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Sergey Karjakin vs Vladimir Kramnik
Russian Championship Superfinal (2011), Moscow RUS, rd 3, Aug-10
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Berlin Wall J. Rogers Line (C67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-11-11  sevenseaman: Excellent Karjakin. The only maneuver now needed for a win is Ng5 - Nf7 cutting off B interference in the P promotion.

The ex-WC seems to be on a floundering mission post-Dortmund.

Premium Chessgames Member
  mike1: I see that White got comp for the pawn after 32.Ne5 but how to proceed after the simple Be6? Any ideas?
Aug-11-11  redcircle: The Fall of the Wall...impressive win by Karjakin!
Aug-11-11  Ulhumbrus: Karjakin cracks the Berlin wall by means of, of all things, an endgame attack following a pawn sacrifice in the ending.

After 32 Ne5 Black's f7 pawn is attacked but it also has the task of defending the g6 pawn so that on 32...f5 the g6 pawn is attacked by the N on e5.

After 33 Nf6 Kramnik moves the g6 pawn by 33...g5 but the tempo spent on that move gives Karjakin's N on e5 time to start an endgame attack by 34 Nc6+, an attack which ends up winning a pawn on g5.

However if Kramnik can draw at least by 39...fxg5 as <Polarmis> has indicated this suggests that White's endgame attack was either mistaken or mistakenly executed.

If White cannot win by means of this endgame attack with best play this suggests that he will have to find something else to try against the Berlin wall.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Well, Kramnik may have lost a (single) battle but the <Berlin Wall> still stands.
Aug-11-11  polarmis: A couple of earlier things for the game - 25...h5! is a tricky pawn sac that might even have given Kramnik an edge e.g. 26.gxh5 Bh6 27.Bc1 Rh8.

Shipov thought 28...Rd8 exchanging rooks was a bad idea (and I think this was the moment Karjakin identified as where Black went wrong as well). Simply 28...Kb7 and Black seems fine.

Aug-11-11  newton296: a kramnik implosion in a minor piece endgame! wow?

houdini says kramnik is probably okay around move 42 but then starts to implode!Sergey Karjakin - V Kramnik, Russian Superfinals 2011

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 1.5a w32:

1. (0.70): 42...Bd7 43.Ne5 Bc8 44.Ke3 Ne8 45.Ngf7 fxg4 46.hxg4 Nf6 4

2. (1.26): 42...fxg4 43.hxg4 Ba6 44.Ne5 bxa4 45.bxa4 Bc8 46.Ne4 Ne6+ 47.Ke3 Kb6 48.g5 Ng7 49.Nd3 Ba6

kramik plays line 2 and gets it to trouble real fast

Aug-11-11  Ladolcevita: Brilliant play from Karjakin
I also guess that 32...be6 is playable,but perhaps Vladimir found it too mundane and unsatisfactory and missed the white move Ne5-Nc6-Nd8,after which black can no longer move knight to c6 square to protect the g5 pawn. But well,considering Kramnik is rated 2800,I will say this is only my guess,and probably he has other plans or ideas that didnt work out on account of Karjakin's excellent play...
Aug-11-11  Ulhumbrus: <polarmis: A couple of earlier things for the game - 25...h5! is a tricky pawn sac that might even have given Kramnik an edge e.g. 26.gxh5 Bh6 27.Bc1 Rh8.> Then if White attempts to play the moves Ne4 and Nfg5 by 28 Ne4, Black can pin the N on e4 by 28...Bf5. This suggests preparing the move Ne4 by playing first 28 Rd1!
Aug-11-11  DrMAL: <newton296> Thanx for the Houdini eval, yes as I stated originally, "now that white's king was in position with 42.Kf4 taking the pawn 42...fxg4 was a bad idea. 43...Ne6+ was suicidal."

Not sure why so many insist on thinking Karjakin had some big brilliance here or that Kramnik did not know what he was doing with 39...c3 either. I mean, we are talking top GMs (one a recent WC!) and, as shown above, 39...c3 not only draws but it was probably also black's best chance to try for a win (at greater risk than simply 39...fxg4 the obvious drawing move).

Kramnik had the right idea but he got too fancy with his execution of it, and messed up, simple as that. Hence his reported look of disgust and quick exit when young Karjakin started going over 39...fxg4 with him, as if he did not know this.

While Shipov's "big idea" of exchanging rooks as "being bad" does lead to a very slight advantage for white in a computer eval, a few moves later white chose 32.Ne5 instead of 32.Nf6 as well, kicking that eval back to dead zero. Neither thing "was bad" here, Kramnik exchanged rooks with the idea of possibly taking best advantage of his extra pawn later on in the endgame. And Karjakin simply wanted to better activate his knight.

