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Vladimir Kramnik vs Hikaru Nakamura
London Chess Classic (2010), London ENG, rd 2, Dec-09
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Nimzo-English Opening (A17)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-09-10  Eyal: <Black plays well I believe up to 26...Nb6?, allowing 27 Be5! instead of 26…Kg7 breaking the pin immediately.>

After 26…Kg7, though:

click for larger view

one has to spot the rather tricky line 27.Bxb7 Nxf4 28.Rxf4 Rb8! 29.Bxc8 Ne5! etc. It might have been simpler to play ...Nb6 back on move 23, instead of putting the king in a vulnerable position on the f-file with 23...Kf7.

As for <41.Kg2!> which should have given White at least good drawing chances:

click for larger view

White is threatening mate with either rook on the h-file, but 41...Re2+ 42.Kf3 Ne5+ seems to be easily winning for Black (43.Kf4 Rf2+ and 44...Rxf7); however, 43.Rxe5 Rxe5 44.Kf4!! (attacking the black rook and renewing the threat of Rh7, with the g5 square covered by the king) saves White. There's also 41...Re5 42.Rxe5 Nxe5 43.Rf5 with a mate threat on h5, so that Black has to sac the knight on g4 (compare with the actual game, where the white king is on g1 and there's no mate threat, since the g3 square isn't covered). Another near-miraculous save occurs in the line 41...Re2+ 42.Kf3 Re5 43.Rh7+ Kg5 44.h4+! Nxh4+ (better is 44...Kf6 45.Rd6+ Re6 46.g5+ Ke5) 45.Rxh4 Rxd5 46.Rh5+ and 47.Rxd5.

Dec-09-10  Atking: This game remembered me the second game of the 92 match Fischer vs Spassky when Fischer defended accurately and should win with Black (True that game was draw). Eyal, I'm pretty sure in your last suggestion 41.Kg2!? Nakamura will play 41...Re2+ 42.Kf3 Re5 43.Rh7+ Kg5 and if 44.h4+!? Kf6 Black looks really better as White could not exchange the Rooks (N is a a very strong blocker - Indeed very well placed in g6 - and the is always this majority on queen side)
Dec-09-10  Eyal: <Atking> Yes, I've mentioned this line as better for Black, maybe I should have went a bit further (my main purpose was to show that Black can't force an immediate win, even though at first glance it might seem that he can, in several lines): [41.Kg2 Re2+ Kf3 Re5 43.Rh7+ Kg5 44.h4+ Kf6] 45.Rd6+ Re6 46.g5+ Ke5 47.Rxe6+ Kxe6 48.h5 and White is certainly fighting for the draw here - Sakaev on chesspro ( estimates his chances at about 50:50.
Dec-09-10  Atking: Thanks <Eyal> for that quick answer. I see your point.

But on Sakaev's comment, the translation isn't clear for me. Chances for White to draw and Black to win are 50/50?

I should go now. Sorry If I delay my answer to an eventual of your.

