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Vladimir Kramnik vs Ruslan Ponomariov
"Vlad the Impaler" (game of the day Nov-15-2009)
Tal Memorial (2009), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Nov-11
Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense (D38)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-15-09  KamikazeAttack: Kramnik's career biography would not be complete without this game. It was one of the most electrifying and complicated games in recent years. Everyone was glued to it for 6 hours.

The "Telebase" ending successfully executed by Kramnik re-affirmed him as one of the best end-gamers ever.

Like I said before, this game is a 'Kramnik Immortal'

Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: Ulhumbrus/nummerzwei - wow, thanks a lot for your replies to my query. A real insight for me into the depth of thought of the players.
Nov-15-09  vonKrolock: <15...b7-b5> This game alone can not recomend this move. Whith ...♗g4 instead, black obtained a comfortable draw in I Novikov vs Serper, 1991

Well, Im seeing now the chessbase comment - quote <<<"On Black's 15th move, the game deviated from a transposition of Novikov-Serper from the Soviet Championship of 1991, in which a well-played game led to a 40-move draw. The game in question saw 15...Bg4, where, today, Ponomariov went for the somewhat misguided 15...b5. 17...Qa3 proved painful>> ... etc>

Well, the remark in move 17th is still an 'open' one - if 17...♕a3 was a forced ▢ move, this can mean a summary condemnation of the b7-b5 idea ... if not, still a playable line for black ...


click for larger view

Really a remarcable final position - black is (apud Speelman) <"in volkswagen">

Nov-15-09  5hrsolver: Wow!! Kramnik is back. It takes positional judgement to know: 1)The white king is not in danger after it lost castling privileges. 2)Black pawns on the queenside can be neutralized.
3)The Rook vs Bishop ending is winning.
Nov-15-09  jovack: drawnik? definitely not after this.

most people would have called a 1/2-1/2

excellent endgame.

Nov-15-09  RandomVisitor: 3 minutes per move:

V Kramnik - R Ponomariov

Tal Memorial 0:10:33-0:08:33 (6), 11.11.2009

[Rybka 3 ]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 c5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.Rc1 Ne4 10.Qxd5 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Bxc3+ 12.Kd1 0-0 13.Bc4 Nf6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Ke2 last book move

15...b5 0.54/19
16.c6= 0.00/20
[Rybka 3 : 16.cxb6 axb6 17.Qxa5 Rxa5 18.Rhd1 Ba6 19.Bxa6 Rxa2+ 20.Nd2 Rxa6 21.Rc6 Rd8 22.Ne4 Rxd1 23.Nxf6+ gxf6 24.Kxd1 Kg7 25.Kd2 f5 26.g3 h6 27.Kd3 Ra3+ 28.Rc3 Ra1 29.Rc2 0.54/19 ]

16...Ba6 0.00/18
17.Qf5 0.00/18 Qa3 1.24/19
[Rybka 3 : 17...Bb2 18.Rc2 g6 19.Qc5 Ba3 20.Qg5 Be7 21.Qe5 Bd6 22.Qg5 Be7 23.Qe5 Bd6 24.Qg5 Be7 25.Qe5 Bd6 26.Qg5 Be7 27.Qe5 Bd6 28.Qg5 Be7 29.Qe5 Bd6 30.Qg5 Be7 31.Qe5 Bd6 32.Qg5 Be7= 0.00/18 ]

18.Bd3 1.27/18 Rfd8 1.26/17
19.c7 0.28/17
[Rybka 3 : 19.Qxh7+ Kf8 20.c7 Qxa2+ 21.Kf1 Re8 22.g3 g6 23.Qh6+ Kg8 24.Qf4 Bb2 25.Rc2 b4 26.Bxa6 Qxa6+ 27.Kg2 Bc3 28.Rb1 Rac8 29.Rxb4 Bxb4 30.Qxb4 Qe6 31.Qb7 a5 32.Nd4 Qe5 1.26/17 ]

