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Sergey Karjakin vs Vladimir Kramnik
World Championship Candidates (2018), Berlin GER, rd 9, Mar-20
Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation (D35)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: When you're riding that fabulous wave,
(like kramnik did) you feel so top of the world.

But when you wipe out, (like Kramnik did) it's not pretty, son.

Not pretty at all.

Mar-21-18  SeazerCZ: So painful to watch what is happening. First Kasparov in St.Louis and now this. Legends are not supposed to things like that.
Mar-21-18  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: d 26 dpa done

1. + / = (0.65): 16...Bf6 17.Rh3 Ne7 18.Bb4 b6 19.Qe1 Re8 20.Bb5 Bb7 21.Bxe8 Rxe8 22.Bxe7 Rxe7 23.Kg1 Kh7 24.Qf1 Rd7 25.Re1 Qf5 26.Qc4 Bd5 27.Qc3 Rf7 28.a4 Qg4 29.Qd3+ Kg8 30.Rc1 Bb7 31.Qc3 Bg5 32.Re1 Bd5

2. + / - (1.03): 16...e5 17.d5 e4 18.dxc6 exf3 19.gxf3 Qxf3 20.Bc4+ Kh7 21.Qd3+ Rf5 22.Rh2 Be6 23.Rg2 Bg5 24.Rxb7 Rg8 25.Qxf3 Bxc4+ 26.Qe2 Bxe2+ 27.Kxe2 Rc5 28.Bd4 Rc2+ 29.Kd3 Rxc6 30.Rxa7 Bf6 31.Bxf6 Rxf6 32.a4 Rd8+ 33.Kc4 Rc8+ 34.Kb5 Rb8+ 35.Kc5 Rc8+ 36.Kb4 Rb8+ 37.Kc3 Rc8+ 38.Kd2 Rd8+ 39.Ke2 Re6+ 40.Kf3 Rf6+ 41.Kg3 Rf5 42.Kh4 Rd4+ 43.Rg4 Rxg4+ 44.Kxg4 Rxf2 45.a5 Ra2 46.a6 Ra5 47.Kf4 Kg8 48.Ke4 Kf8 49.Kd4 Ke8 50.Kc4 Kd8 51.Kb4 Ra2 52.Kb5 Rb2+ 53.Kc6 Rc2+ 54.Kb6 Rb2+ 55.Kc5

3. + / - (1.13): 16...b6 17.Rh3 Bf6 18.Qe1 Ne7 19.Rb5 Ba6 20.Rg3 Bxb5 21.Rxg4 Bxd3+ 22.Kg1 Bf5 23.Rg3 Rac8 24.Ne5 Nd5 25.Bd2 Rc7 26.Ra3 a5 27.g4 Bh7 28.Rb3 a4 29.Ra3 Bc2 30.Kg2 Re8 31.Qe2 Rd8 32.Rf3 Bh7 33.Ng6 Rc6

Mar-21-18  Sally Simpson: Good Grief.

A few games ago Kramnik was the hero and now they are queuing up armed with hindsight to flog him.

FSR shows a line that Svidler and his side kick mate say: " no human would ever find that."

This gives you an idea of how complicated the game was. Kramnik, (never thought I'd see the day when I defended him) went on intuition rather than getting bamboozled with variations.

He went for this position from the actual game or had similar positions rattling around his mind when he went down the sac-sac route.

click for larger view

In his mind this looked like it had good chances. It does look like a Black to play and win position. It has everything going for it. Here Kramnik tucked his King onto h8. A luxury move and it still looks like Black has at the very very least a perpetual.

You go on your gut for this position. You lose. You feel bad.

However if you shy away from such a position and it can be demonstrated as a clear win then you feel absolutely terrible.

So Kramnik went for it. Bravo!

Not one word on how well Karjakin played in this game. Of course not, I keep forgetting that any one of you could have found the series of only moves to hold the game together.

I've seen a few positions in my time, but this pattern is new to me.

click for larger view

Rook pinned, Bishop pinned. Rooks x-raying through a pinned piece protecting each other all in front of a naked King.

