Analysis Room by Ilias Kourkounakis
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Round 2


Round 3 J.Applet
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Round 5 J.Applet
Round 6 J.Applet
Round 7 J.Applet
Round 8 J.Applet
Round 9 J.Applet
Round 10 J.Applet
Round 11 J.Applet
Round 12 J.Applet
Round 13 J.Applet
Round 14 J.Applet
Round 15 J.Applet
Round 16 J.Applet

Last update:
04/11/2000 16:49







Kasparov,G (2849) - Kramnik,V (2770) [C67]
The Match - Braingames World Chess Cham London (15), 02.11.2000

[This last important game of the match I saw only after it had finished, so my comments are made under the influence of the result. Congratulations to the new World Champion and may both players offer us as beautiful games in the future as they have in the past!] 

[Finally, Kasparov decides to test the Challenger's preparation against his other major opening choice. Somehow I feel he should have tried this at least as early as game 11, if not earlier.] 

1...Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 
[Allowing transposition to the Catalan Opening, an offer Kramnik does not refuse.] 

3...d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 
[Other important options include 7.Nc3 ,; 7.Na3 and; 7.Ne5 . The Q move is at once the most popular and the one with the best practical results. It has the obvious negative aspect of activating the Q early in the game and thus making it potentially vulnerable to the enemy minor pieces, but it recovers the pawn swiftly without serious structural concessions and frees d1 for the R. The latter consideration is very important, because in this way White can inhibit the usually equalizing break ...c7-c5.] 

[This is Black's standard response, based primarily on the idea of developing the white-square B on the h1-a8 diagonal with the hope that the "Catalan" B will be completely neutrilized.] 

[White can also delay the capture of the pawn and prevent Black's queenside expansion with 8.a4 , albeit at the price of weakening b4. Kasparov prefers to follow more traditional lines, planning to work on the semi-open c-file.] 

8...b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 

[Other option for the B are 10.Bg5 and; 10.Bf4 . From d2 it can be transferred to a5, pinning down the enemy c-pawn and thus prevent the freeing advance ...c7-c5 for a very long time.] 

[The main line, with the idea of disturbing the cooperation of White's pieces. The Q has no real choice but to retreat to the first rank, from where it will have to move again inthe future. Black cannot try to harass instead the B with 10...Ne4 , as then follows the typical tactical sequence 11.Ng5 Bxg5 12.Bxe4 etc.] 11.Qc1 Bb7 [In most games this would constitute an indirect draw offer, but of course the World Champion will have none of it. In case Black wants to play for a win, an important alternative is 11...Nbd7 12.Ba5 Rc8 .] 

[The immediate 12.Ba5 proves completely useless after 12...Nc6; , while the continuation 12.Rd1 Ne4 13.Ba5 Nc6 demonstrates once again why it is important to remove the Q from c2.] 


[Without a B on a5, 12...Nc6 is quite pointless. White can reply 13.Rd1 and continue with Nf3-e5 as soon as possible. In any case, the c-pawn will remain backward and Black at a distinct disadvantage as a result.] 

[Much more sensible than 13.Nc3 , since the N can nw contribute to the control of the critical square c5. When the central pawn formation has more or less been determined, simple development can no longer be also simplistic. Long-term aspects of the position must be taken into account and space often takes precedence over time.] 

[After 13...Bxf4 14.gxf4 White will dominate the black squares in the centre and still be able to challenge for the white ones, therefore the slight weakening of the pawn cover of the King is negligible.] 

[The N is not only preventing ...c7-c5, but in several instances may be heading towards a5. From that point it may even jump to c6, blocking the c-pawn for good and establishing full domination. Black must be extra careful to inhibit such a prospect before it becomes a reality.] 

[The B moves once again, but now the enemy N will not be attacking anything from a5. Therefore, the immediate 15.Na5 can be answered succesfully with 15...Bxf4 16.gxf4 c5.] 

[An important move in the Catalan Opening, creating a secret connection with the enemy Q. This can become especially relevant in the case of either typical breakthrough ...c7-c5 or ...e6-e5.
Reportedly Kasparov had consumed by now a little more than 10 minutes, while Kramnik almost 50! For once, the opening appears to have gone favorably for the World Champion as White, at least from a subjective point of view. Nevertheless, a detached evaluation would limit Black's problems to the c-file. Kramnik has achievef a satisfactory degree of cooperation for his minor pieces and his major weapons are not really much worse than Kasparov's.] 