19...Qxa2+ 0.73/17
20.Nd2= 0.24/19
[Rybka 3 : 20.Ke1 Qa5+ 21.Nd2 Re8 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Ke2 Rac8 24.Ne4 Rxc7 25.Rxc7 Qxc7 26.Nxf6 gxf6 27.Ra1 Re6 28.h4 Qb7 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qh5 Kf8 31.Qc5+ Kg8 32.Ke1 Kg7 33.f3 0.73/17 ]

20...Rxd3 0.44/19
21.Qxd3 0.24/18 b4 0.26/18
22.Kf3 0.12/16 Bb7+ 1.06/18
[Rybka 3 : 22...Qa5 23.Qd6 Bb7+ 24.e4 Qa3+ 25.Kf4 Re8 26.Rc5 h6 27.f3 b3 28.Nc4= 0.12/16 ]

23.Kg3 1.04/16 h5 1.06/17
24.h3 0.66/17
[Rybka 3 : 24.f4 Rc8 25.Rhd1 h4+ 26.Kf2 h3 27.Qc4 Qa5 28.Ne4 Bxe4 29.Qxe4 Rxc7 30.Rxc7 Qxc7 31.Qxb4 hxg2 32.Qe4 Qc8 33.Kg1 a5 34.Rd6 Bh4 35.Qc6 Qh3 36.Rd3 Qf5 1.06/17 ]

24...Qa5 0.85/17
25.f4 0.43/20
[Rybka 3 : 25.Ne4 h4+ 26.Kh2 Be5+ 27.f4 Bxc7 28.Rhd1 Rf8 29.Kh1 Qh5 30.Nc5 Rd8 31.Qxd8+ Bxd8 32.Rxd8+ Kh7 33.Nxb7 Qe2 34.f5 Qxe3 35.Rcd1 b3 36.R8d4 g6 37.fxg6+ Kxg6 38.Rg4+ Kf6 39.Rb4 Qc3 40.Rf1+ 0.85/17 ]

25...Rc8 0.43/19
26.Nc4 0.37/20 Qa6? 1.90/18
[Rybka 3 : 26...Qb5 27.Ne5 Qxd3 28.Nxd3 h4+ 0.37/20 ]

27.Ne5? 0.37/20
[Rybka 3 : 27.Qd7 h4+ 28.Kh2 Qc6 29.Qxc6 Bxc6 30.Na5 Ba4 31.Rc4 Be7 32.Rhc1 Bb5 33.Nc6 Rxc7 34.Nxe7+ Rxe7 35.Rxb4 Be8 36.f5 Rxe3 37.Rxh4 Bd7 38.Rd1 Re7 39.Rd5 1.90/18 ]

27...Qxd3 0.37/23
28.Nxd3 0.32/21 Bc3 0.48/24
[Rybka 3 : 28...h4+ 29.Kh2 Bc3 30.Rhd1 Kf8 31.Rc2 a6 32.Rdc1 a5 33.Rxc3 bxc3 34.Rxc3 Ke8 35.g3 Ke7 36.Ne5 Ke6 37.gxh4 f6 38.Nc6 Rxc7 39.Nd8+ Kd7 40.Rd3+ Ke7 41.Nxb7 Rxb7 42.Ra3 Rb2+ 43.Kg3 Rb5 0.32/21 ]

29.Rhd1 0.48/21 a5 0.55/23
30.Nc5= 0.00/24
[Rybka 3 : 30.Nxb4 axb4 31.Rd8+ Kh7 32.Rxc8 Bxc8 33.Kh2 h4 34.Rd1 b3 35.Rd8 b2 36.Rxc8 b1Q 37.Rh8+ Kxh8 38.c8Q+ Kh7 39.Qxc3 Qd1 40.e4 Qe2 41.Qf3 Qe1 42.Qh5+ Kg8 43.Qg4 Kh7 44.Qg5 g6 0.55/23 ]

