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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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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Fürst!!
Dec-10-09  OneArmedScissor: Secönd
Dec-10-09  Landman: Whoa, 10...Bxf2+ with b5 to follow. I don't recall ever seeing that tactic before.
Dec-10-09  Ulhumbrus: 10 b4? could have waited because on 10...Bxf2+! 11 Kxf2 b5 White's King has lost the right to castle. 10 0-0 is better.

18 d4 may be the losing mistake because on 18...Ne4+ 19 Kg1 imprisons White's Kong's Rook. 18 Re1 may be necessary, but also sufficient.

Dec-10-09  ajile: pure domination
Dec-10-09  GreenFacedPatzer: Wow, brutal.

Kramnik looks in command from about move 11 onwards (with Black, no less). I'm going to guess the sequence from 7 c3 ... 10 b4 will go into the lore of known ways not to play this opening, for white. Looks like the sort of thing I'd do in an unfamiliar opening, and the sort of punishment I'd receive for it.

Dec-10-09  positionalgenius: wow. what a massacre
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: <landman> I also liked that shot, it stuck the king in the middle. What impressed me is the way Kramnik furiously attacked the queenside during moves 20-27 and then shifted to a kingside attack and blow the poor boy away.
Dec-10-09  FHBradley: Neunth!
Dec-10-09  khursh: Is 6.Na4 a theory? I don't understand the rationale behind this move. It looks like losing tempo and half power of your knight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: They went off theory at white's fifth move.
Dec-10-09  zanshin: Although I hate it when my opponent can play Bxf2+ on me, Luke recovers the pawn but slowly gets outmaneuvered starting around 16.Qc2.
Dec-10-09  DCP23: For an ordinary GM, even a strong one, to play a second-rate opening is a usual way of avoiding opening theory, when he feels his opponent is better prepared.

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.

Play it against him, and he will show you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Kramnik makes it look awfully easy
Dec-10-09  amadeus: Kramnik and Carlsen are on a different level. They are the Luca Brasi of chess :)
Dec-10-09  nezhmet: Is it possible McShane totally overlooked ...Bxf2+ ?
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.

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