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Magnus Carlsen vs Vladimir Kramnik
Grand Slam Chess Final (2010), Bilbao ESP, rd 4, Oct-12
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Fianchetto Lines (A29)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 11 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-13-10  firebyrd: They have increments so time isn't likely to be a problem
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <marckwordsmith> If a pawn reached e8/e1 the player was provided a king and declared winner of the game.A doubleking such a move was called.
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessgames.com: Thanks to everybody for stopping by today--your contributions and observations are a big part of what makes these events so special. The action continues tomorrow at 10:30 am USA/Eastern with round #5. Hope to see you all back for more!
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Nobody is perfect.
Oct-13-10  rapidcitychess: Ah, Man!

Kramnik was so won...

Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  marcwordsmith: Carlsen should feel okay about this. He wanted to win, but he pulled out a tough draw instead. I hate it that when (I'm saying "when") they face each other in the Candidate's match, it'll only be for four games. No fair. The first person who wins gets too big an advantage. Should be six games at least.
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <Robed Bishop> Only pawns from the original squares were allowed to promote.Otherwise it would be too confusing.
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  marcwordsmith: <moro> how odd. that is like an alternate checkmate. Must have made a big strategical difference to the game, I would think. At least sometimes.
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: I agree 4 games are better than none but close to a disgrace to chess itself.6 or 8 would be closer to real sport.
Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <Kramnik was so won...> Such a fine line between better and winning.

For RP vs R, it all depends whether the defending King controls the Queening square. If they traded off both a Pawns, White's King just heads to b1 to draw (Philidor). If they trade White's a Pawn for Black's b Pawn, the White King heads to a1, and/or the White Rook blocks off the b file so the Black King can't get out of the a Pawn's way. That's why the professional commentators were questioning why Black played this out so far.

Black was hardly making progress with the last few moves.

Oct-13-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <mackwordsmith> Yes,those were the times;)And perhaps the rules of today are easier to live with...
Oct-13-10  Appaz: If more GMs played out "drawn" end games at least us patzers would learn a thing or two.
Oct-13-10  virginmind: what did i tell you: fight, and then draw.
i know these guys...;)
Oct-13-10  messachess: Very interesting English opening.--very evenly, hard fought game.
Oct-13-10  Kazzak: Enjoyed that.
What could Carlsen have played instead of 27. Bb2?
Later he would have liked to have left the B on c1, I think - he kept looking for a tempo, and would have made better use of the B from c1, to assist the kingside advance.

Who plays who tomorrow?

Oct-13-10  Marmot PFL: <51...Ke5 might be the last chance. To be honest, I feel again this should win for Black. For instance something like the following line, which might be wrong because I didn't push it deeply enough. 52.Rc3 Rxa5 53.c6 bxc6 54.Rxc6 Ra3+ 55.Kd2 a5 56.Ra6 a4 57.Kc2 Ra1 58.Kd3 a3 59.Ra5+ Kf4 60.Rf5+ Kg3 61.Kc3 Re1 62.Kb3 Re3+ 63.Ka2 Rf3–+. >

This looks good, but instead of 52 Rc3 white can play 52 Kd3 Rxc5 53 Ra4 and I could not find a win. There are several lines but if the b7 and e4 pawns are exchanged and white's king can stop the f pawn he can even trade rooks and the draw the pawn ending as black's rook pawn is too far back.

Oct-13-10  polarmis: Sergey Shipov's commentary on the game: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2...
Oct-13-10  messachess: I thought this was interesting from ths Shipov commentary (a critical position:)

<41. Nc2?! Too passive.

In good form Carlsen here would play 41.Rc2! Rxb4 42.Nf5 Be5 and now not 43.Rh3? Rgxe4+!, but 43.Rf1! , intending to invade black's back ranks with his rooks. Analysis shows that in this case black is taking no fewer risks than white. It's approximate dynamic equality.]>

Oct-13-10  visayanbraindoctor: <In good form Carlsen here would play 41.Rc2!>

Carlsen is just understandably cautious with Kramnik. Earlier in the game he went for a line that he probably though was more active, 32. f4, but instead of giving him the initiative, it was Kramnik who took it. It's kind of hard to predict where these lines go over the board, although one can also say that the very greatest of chess players had superb instincts in these positions, knowing which of a multitude of plans and lines gave them the best winning chances.