30...Rxc7 0.00/22
31.Na4 0.00/23 Be4= 0.09/21
[Rybka 3 : 31...f5 32.Rd6 h4+ 33.Kh2 Be4 34.Ra6 g5 35.Rxa5 gxf4 36.Nxc3 bxc3 37.exf4 c2 38.Ra4 Kf7 39.Rd4 Rb7 40.Rxe4 fxe4 41.Rxc2 Kf6 42.g4 hxg3+ 43.Kxg3 Rg7+ 44.Kf2 Kf5 45.Rc5+ Kxf4= 0.00/23 ]

32.Rd6 -0.91/21
[Rybka 3 : 32.Kf2 f5 33.Rd6 h4 34.Ra6 Rd7 35.Nxc3 bxc3 36.Rxc3 Rd2+ 37.Ke1 Rxg2 38.Rc7 Rg3 39.Kd2 Kh7 40.Raa7 a4 41.Kc3 Rxe3+ 42.Kb4 Rg3 43.Rf7 Kh6 44.Kxa4 Rxh3 45.Rxg7 Rh1 46.Rh7+ Kg6= 0.09/21 ]

32...Kh7 0.49/25
[Rybka 3 : 32...Bc2 33.Nxc3 Rxc3 34.Rd8+ Kh7 -0.91/21 ]

33.Ra6 0.49/23 h4+ 0.49/23
34.Kh2= 0.18/24
[Rybka 3 : 34.Kf2 Rd7 35.Nxc3 bxc3 36.Rxc3 Rd2+ 37.Kf1 Bd3+ 38.Rxd3 Rxd3 39.Rxa5 Rxe3 40.Rh5+ Kg8 41.Rxh4 f5 42.Rh5 g6 43.Rg5 Kf7 44.h4 Kf6 45.h5 gxh5 46.Rxh5 Kg6 47.Rh3 Re4 48.g3 Ra4 49.Kf2 0.49/23 ]

Nov-15-09  RandomVisitor: continued:

34...Rd7 0.18/24
35.Nc5 0.18/25 Re7 0.18/24
36.Rxa5 0.18/23 Bd2 0.18/22
37.Rc4 0.18/23 f5 1.38/26
[Rybka 3 : 37...b3 38.Nxb3 Bxa5 39.Nxa5 Re6 40.Rd4 f5 41.Rd2 Rg6 42.Nc4 Rg3 43.Kg1 Kg6 44.Ne5+ Kh6 45.Re2 Kh5 46.Rb2 Kh6 47.Rd2= 0.18/23 ]

38.Nxe4 1.38/25 fxe4 1.38/22
39.Rh5+ 1.38/24 Kg6 1.43/22
40.Rg5+ 1.17/21 Kf6 2.31/22
[Rybka 3 : 40...Kh7 41.g3 hxg3+ 42.Kxg3 Rb7 43.Rcc5 Bxe3 44.Rb5 Rxb5 45.Rxb5 Bd2 46.Rb6 Kg8 47.Kf2 Kf7 48.Ke2 e3 1.17/21 ]

41.Rc6+ 1.93/25 Kf7 1.73/25
42.Rf5+ 1.73/23 Kg8 1.73/24
43.g4 1.73/24 Re8 1.73/26
44.Re5 1.66/25 Rb8 1.85/24
45.g5 0.94/26
[Rybka 3 : 45.Rce6 b3 46.Re8+ Rxe8 47.Rxe8+ Kf7 48.Rb8 Bxe3 49.Rb7+ Kf6 50.f5 Bd4 51.Rxb3 Ke5 52.Kg2 Kf4 53.Kf1 Be5 54.Ke2 Bf6 55.Kf2 Bd4+ 56.Ke1 1.85/24 ]