A good game of chess. Bravo to both players.

Mar-21-18  Petrosianic: <Sally Simpson>: <A few games ago Kramnik was the hero and now they are queuing up armed with hindsight to flog him.>

When circumstances change, reasonable people's reaction change also.

Mind you, Kramnik still IS a hero for fighting so hard. Until yesterday, I think his game was the last game going every single round. That's fantastic.

He's NOT a hero for the way he conducted these last two games, though.

Against Shak, he had full equality out of the opening, but unbalaneced the position badly with h5, which might have worked with careful play, but he wasn't careful, lost the pawn and the game, and now Shak is in close contention when he really shouldn't be.

Against Grischuk, he was a pawn down, but the two Bishops gave him enough compensation to hold the game. He did not have winning chances, and ADMITTED he didn't. Nevertheless, he rejected opportunities to force a draw, and kept the game going until he found a way to lose it. As a result, Grischuk is now in contention, when he shouldn't be.

In yesterday's game, I knew Kramnik was going to lose again as soon as I saw 11...f5!? The attack was completely unsound, and might have succeeded against a 2500 player, but was very dubious against a former World Championship Challenger. Avoiding early draws is one thing, becoming a kamikaze is another.

Mind you, the Grischuk game was the most offensive of the three. In this one, he was insanely reckless, but at least it didn't look like he WANTED to lose.

Mar-21-18  scormus: Great fighting effort by Kramnik. All credit for sort of game Sebastian Lujan would have played.
Mar-21-18  Ulhumbrus: 9 h4? is an unsound attack but it is up to Black to find the right answer.

The computer evaluations indicate that the move passes the advantage to Black.

Even if the move passes any advantage to Black, that is not enough. Black has to decide as well how much advantage it passes to him.

Lasker says that Steinitz's principle of proportion is that the aim must be proportionate to the advantage.

If the move gives Black with only a slight advantage Black is not then justified in trying a violent attack as Kramnik does by eg by ...f5 followed by a sacrifice. Such an aim is out of proportion to Black's slight advantage and it may pass the advantage back to White. That is what appears to happen in the game.

If Black's advantage is only slight, his aims must be modest as well. This suggests playing for no more than development with the advantage of an extra tempo by 9...b6!! or perhaps by 10 cd b6! and indeed the computer evaluations suggest that this is the way to gain an advantage for Black.

Mar-21-18  Petrosianic: <If the move gives Black with only a slight advantage Black is not then justified in trying a violent attack as Kramnik does by eg by ...f5>

Exactly. I don't fault Kramnik for playing aggressively, only for playing anti-positionally. That's not his style.

Mar-21-18  Sally Simpson: Hi Petrosianic,

There is a lot of experience in that 42 year old head. He knew what he was doing and as for his style, Kramnik is not that inflexible that he cannot sac attack when he thinks the position demands it and he thought it did.

The tournament situation and the position in front of him sucked him in and once he was on that path there was no holding back. And he didn't. He forced Karjakin to display his best defensive skill and it was an entertaining game. Wish I'd seen all of it live.

He called it wrong. No harm in that and I know kibitzing allows all in comments but no need for Ulhumbrus to start quoting Steinitz principles to a man who beat Kasparov, possibly the greatest player in the history of the game, in a World Title match.

I'm pretty sure Kramnik knows more chess than Steinitz (great as he was) ever did.

Mar-21-18  ChessHigherCat: <FSR: Apparently 23...Be6! was a big improvement. Then Peter Svidler and Jan Gustafsson said that best was the insane computer line 24.cxb7! Bc4+ 25.Kg2 Qg5+ 26.Bg4! Bd5+ 27.Kh3 Qe3+ (seemingly winning) 28.Qf3!! Bxf3 and now a series of only moves: 29.b8=Q+!! Rxb8 30.Rxb8+ Bf8 (30...Kh7? 31.Bf5+ and mates) 31.Rxf8+! Kxf8 32.Rf1! with a large advantage. As they said, no human would ever find that.>

I thought that line was too obvious to mention. Tuesday stuff. Didn't you see that line?

