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GM Kramnik - GM Karjakin annotated by GM Naiditsch

User Rating: / 21
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014

By GM Arkadij Naiditsch, #1 German chess player
Best FIDE rating: 2737

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Could it be the last chance that Kramnik to take on the World Championship title?! For over 20 years Vladimir has been one of the best players in the world, he has won everything possible, and we all remember that he was the only person beating Kasparov in a WCC Match! Before the Candidates, Kramnik even rejected to play in the Zurich super tournament to be in a perfect shape. And he is, as with another novelty Kramnik puts big problems to Karjakin, who didn't find any way to save the game.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2787) - Karjakin,Sergey (2766) [D20]

FIDE Candidates 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (2.4), 14.03.2014

[Arkadij Naiditsch]

Photo from the official website

1.d4 d5
Karjakin said in his interview that he was preparing for a month with 4 trainers and here he opens with the Queen's Gambit, an opening he rarely played before.
2.c4 dxc4
And we have the Queen's Gambit accepted.
Kramnik chooses the most aggressive line.
[Another main line is 3...e5 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Bxc4]
4.e5 Nd5 5.Bxc4 So far there is of course nothing new. From the structure we can see that White has a slight space advantage, but Black is dominating on the white squares.
5...Nb6 6.Bd3
is one of the most popular lines at the moment.
Black is aiming for a blockade on the d5 square.
7.Be3 Nb4 8.Be4 f5
This move is nothing new either. In 2012 Karjakin already played a blitz game against Ding Liren, who continued with the main move 9.exf6.

A very interesting and probably strong novelty. [The main lines goes 9.exf6 exf6 10.Nc3 f5 11.Bb1 N4d5 with a complicated position.]
Black accepts the challenge, but his position is getting very dangerous. [Another very logical reply is 9...N4d5 and now White has quite some moves, but probably an idea could be to play 10.Bxd5 It looks a bit strange to give up such a nice bishop, but Black is very slow with development. 10...Nxd5 11.Ne2 followed by Nbc3. It is hard to say if White is really better here, but we can be sure that Kramnik's analyses are very deep, so I guess Karjakin would have had a tough times playing against an human+engine mutant! ]
10.axb4 What a strange position, which is very hard for evaluation. Black's pawn structure is very bad, but on the other hand he has control over the light squares and the bishop pair... The position is very dynamic.
A very logical move. [After 10...Bf5 11.Ne2 e6 12.b5 followed by Nbc3 and short castle, I think that White's position somehow looks nice.]
11.Nc3 White doesn't even try to save the pawn and plays for the initiative, and we can be sure that this was nothing new to Kramnik...
11...Bxb4 12.Qh5+!
A very strong and important move. Before attacking the e4 pawn, White tries to weaken Black's pawn structure as much as possible on the dark squares. [To play 12.Qg4 with a double attack on e4 and g7 12...00 13.Nge2 would have been another option, but I think that White doesn't have anything special after thesimple 13...Bd7]
12...g6 13.Qg4
Now Black is not in time anymore to castle kingside.

A very hum an move, but it seems like after this logical move Black is just doing badly. [After 13...00 14.Nge2 Bd7 15.00 White keeps the very important option of playing Bg5Bf6 next.; The best try might have been 13...Nc4 14.Nge2 Nxe3 15.fxe3 00 but after 16.Ng3 White's position also looks clearly better.]
14.bxc3 Qd5
Karjakin c ontinues his strategy to play on the light squares and Black's a-pawn could also be very dangerous, but the only problem is that Black is not in time!
15.Ne2 Bd7 16.00
White castles before deciding whether to play Nf4 or Ng3.
Black cannot protect the e4 pawn. [After the logical 16...a5 17.Ng3! is very strong. 17...Bc6

18.Nxe4! And the game is over... 18...Qxe4 19.Qxe6+ Kf8 20.Bh6# What a beautiful mate!]
17.Ng3 Bc6 Black's hope is to exchange the bishop against the white knight, but that is just a dream...
18.Ra5! A very nice move! White continues his rush and Rc5 next looks pretty deadly.
18...000! A very good practical decision. [After 18...00 19.h4 White's attack should be deadly.]
19.Rc5 Kramnik is going for the e6 pawn. [Playing 19.Rxa7 Kb8 20.Ra3 was probably quite tempting, but somehow Blacks is still holding on the light squares, although White should be much better.]
19...Qb3 20.c4 Kb8
Karjakin continues defending very well. [20...Rhe8 was losing on the spot: 21.d5 Bd7 22.d6! Bc6 23.Nxe4 With a totally winning position for White.]
21.Qxe6 Rde8 Black needs to go for the c4 pawn, as in case White was in time to play d5 the game would be instantly over.
22.Qh3 Nxc4
The position remains quite sharp.

This move had of course been planned for a couple of moves already, but it is still a very nice one. By sacrificing an exchange White is totally destroying Black's pawn structure and the white knight is getting a perfect position on c5. But of course all this required very precise calculation.
[23...Nxe3 doesn't seem to work: 24.Nxe4 Qa4 (24...Qd5 25.Rc5 Qxe4 26.fxe3 And White's central pawns should give him an advantage.) 25.Rxc7! What a beautiful move! 25...Kxc7 (25...Nxf1 didn't work as after 26.Rxb7+ Ka8 27.Nc5 Qa1 White has the amazing

28.Rb8+!! Kxb8 29.Qb3+
with mate to follow soon.) 26.Qxe3 White's central pawns and the great knight basically give him a winning position.]
24.Nxe4 Nb6
Black tries to consolidate.
25.Nc5 Finally the big tactical battle is over and White's position is clearly better.
25...Qd5 26.Rc1
A logical move. [But 26.Ra1 might have been even stronger, with the idea of playing Bg5Qa3 next.]
26...Ka8 Karjakin was already in some time trouble and it is very hard to give any advice to Black here. All White needs to do is to get the queen out from h3 to a3 to end the game, which is why maybe a move like 26...h5 would have made sense, although Black's position remains very bad.
A good decision. White is giving up the great position on c5 to collect the c6 pawn.
27...Kb7 28.Nb4 Qf7
Not giving White the chance to play Qf3 next.
[29.Bg5 with the idea of playing Qa3 next also looks deadly.]
29...Nd5 30.Nxc6
The game is almost over...
30...Re6 31.Na5+
The white attack continues and all Black can do is watch...
31...Ka8 32.Qe4 Rb6
Karjakin continues trying to hold things together.

Very well played by Kramnik again. White not only wants to play Rc5 next, but he also protects from Qf5 in many lines.
It is difficult to advise anything better... [33...Rd8 34.Nc6 and the game should not last for much longer...]
34.Rc5 The knight on d5 cannot be protected without losing material.
34...Rd8 35.Nc6
What a domination of the white pieces!
35...Rxc6 36.Rxc6 hxg4
The only thing which stops Black from resigning is the very strong position of the knight on d5, who already got there on move 5!
37.Rf6 Qh7 38.Bg5!
Another very tricky move, especially in time troubles. Too many black pieces are hanging and White's e-pawn could also become very dangerous.
This blunder in a lost position doesn't really matter anymore...

39.Rxg6 What a fantastic game by Kramnik. Great preparation followed by great play.... Karjakin fought well, but his bad position and Kramnik's amazing technique left him in a hopeless situation.


View the game

More annotated games, tactics & endgame puzzles, surprise section/study can be found in the weekly Chess Evolution "Top GM Secrets" bulletin. 25 pages total.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 March 2014 )
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