Kasparov,G (2849) - Kramnik,V (2770) [A32]
The Match - Braingames World Chess Cham London (7), 19.10.2000
[With one third of the match fully completed, it is easy to see that Kramnik has presented overall better play. Kasparov has failed to win a game yet, while he has not introduced anything new in the openings. This extremely unusual state of affairs, coupled with the fact that the challenger has missed clear wins in two more games, means that Kasparov must face the possibility of losing his title when still in his prime.
This is a situation that should energize Kasparov to the fullest. There is still a 10-game match for him to win and he is distinguished from other players by his ability to muster strength at the most critical moments. This was confirmed both times he found himself with his back on the wall, refusing to go down for the second time. At these moments, Kramnik failed to deliver the decisive blow, despite the fact that he had proven himself at least equal to the Champion up to then.
For game 7 Kasparov should choose 1.e4 or 1.d4, avoiding sidelines and looking for total war on the chessboard. This is perhaps the ideal moment to hit hard with a theoretical novelty in one of Kramnik's favourite systems.
If 1.e4 is played, Kramnik will probably continue with 1...e5, but, as I suggested in my introductory notes to Game 3, sooner or later he should switch to another variation.
If Kasparov plays 1.d4, Kramnik should probably go for the NimzoIndian/Queen's Indian complex. He lost an important game with the Nimzo in the last round of Linares in 1997, which gave Kasparov clear first place, but he cannot avoid a theoretical clash forever. The challenger's opening strategy has succeded marvellously up to now, however it will not work for a full 16 games. Kasparov is the world's best player in creating complications and undoubtedly he will. Therefore, Kramnik can win the match as a whole only if he can beat the Champion at his own game.
When all is said and theorized, however, one fact remains: Kramnik still leads by one point.]
[So much for my predictions! However, since the rest of the game and Kasparov's early draw offer suggest there is a game outside the chessboard going on, there is no point in making any serious comments. Could the Champion be ill?]
1...c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g3 Qc7 7.Qd3 Nc6 8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.Bg2 e5 10.0-0 Be6 11.Na4
[The position is balanced, but this has not prevented these two in the past from producing exciting battles. Whatever the reason for this quick draw, Kramnik should try harder with White on Saturday.
As for myself, I will try to produce a revision of my comments on Game 6, since it was very interesting and I must have made several mistakes. My plan is to incorporate other annotators' comments as well, giving credit where it is due, of course.
Meanwhile, I feel quite disappointed and almost frustrated...] ½-½