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Vladimir Kramnik vs Nigel Short
London Chess Classic (2009), London ENG, rd 6, Dec-14
Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense (D38)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-14-09  Karpova: All information according to Rybka 3

8....Be6 was the TN (8...0-0 in Bolgov-Pogosian, 2004)

13...Bxc5 ?! <13...fxe4 14.Ng5 Bxc5 15.Nc3 Nd4 16.Bxe6+ fxe6 17.Qc4 Kb8 18.Kb1 Rhf8 19.Ngxe4 Bb6 20.g3 ♖ybka Aquarium (0:08.38) +0.58|d17>

16...Rhe8 ? <16...Qf5 17.Bxe6+ fxe6 18.f3 Rhg8 19.Qc2 Kb8 20.Kb1 Rc8 21.Qe2 Rgd8 22.Rd2 Qf4 23.g3 Qf5 ♖ybka Aquarium (0:12.14) +0.50|d19>

17.Bxe6 ? <17.Nb5 Kb8 18.Ned6 a6 19.Nxd4 Rxd6 20.Nxe6 Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 fxe6 22.Kb1 Qf5+ 23.Qc2 Qh5 24.h3 Nb4 25.g4 ♖ybka Aquarium (0:00.50) +1.14|d14>

18....Ne5 ? <18...Rg6 19.g4 f5 20.gxf5 ♖ybka Aquarium (0:01.16) {+0.14|d17>

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: The last time Short beat Kramnik, was in 1997.
(if the database is correct.)
Dec-14-09  brucejavier: i think that nigel tried that famous king walk he did a while, but this time it didnt work against kramnik
Dec-14-09  GreenFacedPatzer: Just out of curiosity, why didn't Short make more of an effort to stop that h pawn, starting around say move 34? White is better in any case, but promoting a lone side pawn is usually very hard work. Black's rook could have blockaded it, at least extending the game a good while.

With extra pawns on both sides, I'm pretty sure Kramnik would win in any case... just wondering what Short was trying to do.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <chancho: The last time Short beat Kramnik, was in 1997.> True, (but) between 1997 and 2009 they played only four games (incl. this one) with a +3 =1 score for Kramnik.
Dec-14-09  Marmot PFL: Once black is 2 pawns down it's all but over. What was wrong with 25...Qxa2? Kb8 seemed very timid.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <What was wrong with 25...Qxa2?> Probably that it allows White to force an exchange of queens with 26.Qg8 Nd7 (to defend d8) 27.Qg3+ Kc8 28.Qg4 Qe6.
Dec-14-09  Buttinsky: 25...Qxa2 26 Qh8 is trouble
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: 25...Qxa2 26.Qh8? actually allows Black to force a draw with 26...Rxc3+! 27.bxc3 Qa3+ and perpetual check; the difference with the queen on h8 rather than g8 is that the king cannot escape by 28.Kd2 Qb2+ 29.Ke3 Qxc3+ 30.Kf4, because a knight check wins the white queen.
Dec-14-09  JaneEyre: <25...Qxa2 26 Qh8 is trouble>

Kramnik and Short discussed this line after the game. Both mistakenly agreed that White avoids the perpetual and wins, until they were shown that it only draws. Cue much jollity. Kramnik said he would have played the winning 26.Qe4 instead. As Eyal points out, 26.Qg8 also wins.

