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Ruslan Ponomariov vs Vladimir Kramnik
Linares (2003), Linares ESP, rd 2, Feb-23
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack. Fianchetto Variation (B31)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-24-03  refutor: a very powerful game by kramnik...can i change my opinion on the result of the leko-kramnik match? ;) just joking
Feb-24-03  mrwonkabar: 29 ..d3 was an excellent move, pretty much sealing the game
Feb-25-03  Plasmatics: I assume Kramnik didn't play 35. ... Kxf8 because of Bxc5+ and Ba3 stopping the pawn from Queening?
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <refutor> You're right. <mrwonkabar> You're right. <Plasmatics> You're right.
Oct-26-04  Whitehat1963: Good example of the opening of the day.
Oct-26-04  aw1988: <technical draw: <refutor> You're right. <mrwonkabar> You're right. <Plasmatics> You're right.> Good game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <technical draw> You're right. <Whitehat1963> You're right. <aw1988> You're right.
Oct-27-04  sneaky pete: <tpstar> You're right, I'm left, she's gone.
Oct-31-05  Averageguy: I'm very confused :(
Nov-04-05  aw1988: <sneaky pete> You're horrible.
Nov-05-05  sneaky pete: <aw1988> Is that any worse than being awful?
Nov-05-05  fgh: Looooooool :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: According to the and the databases, this is the first time 12. b4! was tried at master level. It is now part of opening theory and an interesting temporary positional pawn sacrifice offer, which allows White to get his pawn back quickly, and with a clear advantage, if Black accepts it (e.g. 12. b4! cxb4 13. axb4 Qxb4?! 14. Bxa7 ).

As such 12. b4! might be more accurately characterized as a positional attack on a pinned pawn, which forces 12...Ne6 =.

Sep-14-09  Max Lange: Good example of how the weaker player can do all the right things, the stronger player can do all the 'wrong' things (castling late), and the stronger player will still find a way to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Kramnik after 4 Bxcx6:
"This move I actually find quite strange. It's amazing that after this move White can fight for an advantage; and he often does so successfully. For me there's no logic in the move. Nobody's attacking the bishop and it looks as if you give up the bishop for the knight for no reason at all. Still White pretends to be better. Strange but true."

The main idea behind Kramnik's 13..b6! was 14 bxc..b5 15 Nc3..f5 when Black has active play. 15 f3? led to a passive position for White; 15 exf..gxf followed by either f3 or f4 with a willingness to sacrifice the exchange would have led to an interesting, double-edged middlegame. Marin recommended 17 Rab1 as the game continuation quickly led to a Black advantage. White wanted to activate his queen knight but 19 a4 would have been a better way to do it than his 19 d4?!. 23 Bxd4 would have led to an endgame where White had the inferior minor piece so, instead, he offered an exchange sacrifice with 23 Qb4. 23..Qxb4 24 axb..d3 25 cxd..Bxa1 26 Rxa1..Rh7 would have been difficult to win after White puts his bishop on c5 followed by d4 so Kramnik instead played 23..Qb6. 24 Bxd4..c5 25 Bxc5..a5 would have been very strong for Black. With 29 Rda1? Ponomariov fell into a trap losing quickly; better was 29 Rb1..Bd7 30 Nd2..Bc7 31 Ra6..Bxb5 32 Rh6..Be5 though Black would have likely won here as well. 32 Rd1..dxc 33 Rc1..Bb3 34 Nd2..c4 35 Nxc4..Ra1 would not have saved White.

A brilliant strategic effort by Kramnik with some beautiful finishing tactics. Voted the 5th best game in Informant 87.

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