45...Kh7 0.94/24
46.Re7 0.94/26 Bxe3 1.14/26
47.Rh6+ 0.94/21 Kg8 0.94/26
48.Rg6 0.94/24 Bd4 0.94/23
49.Rge6 0.94/24 Kh7? 2.88/23
[Rybka 3 : 49...Bc5 50.Re8+ Rxe8 51.Rxe8+ Kf7 52.Rxe4 b3 53.Re1 b2 54.f5 Be3 55.Rb1 Bc1 56.Kg2 Ke7 57.Kf3 Kd6 58.Ke4 Ke7 59.Kd5 Kf7 60.Kc4 Ke7 61.Kc5 Kf7 62.Kd6 Bf4+ 63.Kc6 Bc1 64.Kd7 g6 0.94/24 ]

50.f5 2.37/21 Bc5 3.82/20
[Rybka 3 : 50...Kg8 51.Re8+ Rxe8 52.Rxe8+ Kf7 53.Rxe4 Bc5 54.Re1 g6 55.Kg2 b3 56.fxg6+ Kxg6 57.Rb1 Kxg5 58.Kf3 Bd6 59.Rxb3 Kf5 60.Rb5+ Be5 61.Rb4 Bg3 62.Rb7 Kf6 63.Rb5 Ke6 2.37/21 ]

51.Re8? 1.67/29
[Rybka 3 : 51.Rd7 Kg8 52.Rxe4 Ra8 53.Kg2 b3 54.Rb7 Rf8 55.Re5 Ba3 56.Rxb3 Bc1 57.g6 Bf4 58.Ra5 Bg5 59.Rab5 3.82/20 ]

51...Rxe8 1.67/31
52.Rxe8 1.67/29 b3 1.67/30
53.Kg2 1.67/28 Be3? 3.65/31
[Rybka 3 : 53...Bd6 54.Rxe4 b2 55.Re1 Bf4 56.Rb1 Bc1 57.Kf3 g6 58.f6 Bxg5 59.Rxb2 Bxf6 60.Rb7+ Kh6 61.Kf4 Bc3 62.Rc7 Bf6 63.Rf7 Bg5+ 64.Ke5 Bd2 65.Ke6 Be1 66.Ra7 Bf2 67.Ra2 Be3 68.Kf7 g5 1.67/28 ]

54.Rxe4 4.45/29 Bxg5 4.45/34
55.Rb4 3.65/32 g6 4.98/32
[Rybka 3 : 55...Kg8 56.Rxb3 Kf7 57.Kf3 Kg8 58.Kg4 Be7 59.Kh5 Kf7 60.Rb7 Kf6 61.Kxh4 3.65/32 ]

56.Rb7+ 4.98/31 Kh6 4.98/31
57.fxg6 4.98/32 Kxg6 4.98/38
58.Kf3 4.98/39 Bd2 4.98/35
59.Kg4 4.98/37 Be1 4.98/34
60.Rxb3 4.98/43 Bg3 4.98/44
61.Rf3 4.98/43 Be1 5.38/42
62.Re3 4.98/41 Bf2 5.38/40
63.Re6+ 4.98/40 Kf7 5.38/39
64.Kf5 4.98/39 Bg3 5.38/38
65.Re4 4.98/41 Bf2? 30.58/35
[Rybka 3 : 65...Kg7 66.Re8 Bd6 67.Re6 Bg3 4.98/41 ]

66.Kg5 4.98/34 Bg3 30.58/33
67.Re2 4.98/32 Kg7? #37/31
[Rybka 3 : 67...Kf8 68.Kf6 4.98/32 ]

68.Re7+ #40/31 Kf8 #41/30
69.Kf6 #37/28 Bf2 #36/26
70.Re6 #45/30 Bg3 #43/29
71.Kg6? 4.98/39
[Rybka 3 : 71.Re2 Bc7 #43/29 ]

71...Bh2 5.18/37
72.Re4 4.98/38 Bg3 5.18/37
73.Kf6 4.98/35 Bf2 4.98/33
74.Kg6?= 0.00/59
[Rybka 3 : 74.Kg5 Kg7 75.Re7+ Kf8 76.Re2 Bg3 77.Kf6 4.98/33 ]