Dec-14-09  Marmot PFL: 26...Nd7 is another passive move. These are useless against a player like Kramnik. The only chance is mixing it up with 26...Qa1+ 27 Kc2 Rxc3+ 28 bc Qa2+ 29 Kc1 Qa1+ 30 Kd2 Nc4+ 31 Kd3 Ne5+ etc. I can't find a clear draw, but neither is there an easy win for white.
Dec-14-09  Ezzy: V Kramnik (2772) - N Short (2707) [D38]
(6), 14.12.2009 London Chess Classic
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 <Don't think Nigel has played this before> 5.Qb3 <And Kramnik hasn't played this before. Usually the main line is 5 Bg5 for Vladimir. So if Nigel tried to bamboozle Kramnik with a new move. then Kramnik hits back with his own new move.> 5...c5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.dxc5 Nc6< Kramnik's had this position with black against Karpov in the Amber/blind tournament 10 years ago. Karpov played 8 e3 >8.Bg5 Be6 <With the obvious 9...d4 threat and the bishop hits the queen.> 9.0𢠢 <With idea's now of 10 e4 >9...Qa5< Might be new. There is an e-mail game in the database with 9...d4> 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Nxd5 0𢠢 12.e4 f5 13.Bc4 Bxc5< [13...Qxc5 14.Kb1 fxe4 15.Ng5 b5 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.Nxb4 bxc4 18.Na6 cxb3 19.Nxc5 bxa2+ 20.Kxa2 And white is still a pawn up and an isolated pawn for black.] >14.Ng5 fxe4 15.Nxe4 Bd4< Threatening 16...Bxd5> 16.Ndc3 Rhe8 17.Bxe6+ Rxe6 18.f3 Ne5< Nigel obviously wants to put his rook on b6 but seems to miss whites counter attack on the 'c' file >19.Nb5 Rb6 20.Qc2+ Rc6< [20...Kb8?? 21.Qc7+ Ka8 22.Qxd8#]> 21.Nec3 Bxc3 <[21...Be3+ 22.Kb1 Kb8 23.Rxd8+ Qxd8 24.Rd1 Qg8 25.Qf5 Black's a pawn down and in a bit of a mess.]> 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8 23.Nxc3 Kc7< Looks like black may be able to hold the draw with [ 23...Nc4 24.Rd1+ Kc7 25.Qd3 Qg5+ 26.Kb1 Kb8 27.Qd8+ Qxd8 28.Rxd8+ Rc8 29.Rxc8+ Kxc8 30.Nd5 Kd7 31.b3 Ne5 But could Kramnik win this with his extra pawn. Probably. It is Kramnik. ] >24.Rd1 a6?!< [24...Nc4 Gives access for the queen to get to 25...Qg5+ hitting the g2 pawn.]> 25.Qxh7 Kb8< I don't know what demons Nigel seen with [25...Qxa2 26.h4 Whatever the demons he's still fighting to save the game against the former world champion who excels in these positions.]> 26.Kb1 Nc4 27.Qh8+ Rc8 28.Qd4 Qb4 <Going for the swindle of the century with 29...Qxb2 mate. "If Kramnik missed a mate in 1 against deep Fritz, then why not me" thinks Nigel.> 29.b3< Not today.> 29...a5 30.Ka1 Na3< "Ok, he saw the mate in 1, now let's see if he misses the 31...Nc2+ king , queen fork" >31.Qxb4< Nope>. 31...axb4 32.Nd5 Rc2 33.Nxb4 Rxg2 34.Rh1 Ka7 <Not very sensible moving the king away from the passed pawn.> 35.h4 Kb6< Nigel seems like a broken spirit >36.h5 Ka5< Total resignation. >37.h6 Kxb4 38.h7 Nc2+ 39.Kb1 Na3+ 40.Kc1 10

Nigel sacrificed a pawn for development and activity, but Kramnik always seemed to have everything under control. Kramnik is a masterful player. I think his vision of the chessboard is as good as anyone who's ever played the game.

Credit to Nigel who tried to take the game to Kramnik, but he's some player this Kramnik. You just feel he has control of the position. He waits until your initiative dies down, and then hits you back, and you are left wandering what went wrong.

Also I think Nigel was totally outprepared as well as outplayed. Nigel tried to surprise Kramnik with a Ragozin 4...Bb4 thinking Kramnik wont have prepared for it, but Kramnik hit him back with a new move (for him) 5 Qb3 and probably left Short a bit unprepared.

Who knows? Anyway it was another classy win for Vladimir. He's close to another tournament win. Black against Nakamura tomorrow, whilst Carlsen has black against Short.

I'll stick my neck out and say that the difference in class will tell tomorrow. I do believe Nakamura will lose tomorrow. He will play quickly and miss things that Kramnik will NOT miss.

Bring on tomorrow - It's been a great tournament!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <[25...Qxa2 26.Qg8] 26...Nd7 is another passive move. These are useless against a player like Kramnik. The only chance is mixing it up with 26...Qa1+ 27 Kc2 Rxc3+ 28 bc Qa2+ 29 Kc1 Qa1+ 30 Kd2 Nc4+ 31 Kd3 Ne5+ etc. I can't find a clear draw, but neither is there an easy win for white.>

I suppose 31.Ke2 Qb2+ should be inserted here - after 32.Kd3 Ne5+ 33.Ke3 Qxc3+ 34.Kf4 Black might try a very inferior queen endgame with 34...Nd3+ 35.Rxd3 Qxd3 36.Qxf7+, or allow White to keep the exchange and probably manage eventually to hide the king in a relatively safe spot on the K-side.

