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Vladimir Kramnik vs Evgeny Alekseev
Tal Memorial (2008), Moscow RUS, rd 8, Aug-26
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Botvinnik System Reversed (A37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-26-08  notyetagm: Very nice win by Kramnik today.
Aug-26-08  apple pi: Ha! Kramnik pawngrabs shamelessly...
...and wins. Go figure.
Aug-26-08  notyetagm: 38 ... ♖f7-b7?

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Black, a 2700, has just made a not-so-obvious blunder with 38 ... ♖f7-b7?. White to play and win.

39 ♖g6-h6+!

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Kramnik's 39 ♖g6-h6+! is the best <DESPERADO> I have seen all year.

The neat tactical point is that White will lose this rook when he plays ♖b6x♖b7+, so this <DESPERADO> White g6-rook first gives its life to make a <LOOSE> piece with 39 ♖g6-h6+! ♗f4x♖h6.

39 ♖g6-h6+! ♗f4x♖h6

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Kramnik then wins the <LOOSE> Black h6-bishop with a <SKEWER> after 40 ♖b6x♖b7+ ♔h7-g6 41 ♖b7-b6+.

40 ♖b6x♖b7+ ♔h7-g6 41 ♖b7-b6+ <skewer>

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So a brilliant <PETITE COMBINAISON> by Kramnik: give up the <DESPERADO> White g6-rook with 39 ♖g6-h6+! to create a <LOOSE PIECE> Black h6-bishop after 39 ... ♗f4x♖h6 which then <DROPS OFF> to the <SKEWER> 41 ♖b7-b6+. White nets a whole piece in the process.

Just a great concept, <DESPERDOING> the White g6-rook to make a <LOOSE PIECE> which can then be won later.

Aug-26-08  karik: Thank you <notyet>, for making this <DEEP> and <AWESOME> combination look so <SIMPLE> for us laymen.

To encourage you to pursue your <THOROUGH> analysis, here are more <CAPITAL LETTERS>, in case you might run out of them: <ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO>.

Aug-26-08  kiseiju: lol <karik>
Aug-26-08  Alphastar: Seems to me that Alekseev simply made a bad mistake with 38. ..Rb7? which cost him the game, or was his position that bad already?
Aug-26-08  vanytchouck: I'm sorry to play the killjoy but i find this combinaison pretty easy :

Indeed pretty elegant but hardly worth a Tuesday puzzle.

I'm mostly horrified that a 2700 elo rated player can miss this. And not in zeitnot.

I don't think the theme is about desperado (it's rather when the two players have each a piece wich can take several pieces).

I would say that the theme is rather attraction (the bishop on h6 where it's attacked by the Nf5):

It's help with an intermediate check (wich prevent the bishop from escaping and forces the king to go on g6) and to end a simple "enfilade" (i don't know the english word). Rb6 attacking the Bh6 wich is already under the threat of the Nf5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Funny... Shredder gives this line:

1. (0.53) 38...Rc3 39. Ra6 Rb7 40. Rg4 a3 41. Rh4+ Kg8

Maybe he played Rb7 a move early? Lost in his own thoughts??

Aug-26-08  notyetagm: <WannaBe: Funny... Shredder gives this line:

1. (0.53) 38...Rc3 39. Ra6 Rb7 40. Rg4 a3 41. Rh4+ Kg8

Maybe he played Rb7 a move early? Lost in his own thoughts??>

No, it's just not that obvious.

Like I said, Kramnik's 39 ♖g6-h6+! is the very best <DESPERADO> I have seen all year. Kramnik decides to sell the life of the White g6-rook for as much as possible, the cost being the creation of a <LOOSE PIECE> after the forced 39 ... ♗f4x♖h6.

I have seen the <DESPERADO> idea of giving an awkward <CHECK> or making the opponent's pawns doubled as a concession for capturing a piece but never this idea, simply making a <LOOSE PIECE> in exchange for the life of the <DESPERADO>, and then simply <LPDO>.

Aug-26-08  Woody Wood Pusher: What a poor quality game....Alekseev pays no attention to his pawns and in the end drops a piece like a patzer, and Drawnik can barely beat him even with all the mistakes (he misses Nd6 about 5 times straight! LOL) If this is supergrandmaster play then I must be a MegaGrandmaster!
Aug-26-08  notyetagm: <Woody Wood Pusher: ... If this is supergrandmaster play then I must be a MegaGrandmaster!>

You are an UltraMegaGrandmaster (UMGM). :-)

Aug-26-08  Marmot PFL: The game was lost anyway when he played 38...Rb7. Kramnik may have missed faster wins but what he played was good enough. 38...Rc3? loses very quickly after 39.Rg4 threatening Rh4+ Kg8 Rg6+ etc.
Aug-26-08  vanytchouck: WannaBe >

According to Fritz 10, after 38...Rc3?? it's ... mate in 17 ;-)

I think that it's 38...Rb3 the most resistant. I'll check it with the machine.

Aug-26-08  notyetagm: <Marmot PFL: The game was lost anyway when he played 38...Rb7. Kramnik may have missed faster wins but what he played was good enough. 38...Rc3? loses very quickly after 39.Rg4 threatening Rh4+ Kg8 Rg6+ etc.>

Yes, a very nice <ENDGAME MATING ATTACK> by Kramnik.