74...Bg3 5.18/37
75.Re2 4.98/35 Bd6 5.38/35
76.Kg5 4.98/33 Bg3? 17.51/31
[Rybka 3 : 76...Kg7 77.Kxh4 Bf4 78.Kh5 Bc1 79.Rg2+ Kf7 80.Rc2 Be3 81.Rc3 Bd2 82.Rd3 Bc1 83.Rd1 Be3 84.Rd7+ 4.98/33 ]

77.Kf6 4.21/31 Bf4? #38/21
[Rybka 3 : 77...Bc7 78.Re4 4.21/31 ]

78.Re4 #38/20 Bd6 #36/19
79.Rd4 #36/19 Bc7 #22/11
80.Kg6 #22/10 Bg3 #21/9
81.Re4 #21/8 1-0

Nov-15-09  JG27Pyth: Interviewed after the tourny Kramnik said that A) this game was one of the tensest games he'd ever played in his career and also very complicated... and B)He preferred "as a chess professional" his win against Svidler in the tourny because it was cleaner, (and he thought this game was 'full of mistakes' from both sides) but that amateurs probably preferred other games (surely thinking of this game).
Nov-15-09  WhiteRook48: 81...Bh2 continues but it's weird
Nov-15-09  Poisonpawns: Another Beautiful Zugzwang by Kramnik,except that it is a battle of bishops! Van Wely vs Kramnik, 1990
Nov-15-09  notyetagm: <JG27Pyth: Interviewed after the tourny Kramnik said that A) this game was one of the tensest games he'd ever played in his career and also very complicated... and <<<B)He preferred "as a chess professional" his win against Svidler in the tourny because it was cleaner, (and he thought this game was 'full of mistakes' from both sides)>>> but that amateurs probably preferred other games (surely thinking of this game).>

Yes, professionally Kramnik could not be too happy with this game because he allowed 32 ... ♗e4-c2!!, which was practically winning for Black.

Nov-15-09  RandomVisitor: After 15.Ke2

1: V Kramnik - R Ponomariov, Tal Memorial 2009

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 :

<[+0.55] d=24 15...Be6> 16.Qe4 Rae8 17.Rhd1 b6 18.cxb6 axb6 19.Bxe6 Rxe6 20.Qc4 Ra8 21.Rc2 b5 22.Qc8+ Re8 23.Qc6 Re6 24.Qb7 Ree8 25.Kf1 b4 26.Qc6 05:56:52 4623762kN

Nov-16-09  RandomVisitor: After 32...Bc2:

1: V Kramnik - R Ponomariov, Tal Memorial 2009

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 :

<[-0.86] d=26 33.Nxc3> Rxc3 34.Rb6 Rc4 35.Rb8+ Kh7 36.Rb5 01:07:12 1116850kN, tb=134

Nov-16-09  kevin86: The game of the day?! zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Nov-16-09  nummerzwei: <Ulhumbrus: <nummerzwei> Black plays actually 66...Kh5 and not 66...Kh6. Furthermore following the move ..Bc1, with White's K on e4, Black's b pawn can queen with check.>

To be quite honest, I have no idea what position you are referring to.In any case I've made a mistake myself when I adopted the erroneous move count from your last post:

<65 Rb1 Bc3 66 Rg1 Bd2> should read 64.Rb1 etc. after all, shouldn't it? My suggestion was [64.Rb1 Bc3] 65.Kd5(instead of 65.Rg1). I hope this helps.