Dec-14-09  JaneEyre: <5.Qb3 and probably left Short a bit unprepared.>

Kramnik said he'd been waiting for the opportunity to spring this move.

Dec-14-09  newton296: <JaneEyre: <5.Qb3 and probably left Short a bit unprepared.>

Kramnik said he'd been waiting for the opportunity to spring this move.>

surprising for kramnik to say that.

5.Qb3 is a well known move that seirawan played several times years ago. seirawan even analyzed the move in a book a gave some good lines for black which left the move for dead I thought.

Dec-14-09  Ezzy: <surprising for kramnik to say that.> Why is that surprising, He hasn't played 5 Qb3 before and so was looking for the opportunity when somebody played the Ragozin.

According to the chessbase database, Seirawan only faced the Ragozin twice and he didn't play 5 Qb3.

5 Qb3 isn't a new move to theory, but it's a surprise for Kramnik to play it.

Dec-15-09  Shams: My copy of Zurich 1953 is packed away somewhere but if it wasn't this position--and I think it was-- it was a very similar Nimzo where Bronstein himself played an early Qb3 and chastised himself in the tournament book, calling his move "a continuation that has deservedly fallen out of favor". It seems this scheme has disappointed several generations of white players.
Dec-15-09  acirce: <Shams> it was a normal Nimzo 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qb3, here: Bronstein vs Boleslavsky, 1953
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <JaneEyre: Kramnik and Short discussed this line [25...Qxa2 26 Qh8 (instead of Qg8!)] after the game. Both mistakenly agreed that White avoids the perpetual and wins, until they were shown that it only draws. Cue much jollity.>

John Saunders mentions this in his daily report:

<It is surprising that neither player gave much thought to 25...Qxa2 here, as it is perfectly logical and apparently quite playable. When the players were discussing this in the commentary room, they looked at 26 Qh8 Rxc3+!? 27 bxc3 Qa1+ 28 Kd2 Qb2+ 29 Ke1 Qxc3+ 30 Kf1 Qc4+ 31 Kg1 Qc5+ 32 Kh1 ... [here White should play Kf1 and settle for a draw]

click for larger view

... etc, etc, and Kramnik concluded he was winning, so they moved onto another position.

But it was suddenly apparent to the spectators that IM Lawrence Trent was desperately straining to say something. On and on went Kramnik, barely pausing for breath and oblivious to Lawrence's attempts to catch his eye. Eventually the Kramnik stream of consciousness abated for a second and Lawrence seized his chance: "Can we go back to the earlier position?" (the one in the diagram). At this point Lawrence dropped his bombshell: "Black plays 32...Nd3!!"... the super-GMs were temporarily bemused by the sheer effrontery of the young English commentator... Kramnik tried to rescue his line... "I play 33 Rf1", but Lawrence was ready for him: "... then 33...Nf2+!!"... followed by another super-grandmaster pause. Kramnik, finally recognising a choice between being mated on the back rank or being caught by Philidor's legacy, smiled in that closed-eye way of his and said: "Well... I wouldn't have played 26 Qh8!", to a gale of mirth from an audience which was thoroughly enjoying young Trent's moment of triumph over his elders and betters.> (

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: The point where the game really escaped Short may be 18...Ne5?

<The strangely pedestrian 18..Rg6 is given by the computer as providing enough counterplay for Black. Hard to believe at first, but the point isn't so much the hit on g2 as that now Black can play ..f5, hitting the well-placed knight.> (

Dec-16-09  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 8...Be6 is 8...h6 9 Bh4 g5 10 Ng3 Be6 so that on 11 0-0-0 Qa5 White doesn't have the option of Bxf6.
Dec-16-09  patzer3844: irrelevant comment:Matches between super GMs and chess engines would be interesting if all the opening theory was removed from the last.With this handicap GMs would have chances against the silicon beasts and we would enjoy very interesting games
Dec-18-09  visayanbraindoctor: It's nice to see Kramnik again playing 1. Nf3!

A brief review of his games shows that he used to play this a lot in the 1990s. He was pretty successful with it. Perhaps it psychologically threw off his opponents.

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