[Naturally, Black wishes to get away from any secret attack by the enemy R. At the same time, the Rs are connected and thus development is almost complete.
It should be noted that the exchange 15...Bxb3 is extremely inappropriate here, as the doubled b-pawns are not vulnerable at all. On the contrary, the white squares in Black's queenside sector would be severely weakened, in particular c6 and the a-pawn.] 

[This move signals the beginning of the real middlegame, as the two armies begin to make direct contact. Another attempt to prevent ...c7-c5 is 16.Qe3 .] 

[The disappearance of the white-square Bs weakens emphasizes the importance of the square c6, while Kasparov's King is not likely to feel any serious danger.] 

17.Kxg2 Nd5 

[Kramnik cannot prevent the invasion on c6, since 17...Nxe5 is of course impossible because of 18.dxe5 , while; 17...Bxe5 18.dxe5 Nd5 19.Bg5 creates annoying problems (for example, 19...Qb4 20.Rd4 traps the Q). This means he will have to work around the N on c6, probably trying for the alternative freeing advance ...e6-e5.] 

[The central advance 18.e4 also looks attractive, but there is a way out for the defender: 18...Nxf4+ 19.Qxf4 (the capture 19.gxf4 may prove risky despite the massive pawn centre after 19...Bxe5 20.fxe5 because of the break 20...f6 21.exf6 Nxf6 22.f3 Nh5 etc.) 19...Bxe5 (Black should probably not bet on 19...f6 , as the tactical reply 20.Nc6 Bxf4 21.Nxe7+ Kf7 22.Nc6 leads to a problematic ending with serious winning chances for White; , while after 19...Nxe5 20.dxe5 Bc5 21.Nxc5 Qxc5 22.Rac1 serious trouble may also be in store) 20.dxe5 and now the unexpected advance 20...g5 practically forces the draw by 21.Rxd7 (instead 21.Qe3 Nxe5 is not really dangerous, except maybe to White) 21...Qxd7 22.Qxg5+ Kh8 23.Qf6+ Kg8 24.Qg5+ .] 

[Another apparently attractive choice is 18...Qf6 , but it can be answered simply with 19.e3 (but not 19.Bxd6 cxd6 20.e4 Ne7 , when White's advantage is minimal, e.g. 21.Nba5 Rfc8 22.Nxe7+ Qxe7 23.Qd2 Rc7 24.Rac1 Rac8 25.Rxc7 Rxc7 26.Rc1 Nf6 etc.) . If White was agreeable earlier to accept doubled f-pawns by recapturing from g3, there is absolutely no reason why control over e5 and c6 is not worth more than the isolation od d4 after 19...Nxf4+ (or 19...Bxf4 ) 20.exf4 .] 

[Of course, not 19.gxf4 Qh4 20.e3 Qg4+ and Black should be in no danger of losing.] 

[Likewise, Black will not be tempted by 19...Bxf4 20.Nxe7+ etc. The transaction executed in the last few moves has left White with two minor pieces that can control white squares, while Black has only one N and the black-squared B. The only way to avoid beeing suffocated is to achieve the breakthrough ...e6-e5, thus making something out of this B.] 

[20.Qe4 is no improvement, as in the game continuation the Q will be "hanging".] 


[On this small advance may hang the future of World Chess. Will the white squares that are exposed by it mean more than the increased activity of the black pieces?] 

21.dxe5 Nxe5 22.Nxe5 Qxe5 23.Rd2 Rae8 
[I am not quite sure about this move, since now the queenside is completely deserted. It was not possible to play 23...c5 24.Rd5 Qe7 25.Rad1 Rad8 , as the unexpected 26.Qe3 wins a P for White. It is true that there will be too many doubled Ps after 26...Qxe3 27.fxe3 c4 28.Rxd6 Rxd6 29.Rxd6 cxb3 30.axb3 but the more active King and R promise good winning chances as long as there are Ps on both sides of the board.; 
On the other hand, maybe 23...a5 was better, mobilising the queenside P majority with reasonable piece support. Now Kasparov has an unexpected opportunity to stir up some trouble.] 

[Another move I do not quite understand. Kasparov seems content to treat the position in a detached manner, without creating any direct threats. It seems to me that the mmore agressive 24.a4 was indicated, e.g. 24...Qe4 25.axb5 axb5 26.Nd4 and White begins to make some headway.