(VAR) 38 ... ♖a3-c3? 39 ♖g6-g4

click for larger view

Δ 40 ♖g4-h4+ ♔h7-g8 41 ♖b6-g6+

Aug-26-08  Aspirador: <karik>



Aug-26-08  dycotiles: Dear <notyet>, <karik> seems to have forgotten some of the <CAPITAL LETTERS> so here are the missing ones, in case you need them <PQRSTUVWXYZ>
Aug-26-08  notyetagm: <Aspirador: <karik>>


Aug-26-08  dycotiles: <notyet> Please keep up the <GOOD>, <HARD>, <WORK> and never mind the <BUFFONS> that persistently take the <MICKEY> out of <EVERYBODY>.


Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <You are an UltraMegaGrandmaster (UMGM)>

You are funny, <notyet> You have created your own inimitable style. But that is not the top level.

(UMGM)do not "drop a piece like a patzer" <DAPLAP> but pale in presence of UltraMegaUberMeisterGrandmasters (UMUMGM)

Aug-26-08  Jole: <(UMGM)do not "drop a piece like a patzer" <DAPLAP> but pale in presence of UltraMegaUberMeisterGrandmasters (UMUMGM)>

That may be the top level at the moment, but I do hear that there is someone who is rising to an even higher level yet, such that FIDE will eventually have to give a new category for them: namely the UltraMegaSuperUberMeisterMegazoidHecticSickasGra- ndmasterWithACherryOnTop (UMSUMMHSGWACOT)
I tell you, it'll be a new category one day, when they find a way to make human brains have the best of what Rybka has to offer combined with the Genetics of Morphy, Anand, Kasparov and Carlsen (and with Kamsky's training regime)

Aug-26-08  Aspirador: It's debatable if Kramnik would improve his chances in Bonn by competing over the board with a cherry on top.
Aug-26-08  Jole: Aspirador: ...
Aug-27-08  Gnappo: I think this is a nice win by Kramnik. He decided to play positionally at a certain point. I liked his way to put into play the 2 Rooks and the 2 Knights against the h6 pawn. Of course Rb7 is a mistake, but other moves don't leave Alekseev in a good situation.
Aug-27-08  sicilianhugefun: kramnik should continue at this style otherwise vishy would bulldoze him
Aug-27-08  visayanbraindoctor: The Kramnik vs Alekseev Tal Memorial 2008 was a very nice game by Kramnik.

8.. h6 and 9..Rb8 by Alekseev was deliberately played inviting Kramnik to play an eventual b5, after which Black would have to misplace his knight Na5. Why? Becasue in similar positions from a King's Indian attacking pattern, black would try to lock up the queenside as much as possible in order to be able to start a Kingside pawn storm without worrying about White queenside action. Alekseev probably judged he could get his knight back quickly via the b7 square in subsequent play if Kramnik would not take the knight with his bishop. Alekseev probably thought the latter was acceptable too in spite of the resulting doubled a pawns, as a main defender of the black squares on the white Kingside would disappear (the white dark-colored bishop), which would facilitate his planned kingside attack.

In subsequent play, Kramnik did push b5 and exchanged his dark colored bishop with the a5 knight; while Aleksev sacked a pawn. In return, he gained control of the key f4 square, created a weak white d3 pawn, got a half open f ile already occupied by his rook aimed uncomfortably near Kramnik's king, and gained tempi for his attack.

Kramnik defended well. 20. Qd1 brought his offside queen back. 21. Be4 and 23. Ng3 virtually forced an exchange of bishops, eliminated his weak d3 pawn, and worsened Alekseev's bad dark-colored bishop. The maneuver 25. Nf5 (which blocked the important f file) and 26. Qf3 forced off black's most dangerous attacking piece, the queen.

Alekseev probably thought he could counter this maneuver by 25.. Rbd8 and 27.. Rd3, with a very active rook and control of the open d file, and a nice white hole for his knight on f4. Note that Kramnik's maneuver allowed Black to control the d3 square because 27. Nxf3 unprotected it. In the position after 27.. Rd3, black's attack has been dissipated, but he still retains the initiative (he is forking white's knight and a3 pawn) and has serious threats to white's weak pawns.

In this position, IMO most players in the world would not have been able to win with white. Kramnik not only survived Black's attack earlier, but found an impressive way to win.

Instead of defending his queenside pawns passively, which could have have allowed Black to tie him up in a bind (especially in time pressure), Kramnik hatched the highly imaginative idea of directly attacking the black king. Technically, the large number of pieces left would classify the position as a queenless middlegame, and Kramnik treated it as such, and not as an endgame. Excellent positional judgment.

This decision is already shown in the move 29. Kh1. Kramnik made room for his rook to occupy the open g file (30. Rg1) to directly target black's king. Then 31. b6 allowed white to suddenly activate his queenrook which was watching passively from the other side of the board. 33. Ng2 34. Nge3 35. Ng4 (still completely ignoring black's rook gobbling up his a3 pawn and the advancing black passed a pawn) allowed him to activate his knight to directly attack the black kingside without loss of tempo. Black essentially just collapsed psychologically, positionally, and tactically after these hammer blows (29. Kh1, 30. Rg1, 31. b6, 32. Rxb6, 33. Ng2, 34. Nge3, 35. Ng4, 36. Ngxh6, 37. Rgxg6). Note the way Kramnik crushed the black kingside with these purposeful moves, which included 4 consecutive knight moves. They are very pleasing to replay, and give the impression of one smooth concerted harmonious movement.

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