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Vladimir Kramnik vs Erwin L'Ami
Tata Steel Group A (2011), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 9, Jan-25
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-25-11  capanegra: Thanks <Eyal>, Black is lost indeed.

On second thoughts about <mummerzwei>'s continuation, after 13Bxc3 14.Bxc3 Qxc3 15.Rc1 Qxd2+ 16.Nxd2 Be6 17.Rxc5 Rac8 material is even but Black has a very pleasant position. I think this is what is should have been played.

Jan-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Massive home prep.>

It's funny how some people automatically assume, every time someone plays well before move 20 or 30, that it has to be home preparation, as if top players are totally incapable of coming up with good ideas over the board anymore...

<"Todays win was amazingly simple. I decided to try 5.d3 and mount the attack with 10.h4 on the spur of the moment."> (http://www.tatasteelchess.com/tourn...)

Jan-25-11  The Rocket: <"Was this really a good game by Kramnik? I have the impression that he got unnecessary in trouble with a dubious opening, creating a weakness in c3 ">

Practically this strategy of opening was not too bad actually, but from an objective viewpoint yeah white is probably struggling a bit against a more optimal opponent.

Like I said in the main forum its quite incredible that black missed f6 twice!, White is crashing down on the h-file and f6 makes the win less clear for obvious reasons(escape square!)

Its a rather known ugly escape routine in these kingside attacks but when the king is under fire you cant be concerned with positional factors other than saving your king!.

Jan-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kdogphs: <Akavall: I love games like that, very original opening by Kramnik.>

Amen to that, I tell my students all the time, be original but still fundamentally sound but do they listen? Not always, this game is a great example of originality as 10) h4 was a novelty...

Jan-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <Eyal> It depends on the player. I think Kramnik is somewhat cautious, expecially against the best players. [I know, you can trot out a game or two where this is not the case]...but generally, he draws a lot against the heavies.

I think he has worked out a lot of this opening at home. Nothing wrong with that. It just looked a little too easy. I realize MLG is not Carlsen, but I'll go out on a limb and believe that the initial advantage here was worked out at home, with lines checked by a software program.

Jan-25-11  woodthrush: <Eyal> black might improve, after 19...Qf6 20 Qh7+ Kf8 21. d4 with 21..Nb6 to guard the bishop on d7, and the black queen, driven away from f6 by white Bg5, can return to f6 immediately after white plays Bh6.
Jan-25-11  woodthrush: In my previous note, black should play 21...cd before playing Nb6.
Jan-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <I think he has worked out a lot of this opening at home. Nothing wrong with that. It just looked a little too easy. I realize MLG [?] is not Carlsen, but I'll go out on a limb and believe that the initial advantage here was worked out at home, with lines checked by a software program.>

It's possible, of course, but I don't see why he would lie about it, saying it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. When he catches his opponent in deep opening prep, as against Nakamura's Dutch last year or Shirov's Scotch this year (where he started thinking only on move 25) he's not shy at all to say it, on the contrary.

[Obviously Kramnik has worked a lot on the Grunfeld in general, so he has many ideas and knows a lot of attacking patterns against it that could come handy in improvising this line, even if he didnt prepare it in advance, but thats a different thing.]

Jan-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <woodthrush: <Eyal> black might improve, after 19...Qf6 20 Qh7+ Kf8 21. d4 with 21..Nb6 to guard the bishop on d7, and the black queen, driven away from f6 by white Bg5, can return to f6 immediately after white plays Bh6.>

I think you're missing the point - after the queen returns to f6 in such a line, White would have the Qh8+ tactic again.

Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <On second thoughts about <mummerzwei>'s continuation, after 13Bxc3 14.Bxc3 Qxc3 15.Rc1 Qxd2+ 16.Nxd2 Be6 17.Rxc5 Rac8 material is even but Black has a very pleasant position. I think this is what is should have been played.>

Instead, after 15.Qxc3 Nxc3 16.hxg6 hxg6 17.Kd2 Nd5 18.Ng5 e6 19.Rh4 (with the possibility of next doubling rooks on the h-file), it's White's position which looks very pleasant, with more than enough compensation for the pawn.

Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Perhaps Black's last chance to survive was on move 17 - ...Qb6? is bad because the queen doesn't really help the defense at all on this square (...Qf6 is ineffective), whereas on a5 it actually had an important defensive role - refuting the Bc1 maneuver by ...Qxc3. With 18...f6 Black wouldn't have gotten mated (at least not so soon), but he should still be losing after 19.Qh7+ Kf7 20.Nh4 etc.
Jan-26-11  The Rocket: <"I'll go out on a limb and believe that the initial advantage here was worked out at home, with lines checked by a software program.">

Apparently it wasnt, since kramnik said he couldnt find a reasonable defence after kf1!?(in his calculations), when in fact the position is equal at that point, with perhaps a slight advantage to black in terms of the cordination of the pieces.

Jan-26-11  Troller: Well, the defending lines are not that easy to find without an engine. I followed some live internet analysis done by IMs, and they had trouble finding a way out for Black after Kf1.
Jan-26-11  Kazzak: Patzeralysis.

1. This win doesn't count because it was based on home prep. Pure chess should be invented OTB.

2. Subsequent overnight analysis with Rybka 4 running on eight processors shows that move n would have turned the tables through this 32 move line; therefore, the result isn't really indicative of true player strength and should be discounted.

3. A Patzer(an)alyst's chesshero must always be shown to have had a winning position, if it wasn't for (1) and (2) above.

Jan-26-11  candide1500: Does anyone have a link to any analysis of this game? Thanks.
Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: There's an analysis by Monokroussos on his blog (http://www.thechessmind.net/storage...), though actually it hardly adds to what's already been posted on this page. But later today chessvibes are going to post a video of Kramnik's own presentation of this game from yesterday.
Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: To think I recently spent several minutes deciding whether I felt like playing 5.d3 or 5.d4 in this line.

And, if I play h4, opponents reply ...h5, and a look that says "I'm not falling for h4-h5 attacks today, thank you".

These elite GMs are more ... adventurous.

Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Kramnik's video is now on, entertaining and instructive as always (http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/k...).

He admits that his set-up can't be <that> dangerous, and suggests 7c5 8.g3 b6 9.Bg2 Bb7 as an equalizer. But once Black commits himself early to castling, White can try and justify his setup (and own avoidance of castling) by a direct K-side attack. He mentions 10...h5 as the most direct way to deal with it, but says it's still a concession - weakens g5 etc. And an interesting point about 10...h6 - after 11.Rb1, 11...b6? would be bad because of 12.h5! and 12...g5 fails to 13.Nxg5! and Nc6 is hanging.

He thinks that starting from 16.Kf1 Black is already lost because of the basic attacking mechanism that was employed in the game, but I think he may be missing the fact that 17...Qb6? actually helped him quite a bit, because with the black queen on a5 Black can meet the Bc1 maneuver by ...Qxc3.

He gives especially detailed calculations with regard to 15...Nxa4, which he considers as a critical line that might have made the win more difficult; he shows a win with 16.Qf4 Qb5 17.Qh4 Rd8 (17...Re8 18.Qxa4 and Black cant take on b2 because the rook is hanging) 18.Bc1 Bxc3+ 19. Kf1 Bxa1 20.d4! (blocking the diagonal for the bishop on a1) and the mate threat on h8 is decisive. He mentions, though, that Black could also play 16Qb6 with the difference being that after the sequence 17.Qh4 Rd8 18. Bc1 Bxc3+ 19. Kf1 Bxa1 20.d4 theres 20Qf6; then he mentions briefly 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Bg5 as supposedly winning however, it looks like after 22Bxd4! (22...Qg7?? 23. Bh6) 23.Bxf6 (23.Nxd4 Rxd4 with a mate threat on d1) Bxf6 Black defends against the mate and has more than enough for the queen.

Interesting that after all this talk about Qf4 he finally played 17.Qg5 in the game - he says it was to prevent 17...c4 by Black. I suppose that what makes the difference for him compared with the 16.Qf4 lines is that once ...Bd7 has been played, the knight on a4 isn't hanging in the sequence 17.Qf4 c4 18.Qh4 Qh5.

