Mar 19, 2001

Kasparov - Kramnik (m/7) [A32]

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4

Kasparov refused to play 3. g3 again like in the fifth game.

3... cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6

A surprise. Kramnik rejected the universally recognised 4... e6 as well as 4... Nc6. He applied the former of these continuation more than once, so we’ll restrict ourselves with just a few curious examples: 4... e6 5. g3 (the move 5. Nb5? is considered to be bad after the game Korchnoi - A. Greenfeld (Biel, 1986) where 5... d5 6. cxd5 a6 7. N5c3 exd5 8. Be3 Nc6 9. Bd4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Qc7 11. e3 Bc5 12. Qa4+ b5 13. Bxb5+ axb5 14. Qxa8 O-O gave an overwhelming development advantage to Black for the sacrificed material) 5... Bb4+ 6. Nc3 (there was also 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 Nc6 8. Bf4 O-O 9. Nc3 a6 10. O-O Nxd4 11. Qxd4 d6 12. Qd3 Qc7 13. Rfd1 Rd8 with mutual chances (Topalov - Kramnik, Las Vegas (m/4, active) 1999)) 6... d5 (the present adversaries once tested 6... O-O 7. Bg2 d5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Qb3 Qb6 10. Bxd5 exd5 11. Be3 Bxc3+ 12. Qxc3 Qg6 13. O-O Nc6 14. Rfc1 Bh3 15. Qc2 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Qe6 (Kasparov - Kramnik, Moscow (m/14, blitz), 1998)) 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd2 O-O 9. Bg2 Bxc3 10. bxc3 e5 11. Nb5 a6 12. Bc1 Be6 13. c4 Ne7 14. Nd6 Nbc6 15. O-O b6 with mutual chances (Kasparov - Kramnik, Wijk aan Zee (blitz), 1999). The move 4... Nc6 was also seen in a game between the present opponents. After 5. g3 g6 6. Bg2 Bg7 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Nc2 d6 9. O-O Be6 10. b3 Qd7 11. Bb2 Bh3 12. Ne3 Bxg2 13. Kxg2 Rfd8 there was an approximate equality in the game Kasparov - Kramnik (Frankfurt (active), 1998).

5. Nc3

The subtlety of the order of moves, chosen by Black, could have been revealed in case of 5. g3. After 5... d5 6. Bg2 e5 Black’s e-pawn got to e5 in one move instead of two, so that Black was able to make one more very useful move: a7-a6.

5... e6 6. g3

After 6. e4 there was a position, intermediate between the English Opening and the Paulsen Variation of the Sicilian Defence where Black got a good counterplay with 6... Bb4. The thirteenth World Champion played once 6... Qc7, and after 7. Bd3 Be7 8. f4 d6 9. Qe2 Nc6 10. Nf3 Nd7 11. a3 Bf6 12. Be3 Bxc3+ 13. bxc3 e5 14. f5 Ncb8 Black got an excellent position in the game Ehlvest - Kasparov (Linares, 1991).

6... Qc7 7. Qd3

The pawn sacrifice 7. Bg5 was insufficient, as after 7... Qxc4 8. Rc1 Nc6 9. Nb3 (no better was 9. Ncb5 Qb4+ 10. Bd2 axb5 11. Bxb4 Bxb4+ 12. Rc3 Rxa2 which after 13. Qb3 Ra1+ 14. Kd2 Ne4+ 15. Ke3 Nxc3 16. Nxc6 Nd5+ 17. Kf3 bxc6 18. e4 c5 brought White to a defeat in the game Gauglitz - Teske (Stralsund, 1988)) 9... Ne4 10. Bg2 (Black had a huge advantage also after 10. Nxe4 Qxe4 11. f3 Qg6 ) 10... Nxg5 11. h4 Qg4 12. hxg5 Qxg5 Black was much better in the game Komarov - Aseev (St.Petersburg, 1997).

7... Nc6 8. Nxc6

White acknowledged Black’s opening gains, thus having raised the tension. In case of other continuations the insufficient support of the c4-pawn was dangerous for White, besides, Black could have taken the initiative on dark squares. So, after 8. b3 Black got a good play with 8... Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Bc5 or even with an immediate 8... Bc5.

8... dxc6

The simplest. After 8... Qxc6 9. e4 the tension was maintained.

9. Bg2 e5 10. O-O Be6 11. Na4 1/2-1/2

A draw, proposed by Kasparov. The quasi-record of shortness (only ten moves) which was established by two last games of the match M. Botvinnik - T. Petrosian for the title of the World Champion, stayed unbeaten. Instead of White’s last move they played previously 11. b3 Rd8 12. Qc2 Be7 13. Bb2 O-O 14. Rad1 with a draw (Ribli - Ljubojevic, Linares, 1981) and 11. Ne4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 g6 13. Be3 f5 14. Bg2 Bg7 15. Bc5 e4 16. Qe3 Kf7 with a slight initiative by Black (Sapis - Ivanchuk, Lvov, 1988).

"And his six pawns were scattered like the ships of the Armada that should have conquered England; the Lord blew, and they were all isolated."

-Hans Kmoch, Groningen 1946 tournament book

"Nowadays, when you're not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it."

Anand Vishwanathan

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