Dec-09-10  drnooo: curiously its Tal who holds the longest string without a defeat, and he almost beat his own record to boot: totally counter-intuitive not Capa, Not Alekhine, not Petrosian, not Botvinnik, or Fischer but the sharpest edged player in the history of this silly game. That and Spassky's unbroken 15 string with the Kings Gambit, to me are even more unbelievable than Steinitz's 25 wins in a row or how Kasparov held off Karpov when he was down five to one.
Dec-09-10  Eyal: <Chances for White to draw and Black to win are 50/50?> Yes, that's what he says.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: They pulled in just behind the bridge (1. Nf3 Nf6), he lays her down (2. c4 e6), he frowns (3. Nc3 Bb4)/"Gee my life's a funny thing (4. g3 c5), am I still too young?" (5. Bg2 0-0)/He kissed her then and there (6. 0-0 d6), she took his ring (7. d4 Bxc3), took his babies (8. bxc3 Qe7)/It took him minutes [last book move], took her nowhere (9. dxc5 dxc5)/Heaven knows (10. Ne5 Qc7), she'd have taken anything but (11. Bf4 Nh5)/ALL NIGHT (12. Qd2)/She was the young American [12. e3!? should not be overlooked Nxf4 13. exf4 =]/Young American (12 ... g5!), young American [Black has managed to stay ahead], she was the young American (13. Bxg5 Qxe5)/ALL RIGHT (14. Rad1 f6)/She wants the young American (15. Bh6 Ng7)/Scanning life through the picture window (16. Bf4 Qh5), she finds the slinky vagabond (17. Bd6 Re8)/He coughs as he passes her Ford Mustang (18. Qf4 Nd7), but Heaven forbid she'll take anything (19. g4 Qf7)/But the freak and his type all for nothing (20. Rd3 e5), he misses a step and cuts his hand (21. Qh6 Qg6)/But showing nothing (22. Qxg6 hxg6), he swoops like a song (23. Be4)/She cries "Where have all Papa's heroes gone?" [23. Bd5+ Ne6 24. f4 exf4 25. Bxf4 Nb6 ]/ALL NIGHT (23 ... Kf7)/She was the young American [23 ... Nb6 24. f3 f5 25. Bd5+ Nxd5 26. cxd5 ]/Young American (24. f4 exf4), young American (25. Bd5+ Ne6), she was the young American (26. Bxf4 Nb6)/ALL RIGHT [26 ... a5 and Black can look forward to a comfortable game ]/She wants the young American (27. Be5 Nxd5)/All the way from Washington (28. cxd5 Nf8), her bread-winner begs off the bathroom floor (29. Rxf6+ Kg8)/"We live for just these twenty years, (30. Bd6 Kg7) do we have to die for the fifty more?" (31. Rf4 g5)/ALL NIGHT (32. Rf2 b6)/He was the young American (33. Rdf3)/Young American [33. Bxf8+ Rxf8 34. Rxf8 Kxf8 ], young American (33 ... Ng6), he was the young American (34. Rf7+ Kh6)/ALL RIGHT (35. h3 Ba6)/He wants the young American (36. R2f6 Bxe2)/Do you remember your President Nixon? (37. Be7 Bc4)/Do you remember the bills you have to pay (38. Rd6 Bxd5), or even yesterday? [38 ... a5!? ]/Have you have been an un-American (39. Bxg5+ Kxg5), just you and your idol singing falsetto (40. Rxd5+ Kh4)/'Bout leather leather everywhere (41. Rf3??), and not a myth left from the ghetto [41. Kg2 Re5 42. Rxe5 Nxe5 43. Rf5 Nxg4 44. Rf4 ]/Well well well would you carry a razor (41 ... Re5), in case just in case of depression? (42. Rxe5 Nxe5)/Sit on your hands on a bus of survivors (43. Rf5 Nd3), blushing at all the afro-Sheilas (44. Kh2 Rh8)/Ain't that close to love (45. a4 Rh6), well ain't that poster love (46. Kg2 a5)/Well it ain't that Barbie doll (47. Kf3 Nb2), her heart's been broken just like you have (48. Kf4 Nxa4)/ALL NIGHT (49. c4 Nc3)/All night (50. Ke3 a4), you want the young American [50 ... Kxh3 51. Rh5+ Kxg4 52. Rxh6 ]/Young American (51. Kd3 Nd1), young American (52. Rf8 Kxh3), you want the young American (53. g5 Rd6+)/ALL RIGHT (54. Ke4 Kg4)/You want the young American (0-1) - David Bowie + Fritz 7, "Young Americans"

"I heard the news today, oh boy"

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I'm glad someone still listens to Simon and Garfunkel.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: The sac looked weak, from the get go. Have any engines found a good line that kramnik missed?
Dec-10-10  Oxnard: So Mura beats Kramnik with knight-odds. So what?
Dec-10-10  anandrulez: Thats second lost position for Kramnik vs Hikaru .
Dec-10-10  Eyal: Position after 13...Qxe5:

click for larger view

White has at least two important alternatives to 14.Rad1 here:

- 14.f4 Qc7 (14...Qf5 15.e4 Qg6 16.f5) 15.f5 f6 (15...exf5 16.Bf6 Nxf6 17.Qg5+ with perpetual at least) 16.Bh4 with an unclear position.

- 14.g4 Ng7 (14...Nf6? 15.f4; 14...f6? 15.Bh6 Ng7 16.Bf4 trapping the queen) 15.Bd8 (this is really computer-stuff - White is threatening to trap the black queen with f4) Nc6 (15...Nd7 16.f4 Qb8 17.Be7 again threatening to trap the queen by Bd6) 16.f4 Rxd8 (16...Qb8 17.Bxc6 bxc6 18.Rab1 Bb7 19.Bf6 followed by 20.f5 with a winning attack) 17.Qxd8+ Nxd8 18.fxe5 Bd7:

click for larger view

Here Black has some problems in developing his Q-side, as well as with the knight on g7; during the live London commentary, GM Gordon suggested 19.Rfd1 Bc6 20.Bf3 (so as to improve the pawn structure in case Black exchanges bishops), but Black still seems to be better - he has the ideas of h5 to release the knight, as well as Ba4 & Nc6, attacking the pawn on e5.

