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Vladimir Kramnik vs Fabiano Caruana
Dortmund Sparkassen (2013), Dortmund GER, rd 8, Aug-03
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-04-13  fgh: <63.. Nxd4 64. g7 Rc8 65. Bxd4

We then get a pawn race ending up with white having pawns on f7 and g7, black has a pawn on b2.

For example:

65.. b5 66. f5 b4 67. f6 b3 68. f7 b2>

69. Bxb2 and it's game over.

Aug-04-13  fgh: Kramnik called Kramnik vs Ponomariov, 2009 one of the "tensest and most difficult games he played in his career" (<Eyal>). I imagine he would put this game in the same category.
Aug-04-13  DcGentle: It looks like <53. Nxg6> was the safest way for Kramnik to decide the game to his favor earlier.
Aug-04-13  ColdSong: I've a feeling that Kramnik has thought very seriously,for a while now,about how to take that full point home more often,like these two guys at the very top.So far,my respect for that,and best whishes for the future.
Aug-04-13  Ulhumbrus: After 11...0-0 Black has a queen side pawn majority but White's uncastled king is ahead of Black's king in development for the purposes of the endgame

Instead of 15...h6 15...Bd7 gets the queen's bishop out and begins preparations to free Black's queen side pawn majority to advance

After 26 Ke2 White's king is two moves ahead in development of Black's king

If the exchange sacrifice 59 Rxb6!! is sound this suggests 58...b5 before playing ..Bb6

On 63 Nd4!! Black cannot accept the piece by 63...Nxd4 64 Bxd4 Rxd4 because on 65 g7! Rd8 66 f5!! Black has no answer to the threat of f6 and f7

Aug-04-13  Illogic: <AsosLight> I guess the part where you attributed to Carlsen something that Kramnik has been doing for over a decade.
Aug-04-13  csmath: <Kramnik called Kramnik vs Ponomariov, 2009 one of the "tensest and most difficult games he played in his career" (<Eyal>). I imagine he would put this game in the same category.>

Indeed. Good observation. Both games very hard fought and very difficult to play for so long. Complete mental drain. This is maybe even worse as Kramnik is even older now.

Aug-05-13  watchchess79: What is the winning line for White if Black plays 53.. Rxe4?
Aug-05-13  Shams: <watchchess79> Good question. I've found a couple lines that almost work, trying to exploit Black's loose Rook, but he's still squirming away.
Aug-05-13  AsosLight: <Illogic> Yes it is for his infamous fighting spirit and his tendency to press equal positions to the biter end that gave him the nickname Drawnik LMAO.

Kramnik recently does believe that his opponent can commit mistakes, does believe that a decisive mistake is down the road, restrain himself from the notion that GMs can play late middle-games near perfect. He witnessed that humans can play many dozens rating points stronger that him and this changed him in a positive way.

Accidentally this happened once Carlsen blind passed the old generation and he himself lost to Anand. Leko on the other hand can't integrate his game. Anand is imprisoned by his title as well.

Let us not be illogic :)

Aug-05-13  Illogic: Oh, sorry, I never paid attention to people who think nicknaming players 'Drawnik' is clever, so I must have been really missing out on some great insights over the years.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Illogic>: Surely it is your in not.

Maybe someone should enlighten <Asos> regarding Kramnik's successful match with Kasparov, in which Kramnik's great opponent, completely contrary to his normal habits, agreed quick draws with White in several games.

Aug-05-13  AsosLight: <perfidious>

what is your point to the argument? The behavior of Kasparov to some of the 7 games that he played with white for sake! Oh boy!

Even more that, like you said, it was a habit in contrary to his normal behavior. Can you really go down to the semantics? It seems not.

Anyway, if you can, somehow, relate the match against Kasparov with anything that I say so that can make ANY sense either chess-wise or statistics-wise I am glad to hear, else, I have to tell you, I am not here to enter endless discussions or to teach the basics.

Aug-05-13  Catfriend: <AsosLight>

Leko vs Kramnik, 2004

Kramnik vs Adams, 1996

Leko vs Kramnik, 2001

Kramnik vs Ponomariov, 2009

Seirawan vs Kramnik, 1992

Kasparov vs Kramnik, 1995

These are just the long classics I could think of on the spot, not giving examples from 2010 and later, under an alleged Carlsen influence.

Anyway, squeezing by creating practical chances wasn't "invented" by Kramnik (even less so by Carlsen, of course). Lasker, Capablanca, Rubinstein, Fine, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Petrosian and Karpov all have tens of text-book examples like that.

Using "Drawnik" and claiming Carlsen "invented his style" are really not ways to make people take you seriously. You seem relatively new, as an active kibitzer. I am sure your contributions (as well as your personal experience) will be better with some moderation and willingness to learn.

