik - stubbornly defending Gelfand couldn't save the game.

Jun-25-07  Wilson H. L.: Well, Gelf didn't have his birthday present over the board yesterday but Kramnik got his in advance. Great play and interesting ending.
Jun-25-07  Eyal: <drawocoward: <Calli: well, supposedly Kramnik's 43.Ne6 is not good because 43...g6 44.b5 Bxb5 45.Nf8 Kd5 allows the Black K to get back. So, no, not as good as Smyslov ;-> So what should he have played instead of Ne6?>

He should have played 43.b5! And now:

43...Bxb5 44.Nh5 winning either f or g pawn.

43...Kxb5 44.Ne6 and Black can't protect the g pawn because of the fork threat on c7.

43...Kc5 44.Ne6+ followed by Nxg7.

43...g6 44.b6 Bc6 45.Ne6 Kb5 (otherwise Nd8 followed by b7 wins) 46.Nf8 winning either g or h pawn.

43...g5 44.Nh5 f5 (45...Bxh5 46.b6 queens) 45.Nf6 followed by Nxh7.

And in none of these lines is the white knight "trapped" as in <Calli>'s line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: A very good game for Kramnik. Some people thought he missed a simple win on move 43 and Gelfand a draw on that same move. However I gave variations which may give winning prospects but this needs further examination.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. e4!? Nxe4 8. Nxe4 dxe4 9. Qxe4 c5 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxe7 Qa5+ 12. Ke2 Kxe7 13. g3 cxd4 14. Bg2 <A novelty. 14.Qxd4 was played in Kharlov vs O Korneev, 2002 which was an early draw.> Nf6 15. Qxd4 <White has a small edge. His Queen side majority is slightly stronger than Black’s King side majority.> Rd8 16. Qf4 <defending d2, to play Ne5 without allowing Black to invade his 2nd rank.> Bd7 17. Ne5 Be8 18. Rhd1 Qb6 <18...Rxd1 19.Rxd1! Qxa2? 20.Qd2 (threatens Qb4+ or Qd6+) Kf8 21.Bxb7, White wins.> 19. b3 Rxd1 20. Rxd1 Rd8 21. Rxd8 Qxd8?! <21...Kxd8 was better. The move actually played is correct from the tactical point of view. But it increases White’s positional advantage. White gets a strong passed pawn on the c file.> 22. Bxb7 Qa5 23. Qe3 <23.a4 Qb6.> Qxa2+ 24. Kf1 Qa5 <Impedes Qc5+.> 25. Bf3 Qb6 26. c5 Bb5+ 27. Kg2 Qc7 28. c6 <threatens Qc5+ with double attack.> a6 29. Qc5+ Ke8 <Only move. 29...Qd6? 30.Qa7+ wins. 29...Kd8? 30.Qf8+ wins too.> 30. b4 Nd5!? <A desperate attempt to release the stranglehold.> 31. Bxd5 exd5 32. Qxd5 Kf8 <First, as 32...f6? 33.Qg8+ wins.> 33. f3! <The purpose of this move will be clear on move 35.> f6 34. Nd7+ Ke7 35. Qg8 <17. Now we see the point of 33.f3. There is no check if Black takes the “c6” pawn.> Kd6 <35...Bxc6? 36.Nc5!, Black can’t defend his King side pawns.> 36. Nc5! <the mating threat wins a very important tempo.> Qe7 <18. 36...Kxc6 37.Qxh7.> 37. Qc8! <15. 37.Qxh7? Qe2+ 38.Kh3 Qxf3 39.Qxg7 Qh5+ with at least a draw.> Bxc6 <37...Qe2+ 38.Kh3 Qxf3? does not work. 39.Qe6+ mates quickly. Neither 37...Qe2+ 38.Kh3 Qf1+ 39.Kg4, the White’s King is safe.> 38. Qxa6 <Winning a pawn and defending at the same time “e2”.> Qe3 39. Qd3+! <Transposing in a winning ending.> Qxd3 40. Nxd3 Be8 <25.> 41. Kf2 Kd5 42. Nf4+! Kc4 43. Ne6!? <43.b5! Kxb5 (43...Bxb5 44.Nh5) 44.Ne6 followed by Nxg7 seems to be a clear win.> Kxb4? <Gelfand avoided the 2 critical variations. 43...g6 44.Nf8 h6 45.Kd4 should give winning prospects. Or 43...g5 44.Ke3 and again it seems that the connected action of the King and the Knight gives winning propects.> 44. Nxg7 Bf7 45. Nf5 Kc5 46. Nh6 Bb3 <46...Bh5 47.g4 Be8 48.Ng8, White wins.> 47. Ng4 f5 48. Nf6 h6 49. Ke3 Kd6 50. Kf4 Ke6 <50...Bc2 (or 50...Bd1) 51.Ng8 h5 52.Nf6, White wins. 50...Be6 51.Ne8+ followed by Ng7, White wins.> 51. Ng8 Bc2 <51...h5 52.Kg5 wins again.> 52. Nxh6 <Now Black could resign.> Kf6 53. g4 fxg4 54. fxg4 Kg6 55. Nf5 Bd3 56. h4 Be2 57. h5+ Kh7 58. Kg5 Bd3 59. Kh4 Kg8 60. Nd6 Kg7 61. g5 Bc2 62. Nc4 1-0

Jun-25-07  acirce: <He should have played 43.b5! And now:

43...Bxb5 44.Nh5 winning either f or g pawn.>

After getting the g-pawn, what is the winning plan?

