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Ian Nepomniachtchi vs Vladimir Kramnik
Tal Memorial (2016), Moscow RUS, rd 3, Sep-29
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Hedgehog Defense (A30)  ·  1-0



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Given 5 times; par: 68 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-29-16  Marmot PFL: Especially when the two piece side already has a passed pawn.
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  watwinc: 45 … Ra2 and the bishop’s pinned …
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  Tiggler: Awesome game by Nepo. On a knife edge for many moves, then the first mistake lost it.
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  watwinc: Seriously, I think this game is a marvellous example of why a “weaker” young player should go for a win against a stronger player rather than scraping a few rating points from a draw. At some stage, they either have to give up and fade away or learn to mix it with the top players. Nopomniashchi seems to have done just that here, and Kramnik fought it all the way to the wire.
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  watwinc: What??
Sep-29-16  joeyj: its 1-0
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  Tiggler: Nepo continues to be on a tear. Kudos to Wesley So for stopping him in the Olympiad.
Sep-29-16  Papagambit: HOW CAN bLACK DRAW THIS??wHITE HAS A winning endgame!?
Sep-29-16  Ulhumbrus: 45 Be2+ makes a combination: 45...Kxe4 46 f7 Ra8 47 Bf3+ skewering the black king and rook
Sep-29-16  Ulhumbrus: According to the chess24 website Nepomniachtchi has won. Here is a link:
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  Tiggler: Daniel is dozing. The arbiter transmitted the wrong result from the digital board, but it was soon corrected.
Sep-29-16  Thirups: It s 1-0
Sep-29-16  Macbeth: The pawn cost the rook. chessgames, correct this
Sep-29-16  sachman19: white could easily won
Sep-29-16  not not: Very bold and brave of Nepo to play 1.c4 and fight for win (at risk to lose). Had he played 1.e4, he would have had a good chances to get a draw.

"Young gun" is my pun!

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  beenthere240: In an attempt to understand the draw result in this game, I conducted a retro-analysis. I haven't had time to check it with an engine but am pretty sure it will hold up to the silicon beasts.

After 47. Ng5 Kramnik apparently offered a draw, which Nepo accepted with alacrity. What he must have seen that Kramnik had missed was the following devastating attack for black.

After black plays 47...Rf8, 48 Nh7 is forced (forking the rook with Ke6+??? is clearly irrational and not worthy of discussion).

Black replies 48...Rxf7+! And white is suddenly helpless: 49. Kf6 Kxf6+, 50 Bf2 and then comes the point of the combination .... e4!! -- attacking the pinned B and winning a second piece. With a K + R + 2P vs K + P ending, black has a compelling advantage and should convert the full point within at least 20 moves.

A Sunday puzzle spoiled because black accepted a desperate draw offer.

Sep-29-16  PhilFeeley: I'm not sure whether you are being sarcastic or not: 47...Rf8 runs into 48.Ne6+ and loss of the rook. How can that in any way be bad for white? Can the king get back in time to stop the pawn? Doubtful.

BTW, the chess24 site still lists it as 1-0.

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  offramp: After a long think Kramnik resigns.
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  beenthere240: I was not being sarcastic. I was trying to be funny. Always a difficult proposition at best. Sigh.
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  HeMateMe: Doesn't Nepo's face in this game photo make him look like one of those suburbia gun killers making a courtroom appearance?
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  HeMateMe: I loved the f3-a8 skewer threat. It won the game. White can both guard the f7 pawn and cover the f8 square with either piece before Black's king can arrive. White wins the last two black pawns and queens his own a file pawn. Terrific game from both players.

Black let his king get out of position.

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  Eyal: From the chess24 report (including quotes from Nepo's post-mortem in Russian with Shipov):

<[Nepomniachtchi] played 1.c4 and varied from Svidler’s 11.Qd2 in Round 1 against Kramnik with 11.Qf4, calling that a "little test" rather than an improvement. He joked that Kramnik "unsurprisingly was prepared", but though Vladimir played the novelty Ian was still in his home preparation, noting a move like 17.Ng5!, keeping a slight advantage for White, isn’t the kind of thing you do lightly without computer backing. The players only slowed down after move 20, with things beginning to get interesting after 24…g5.

Nepomniachtchi confessed this came as a surprise as he hadn’t understood the point of Kramnik’s Bb2-f6 on the previous move, but he wasn’t worried, noting he’d planned to play 25.f5 himself anyway. As against Svidler, Kramnik was playing provocatively by pushing his flank and central pawns in a desire to win, but though the knight was driven back to e1 it would go on to have a remarkable career [...]

It looked as though Nepomniachtchi was on the path to victory, but he was "surprised" by the instant 32…Kh6! and "not thrilled" when he saw 35…Kg5!!. It seemed Kramnik might pull off a brilliant escape, but after 36.Rxf7 (a tough but good choice for Nepo) the moment of truth arose:

click for larger view

36…Bxf2? was almost a brilliant conclusion to the game, since after 37.Rg7+ Kf4 if White plays 38.f6? Bh4! he has to give up the pride and joy of his position - 39.f7?? is actually mate-in-3 after 39…Ne3+. Kramnik was in deep time trouble, though, and what he’d missed – and one of the best calculators in world chess hadn’t - was 38.e3+!, which spoiled all Black’s dastardly plans.

The correct move, as Nepomniachtchi said a "very upset" Kramnik pointed out after the game, was 36…Nxf2! Nepomniachtchi commented that, "my opponent considered, as usual, that he’s already winning here". That doesn’t seem to be the case, but it is true that Vlad would have had excellent drawing chances.

Instead the rest of the game was very much one-way traffic, though no less beautiful for that – 45.Be2+!! was an elegant conclusion; If now 45…Kxe4 46.f7 Ra8 White wins the rook and game with 47.Bf3+. Instead there followed 45…Kd4 46.f7 Ra8 47.Ng5 and the f-pawn decides the game.> (

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  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
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  Domdaniel: <Eyal> Thanks for that. I was familiar with 11.Qf4 and perhaps a few subsequent moves - though more in the sense of familiar patterns rather than concrete variations. So I was really interested to know just how far both players had prepared.

A very beautiful game by Nepo -- indeed, well played by both.

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