Jan 10, 2001

Kasparov – Kramnik (m/5) [A34]

1. c4

Kasparov decided to change the subject and refused from the move 1. e2-e4 which he applied in the previous games.

1… c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Nc3 g6

Kramnik went for a solid, well proved variation of the English Opening. Let’s note that in the second final game against J. Piket at an Internet-tournament at the beginning of the year his adversary preferred to transpose into the Rubinstein System with 6… Nc7.

7. O-O Bg7 8. Qa4

The continuation 8. Nxd5 Qxd5 9.d3 0-0 which used to be popular some time ago is analysed now practically until the very draw.

8… Nb6 9. Qb5 Nd7

The problem with the defence of the c5-pawn was solved by Black in the most safe way. 9… c4 occurred several times instead of the move in the game, in which case White’s response was either 10. Na4 or 10. Ne5.

10. d3 O-O 11. Be3 Nd4 12. Bxd4 cxd4 13. Ne4 Qb6 14. a4

14… a6

Of course it’s not beneficial for Black to initiate an exchange of the queens, because then after 14... Qxb5 15. axb5 White can create pressure on the semi-open a-file.

15. Qxb6 Nxb6 16. a5 Nd5 17. Nc5 Rd8 18. Nd2 Rb8

A series of prophylactic moves allowed Black to equalise the position in full.

19. Nc4 e6 20. Rfc1 Bh6 21. Rcb1

The absence of the dark-squared bishop in White’s camp begins to tell. There was no way to keep the rook on the c-file, as in case of 21. Rc2? there was 21… Nb4, Black winning by an exchange.

21... Bf8 22. Nb3 Bg7 23. Bxd5 Rxd5 24. Nbd2 e5 1/2-1/2

A draw, proposed by Kramnik. In the final position Black is no worse, at the least.

"Chess is so inspiring that I do not believe a good player is capable of having an evilthought during the game."

-Wilhelm Steinitz, interview with J. Moquette, 1896

"I have not given any drawn or lost games, because I thought them inadequate to the purpose of the book."

-Jose Capablanca, "My Chess Career", 1920.

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