Later in the game, Kramnik played very well from move 24 to move 40 and almost managed to save it; however, in chess one bad move is enough to spoil everything, and that's what happened on move 41 - right <after> the time control, strangely enough.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <AgentRgent: <You mean the one so many dimwits were bellyaching about and calling Drawnik?>> I meant the player who grind out so many <white> victories by accumulating smallest advantages. ;D
Dec-10-10  Atking: <Eyal: <Chances for White to draw and Black to win are 50/50?> Yes, that's what he says.> Indeed that's pretty good for Black. I respect your effort to make Kramnik's chance credible but I keep the impression that if Black plays correctly the ending will be in Black's favor. I suspect Kramnik was surprised by the irregularity of g5!? This remember me when Carlsen won with Black for the first time. (18...g5!)
Dec-10-10  JuliusDS: 38. h4 was mentioned in the commentary and no one has replied to my earlier post regarding it - after 38...Bxd5 39. hxg5+ Kxg5 40. Rf5+ Kxg4 41. Rg5+ Kh3 42. Rh7+ Nh4 43.Rxd5 white appears to be winning.
Dec-10-10  Riverbeast: <38. h4 was mentioned in the commentary and no one has replied to my earlier post regarding it>

What happens after 38...gxh4 39. g5+ Kh5 40. Rh7+ Kg4 41. Rxg6 Bxd5

It looks better than what kramnik played (maybe drawn) but white is still down a pawn

Dec-10-10  kingfu: Is 12...g5 a !? or does it just win a piece? If followed to the end black is still up a piece. Does this sacrifice yield an initiative for white?
Dec-10-10  Hesam7: Horrible game by Kramnik, Eyal has already mentioned the many opportunities missed by him.

<JuliusDS: Would 38. h4 have done any better?>

Good question, given that both players were very short of time. After 38. h4 Rxe7 (38. ... Bxd5?? is mate in 6: 39. hxg5+ Kxg5 40. Rf5+ Kxg4 41. Rg5+ Kh3 42. Rf2 Bg2 43. Rfxg2 Nxe7 44. Rh2#) 39. Rxe7 gxh4:

click for larger view

And Black should still be winning.

Dec-10-10  Hesam7: <Eyal: 14.f4 Qc7 (14...Qf5 15.e4 Qg6 16.f5) 15.f5 f6 (15...exf5 16.Bf6 Nxf6 17.Qg5+ with perpetual at least) 16.Bh4 with an unclear position.>

Position after 16. Bh4:

click for larger view

Here Stockfish 1.9.1 gives the following:

16. ... Ng7 17. fxe6 Qe7 18. Bd5 Ne8 19. Qe3 Na6 20. Rf4 Nac7 21. Raf1 Bxe6 22. Re4 Ng7 23. Qh6 Nce8 24. Qe3 Nc7 (0.00 @ depth 29).

Dec-10-10  Hesam7:

click for larger view

<<41. Rf3?> What? Why? Vladimir has clearly been too hasty. He didn’t finish his cup of coffee…

There would practically have been equality after 41.Kg2, as then it's possible to organise serious threats. Here's the main line: 41...Re2+

(simple is 41...Re5 42.Rxe5 Nxe5 43.Rf5 Nxg4 44.hxg4 Kxg4 45.Rf7 with an obvious draw)

42.Kf3 Re5 43.Rh7+ Kg5 44.h4+!

(maybe Vladimir missed this subtle resource... though he should see things even trickier than that!)


(there's a strong initiative for White after 44...Kf6 45.Rd6+ Re6 46.g5+ and so on - the pawns crawl forwards)

45.Rxh4 and on Rxd5 there's the saving 46.Rh5+ In general, it would be a draw.> -- GM Shipov

Dec-10-10  Kinghunt: <HeMateMe: The sac looked weak, from the get go. Have any engines found a good line that kramnik missed?>

The engines say the sac was completely unsound. But Kramnik nearly saved a draw despite this, until he inaccurately played 41. Rf3, when 41. Kg2 was necessary.

Dec-10-10  Eyal: <The engines say the sac was completely unsound.>

Actually, as was already pointed out, they (or at least some of them...) say that after 14.f4 Qc7 15.f5 it's close to equal, or unclear.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game here:

Jan-02-11  polarmis: Kramnik talks quite a lot about the game here, including:

<I realised the risk was huge, that more likely than not the sacrifice was incorrect, but nevertheless I decided to go for it.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: This game was in "Chess Life" ... Steve and I went over it last night at chess club.


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