Kramnik – Kasparov (m/2) [D85]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5
Having chosen the Gruenfeld Defence, Garry Kasparov
demonstrated how fundamental his creative principles are: he
applied this opening for d2-d4 most often for the last years, and
there is no doubt that his opponent has devoted much time to
studying its lines.
4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3
Vladimir Kramnik tested Black’s position more than once in
variations to appear after 7. Bc4, but without any particular
7... c5 8. Be3
Now a little surprise. At present the variation with 8. Be3,
very popular in the eighties, is rather uncommon at prestigious
tournaments. 8. Rb1 is used much more frequently, and many lines
of this variation were analysed as far as the thirtieth move.
Vladimir Kramnik also made an important contribution to the
development of this variation. He restored to life the forgotten
8. Bb5+ where he won several worthy victories, one of them over
his present adversary, but in a blitz game.
8... Qa5 9. Qd2 Bg4
The fashion of the nineties replaces the eighties-like style.
Previously they played often 9... Nc6, the pattern was the game
Jussupow – Kasparov (Reykjavik, 1988), where after 10. Rb1 a6
11. Rc1 cxd4 12. cxd4 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2 f5 14. Bd3 Black equalised
owing to an original idea: 14... Rf8! 15. exf5 Bxf5 16. Rc5 Rd8.
Well, later it was found out that after 14. e5!? Be6 15. Bc4 Bxc4
16. Rxc4 O-O 17. g3 Rfd8 18. Rb1 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Rxb7 Bf6
21. Rb6 Black still experienced some difficulties, as the game
Dautov - M. Rytshagov (Pula, 1997) showed.
After 10. Rc1 Bxf3 11. gxf3 e6 an incautious 12. d5?! allowed
Black to take the initiative with 12... exd5 13. exd5 Nd7 14. c4
Qb6 15. Bh3 f5 16. O-O Qd6 17. Bf4 Be5 18. Rfe1 O-O-O 19. Bxe5
Nxe5 in the game Yermolinsky - Kasparov (Wijk aan Zee, 1999).
Considered to be the strongest. The alternatives were
10…Bxf3 and an evidently defective 10… cxd4.
This seems to be a novelty. In the game Timman - Ivanchuk
(Linares, 1992) there was 11. Rb3 b5 12. d5, and Black missed an
opportunity to get a good play with 12... c4! 13. Rb4 Bxf3 14.
gxf3 Qa3. A return to the move 11. Rc1 to be followed with 11…
Bxf3 12. gxf3 e6 13. d5 exd5 14. exd5 Nd7 15. c4 Qb6 16. Be2
O-O-O 17. O-O Qd6 makes little difference in comparison with the
cited game Yermolinsky - Kasparov (Wijk aan Zee, 1999), though it
was also seen at a tournament in Spain (Cheparinov - B.
Arkhangelsky, Mondariz, 2000). As for the move in the game, we
can note that Vasily Ivanchuk in his annotation of his game with
Timman simply put a question-mark after this move.
11... Bxf3 12. gxf3 Nc6
The analysis of V. Ivanchuk ends with this move, he evidently
regarded Black’s position to be no worse. Now Vladimir Kramnik
is going to define the estimation more accurately in this game.
13. Bc4 O-O 14. O-O cxd4 15. cxd4 Bxd4 16. Bd5 Bc3
“Activity” is Kasparov’s immutable motto. Black wants to
avoid the endgame to appear after 16... Qxd2 17. Bxd2 Ne5 18. Kg2
(there was also a similar situation in case of 18. Bh6 Rfe8 19.
Kg2 e6 20. Bb3 Rab8) 18... e6 19. Bb3 Rab8 in which White’s
rook is displaced from the seventh horizontal, but instead White
keeps the advantage of two bishops.
Black sacrifices a pawn in order to
annihilate White’s advantage of two bishops. After a normal 17... Rac8 White
could play 18. Bb6 Qb4 19. a3 Qb2 20. Qxb2
Bxb2 21. a4 and Black had certain problems.
18. Bxd4 Bxd4 19. Rxe7 Ra7 20. Rxa7 Bxa7
So Black traded one of White’s bishops, did away with his
active rook, and Kramnik’s extra pawn is double and not very
dangerous at the moment. Let’s add the opposite-colour bishops
which usually increase the drawing chances, and it can seem that
Black’s decision, taken on the seventeenth move, was correct
– but actually the situation is not at all so good. Owing to
the annihilation of Black’s e-pawn the white light-squared
bishop became much stronger. With that pawn, its opportunities
could have been restricted with the advance e7-e6 at any moment
– but now Black is deprived of such a resource.