What would be the problem with 43.Ne6 g6 44.Ke3 ? I don't see why people feel the need to hurry with b5. If Black has to play Kxb4 his king will be further away from action (for example 44..Kxb4 45.Kd4!) If there is a draw here, Black has to play very precisely. There is no 44..Kd5 either.

Presumably Kramnik simply felt that it was unnecessary to allow Black's king in so fast (43.b5 Bxb5 44.Nh5 Kd4) and it was better to use the b-pawn to keep it away.

Jun-25-07  newton296: kramnik sure knows how to use a knight. He never fails to get the win with a knight + pawn vs bishop. And thats not an easy task. Classic kramnik here. Great end game !
Jun-25-07  newton296: from move 28 to move 40 kramnik creates a win out of thin air by playing 1 perfect move after another. At move 28 It looks dead even to me but big vlady proves that looks are deceiving . Unreal!!
Jun-25-07  newton296: gelfand must have been shocked that he couldn't draw this. (ailing my butt is what gelf must have thought) lol!
Jun-25-07  Yuri54: At first I was taken off guard by Gelfand's king recapture of the bishop. Then I experienced deja vu when Kramnik also recaptured a piece with his king, leaving it in the center as well. But after that it dawned on me that these are super GM's playing at the most elite levels of competition, and they probably know what they're doing. It is striking though how both kings avoid immediate danger-- like Kramnik and Gelfand prepared these lines at home. At least Kramnik can't be accused of playing boring chess here.
Jun-26-07  Karpova: Kramnik wasn't sick when playing this game but almost fully recovered: <<Did you fully recover from the little illness you had before the tournament?>

I’m on the way to recover fully, I still have little problems but basically I’m quite okay already and for the moment I manage to play chess on decent level so everything seems to be fine.>

And on Dortmund/Mexico:

<<Allright, actually, Dortmund, is that your last tournament before Mexico?>

Yes. So okay, it’s a good training for me and of course I also would like to win this tournament once again but first of all I consider it as a good training for Mexico so I’ll try to play long games, I will try to fight and to get into good shape.>

Jun-26-07  newton296: gelfand no doubt had studied the middle game before recapturing the bishop with his king. So i figure it's alright here.
Jul-01-07  Chessmensch: Spielman analyzes this game in considerable detail in his Guardian/Observer column dated July 1, 2007.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Probably, Speelman did the analysis. If it was Spielman then that is really front page news.
Jul-03-07  Chessmensch: Sorry. It was my spelling error. Speelman it is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AgentRgent: <plang: Probably, Speelman did the analysis. If it was Spielman then that is really front page news.> LOL!
Sep-27-07  chessamateur: When I first saw this game, I said to myself Kramnik is an artist.
Dec-24-07  notyetagm: This superb win by Kramnik is annotated in detail by Kramnik himself in New In Chess Magazine 2007/5 (


'This year it was relatively easy. Things went very smoothly and I was getting everything in the openings that I wanted. I was getting some pressure even if I was not showing anything, no real novelties, which was also my goal.' Those were the words of Vladimir Kramnik after he had won Dortmund for a record eighth(!) time. In his last serious event before Mexico, Kramnik coasted to victory with superior ease, finishing with a one-point lead after only seven rounds.

Don't miss the World Champion's in-depth (but highly lucid!) notes to his win against Gelfand.>

Dec-24-07  notyetagm: Is this game yet another <Chess Informant Best Game Prize> winner for Kramnik, for Informant 100?

Was there a better played game in the trimester May-August 2007 than this one? I cannot think of a better game.

Dec-24-07  KamikazeAttack: Ok notyetagm, let's get one thing str8 buddy.

I welcome "your being a big Kramnik fan now", "ardent admirer" and all that. Oh yes I really do.

But I draw the line when u start competing against me for the position of Kramnik's #1 fan:)!

Dec-24-07  notyetagm: <KamikazeAttack: Ok notyetagm, let's get one thing str8 buddy.>

When Kramnik played like crap in 2005 (remember -2 at M-Tel 2005? +0 at the Category 17 2005 Russian Ch.?), I said he played like crap, not making excuses for his poor play at the time, which we now know was caused by his illness and the mind-numbing medication it required.

But now that Kramnik is playing masterpiece after masterpiece with the White pieces, and will be the new World #1 in 8 days, I give Kramnik all the credit that he so richly deserves.

Feb-13-08  Treadhead57: These two played each other eight times in 2007 in this database. Five of the games were draws, the other three were won by Kramnik. Of the eight games, seven of them were a QGD variation. None of this diminishes the fact that this was an extremely well played game by both players. It just happens that Kramnik brought his A+ game to the table while Gelfand brought his A game. Thanks to <Mateo> for his analysis.
Jun-18-18  Omnipotent00001: 54. fxg4 is mate in 24.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Omnipotent00001> Your 127th quality post today. ;)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: All of which have been consigned to iggydumb--do not need to view all this rubbish.
Jun-19-18  ChessHigherCat: The antidote to the replicating omnipresent multiple zero virus is the ignore button
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