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Luke McShane vs Vladimir Kramnik
London Chess Classic (2009), London ENG, rd 3, Dec-10
Bishop's Opening: Berlin Defense (C24)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-10-09  kb2ct:

<nezhmet: Is it possible McShane totally overlooked ...Bxf2+ ?>

Why didn't McShane just take the bishop?? It is just an indirect swap of bishop for knight. White can castle by hand.


Dec-10-09  mrsaturdaypants: Luka Brasi -- the member of the Corleone family who ended up sleeping with the fishes in the original Godfather movie? Is this a veiled threat against Carlsen and Kramnik?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Bxf2+ and b5 was possible already one move earlier. But it was not decisive point of this game. 16.Qc2 and especially 18.d4 were inferior moves and Kramnik exploited this chance without hesitation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <DCP23> Nicely put.

Most good players should find the ...Bxf2+ tactic. What's really impressive here is the way Kramnik converts it. A few pawn jabs to open the centre, some delicate maneuvers to keep white tied down, then a renewed offensive and a kill. Exquisite.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <amadeus: Kramnik and Carlsen are on a different level. They are the Luca Brasi of chess :)>

McShane 'sleeps with the fish' and Howell 'takes the dirt nap?' Geez...are you a 'made guy?'

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Yeah. Checkmade.
Dec-10-09  amadeus: <mrsaturdaypants>, right now, the only threat to Kramnik and Carlsen is Rybka :) Over the past few months, they have been playing in a class of their own.

<HeMateMe>, I've read the Godfather more than a couple of times in my youth... nice book.

Dec-10-09  Eyal: <This approach rarely works against Super-GMs, however. Against Kramnik, rarer still, if ever. The problem is, he *knows* exactly why the opening is second-rate.>

Well, McShane also played the opening quite badly; the Bishop's opening isn't very ambitious, but it's not SO bad in itself - it often leads by transposition to the Giuoco Piano. Interestingly, Kramnik avoided that by avoiding ...Nc6 and playing 4...0-0 - a very rare move, surprisingly enough. And then McShane wasted a lot of time on awkward Q-side maneuvers and delayed castling too much. Kramnik seems to pretty much equalize by move 7 and to get an advantage by move 10.

As <Honza> noted, Bxf2+ and b5 was possible already one move earlier - but not quite as strong, because of 9...Bxf2+ 10.Kxf2 b5 11.Nxe5! dxe5 12.Nc5; after 9...Nbd7, covering c5, White doesn't have this option.

13...c5! is a very good move, actively securing Black's advantage - helping to open up the position with the white king not quite secure, and aiming for 14...cxb4 followd either by 15.Qxb4 Nc5, or by 15.cxb4 with a compromised pawn structure for White, or - what happened in the actual game. 16.Qh4 might have been better than Qc2, though it still doesn't look very good for White after e.g. 16...Qxd5 17.Bg5 Nfd7 18.Rhd1 Qb3 19.Rab1 Qxb5. 16.Qb3 fails to 16...e4! - White has to keep an eye on both c4 and e4.

Maybe White should have tried d4 on move 17 - a move later there doesn't seem to be a good alternative anymore, e.g. 18.Rhe1 cxd3 19.Qxd3 (19.Nxd3 Rad8) Qxd3 20.Nxd3 Rad8.

Dec-10-09  DiscoJew: twenty fifth!!

for me the beauty of Vladimir's game here with the black pieces is in the "purity" in regards to cleanliness as they say to the execution of theory,ideas,strategy, and tactics.

