Kasparov,G (2849) - Kramnik,V (2770) [C67]
The Match - Braingames World Chess Cham London (13), 29.10.2000
[The number 13 is supposed to be Kasparov's magic charm, least of all because he became the 13th World Champion in the tradition of Steinitz and al.
If however he does not manage to pull off a rabbit out of his hat today, there is practically no chance of drawing the match. Kramnik has proven less strong in decisive games, but he cannto be expected to lose with White in Game 14 and especially in Game 16.
The Challenger will probably switch over to 1.Nf3 and keep full control of the proceedings. On the other hand, it is quite difficult to predict the best choice for Kasparov on his very first move today.
He has refrained from 1.d4 throughout the match, so it is unlikely his team has some stunning novelty prepared against one of Kramnik's favourite systems.
If the history of the match is any indication, Kramnik will sidestep the Champion's preparation bychoosing a suitable side-variation and steer the game towards a slightly inferior endgame. 1.d4 was a choice Kasparov should have made in Game 11 at the latest. In other words, 1.e4 seems psychologically and technically forced now.]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6
[If I expected Kasparov's opening, I must admit that Kramnik's choice was a surprise for me. After his switch to the Archangelsk variation in Game 12, I thought he would not return to the Berlin any more during the match.]
4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 h6 10.h3 Ke8
[Kasparov thought for 35 minutes before he played this move. A more traditional approach is 11.b3 , leaving open the option Nc3-e2, possibly with a subsequent jump to f4, d4 or g3 (after g2-g4).]
[Another commital move, as would be 11...b6 . Kramnik obviously wants to control d4, but it was also possible to play; 11...Be6 , as 12.g4 can be answered with 12...Bd5 .]
[Kasparov prevents the N jump, but at the same time weakens another white square. It seems the Challenger's opening has been successful once more.]
[Now 12...Be6 proves inappropriate after 13.g4 ( 13...Ne7 14.Nxc5 ).]
[Protects the Ne4 before it is actually attacked, but it is not clear how White will continue.]
[Kramnik prefers blocking the e-file to 13...Bb7 , although this would be perfectly possible as well.]
[This move was accompanied with a draw offer, which the Challenger had no reason to refuse. Obviously Kasparov is very tired, but Steinitz has said long time ago that a professional chessplayer is like a soldier in that he has no right to feel sick. A great pity...] ½-½