Apparently, at this point both players had a little over half an hour left.] 24...Re6 [A sensible choice, preparing the development of its fellow R and providing some indirect support to the potentially weak a-pawn.] 

[Now it too late for 25.a4 , as the capture 25...bxa4 cannot be met by the simple recapture 26.Rxa4 (objectively better is 26.Nd4 , although after 26...Rf6 and a subsequent ...a4-a3 Black is doing O.K.) : the e-pawn has removed the protection of the Nb3 and 26...Qb5 is very possible.] 

25...Rf6 26.Qd5 
[Just for variety's sake, Kasparov offers an exchange of Qs! Naturally, Kramnik refuses the proposal.] 

[After 26...Qxd5+ 27.Rxd5 the white squares are as weak as ever and the c-pawn as backward as it could possibly be. The queenside P majority is useless when White controls the d-file, while the N is obviously superior to the B. In addition, the above details mean that White's King can be activated much more easily than his black colleague.

The Q wisely retreats to a point from where it provides some protection to the critical square c6.] 

[A clear signal that Kasparov has evil intentions against c6 and consequently the enemy queenside Ps.]

[The fact that Kramnik finds nothing better means his other R will remain passive for some time. The World Champion must strike before it is too late. 
Still, the advantages of the P advance should not be underestimated, most notably the idea of providing f5 to the R.] 

[Since 28.Rc6 is not possible because of 28...Rf5 , Kasparov decides to double Rs on the c-file. This means that he deserts the all-important d-file that lies between the P majorities and is the prime consideration in such situations.; 

28.Nd4 c5 was worse than useless, but maybe; 28.Nc5 should have been tried, e.g. 28...Rf5 29.Qd4 Qa8+ 30.Kg1 and White keeps control of the most important lines. The twin threats 31.Nd7 and 31.Ne4 are not to be underestimated, while the exchange of minor pieces does not relieve the pressure.] 

[Another good practical choice, trying to soften up White's pawn structure on the kingside: either Black will play ...h5-h4 at some appropriate point or White will advance h2-h4 and weaken g3 on his own.] 

[Kasparov wants to use the N to harass the B that holds Black's position together, but I also like 29.h4 , e.g. 29...Rf5 (of course, not 29...Qe5 30.Qxe5 Bxe5 31.f4 Bd6 32.Rc6 etc.) 30.Qc6 and the N will be reactivated with gain of time.] 

[Kramnik's attempts to fight for control of the centre are bound to fail in the long run, as long as the second R remains incarcerated on f8.] 30.Qe4 [Completely incomprehensible, even if Kasparov was in serious time trouble by now. After 30.Qc6 White keeps some serious pressure, while now...] 

[Kasparov must have been so taken in by his intention to exchange Qs that he forgot this advance was now possible. As a result, his doubling on the c-file looks very silly and his positional advantage gone down the drain. How can a World Champion play a move that contradicts his plan for the last 20 moves?] 

[There is nothing better, but by now Kramnik must have felt elated.] 

31...Rxe8 32.e4 
[A last attempt, but one doomed to fail without control of the d-file.] 

32...Rfe5 33.f4 R5e6 34.e5 Be7 35.b3 

[Perhaps Kasparov's calculations were based on the threat 36.Ne4, but unfortunately it is Black's move...] 

[Now that the spearhead P disappears from the board, the final outcome should not be in doubt: Kramni will soon become World Champion!] 

[Or 36.exf6 Bxf6 and the c-pawn remains immune ( 37.Rxc5 Re2+ ).] 

36...fxe5 37.Nxe5 Rd8 
[Suddenly the d-file belongs to Black. The rest is silence.] 

38.h4 Rd5 

[In this position Kasparov gave up his attempts to win. According to eyewitness reports, Kramnik punched the air with both fists in celebration of this momentous event, even if the whole game seems something of an anti-climax. In the last few games the younger player seemed very tired and was in danger repeatedly, but his oppponent could not muster the energy to take advantage of his opportunities. The 16th and final game is supposed to be played on Saturday, but I do not think anyone will be surprised if it is another lifeless draw.

NOTE: These comments were completed a little before 3:00a.m. (Greek time), on Friday, November 3rd, 2000. Please send your comments on my efforts. All criticisism and improvements are greatly appreciated!] -


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