Dec-10-09  Kaspablanca: Who wants a Kramnik-Carlsen match?. I am one who want badly that match.
Dec-10-09  Landman: 12.Rf1 (or Re1) castling by hand looks better than 12.Bd2
Dec-10-09  melianis: Could 13.Qxa4 have waited? Bxf2...Terrible show of confidence on Kramnik's part.
Dec-10-09  Ezzy: L McShane (2615) - V Kramnik (2772) [C24]
London Chess Classic London ENG (3), 10.12.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4< I don't think luke has played this before. It's very brave if he wants to join the long list of players who try to avoid the Petrov and suddenly it all backfires in your face. Karjakin was another victim against Gelfand in the World cup. He tried to avoid the Petrov with 2 Bc4 and lost.> 2...Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nf3 0–0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Na4< I bet Kramnik loves these sideline moves. He will have it all mapped out and will know the best ways to exploit these sideline moves.> 6...Bb6 7.c3 <Already this seems to be a new position.7 Nxb6 has been played before.> 7...Be6< With the idea 8...Bxc4 9 dxc4 Nxe4> 8.Bb3 Bxb3 9.axb3 Nbd7 10.b4 Bxf2+< There can be no doubt that Kramnik has the analysis of this position in his database. >11.Kxf2 b5 12.Bd2 bxa4 13.Qxa4 c5! <Kramnik is on a mission to open up the center. Not good news for white with his king unprotected.> 14.b5 d5 15.exd5 Nb6 16.Qc2 c4 <Threatening 17...cxd3 18 Qxd3 e4! >17.Nxe5 Qxd5 18.d4 <[18.Rhe1 cxd3 19.Qxd3 Qxd3 20.Nxd3 Rad8 21.Bg5 Rxd3 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Rxa7 Rd5 Doesn't seem to appealing for black. I think the extra piece is better than whites connected passed pawns in this position.]> 18...Ne4+ 19.Kg1< Whites king has to run away to safety, but at the cost of blocking in his rook. McShanes opening has been a disaster. >19...Rfe8< Simply threatening 20...Rxe5 21 dxe5 and the bishop on d2 is lost.> 20.Nf3 Qxb5 21.h4 <The only way to try to develop his rook.> 21...Qb3 22.Qb1< [22.Qxb3 cxb3 and after 23...a5 24...a4 25...Nc4 White just appears to be positionally lost.]> 22...Nd5< Wow! Look at both of them knights. Completely dominating the board.> 23.Rh3 h6 <Kramnik's position is that good, he even has time to stop any Ng5 idea's by white. >24.Qc1 Qb6 25.Ra4< 25 Qc2 seems better so white can defend the b2 pawn by 26 Bc1> 25...Rab8 26.Ra2 Qb3 27.Qa1 Rb6 28.Kh2 Ndf6 <Also [28...Rbe6 With threats of 29...Qb8+ 30...Nxd2 and carnage] >29.Be1 Ng4+ 30.Kg1 Nef6 31.d5< [31.Rxa7 Qxb2 32.Ra2 Qb1 33.Ra8 Rxa8 34.Qxa8+ Kh7 35.Qa4 Rb2 36.Qxc4 Rxg2+ 37.Kh1 Ne4 38.Qxf7 Ne3 Threatening 39...Nf2 Mate.]> 31...Nxd5 32.Rg3 Ndf6 <Threatening 33...Rd6 - d1> 33.Bd2 Rd6 34.Ra3 Qb6+ 35.Kh1 Nf2+ 36.Kh2 N6g4+< Carnage!!> 0–1

Well this was a demolition job if I've ever seen one. The players who play the Petrov are gaining a massive psychological advantage over their opponents. Every body seems to want to avoid it's so called drawing reputation and play less popular openings. The result is that they end up losing. This is causing problems for players who play e4 and hope to play for a win.

This Bishop's opening with zany sidelines isn't going to trick a player of Kramnik's calibre. This was a disaster from start to finish for McShane. A venomous attack with no remorse from Kramnik. Not for the faint-hearted.

Looks like a big battle between Carlsen and Kramnik who both want to get their hands on this 10,000 Euro brilliancy prize.

It really is painful to watch what Vladimir did to Luke in this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <amadeus:> I know it was you, Wolfgang. You broke my heart...
Dec-11-09  CruyffTurn: <amadeus: <mrsaturdaypants>, right now, the only threat to Kramnik and Carlsen is Rybka :) Over the past few months, they have been playing in a class of their own.> I think Anand and Topalov would take exception that - Topalov has been inactive, swotting up, and Anand is keeping his best lines for the Topalov match. Remember, Anand had been in 'poor form' before demolishing Kramnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The Black Knights looked so happy in this game. One curious feature of the game is Kramnik's very early ...0-0. In the Giuoco Piano, when White castles on the 4th move, he has frequently been demolished by Black using berzerker King side attacks. Can White pretend he is playing black in a sort of Giuoco Reversed and try the same? I know, I know, it can't possibly work vs. Kramnik, but he might have put up a better fight. In fact, even the insane 5.h3 and 6.g4 might prove worth a look (although 5.Bg5 would seem to combine sanity with quality).
Dec-11-09  ycbaywtb: reminded me of the game he used his knights against morozevich at Tal i think,

does Kramnik have a strong history with his Knight usage, or is this a new thing?

Dec-11-09  acirce: Can somebody explain 8..Bxb3 please. Is that really what you play in such positions? I thought it looked antipositional and still do. What if McShane just plays the normal 10.0-0.
Dec-11-09  luzhin: Acirce, the point is that otherwise White will play Bc2 next move and after a later Nxb6 his two bishops should give him a slight advantage. I think you're right that 10.b4 was dubious.
Dec-11-09  Marmot PFL: If I have white on move 22 with a king position like that I trade queens in a heartbeat. I don't care what Kramnik has cooked up in this ending it can't be worse than what happened.
Dec-11-09  DCP23: McShane was 10 minutes late for this game.
Dec-11-09  Jim Bartle: "Sorry, vlad. Had to wrap up a couple of deals, earned $10,000,000."
Dec-11-09  Ezzy: <Marmot PFL: If I have white on move 22 with a king position like that I trade queens in a heartbeat. I don't care what Kramnik has cooked up in this ending it can't be worse than what happened.>

I tend to agree, but it still seems like a case of - 'Out of the frying pan and into the fire.' Especially against Kramnik. The path McShane chose probably reduced his suffering by 2 hours.

Dec-13-09  HAPERSAUD: i bet mcshane has nightmares for years to come after this double knight dance
Dec-13-09  hedgeh0g: Lukewarm play by McShane.
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