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Vladimir Kramnik vs Ernesto Inarkiev
Russian Championship Superfinal (2013), Nizhny Novgorod RUS, rd 6, Oct-11
Sicilian Defense: 2.b3 Variation (B20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-11-13  csmath: First four moves, as played by white is an anti-Sicilian popular with amateurs but not played on this level. This is interesting and original approach by Kramnik.

8. 0-0-0 0-0-0

[One could say that white has achieved almost nothing from the opening but it has slight obstruction of the development of black queenside. Perhaps this microscopic advantage is enough for Kramnik.]

9. g3!?

[Kramnik continues in his "amateur" approach.]

9. ...e5!?
10. f4! exf4
11. Nxf4

[Inarkiev creates more problems for himself as now white has some development advantage. This is still nothing serious.]

14. Rdf1
[natural move but 14. Nfe2 deserved attention.]

21. ...Nxh2?

[this pawn grab changes the position into white's favor as black has difficulties to withdraw his stranded knight.]

23. ...f5??

[Extremely bad move by 2700 player no less, very strange decision which gives decisive material advantage to white. Here the game is effectively over!]


Almost hard to believe that this has been played on this level and that black who is 2700 player blunders the game the way he did (moves 21 and 23). But he did!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <csmath: First four moves, as played by white is an anti-Sicilian popular with amateurs but not played on this level.>

Guess Czerniak could not play much; moreover, here is a game in which a somewhat stronger 'amateur' tries his hand at 2.b3: Spassky vs Sosonko, 1978.

Oct-11-13  Refused: Well, technically speaking isn't Inarkiev <just 2690>. And not 2700. I know 10 points are nothing, but still.

Despite this game, Inarkiev has played thus far a very good tournament. The funny bit is, that Inarkiev has the reputation to be a very good technical player, so Kramnik opting to simply outplay him instead of trying to get something more out of the opening was kinda weird in my book. I expected him to do something like that against Shomoev, who has the reputation to be very good at opening theory, but does not have the best technique, particularly in endgames.

But it worked. Kramnik is probably the only player in this competition who can really outplay anybody.

Oct-11-13  csmath: <Guess Czerniak could not play much; moreover, here is a game in which a somewhat stronger 'amateur' tries his hand at 2.b3: Spassky vs Sosonko, 1978.>

It proves nothing. That does not mean this is a great opening. It only shows that great players (Kramnik, Spassky) sometimes play psychological challenge to their opponents because they know these guys will react in a certain way. And obviously both were right plus obviously both can outplay just about anybody in equal play.

Oct-11-13  Shamot: 46.Rxf3!! wow! good calculation by Kramnik. This may make a good POTD.
Oct-11-13  Marmot PFL: Strange to see a strong player allow a move like 34 Be6. maybe he thought the white knight was trapped although it clearly isn't.
Oct-11-13  Pulo y Gata: "Amateur play/approach" is a good soundbite but I think it's a natural way to develop the Bishop.

21...Nxh2 was bad. 21...Ne3 looks better, with the justification that White cannot capture on f7 outright with 22.Rxf7 Rxf7 23.Bxf7 Rf8 and Black's Rook gets to f2 with counterplay. Therefore, 22.Rf2, when Black can play 22...Bd5 with a fight.

I don't know the circumstances behind Black's blunders, (Nxh2 followed by f5), but I'm guessing he took some time with Kramnik's unusual opening and was perhaps in time trouble around these moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The modern (only?) champion of 2.b3 is Tamaz Gelashvili. He does OK, you might say:

Repertoire Explorer: Tamaz Gelashvili (white)

Kramnik also used it in the World Cup.

Kramnik vs M Kobalia, 2013

I used to do so horribly with it that I wanted to rename it the Kieseritzsky variation.

Kieseritzky vs Anderssen, 1851

Oct-11-13  Jambow: Play it all the time in blitz, do well enough.
Oct-11-13  Pulo y Gata: <Oct-11-13
Jambow: Play it all the time in blitz, do well enough.>

You may now tell your opponents that you play world championish or kramnikaze, he he.

Oct-11-13  csmath: I actually played this anti-Sicilian as white in 3-minute and 5-minute blitzes as well.

It does create some little problem for black queenside but if black knows this ahead of time he will immediately react in center and then he gets equality easily. The basic problem for white is that he becomes somewhat slow to castle (long) and in case of careless play black can actually get fast attack.

It does remove any theory from the game which I guess is the main reason to play it.

Oct-11-13  dehanne: Inarkiev played for the loss with great vigour.
Oct-11-13  csmath: This is I beleive analysis for 21st move by Ramirez:

21. ...Ne3
22. Rxf7 Rxf7
23. Bxf7 Rf8
24. Be6+ Kc7
25. Nxg7 Rf2
26. Bb3 Kd6
27. h4 Ke5
28. Kb1 Bd7

and while black is down two pawns he holds minor piece game with dominating activity. For example:

29. Nh5 Bg4
30. Nf4 Rf1
31. Rxf1 Nxf1

with full equality.

Beautiful example of active play that was needed for equality in this game.

Kramnik's own play was surely creative so to draw him you need to be creative as well.

Oct-11-13  csmath: From the point of view of "monday morning" it looks like

9. ...e5

was a mistake and just regular 9. ...Nf6 or 9....e6 was a better move. This would have not required particular "creativity" to hold.

e5 would be played in case there is a chance of central attack but here the game is already in peaceful mode so some quiet positional approach would have been better against Kramnik.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Nice finish, the unstoppable pawn.
Oct-12-13  John Abraham: Kramnik's wife is a lucky lady. Kramnik is the perfect embodiment of tall, dark, and handsome. The sexy professor appeal, the deep baritone voice, the thick Russian accent, charm, charisma, and witty sense of humor
Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: My wife said much the same as that. I went right off Kramnik.
Oct-12-13  Blunderdome: <Kramnik's wife is a lucky lady. Kramnik is the perfect embodiment of tall, dark, and handsome. The sexy professor appeal, the deep baritone voice, the thick Russian accent, charm, charisma, and witty sense of humor> +1
Oct-12-13  Blunderdome: <3 Kramnik
Oct-13-13  irving7: W tej partii Kramnik wykaza³ siê g³êbszym zrozumieniem pozycji ni¿ Inarkiev a jego gra figurowa to wprost koncert dla oczu mi³oœników szachów. Kramnik kontrolowa³ grê od pocz¹tku do koñca i tylko jakiœ b³¹d móg³ mu odebraæ zwycienstwo w tej partii.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Pavel Blatny used to play this line too.
Sep-08-15  kingfu: Something needs to be done about the name on this opening. Please email the Chess Informant folks and let's get this fixed. This monster needs to be expunged from chess forever.

Czerniak needs an opening named for him. Gelashvili, the Grandmaster, is +52 in only 86 games with this opening. Or we could just leave it blank with no name and remember why.

Thanks for the Blatny information. I will study his games so I may maintain my amateur status.

The Sicilian, being a very successful defense, has been analyzed quite a bit. So, we amateurs are always looking for a way to trip up the Sicilian players.

Sep-09-15  kingfu: I am currently in contact with the ECO folks who were very prompt in their reply. They were surprised when I told them about this situation. I believe that his name will be off this variation shortly.

It looks like Morozevich plays this opening, too. It is a good way to get Sicilian players out of the book.

Sep-09-15  kingfu: Ok, many openings have different names in Europe. I was told by the ECO folks that we can do what we want. And we should want to take the name off this opening forever now.
Sep-12-15  kingfu: Thank you Chessgames for removing the name that should never be mentioned again.

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