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Ruslan Ponomariov vs Vladimir Kramnik
MTel Masters (2005), Sofia BUL, rd 6, May-18
Queen's Indian Defense: Kasparov Variation. Botvinnik Attack (E12)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-18-05  ajile: "AgentRgent- I think it's clear that Kramnik is overcompensating in his attempt to refute the "draw master" label that's been thrown at him. He shouldn't worry about those critics and should play solid winning chess like the first game with Pono, or the game with Judit."

Exactly what I was thinking. He should just ignore the critics and play his solid style of chess.

May-18-05  acirce: <Hesam7> Yes, I know. Mostly joking. But this is not the Kramnik version I prefer. And it doesn't seem to work very well either.
May-18-05  Shams: <acirce> <But this is not the Kramnik version I prefer.>

just out of curiosity, would you feel that way if he had won today?

May-18-05  acirce: Yes. It's about taste, not about personal loyalties...
May-18-05  Milo: Marvol: I suspected that Kramnik blew the game somewhere. The sacrifice is "optically" worthwhile.
May-18-05  Hesam7: <acirce: But this is not the Kramnik version I prefer. And it doesn't seem to work very well either.> It is interesting to watch how a player evolves during his career. I like the more solid approach too, but he will not keep losing, he will start to win in his new style and that could be as pleasing as his previous successes. Before MTel he said he will play for the first place, so I guess he will play even more aggressive in the remaining rounds.
May-18-05  csmath: Aggressive?
He played three games with black, two of those were Petroff, and one was QID.

In game with Topalov he was the one trying everything to avoid open confrontation.

In the game with Adams he was caught in the obvious sacrifice, nothing original, it was there as a trap and he fell into it. Hardly a creative combinatorial play.

In the game with Pono he played mainline QID and Pono offered the sharp variation with 5. Bg5. Kramnik could have played 10. ... g4 which would be consistent but he tried Nc6 (ordinary and not very good "developing" move) after which Pono correctly forced tactical continuation with 0-0-0. From that point on Kramnik has no choice but to play sharp game and he played it rather poorly though Pono deserves credit of course.

Therefore I do not see anything so unusually new in his game. What is unusual are the rules where he cannot do 11-move draws any more. I do not see any evolution here but rather a paltry "champ" that isn't any better than the rest of this crowd in MTel.

May-18-05  csmath: In other words he is trying to play his "positional" style (Petroff and QID) only he gets caught in sharp continuations where he plays stereotypical moves that lead into worse positions.

He can still grind opponents that are trying too hard as he did with Polgar, so if that is what makes you happy in his "positional" game, I think he still has it. What you are witnessing is a mediocre elite player in his usual form, nothing better or worse than what he usually plays. If you expect to see original attacker like today Topalov with Anand, or god forbid Tal, Kasparov and such I can garantee you Kramnik will never be because he just doesn't have it.

May-19-05  Runemaster: After 35 moves, Kramnik has 4 pawns for the piece. Then on moves 39, 40 and 41, Pono chops them down - bam bam bam - and there's nothing left.
May-19-05  Marvol: <Hesam, Milo> Yes, I merely gave the variation because it leads quite forcibly to this repetition. I'm pretty sure, too, that Kramnik was trying to force a win, and maybe that's why he didn't play it.
May-19-05  acirce: <Marvol> What's wrong with 22.e5 ?

Btw Kramnik said after the game that 17.Nd5 would have been (even) better for White.

May-20-05  iron maiden: <acirce> Happy 26th birthday!
May-26-05  patzer2: Give Ponomariov credit for playing a solid positional game here! Kramnik's 15...dxc4? appears to give the game to his opponent and is one of the worst moves I've ever seen him make. Instead, Kramnik should have played 15...Na6!? , when White keeps a slight initiative but Black should be able to hold the position and the draw.
May-26-05  patzer2: Ponomariov's 19. e4?! is a bit premature, and almost lets Kramnik back in the game. Instead 19. Nf5! Qc5 20. Kb1 Bc6 21. N3d4 Bb7 22. Qc2 gives White a solid grip on a winning position.
May-26-05  patzer2: Fritz 8 confirms <Marvol>'s look with Crafty in suggesting Black can hold after 20... bxc3! 21. Qa2 O-O 22. exd5 Bxd5 23. Nf5 Bxa2 24. Nxh6+ Kg7 25. Nf5+ Kg8 26. Nh6+ = with a draw by perpetual check.
May-26-05  patzer2: After Kramnik's suggestion of 17. Nd5! c3 18. Qd3 Bxd5 19. Qxd5 cxb2+ 20. Kb1 Rc8 21. Nd4 Rc5 22. Qa8+ Qd8 23. Qxd8+ Kxd8 24. Ba6 Bxd4 25. Rxd4 Ra5 26. Bf1 f5 27. Rxb4 fxg4 28. Rxg4 h5 29. Rd4 , White has a solid grip on the position with winning chances.
Dec-16-05  Conde de Montecristo: Kramnik just can't play sharp positions properly.
Mar-09-06  blingice: 26...Bc6 was awful, wasn't it?
Mar-16-06  MTal: <patzer2: Fritz 8 confirms <Marvol>'s look with Crafty in suggesting Black can hold after 20... bxc3! 21. Qa2 O-O 22. exd5 Bxd5 23. Nf5 Bxa2 24. Nxh6+ Kg7 25. Nf5+ Kg8 26. Nh6+ = with a draw by perpetual check.>

why would white play 22. exd5?? fritz 9 suggests three moves for 22 in this variation that keep or increase white's advantage: rxh6 (+1.8), nf5(+1.4), and even e5(+1.16).

exd5 is indeed evaluated at 0.00.

Mar-17-06  notyetagm: Kramnik sacrifices, Kramnik loses. Simple as that.
Mar-17-06  s4life: <Conde de Montecristo: Kramnik just can't play sharp positions properly. >

You wouldn't think that if you analyze his earlier games, (before 2001)... On the other hand, I don't think he's playing that worse either, it's just that the other players are preparing against him better -something that is happening already against Topalov.... we'll see for how long he can handle it. Kasparov could handle it 20 years, Kramnik 2... Topalov already has 1year and going strong.

Mar-17-06  devilwolfdog: Kramnik was a dominant player in 2000 and 2001 and was extremely strong in sharp positions. Unfortunately, this game was played in 2005 when Kramnik was no longer a factor in the chess world.
Mar-17-06  notyetagm: <s4life> This game just made me realize that Kramnik never wins games by sacrificing pieces, like a rook or a knight.

When was the last time Kramnik sacrificed a piece or more and won the game?

Apr-15-06  positionalbrilliancy: <notyetagm> Ivanchuk vs Kramnik, 1993
Mar-26-08  Abejorral: I like the way Drawmnik was defeated here, he played most likely for what he does know to do better with black pieces, a draw.
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