Aug-05-13  Catfriend: Oh, and quoting Timman as an example of "a prosaic and perfectionist" player that makes early draws is plain wrong.

He's particularly well-known for his fighting spirit, various (sometimes dubious) openings and imaginative play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Asos.....Anyway, if you can, somehow, relate the match against Kasparov with anything that I say so that can make ANY sense either chess-wise or statistics-wise I am glad to hear, else, I have to tell you, I am not here to enter endless discussions or to teach the basics.>

Maybe you should try to <learn> the basics before presuming to enter the fray with your apparent omniscience, rapidly exposed as the sham it happens to be.

Aug-05-13  AsosLight: <Catfriend>

OK got it. You want me to make easy for you. Just said that Kramnik improved his fighting spirit from late 2008 onwards. Go to his database and check the statistics. Find win/draw/lose. Find percentage of early draws find average moves. If you find something contrasting what I am saying come back and report. Plain and simple specially for you.

The Carlsen theory about the return to practical chess, well, is just a theory. I could strengthen my theory with many arguments but it's not my PhD defense or something. I don't bother to try.

Pay attention to the word RETURN. Pay also attention to the word EXAMPLE which you used. Is not about samples but about PERCENTAGES. Same to you, pay attention to the semantics.

You got me on Timman! Wrong example of a player that was actually a fighter. Piquet would have been better, Bareev an other one, Lautier why not, many many others, but those who know what I am talking about got the point anyway.


Still nothing to the point. I will be a liar if I say that I got surprised.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Asos>: Please be more condescending if at all possible.
Aug-05-13  Catfriend: Please consider lowering that arrogant tone a bit. You had strong claims. The onus to support them, even if they seem obvious to you, lies on your shoulders. When there were facts given, they didn't support your claim.

<Kramnik and fighting spirit>: Sure, Kramnik got more aggressive (BTW, not the same as more squeezing, as per your original claim) since 2008. That was not what I was objecting to.

But as Carlsen was not yet the monster he is now, not even close, in 2008, the "Carlsen" explanation holds no water. You yourself mention an alternative: the loss of the title.

<Early 2000s>: You do know Kramnik had a disease particularly unpleasant for activities like chess, in 2004-6, don't you? I have no idea how experienced you are in long OTB games, but no one who is can consider it an empty excuse. Case in point - after treatment in 2006, he scored a +4 score and #1 TPR in the Olympiad.

As for his <fighting spirit in the 90s>, please tell me you don't mean that. Up to 1999, he was one of the sharpest elite players.

<Examples> Don't back up from your words so easily... Your original claim was about Carlsen <inventing> anything. That is not about statistics. I gave examples to counter precisely that.

Now, <statistics>. Again, he did make more draws in 2004-2006. He did have, it seems, less fighting spirit or at least less fighting capability.

Plain statistics are not the way to prove it, though. A draw by itself is just not a proof of lack of spirit. You have to take into consideration rate of play, level of opponents, the extent to which opponents used computers, length of draws.

Either you're serious about your analysis (and given your attitude, nothing else is acceptable, unless you're a troll), or you owe people a better explanation of what exactly you're claiming and possibly an apology.

Aug-05-13  Catfriend: I'll strengthen it by a quote:
<undoubtedly pioneered by Carlsen in modern chess.>

<This> is the claim you must defend or retract. This is what you're being challenged about (at least at first).

<This> is what examples are perfectly fine to counter.

You don't say Carlsen influenced anything, you don't say he changed the statistics slightly. You claim he <undoubtedly pioneered> this style in modern chess.

Aug-05-13  AsosLight: <Catfriend>

I am not the kind of guy who enters endless discussions for the sake of it. You try to hit every point that I made which makes it lengthy.

To the point:

I had in mind that Kramnik got fighting spirit, not even that he gain aggressiveness which is something entirely different if we want to be scholastic. I used the term squeezing his practical chances to describe what he did to this PARTICULAR GAME, it's only later that I had to generalize to beat the notion that if you give a counter example (Kasparov-Kramnik match that is) you serve to the discussion. I am afraid you fall victim of this as well. Capablanca was a positional player, he had tactical games, statistics is what matter, and what rank him as positional.

The lose of a title is an extra factor. Two or more factors can contribute. Sofia rules and the impression they created contributed also, computer programs added to this a great deal as well. Carlsen was the guy WHO PIONEERED in elite chess this attitude of playing the position to the biter end. Not paying attention to gain a decisive advantage from the opening of creating the infamous Kasparov-type innovation, of leading the game to a textbook endgame. Millennial onwards that is.