Nov-16-09  Eyal: <nummerzwei> You're right, White is winning in this line; it goes 57.Rb6 b2 58.Rxg6+ Kh5 59.Rb6 Bf6 60.Kf3 Kg5 61.Ke4 Bc3 62.Rg6+ Kh5 63.Rg1 Bd2 64.Rb1 Bc3 65.Kd5 and Black would have to give up the bishop for the f-pawn: 65...Kg5 66.Ke6 Bd4 (or any other move along the diagonal) 67.f6! Bxf6 68.Rg1+. The problem here might be with 60...Kg5 - Black should interpose 60...Bd4 first, to divert the white rook from the 6th rank, so there's no Rg6+/g1 with the black king getting stuck on h5. Maybe White can win this anyway, but at any rate this line doesn't have real practical significance - once White sees that 57.fxg6 forces a tablebase win, there's no point in getting mixed up with lines where Black is allowed to maintain his troublesome b-pawn.
Nov-19-09  cornflake: <Eyal: An extremely rich and dense game - bold opening strategy by Kramnik (Joel Benjamin on ICC: "8.dxc5 is not a line that you should necessarily show to your kids"), lots of complications and sacrifices in a very unbalanced middlegame position that led into some strange endgame play, and finally a textbook technical win. Kramnik said in a post-tournament interview it was one of the tensest and most difficult games he played in his career.>

I wonder what would have happened to Kramnik's "bold opening strategy" if after 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.Rc1 Pono had simply played Bxc3+ with the idea of 10...0-0 and Ne4. It doesn't seem like white gets much of anything in this 9...Bxc3+ line.

Jan-01-10  laskersteinitz: This is my vote for best game of 2009!
Jun-11-10  The Rocket: Impressive....
Jan-25-11  Eyal: <cornflake: I wonder what would have happened to Kramnik's "bold opening strategy" if after 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.Rc1 Pono had simply played Bxc3+ with the idea of 10...0-0 and Ne4. It doesn't seem like white gets much of anything in this 9...Bxc3+ line.>

Nakamura vs Grischuk, 2011

Jul-11-14  solskytz: Was this ending, with the sole h-pawn against the bishop, objectively winning? Or did it depend on black moving his bishop away from g3 and putting that "I'll check you from e7 if you take my pawn) little trap?

Wasn't it easier and safer to play 57. Rb6? 57...b2 58. Rxg6+ Kh7 59. Rb6 Bc1 60. Kf3 intending 61. Kg4 and it seems to me that the inclusion of these two extra pawns, on the b-file for black and on the f-file for white, increases white's winning chances, if not making this and outright winning position. Not so?

Especially where the black king is cut to its last two ranks and has no access to a place from which it can attack the f-pawn...

If the R keeps an eye on the b-pawn (which it must ofc) the black B will be, it seems to me, overburdened with both guarding it AND providing against white's K+R+f-pawn play in creating queening and/or checkmating threats. Not so?!

Jul-11-14  solskytz: Funny... I now see that <Eyal> has already related to this issue. It does stand out! :-)
Nov-22-14  SirRuthless: This is a brilliant performance from Kramnik and kudos to Pono for keeping it alive as long as he did. It seems to me Vald won three or four separate games in one. A very abstract game to see without an engine. White always seems on doom's doorstep but somehow everything works.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: There is a lot I did not understand in this game.
Mar-01-18  SChesshevsky: It is a great and complicated game. The way I see it is that it appears Ponomariov might have looked for some complexities with the 5...Nbd7 7...c5 line (versus say 5...h6 stuff) so that at 12...0-0 he's a pawn down and slightly underdeveloped but with compensation with White's King and other uncoordinated pieces.

Black looks aggressive again with 15...b5. I'm assuming he's willing to give up a dangerous passed pawn for attack against the King. What's the assessment at 18...Rfd8? If I'm Kramnik maybe I'm thinking if I don't get mated or lose a lot of material through some tactical brilliancy I'm at least better maybe winning.

So that at 26...Qa6, Kramnik successfully dodged whatever bullets were out there. His King looks relatively safe and he's the exchange up. Now willing to trade Queen's probably figuring he can deal with the Queenside passed pawns. If so, then it's likely only a win or draw outcome for him.

Thereafter, seems Kramnik was able to nullify the passed pawns and keep the exchange. Then the two rooks took over. With a good rook trade and keeping a pawn alive, he was able to convert the tricky but doable endgame win.

Could be 15...b5 was the key move in the game. Ponomariov probably had other good moves that held good equalizing chances but after 15...b5 maybe it was won or lost depending on what he could come up with.

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