Kasparov – Kramnik (m/9) [C67]
Kasparov returned to the move of the king’s pawn which he
used in the starting games of the match.
1… e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6
dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 h6
Kramnik changed the structure to a certain degree in
comparison with the first and third games of the match where he
defended the continuation 9... Bd7.
10. Rd1+ Ke8 11. h3 a5 12. Bf4
12. g4 was too early, as after 12… Ne7 13. Kg2 Ng6 Black got
a counterplay, connected with h6-h5.
Black develops his pieces with the concern to keep e7 free for
13. g4 Ne7 14. Nd4 Nd5
In case of 14... Ng6 after 15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Bg3 White gained
an advantage with Nc3-e4.
An immediate 15. Nxe6 fxe6 to be followed with 16. Ne2 allowed
Black to get a counterplay with 16… g5 17. Bg3 Bg7 18. c4 Nb6
19. b3 Nd7, attacking the white c5-pawn like in the game
Kindermann - Lalic (Portoroz, 1998).
After 15... h5 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. c4 Nb6 18. b3 hxg4 19. hxg4
a4 20. Kg2 Be7 21. Nc3 Bb4 22. Ne4 White got a slight but steady
advantage in the game Galkin - Yarovik (Novgorod, 1999). In case
of 15... Nxf4 16. Nxf4 Bc8 (if 16... Bd7, then there was 17. e6
Bc8 18. Re1 Bd6 19. Re4) 17. Nh5! (in case of 17. e6 White had to
reckon with 17… Bd6) the position of Black’s pieces on their
starting squares was quite funny.
16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. c4 Nb6
After an incautious 17... Nxf4 18. Nxf4 Rf8 (there was neither
18... Ke7? because of 19. Ng6+, nor 18... Kf7 because of 19.
Rd7+) 19. Nxe6 Bxf2+ 20. Kg2 Black could have encountered
The position on the diagram was seen already. With transposed
moves it was obtained in the game Vuckovic - Sakaev (Herceg Novi,
2000) at the Yugoslavia Team Championship, where after 18. Bg3 a4
19. Rac1 Kf7 20. h4 h5 21. gxh5 Rxh5 22. Kg2 Rah8 Black got
chances to take the initiative.
18... a4 19. Bd2 Kf7
The move 19... Rf8 was not dangerous for White owing to 20.
White’s pawns b3 and c4 restrict the black knight on d6, so
an advantage b3-b4 is now unfavourable for White.
20... Rhd8 21. Rxd8
Quite correctly. Black was threatening to take control over
the a-file, for instance after 21. Kg2 with 21… Rxd1 22. Rxd1
axb3 23. axb3 Ra3. This is why White let him have the central
d-file as in this case he need not drive his pieces to the side
of the board to struggle against the black rook.
21... Rxd8 22. Kg2 Rd3
From this point the black rook restricts White’s forces
considerably. An immediate 22... g5 was also possible, but in
this case Black had to reckon with 23. f4.
Probably the only move in the game which can be questioned.
23. h4!? was more promising: after 23… g6 (if 23... Ba3 or
23… g5, then 24. Rh1) 24. Rc1 White had a slightest plus in
comparison with the development of the game.
Depriving the white knight from the square f4 and isolating
White wants to exchange Black’s active rook after Rc2-d2.
The move 24. f4 allowed Black to organise a counterplay against
White’s pawn on e5 with 24… Re3 25. Rc2 Nd7.
In case of 24... Rd1 there was 25. f4, and after an immediate
24... Nd7 White had an unpleasant 25. bxa4.
25. axb3 Nd7
It turns out that White cannot propose an exchange on d2 as he
loses the e5-pawn then.
26. Ra2 Be7!
A fine move. The black bishop ceded the square c5 to the
White gained nothing from 27. b4 because of 27… c5! 28. b5
Nb6 29. Ra7 Nxc4 30. Rxb7 Bd8 with a subsequent approaching of
the black king to the queenside.
27... Nc5 28. f3
28. b4 was inefficient again, this time because of 28… Ne4
29. Be1 (if 29. Ba1, then after 29… Bxb4 30. Rxb7 Ba5 Black
also was OK) 29... Rd1, and White’s bishop had no convenient
28... Nxb3 29. Rxb7 Nc1
A tactical trick, leading to a full equalisation. After 29...
Re3 30. Kf2 Bc5 Black encountered an unpleasant 31. Bb4!.
30. Nxc1 Rxc3 1/2-1/2
Draw. After 31. Ne2 Rxc4 32. Rxc7 Black’s chances were no
worse than White’s.