You got me into this, but 15 years ago people thinking that 2900 is probably the perfect chess rating, so a super GM blunders extremely rare, that if you enter middlegame without a clear edge you even INSULT your opponent by keep playing. Later all this near perfect impression start to fall due to computers. Pros got it but Garry excluded nobody was good enough to prove that human can make a REAL STEP FURTHER. That there are much,still, to be gained in every phase of the game. With Carlsen doing the theory reality they had to respond and they did respond, that was what I was hiding in a few lines from the very beginning.

Topalov got earlier to the same direction but unlike Carlsen was in for Kasparov's idea of an opening killer.

Kramnik was ill, but I am not sure this can explain the period 2000-08 altogether. He was indeed much more of a fighter prior to the tittle but how much of a fighter you can be debuting 1.Nf3 LMAO. Don't defend a lost stronghold here. Kramnik was open to the fact that he was trying to change his openings, that he was trying to change his playing style. He stated so in really many interviews, he even got up with 1.e4 for some time with no result.

I never used the term inventing, I used the term pioneering in modern chess, which don't defy what is modern chess either, but I hope that I helped you get the point and start searching by yourself.

Please stop using individual games from a database of million of games with each player having thousands of games spanning a few centuries and including players from their childhoods to their late years and players from WChs to NN. It is unorthodox, and I try my best not to be sarcastic :)

In conclusion, I do support that Carlsen introduced the notion of practical chances in modern elite chess, that you can play even slightly worse positions against very top and about as strong as you opponents and count on the fact that blunders and mistakes do happen in regular base. That you can make a difference even in simplified positions that you should keep hitting the can if you can.

He did pioneered the idea that opening is not the stage where all the fighting is talking place something that broke the trend of increasing importance of openings going since the 70s! and he did this IN REGULAR BASIS and from the perspective of POSITIONAL play not only as a way to create complications which is even more fundamental in a sence. As a result older players did try to mimic him and close the performance gap. Notable successful examples: Kramnik, Aronian, Grischuk to a lesser extent Ponomariov (a known perfectionist as well) etc.

I hope this is the last time that I get challenged to elaborate to such degree, I do play chess myself, I don't speak about chess, not since I am still young enough.

Aug-05-13  micartouse: I think Asos makes some decent points. For all we know, Kramnik would admit that the rise of Carlsen has pressured him to rework his gear. Actually, there's no reason Topalov wouldn't have had this same effect on Kramnik 7 years ago - Topalov approached endings the same way with only slightly worse results.

I completely disagree with the following comment though: <He was indeed much more of a fighter prior to the tittle but how much of a fighter you can be debuting 1.Nf3 LMAO.> There were a few years where if Kramnik played 1. Nf3 against you, you could probably resign in good conscience.

Aug-05-13  Everett: The main thing Carlsen has done is pushed the emphasis of play away from the importance of opening study. Except... I don't see many following suit. He still seems to be the only one amongst the elite doing this. It works for him but hardly anyone else. That's how good he is.

Two people who Carlsen is compared to are Lasker and Karpov. And for good reason, since both were not known for cutting edge opening play, but masters of pragmatic, practical play, Incredibly resourceful in defense and counter-attack, and lights-out play in the endgame. If both were playing today under Sofia rules, their sensibilities and strengths would produce games that would look remarkably like Carlsen's.

There is a story told in the beginning of Sokolov's middlegame book describing a Karpov post-mortem. The position was just out of the opening, and Karpov's opponent said "see, here, you stand worse here." Karpov responded by moving the pieces along the game lines and saying "yes, but soon I was better."

And Carlsen is still young. When Karpov was roughly his age he was playing Rossolimo and Closed Sicilians just to get a playable game, pushing the battle to the middle-game. Tibor Karolyi also found that even when Karpov was champion, his team did not scour the opening looking for powerful TNs, but rather merely suggested openings that generally followed along positional lines, ones that suited Karpov. This isn't really any different than what Carlsen is doing now.

The biggest difference, actually, is that the current crop may have become too reliant on opening study, whereas this wasn't the case, even in the 80's. Carlsen seems to have taken advantage of this.

Carlsen is a great player, with his own particular style, just like everyone else who has ever made it to the top. I do not, however, see him so different than a young Karpov, or having invented practical play or somesuch.

Aug-05-13  Everett: <micartouse: I completely disagree with the following comment though: <He was indeed much more of a fighter prior to the tittle but how much of a fighter you can be debuting 1.Nf3 LMAO.> There were a few years where if Kramnik played 1. Nf3 against you, you could probably resign in good conscience.>

Absolutely! His work in the 90's with that opening system as White gave all the top players nightmares. Khalifman produced a multi-volume set on this approach, which will likely remain one of Kramnik's enduring legacies.

Aug-05-13  Everett: And as far as <Grishuk> goes, he plays everything as well, is actually not so different than Carlsen in being adventurous and asystematic in the opening. But their middlegame sensibilities are different. I enjoy both players' games because of this flexible approach to the opening.
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