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Vladimir Kramnik vs Pavel Eljanov
Corus Group A (2008), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 4, Jan-15
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-16-08  Eyal: <MarkThornton: Can anyone see why Elianov defended with <65...g5+>. It looks like suicide to me.>

Marin explains that in chessbase:

<65...g5+!? A desperate move, aiming to deprive the enemy king of the g5-square. It must be said that other moves would not have saved either, for instance 65...Rd5 (The only available square along the 5th rank) 66.Ne5+ Kf8 (The knight ending arising after 66...Ke6 67.Rb6+ Rd6 68.Rxd6+ Kxd6 69.Kg5 is hopless, too.) 67.Rb6 Kg7 68.Kg5 and Black's position will collaps soon. Abandoning the fifth rank with 65...Ra1 allows a similar course of events with 66.Ne5+ Kf6 67.Rb6+ Kg7 68.Kg5.>

But as <percyblakeney> pointed out, it appears that Black has better chances to defend a few moves earlier with 61...g5 (or 60...g5).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: An endgame rule of thumb, when defending N+2P vs N+1P (or N+3P vs N+2P) on the same wing, is that if the pawns are not in an immediate contact, the endgame is a draw. But if they do come into a contact, then all depends on the relative arrangement of the pieces.

Since White can improve the position of his king after 61...g5 and force the trade of the rooks, Eljanov was probably quite hesitant to lock the pawns. At the end he played the g5 anyway, but at a less opportune time.

I looked at the end-games after 61...g5, but could not settle for myself if the position would hold or not. Black would certainly faced a very difficult saving task still.

Jan-16-08  cotdt: endgames are simply too difficult to analyze without a tablebase. I could not tell either whether white has a forced win after move 61.
Jan-16-08  Ulhumbrus: Kramnik declines the pawn sacrifice offered by 6...c5 instead of accepting it as in the game Polugaevsky vs Bronstein, 1971 However in that game Polugaevsky took an offered c5 pawn with his N and not with his Q. One question is whether the consequences of accepting the pawn will be similar to those in that game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Marin goes through the endgame in detail, but doesn't think black made any mistakes after the time control, and seems inclined to think white may already have been winning>

Marin is a wonderful writer and annotator, but it's not always possible for him to go into great depth in these reports written right after the round is played. I do think he should have looked at alternatives around move 60-62 in this case, but I would hesitate to draw any conclusions from his failure to do so.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <but the black ones were falling like ripe apples>

I think the <pawns fall like ripe apples> cliche should be retired. (a) I am sick of it (b) I don't think apples fall until they are rotten. Happily, I have little experience in harvesting produce, but Robert Frost seems to think picking apples is hard work.

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: At Corus 2008, the chess cliches were falling like ripe apples ...
Jan-16-08  Riverbeast: Beautiful game by Kramnik...'chess poetry' if you will
Jan-16-08  dbquintillion: Why doesn't 13. ... a6 work?
Jan-16-08  insanecharka: "dbquintillion: Why doesn't 13. ... a6 work?

Seems like 14. Nxe5 opening up the diagonal for Whites dark bishop is enough. After 14...axb5 15. Nxc6 white should get the F6 Knight

Jan-16-08  Eyal: <Beautiful game by Kramnik...'chess poetry' if you will>


Ripe apples are falling

Like Eljanov's black pawns.

Jan-16-08  Ulhumbrus: <keypusher: <Marin goes through the endgame in detail, but doesn't think black made any mistakes after the time control, and seems inclined to think white may already have been winning> Marin is a wonderful writer and annotator, but it's not always possible for him to go into great depth in these reports written right after the round is played. I do think he should have looked at alternatives around move 60-62 in this case, but I would hesitate to draw any conclusions from his failure to do so.> Which alternatives do you have in mind?
Jan-16-08  Ulhumbrus: Marin's comment suggests that Kramnik's plan in the ending, once he is a pawn ahead on the King side, is to overpower an eventual Black lone g pawn on the KIng side by playing his N to e5 ( supported by the f4 pawn), his King to g5 ( sheltered on the fifth rank by his N on e5) and then his R to the sixth rank followed by Rf6-f7. This plan succeeds.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Ulhumbrus> To be honest, I haven't looked at the ending closely myself. But others have suggested 60....g5 or 61....g5. 62...Re5 seems to lose pretty quickly, though I am not sure what else to suggest. Eljanov seems to think his rook can't leave the fifth rank, but is that true?
Jan-16-08  acirce: I think <Gypsy> is right. As I said right after the game, Eljanov seemed to make a principle out of not moving his pawns, except when he had to. It often makes a lot of sense, but not always. Anyway, if Eljanov thought for half an hour on that move and decided on something else, and several annotators don't even mention it, it can't be so obvious a draw, to say the least.

The whole game is very interesting, and after Kramnik had properly punished his 12..e5 I thought Eljanov did pretty well to end up in an endgame this good in the first place.

Jan-16-08  Shams: <keypusher><I think the <pawns fall like ripe apples> cliche should be retired. (a) I am sick of it (b) I don't think apples fall until they are rotten.>

new rule, you can't retire a cliche without suggesting a new one.

