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Levon Aronian vs Vladimir Kramnik
World Championship Tournament (2007), Mexico City MEX, rd 6, Sep-19
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-19-07  dikankan: Could this be one of Kramnik's least successful games? Not because his play was anything other than impeccable, but because he has helped his future opponents find a defence against the Catalan!
Sep-19-07  SniperOnG7: Or Kramnik could be luring his opponents to play this line against him and then novelty them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I think Kramnik is associated with Ba5 in this variation, not 12. Bg5 as Aronian played. So he has kept his secrets safe.
Sep-19-07  SniperOnG7: But this is Bg5 AFTER Bd2 so it may still be in Kramnik's repotoire.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <But this is Bg5 AFTER Bd2 so it may still be in Kramnik's repotoire.>

Well of course! You can only play Ba5 if you've played Bd2 first, after all. But 10. Bd2 is quite standard and has been around for ever. I don't really know the Catalan, but I remember seeing 10. Bd2 in games in the 1980s.

12. Bg5 doesn't seem like the kind of move Kramnik would favor, which is why I doubt he gave away much in this game. But we'll see (or maybe not, since even if he was planning Bg5, maybe he won't now?).

Sep-19-07  SniperOnG7: This is what I got after some brief research:

As we all know from watching all these Kramnik Catalan masterpieces, Bd2-a5 is the main idea in this variation. Thus obviously 11...Qc8 prevents the pinning of the c-pawn as well as preparing the thematic ...c7-c5 push to get rid of the backward pawn.

Indeed, your point is very valid. Though 12.Bg5 seems the most popular move in this position, other good moves exist too - such as Be3 which I personally find much more positionally cool (though all the moves revolve around the idea of preventing the pawn push either though undermining the c5 square [12.Bg5] or adding an extra guard [12.Be3]).

Anyways, Kramnik what's your opinion? ;)

Sep-19-07  you vs yourself: <Aronian opted for the Catalan seen so often in Kramnik's own games. After 19 Re1 Bxd4? 20 Rd1 c5? 21 Qc2 White sought to benefit from the pin and the awkward location of Black's bishop on c4. 21...e5 was virtually forced. 22 Nxe5 won back the pawn and led to a draw offer, which was accepted. At the press conference someone mentioned that it was yet another draw, and Kramnik said it had been up to his opponent to try and win with the white pieces. Aronian claimed that he played the Catalan to see what Kramnik had in mind. He thought ...Bd5 was probably not good, yet it had worked in practice. Kramnik said that he did not think his title chances were slipping away because of the draws: it was too early for this to be of concern. Alluding to the forthcoming Rybka-Zappa computer match at the Sheraton, a questioner said that the Zappa people had claimed that their program would win the human event without loss. Both players thought it could lose, especially in the opening.>
Sep-20-07  ValmonUni: Catalan??? what's up with arnonian? surely he didn't expect to win this game with kramnik's unique knowledge on this subject.
Sep-20-07  jamesmaskell: Aronian chose an opening that Kramnik plays frequently and almost never loses with. Its a psychological ploy that is coming to greater use these days in the search for new opening theory. By testing the key practitioners of opening against their own openings, you are able to find the more natural moves. If you find something they didnt expect, youve found a possibly very fruitful chink in their armour you can concentrate your opening theory work on for future games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <Catalan??? what's up with arnonian? surely he didn't expect to win this game with kramnik's unique knowledge on this subject.>

What opening do you recommend playing against Kramnik?

Sep-24-07  SniperOnG7: <What opening do you recommend playing against Kramnik?>

Semi-Slav D43, says Anand.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <12. Bg5 doesn't seem like the kind of move Kramnik would favor, which is why I doubt he gave away much in this game. But we'll see (or maybe not, since even if he was planning Bg5, maybe he won't now?).>

Well, he played 12. Bg5 today against Leko. But I am not impressed so far (written after 17...Re8, so we'll see if Kramnik proves me wrong again).

Sep-27-07  SniperOnG7: Today's a grand day for Kramnik and the Catalan opening.

In the same variation, Kramnik indeed played 12. Bg5 then proceeded to smoke Leko like a cigarette. Kramnik vs Leko, 2007

Shows that Kramnik is the one and only Catalan champion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: ...and, Kramnik goes on to win a masterpiece. Wow! I did not see that coming at move 18.

Kramnik vs Leko, 2007

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sniper on g7> Maybe you should change your nickname to Sniper on g2? :-)
Sep-27-07  SniperOnG7: Ha. I do play the Catalan too (surprise surprise) but my play is oh so pale when compared to the brilliance of Kramnik with this lovely opening. So inspirational and depressing at the same time :O

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