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Vladimir Kramnik vs Michal Krasenkow
Corus Group A (2003), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 4, Jan-15
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-15-05  suenteus po 147: No comments on this game?! Who even sees the Giuoco Piano at this level anymore? A fascinating win by Kramnik.

<iron maiden> Thanks for alerting me to it!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: It seems that Kramnik missed a quick win, or I missed something.

15.Nxf7! Rxf7 16.Rxe7! Bxe7 17.Ne5 wins a pawn.

Jul-13-07  danielpi: <Mateo> I don't think it's a quick win, but he does pass up the free pawn.

Black could have played 15. Nxf7?! Ned5 16. Ne5 and now, Black has all sorts of ideas with ...Bxh3 followed by ...Rxf3 (though he can't do this right away because of the knight on e5), and White's f2 starts looking very shaky.

I think Kramnik decided to keep his control and pressure, to limit Black's counterplay. As you can verify for yourself, Kramnik ends up winning that pawn anyway, and without as much risk. Grabbing the pawn isn't such a bad idea, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <danielpi> I am sticking to my 15.Nxf7!. I cannot see any concrete variation White should fear.
Jul-28-07  danielpi: <Mateo> It's not a bad move. I don't think it's Kramnik's style, though. He tends to favor pressure/position over material.

Either way works. Kramnik can grab the pawn, and he goes up material, but then the position is looking equal (or maybe better for black), or he can keep material even, and hang on to his "better" position. There are players who will grab the material and suffer through some counterplay. Kramnik isn't really the sort.

At any rate, it's still not a quick win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: What is the win after 71...Ra1? If there is any? Not 72.Ne7 Re1+. After the move actually played 71...Ra5+ 72.Kf4, the big difference is that the White King is no longer on the 'e' file. Thus, White threatens Ne7. If 72...Ra7 73.Kg4 (73.Rf8? Ra6) White wins like in the game with the idea Rf8-f7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The early break 7..d5 is not played often and has scored poorly for Black. 14..Nxe5 looks like an improvement that would have given White less to play with. 16..Bxf4 17 Nxf4..Nc6 would have given White strong pressure after either 18 Ne5 or 18 Ng6.

McDonald uses this game as an example of how to exchange one advantage for another. First, Kramnik exchanged pressure on the e-file for creating a weakness on d6 (move 17). Second, he exchanges the weakness on d6 for piece activity doubling the rooks on the 7th (move 27). Third he exchanges piece activity for a material advantage (move 29).

71..Ra1 apparently would have drawn though several annotators didn't mention it.

Fascinating ending and a great positional effort by Kramnik; he is an excellent analyst but for some reason he did not provide annotations for this game.

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