I grew up with a small orchard. you're right, pawns technically don't "fall" when ripe, but they are so easy to pick that it feels like they are falling into your hand. Unripe apples require two hands to pluck or you will grab the bud as well, which will definitely get your butt kicked out of shams' tiny orchard.

how about "pawns fall like Prime Ministers who led their countries to join Bush's Mad Iraq Adventure"? rolls right off the tongue.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <shams> Thanks, nothing like real world experience.

Re your proposed simile, Howard and Blair hung on for years after joining in the war, and their hands were prised from the seals of office only with great difficulty. Their behavior seems very unlike that of a ripe apple. Bank stocks and housing prices seem to be falling quickly and easily these days, though...

Jan-16-08  Shams: <keypusher>

"pawns fall like subprime mortgage futures". I like that. Mig would approve.

you should read, if you've not already, Hendrik Hertzberg's "Comment" from the Dec. 10 New Yorker ( from which I can't help liberally quoting:

"Regime change was one of the stated goals of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Unlike cleansing the place of weapons of mass destruction and breaking up the alleged Baghdad-Al Qaeda nexus, it was a reality-based goal; and, unlike the other two (which were as unattainable and unnecessary as ridding the moon of green cheese), it was actually accomplished. Saddam Hussein’s regime has indeed been changed—though what it has been changed into, of course, is not quite what was intended.

And regime change, it turns out, is infectious—a militarily transmittable disease, almost invariably fatal, so far, to any political party or head of government so careless of hygiene as to have had intimate relations with the Bush Administration’s Mesopotamian misadventure. The contagion set in less than a year into the war, when, three days after the Madrid terrorist bombings of March 11, 2004, <Spain>’s conservative government, which had sent thirteen hundred soldiers to Iraq, was defeated at the polls. The soldiers were out within three months. In May of 2005, it was the turn of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, of <Italy>, President Bush’s loudest West European supporter, who had sent three thousand troops; his successor, Romano Prodi, brought them home. In June of this year, Tony Blair was finally obliged to relinquish his grip on <Britain>’s Labour government, largely because of Iraq; the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has signalled that he intends to withdraw Britain’s troops—some five thousand of the original commitment of forty-five thousand remain—by the end of 2008. Six weeks ago, <Poland>’s premier, the twin brother of the country’s President, lost to an opponent whose platform included bringing back the nine hundred Polish troops that are still in Iraq. Other countries whose voters have dispensed with the services of leaders who enrolled them in Bush’s “coalition of the willing” include <Hungary, Ukraine, Norway, and Slovakia>.

A week ago last Saturday, John Howard, the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of <Australia>, became the newest casualty of this political epidemic..."

Jan-16-08  aazqua: White is threatening ne5* r*n and then nc6 forking the king and rook. THe rook doesn't have many good squares, there are pin possibilities on the black knight and white's king is poised to penetrate. I'd say black is on thin ice no matter what he does.

>>MarkThornton: Can anyone see why Elianov defended with <65...g5+>. It looks like suicide to me. I presume he saw other lines that he liked even less. But I can't see them.

Jan-17-08  think: <TheBB> 15. ... a6 16. d5 Nxe5, now what? 17. Bxe5 axb5.
Jan-17-08  Karpova: Mig Greengard: <Kramnik beat Eljanov in vintage fashion, with active play in the center leading to structural weaknesses he later picked apart. He won with surprising speed in a R+N+3p vs R+N+2p. Lots to learn from in games like this from Big Vlad, as usual. He makes this sort of thing look easy, the way Karpov used to. He sees weaknesses with x-ray eyes.>
Jan-17-08  euripides: On <60/61...g5> I guess White can force the rooks off and then try to use pressure on the pawn to force a knight exchange in circumstances where he wins the opposition.

Mueller and Lamprecht say N+2 vs N+1 is drawn unless the attacker has special advantages. However, they give two endgames with rook pawns involved, which are presumably more drawish (because the K+P endings will be drawn) and one which closely ressembles this game, where Karpov held:

Kasparov vs Karpov, 1984

click for larger view

At first it looks as if the endgame in KK is better for White than he current game, bcause he has a protected passed pawn. But perhaps the opposite is the case; Black's pawn on g5 would force his pieces to more passive positions than the pawn on f5 that is found in KK. That might increase White's chances of forcing a favourable exchange.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Nice to see you, <euripides>!
Jan-18-08  Ulhumbrus: <keypusher: <Ulhumbrus> To be honest, I haven't looked at the ending closely myself. But others have suggested 60....g5 or 61....g5.> Of course! It makes the f3 pawn backward. On the other hand the g5 pawn may become a target for a second attack from the White Rook, unless Black confines his Rook to the fifth rank after that. If Black does confine his Rook to the fifth rank, one idea for White is Rc7 with Nc5 in order to prepare the invasion Ke5. Another question is whether the manoeuvre R-c7-c5 leads to a technical win after the exchange of Rooks
Jan-18-08  euripides: <key> thanks - happy new year !
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