Mar-21-18  cormier: <if 14...Qe4+:>

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4

<15.Be2 b5> 16.0-0 b4 17.Bb2 Bb7 18.h6 Rad8 19.Bc4 Qg6 20.hxg7 Rf7 21.d5 exd5 22.Bd3 Qh5 23.Be2 Qg6 24.Ne1 Qd6 25.Bh5 Rf5 26.Nd3 d4 27.Bg4 Rg5 28.Bf3 Rxg7 29.a3 Na5 30.Bxb7 Nxb7 31.Qb3+ Qd5 32.Qxd5+ = (0.22) Depth: 27 dpa

+ / = (0.30 !) Depth: 28 dpa

Mar-21-18  evzal86: Sally Simpson I think you made a point!
Mar-21-18  csmath: Sequence of moves starting with 11. ...f5 does not look that bad according to engines until 14. ...h6

I don't know what to think about this game, it is simply not exactly what either of these two players had in mind but it happened and Karjakin just had more concentration to avoid blundering anything. According to Karjakin 9 h4 was planned but not the continuation which was aggressive reaction from Kramnik. It looks like a swan song for Kramnik's chances in WC cycles. It is not an easy thing to become a challenger through competition. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <ChessHigherCat> Of course <I> saw it, but lesser lights than you and I may have missed it.
Mar-22-18  ChessHigherCat: <FSR> What an ego trip it would be to play those computer moves in a game in the park surrounded by a growing crowd of goggle-eyed spectators!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: Kramnik should have expected 9.h4 - it is Karjakin's thing in Candidates games vs former champions:

Karjakin vs Anand, 2016

Mar-22-18  Mr. Bojangles: Will Mr V Kramnik stop the rot today or is he in for another session of butt kicking today?

I can’t wait.

Mar-22-18  Ulhumbrus: <Troller: Kramnik should have expected 9.h4 - it is Karjakin's thing in Candidates games vs former champions: Karjakin vs Anand, 2016> I may take another look at the game, but it won't surprise me if Anand made the same mistake as Kramnik, so that after the unsound attack h4 passed the advantage to him, his advantage was only slight but Anand overestimated it and so chose a violent attack instead of playing with a more modest aim and trying just to complete his development.
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <Ulhumbrus>Perhaps there is,just a slight chance, that Karjakin understands the position better than you and Steinitz ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Bunch of foolishness here--<of course> <uluseless> has greater understanding than Kramnik or Steinitz! We are more than fortunate to have his 1400-level Reinfeldian grasp of chess point the way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I video annotated this game here: - Cheers, K
Mar-22-18  hashtag: <"I'm probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.">

- Vladimir Kramnik


Mar-25-18  Monocle: <Premium Chessgames Member perfidious: Bunch of foolishness here--<of course> <uluseless> has greater understanding than Kramnik or Steinitz! We are more than fortunate to have his 1400-level Reinfeldian grasp of chess point the way>

My favourite part is when he condescendingly pronounces "alternatives" that have obvious 1-2 move tactical refutations. Concrete analysis doesn't exist in the world of Ulhumbrus.

As for the game, I find it amusing that people will moan about how boring and drawish grandmaster chess is, then when Kramnik goes for it and makes speculative sacrifices but doesn't pull it off, the same people get out the knives for him. Make your mind up people! If people play like Tal all the time, sometimes it's not going to work. Nobody remembers all the Tal games where he sacs a piece or two and his opponent just defends and wins the game.

Mar-25-18  Saniyat24: Kramnik said he was hungry, and he shouldn't have to wait for half an hour for the press conference to start...
Aug-23-21  DouglasGomes: The advance of the rook pawn is a positional resource that must always be considered, it is often sound. Current SF sees no advantage for black after 9. h4:

SF200821 +0.17 (depth 45)
9... cxd4 10. cxd4 b6 11. Bd3 e5 12. dxe5 Bg4
With black eventually getting the pawn back.
After 11. h5
SF200821 +0.19 (depth 45)
11... h6 12 Be2 Qd6 13. Kf1 f5 14. exf5 exf5 15. Bc4+

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