As I originally stated, Kramnik made choices to maybe avoid a draw. These choices were perfectly fine and he may have been able to do so had he not beat himself getting too fancy about it.

Aug-11-11  checkmateyourmove: 30 . E6 shows me sergey has confidence against kramnik and isnt going down without a fight. well played
Aug-11-11  polarmis: Here's Karjakin's commentary on the game. As you'll see he thought Kramnik simply missed 39...fxg4 and that exchanging rooks was very provocative and risky:

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: thanks <polarmis>

I liked this interchange between Grischuk's suggestion and Karjakin's willingness to try to mate with two knights, as that answered my main question whether the game was lost on move 39.

<Grischuk: “What about 41...fxg4 42.hxg4 Nf5+ here?” Then 43.gxf5 Bxf5 44.Nf3 Bc2 45.Nd2 b5 46.Ne5 bxa4 47.bxa4 Bxa4 48.Nb1 Bb5 49.Na3 – objectively that’s won for White. I was ready to play that position with “two knights versus pawns”, as I had no choice. It seems that was Black’s last chance.>

Aug-11-11  DrMAL: <polarmis> Thanx for your website's usual good info. Yes, this provides more clarity into my initial impression.

"39...c6 Correct was 39...fxg4 40.hxg4 Nf5+ 41.gxf5 Bxf5 42.Nxg5 Bc2 Im not losing, but Im not winning either a draw. Its very strange that he missed that chance as he thought for 10 minutes here. Probably he simply didnt see the idea." -Karjakin

An alternative hypothesis, Sergey, was that he saw that obvious move and spent 10 minutes deciding on what he played.

Aug-11-11  polarmis: <DrMAL>, I still find your hypothesis more than a little odd. As far as I can tell from your analysis you think Kramnik played ...c6 in order to play a delayed (and worse) version of the piece sac, and then didn't play it - which doesn't make any sense. It's also bizarre to think he thought "White could go wrong" in that position. The only question is whether White wins or not - so if he saw a clear draw he'd have made it. It's possible he saw the sac and thought 39...c6 was an easier draw, though it seems unlikely.
Aug-11-11  DrMAL: Again, I'm sure Kramnik saw both moves (along with possibly others like 39...Ba6 or 39...Bd7) and knew that both 39...fxg4 and 39...c6 can draw. He's a GM. Things GMs see in a flash often take amateurs with a computer much longer (if ever).

From the added info that he took 10 minutes on it, it's clear he thought through and decided on 39...c6 as better, giving more chances. But as I stated, he got too fancy, postponing 40...fxg4 too long. This position is not complicated.

It's great that you provide lots of good info on that website <polarmis> but try not to get carried away with commentaries that assume GMs think so simplistically. They don't.

Aug-11-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: RELOAD! RELOAD! RELOAD! RELOAD! RELOAD! RELOAD!

Karjakin vs Kramnik, 2011 40 ... Ng7-f5+! intends 41 g4xNf5 Bc8-f5 then ... Bf5-c2-xb3xa4

Hard to believe that Kramnik missed this rather straightforward drawing idea based on <RELOADING> with ... ♘g7-f5+! and then ... ♗c8-f5.

Aug-12-11  The17thPawn: <notyetagm> - Isn't there a black pawn on f5 preventing your suggested 40th move for black? When would your idea take place, assuming I am seeing the game score correctly?
Aug-12-11  notyetagm: YERMOLINSKY ANNOTATES ->
Aug-12-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: YERMOLINSKY'S GOTD VIDEOS @ ICC

Aug-13-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: SQUARE CAN BE A TACTICAL TARGET

Karjakin vs Kramnik, 2011 40 ... Ng7-f5+! threatens g3-king, invasion of q-side via d4-sq

Aug-13-11  micartouse: This game has the same classical flavor as:

Kasparov vs Kramnik, 2001

In both games, white makes use of his two main opening trumps as follows: sacrificing the e-pawn to expose the awkwardness in black's position. Winning a pawn back on the kingside. Then finishing with a pure Ruy Lopez Exchange strategy where white's kingside majority can pass its own pawn, while black's disrupted queenside majority cannot.

So in both games, the initial problems of losing castling priveleges and having doubled pawns nag black's game until the end.

Jul-21-12  master of defence: How white wins after 59...Kxa4?
Jul-21-12  Shams: <m.o.d.> 60.Kf8, 61.Ng5 1-0
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
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