Jan-26-11  jussu: <HeMateMe: I think Kramnik is somewhat cautious, expecially against the best players. <...> but generally, he draws a lot against the heavies.>

Well, we are equally lazy in collecting the statistical evidence; my impression has been that Kramnik, as usual for players with sound style, collects his points rather equally from all over the field, while the flashier players win the tail and draw the head of the final table.

Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Eyal> Fascinating video from Vlad: he seems to see practically everything, and *then* start calculating. There are, as you say, a few flaws - though we have no way to tell if they're gaps in his recollection or mistakes he might have made in the game.

This is one critical position, arising in the line 15.a4! Nxa4! 16.Qf4 Bxc3+? 17.Kf1 Bxb2


click for larger view

White to play.

Kramnik had already gone into some detail on a different fantasy line where he plays Qh6 and sacs several pieces. "Tal would envy me", he says, before conceding that he runs out of material before giving mate. But perhaps that line blinded him to the fact that he has a simple forced mate here with Qh6 (not Qh4):

18.Qh6 Rd8 19.d4 Bxd4 20.Nxd4 and mates.

Instead he gives a convoluted 'winning' line with a hole in it:

18.Qh4 Re8 19.Rxa4? (19.d4 still wins)
19... Qc3 20.d4 Qc1+ 21.Ne1 Kg7 ("Like a man")

Due to Black's hidden resource, this is probably drawn.

22.f4 (Kramnik's suggestion as a winning move)

22...Bh3!


click for larger view

This amazing move, apparently overlooked by Vlad, turns the tables by interfering with White's coordination and connecting the Black Rooks.

If 23.Rxh3 Rh8 is better for Black.
If 23.Bxh3 Bc3 24.Kg2 Rh8 25.Qg5 is unclear, but White has nothing concrete.

Apart from this -- maybe because of this -- I think he's magnificent.

Thanks. And remember - one way for White to lose is to follow my suggestions ...

Jan-26-11  Jamboree: In the final position, does black have a last-second desperation defense attmept with 23. ... Bf5?!?

Remember that the N on a4 is not hanging to the R -- if he takes with the R, there is a back-rank mate. But if white then gets lazy and tries to win the piece with 24. Qh4+ black replies 24. ... Ke3!? 25. Qxa4 Kxe5!?!? 26. Qf4+ Kf6 27. g4 Qb2! 28. Re1 Qxc3 29. gxf5, does black have a ghost of a chance in the endgame with the three connected Q-side pawns vs. the bishop -- or is there some obvious immediate mate starting back on move 24 that I'm missing?

Yes, I'm sure that against Rybka the final position is resignable, but is there a way to create practical chances, or to induce a "laziness blunder" against a human player?

Jan-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Jamboree>
What if 23...Bf5 24. Qc1, really attacking the knight? Now if 24...Qb2 25. Qxb2 Nxb2 26. Ra2 looks like the knight is in trouble.

But if 23...Bf5 24. Qc1 Qb3 25. Rh7 looks like a strong attack. After that if 25...Rf8 26. e4.

I'll admit in a practical game I might try 23...Bf5 rather than resign, but then I'm nowhere near as strong as these players.

Jan-27-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <But if white then gets lazy and tries to win the piece with 24. Qh4+ black replies 24. ... Ke3[e6]!? 25. Qxa4 Kxe5!?!? 26. Qf4+ Kf6 27. g4 Qb2! 28. Re1 Qxc3 29. gxf5, does black have a ghost of a chance in the endgame with the three connected Q-side pawns vs. the bishop?>

No - especially since it's not really an endgame; with all the heavy pieces on and black's king so exposed, the Q-side pawns are quite meaningless. But White can do even better with 25.e4 Kxe5 (25...Qb2 26.exf5+ with a quick mating attack) 26.exf5 Kd6 (no time to escape with the knight, again because of a mating attack starting with Re1+) 27.Qxa4 and Black doesn't have any counterplay whatsoever.

Jan-27-11  tibone: if he only was in this mood more often.
Feb-02-11  PokerPro: Can someone explain why does kramnik say that Kf1 was very important in the press conference?
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