In this position


click for larger view

Carlsen's 42. d4 was relatively weak, creating weaknesses on fourth and third ranks, which Kramnik should have exploited by 42..Rg4


click for larger view

after which it is doubtful if Carlsen would survive. Black is threatening to drive off the White King from the third rank with Rb3+ after which he can take the weakened e4 pawn. How to defend the third rank? Let's consider 43. Rc3.


click for larger view

This removes a defender of the White b4 pawn, which Kramnik can take anytime he wishes in circumstances much more advantageous as what happened in the game. For instance, he could plant two Rooks on Carlsen's second rank first with 43.. Rg2, and Black's position looks overwhelming; and with the White b4 pawn ripe for the picking.

The line that Kramnik actually chose (42..Rb5) immediately wins the b4 pawn, but concedes his positional advantages of superior rooks and Bishop. The difference is that in the 42..Rg4 line, Kramnik keeps on building up his positional advantages, and is later able to take the b4 pawn without conceding them.

Oct-14-10  Appaz: Magnus on his blog: <Before the time control I still enjoyed some ambitions to create winning chances, which turned out to be completely unrealistic. Avoiding some drawish lines I instead ended up with a very difficult ending.>

Typical Magnus, and it really puts Shipovs <but despite all Carlsen’s blunders he’s got chances of saving this tough encounter> in perspective. A patriotic one.

I suspect that Magnus "blunders" and Kramniks "oversights" are because some GMs, kibitzers and even computers are not able to understand what two of the worlds best players are doing.

They are just playing a different game.

Oct-14-10  polarmis: <Appaz>, but where's the contradiction between what Carlsen said and what Shipov said!? You don't get into "a very difficult ending" without making mistakes - and Shipov also acknowledged that Carlsen was playing optimistically ("the energy of youth must be released" etc.). The fact that he avoided a draw and played for a win doesn't stop a blunder from being a blunder. Plus he then made e.g. the passive move in the ending which certainly can't be filed under playing for a win (though it's an open question whether the whole ending's won or not with best play).
Oct-14-10  Appaz: <polarmis> But have you made mistakes if you don't end up in a lost position, even if it's worse?

In my opinion it is not a mistake if it keeps the game "within the same score", that is turning a win to a draw or a draw to a loss.

Carlsen in his best form seem to me to be an expert in balancing the game on a razors edge. Carlsen in not so good form sometimes fall down with a leg on each side :)

If Carlsen made mistakes my logic tells me that Kramnik must have made equal big mistakes, but Shipov did not mentioned that in this comment, that is why I think he maybe was a little patriotic and optimistic on behalf of Kramnik.

Don't get me wrong, I think Shipov is one of the best commentators around.

Oct-14-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: I suppose some may object to calling Carlsen’s mistakes during this game “blunders” because it’s too strong a word, but it’s clear that he made some mistakes that brought him close to losing – even if he didn’t actually lose. In his own description of the game he admits that he misevaluated the position at several points, and that he had to struggle at the end for a draw. During the game, several commentators – as well as chessok’s Rybka – criticized 36.Bxd4 instead of Nxd4, and in the press conference after the game Carlsen admitted that this move was inaccurate and that 36.Nd4 was the proper way to draw.

41.Nc2 (instead of 41.Rc2 Rxb4 42.Nf5) and then 42.d4 were also criticized, and I saw some commentators claiming that 42…Rg4 was winning for Black, but here I’m not so sure. Monokroussos, for example, says that it “leaves White surprisingly helpless against the threat of ...Rb3+” (http://www.thechessmind.net/storage...) – but he doesn’t analyze 43.Rc3, which seems like White’s best reply; and Edouard on chessbase says that “42...Rg4 should win at once” without any analysis at all. The main difference that I see between 42…Rg4 43.Rc3 and the game is that when Black captures on b4 only the minor pieces are exchanged, so we get an endgame with two pairs of rooks rather than one.

Oct-14-10  acirce: <But have you made mistakes if you don't end up in a lost position, even if it's worse? In my opinion it is not a mistake if it keeps the game "within the same score", that is turning a win to a draw or a draw to a loss.>

Now that.. is a quite unusual view of "mistake" in chess.

For instance, you will often be able to blunder a pawn or more for absolutely nothing in an objectively drawn position and the position still remains drawn. It's still a mistake. Same applies for mistakes that don't lose material but otherwise worsen your position.

Fischer's ..Bxh2?? against Spassky blundered a piece for two pawns and it seems that it was still a draw. I thought the only ones insisting on that not being a mistake were crazy Fischer fans.

Oct-14-10  acirce: Hm, sorry if I sounded a little unpleasant in that post. It was certainly not my intention.
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