White’s pawns on the kingside begin to move. Black has to
undertake something quickly, or his king can be endangered very
21… Qd8 22. Qc3 Bb8 23. Qf3 Qh4 24. e5 g5 25. Re1 Qxf4
Black wants to transpose the game into an endgame to increase
the drawing tendency of the opposite-colour bishops.
26. Qxf4 gxf4 27. e6 fxe6 28. Rxe6 Kg7 29. Rxa6
The position got settled. The opposite-colour bishops are no
guarantee of a happy end for Black as he has to watch White’s
passed pawn on the queenside and defend his two pawn islets on
the kingside at the same time.
There was also 29... Rd8, as in case of 30. Be4 (the position
after 30. Ra5!? Kf6 was probably better for White) 30... Rd2 31.
a4 (if 31. Kg2, then 31… Be5) 31... Be5 Black’s pieces were
well co-ordinated, and there was no 32. Ra7+ Kf6 33. Rxh7 because
of 33… Bd4.
30. Be4 Re5
Or 30... Rf7, and in case of 31. a4, similarly to the game,
Black had 31… Ra7, and White was not able to avoid an exchange
of the rooks with 32. Rb6 because of 32… Rxa4 – owing to the
unprotected bishop e4.
31. f3 Re7
A necessary move. In case of 31... Bc7 after 32. Ra7 Rc5 33.
a4 White’s a-pawn was ready to continue its advance, and an
attempt to interfere with 31… Kh6 allowed White to achieve his
goal through a zugzwang after 34. Kg2 Rg5+ 35. Kf1 Rc5 36. Ke2.
32. a4 Ra7
Black’s manoeuvres on the foregoing three moves would have
been more consistent if Black organised his defence with the use
of the basic square e3 for his bishop with 32... Ba7+ 33. Kg2
Be3. But in this case the black rook stood passively on the
seventh horizontal – very dangerous for Black because an
exchange of the rooks allowed him to get a draw not in any case,
but only with a certain position of the white king.
Now an exchange 33. Rxa7+ Bxa7+ led to a draw, as White was
not able to break through on the kingside with 34. Kg2 Bb6 35.
Kh3 h5 36. Kh4 Kh6.
33... Be5 34. Rb4 Rd7 35. Kg2 Rd2+ 36. Kh3
An important move. Covering some squares, Black weakens some
others at the same time, whereas White can advance his
pawn closer to the eighth horizontal. 36... Ra2 was more evident,
even though Black had to reckon with a keen 37. Kg4 Rxh2 38. a5,
as well as with a more quiet 37. Bd5 Rd2 (the endgame after 37...
Rb2 38. Rxb2 Bxb2 39. Kg4 Bc1 40. a5 Kf6 41. a6 Be3 42. Kh5 Kg7
43. Kg5 was most probably losing for Black despite the
opposite-colour bishops, because it was too hard not to allow the
white king come up to the a-pawn and to keep all black pawns on
the kingside alive) 38. Rb7+ Kf6 39. Rb6+ Kg7 40. Be4 Ra2 41.
Ra6, White’s a-pawn being ready to begin its advance. Still,
after 41… Bd4 (no 41… Bc3 because of 42. Ra7+ Kf6 43. Bxh7)
there was 42. a5 Bg1 43. Kg4 Bxh2 44. Kf5 Bg3, and Black was
likely to keep the balance, though his position was very dubious.
In case of 41. Rb5 Bc3 42. Rc5 Be1 (bad was 42… Bd2? because of
43. Rg5+ Kf6 43. Rg2) 43. Rc7+ Kf6 Black also held.
37. Rb5 Kf6 38. a5 Ra2 39. Rb6+
A time trouble blunder, losing Black’s game immediately,
whereas after 39... Kg7 40. a6 Bd4 41. Rd6 Be3 there were still
chances for a draw, as an active 42. Kh4 was repelled with
42…Rxh2+ 43. Kg5 Rg2+ 43. Kxh5 Kf8, and Black contained the
onslaught of the white pieces.
40. Bd5! 1-0
Black resigned. He was losing a piece inevitably.