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Vladimir Kramnik vs Viswanathan Anand
Anand - Kramnik World Championship Match (2008), Bonn GER, rd 1, Oct-14
Slav Defense: Exchange. Trifunovic Variation (D14)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 29 OF 29 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-16-08  you vs yourself: True but if he loses the match, the 1 victory he needed could be this missed chance. Considering how much stronger he's with white pieces than with black, picking a drawish line in one of the six whites after having so much time to prepare doesn't make sense.

He could pick a more ambitious line and still draw but then he wouldn't have any regrets about this game should he lose the match.

Oct-16-08  Softpaw: <you vs yourself: Should he lose the match, he would look back and see where he could've done more. This game would stand out because of the supposedly drawish line he chose...>

Maybe, but not necessarily. If Kramnik NEEDS to warm up, NEEDS to establish a certain degree of control, etc., to play his best, then that first drawish-line game could POSITIVELY EFFECT the rest of the games - a possibility that must be put into the equation.

Compare a boxing match where a fighter doesn't go all out in the first round in a 12 round match, then goes on to lose the match on the judges cards by one round. If one then tried to say that the losing boxer's first "take it easy" round was key to loss, that would be completely illogical.

Oct-16-08  Jim Bartle: I agree completely, yvy.

BTW, I tried to check in the database but couldn't find it: What's the record between you and yourself?

Oct-16-08  Petrosianic: <Compare a boxing match where a fighter doesn't go all out in the first round in a 12 round match, then goes on to lose the match on the judges cards by one round. If one then tried to say that the losing boxer's first "take it easy" round was key to loss, that would be completely illogical.>

Only if we grant what you said in your first paragraph, that he NEEDS to warm up first. Sure, if he NEEDS it, and won't perform as well without it, then it wouldn't make much sense to blame the warmup round for his defeat.

On the other hand, you'd have to think that a fighter who didn't need it, and could hit the boards running might be a better fighter.

If we grant your assumption that he needed it, then it might have been better to lose the draw for colours. I wonder if it's ever happened that a player gave up his right to draw, and asked for Black in Game 1.

Oct-16-08  Softpaw: <Petrosianic: Only if we grant what you said in your first paragraph, that he NEEDS to warm up first. Sure, if he NEEDS it, and won't perform as well without it, then it wouldn't make much sense to blame the warmup round for his defeat.>


Look at it his way. Suppose Kramnik had gone all out in the first game, choosing an aggressive line. Suppose he ran into some stellar prep by Anand, got into some really hot water, almost lost, but pulled out a draw. The result would seem to be the same as in the real first game: a draw.

But that's true only if you don't take in the psychological dimension. The result in my hypothetical case might not be JUST a draw, but also a weakening of Kramnik's confidence. He might, after that result, have responded just slightly less well to Anand's surprise f3 Nimzo in the second game and ended up losing.

This is all pure conjecture of course, but the point remains: the match is a psychological totality, and you must take that fact into consideration when judging the results of any particular game.

Kramnik, I'm sure, has an excellent conception of his match psychology and likely had plenty of good reasons for playing the line he did in the first game.

The proof has been, and will be, in the pudding, of course.

Nov-17-08  TommyC: Some of these comments make interesting reading in retrospect!
Nov-20-08  LIFE Master AJ: I am working on a web page for this game, it should be completed soon.
Nov-20-08  LIFE Master AJ: By the way, I did not find this game boring. (And either one of these super GM's would have ripped the average player to shreds!)
Nov-22-08  LIFE Master AJ:

The diagrams are not up yet, (01:19 AM); but I will fix that in the morning.

Nov-22-08  hrvyklly: <LIFE Master AJ: ... either one of these super GM's would have ripped the average player to shreds> Shouldn't that read *average GM*?
Nov-22-08  LIFE Master AJ: whatever
Nov-22-08  hrvyklly: Jeez, lighten up. I was agreeing with you about the criticism this game received.
Nov-23-08  LIFE Master AJ: 01:26 AM The diagrams are now posted, the game is finished ... I move on to game two.
Nov-23-08  LIFE Master AJ: I'm too heavy ... I was born on Jupiter ... the gravity there is many times the pull of this little rock.
Nov-23-08  LIFE Master AJ: Of course, its late. And I am tired. And I getting both a little silly and a little "toopid" as well.
Dec-01-08  TommyC: <AJ> ~ I see you made no comment about 17...a5. But I'm pretty sure Anand said after that was the crucial move to guarantee a draw. Also Kramnik said computers playing white in these kinds of positions always seem to find ways to keep the game going ---- perhaps because deep and accurate moves like ...a5 don't always get played against them?
Dec-01-08  LIFE Master AJ: <TommyC>
Since I got several e-mails about this one item, I - just now- added a comment after 17...a5.
Dec-02-08  LIFE Master AJ: One die-hard Rybka fan wrote me to tell me that ...a5 had to be a mistake, as it changed the computer's eval's of the position (for the worse) by about half a pawn.

Most Rybka fan's are cool, but some are not always reasonable ... and they have become less so now that Rybka has (FINALLY!?!?) won the world's machine title.

Aug-04-09  visayanbraindoctor: Analysis in User: Bridgeburner



Kramnik vs Anand, 2008 is the <first game of the 2008 title match>.

Quantitative mapping of this game between these players is below. Figures in brackets immediately after each move are the corrected engine evaluations generated on the return slide. The reverse slide smoothed out many, but not all fluctuation in the engine’s evaluations. The complexity of some variations was very likely too great to enable a fuller reconciliation from the forward slide. <General methods used are described in the bio.>

The evaluation values in the opening come at the end of a full forward slide to the last move of the game and a full return slide back to the starting position. Engine preferences are not included in this game because of the extremely tight evaluation (ie: negligible) differences between all moves, rendering the exercise meaningless.


The game is essentially divided into two phases:

- Opening, middle game and queen exchange, and a couple of more moves known to opening theory (moves 1-17), simplifying directly into a

- Highly drawish endgame (moves 17-32)

With a passing resemblance to a “grandmaster draw”, this game looks like a cautious opening skirmish without a punch being thrown, probably a game to settle the nerves for the fight ahead. Neither player gained any advantage to speak - the small advantage White accumulated in the opening gradually bled away.

Aug-04-09  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner: PART 2


<1. d4> (=0.15) <1…d5> (=0.16)

<2. c4> (=0.11) <2…c6> (=0.16)

<3. Nc3> (=0.15) <3…Nf6> ( 0.23)

<4. cxd5> (=0.20) <4…cxd5> (=0.20)

<5. Bf4> (=0.00) <5…Nc6> (=0.18)

<6. e3> (=0.18) <6…Bf5> (=0.18)

<7. Nf3> (=0.12) <7…e6> (=0.17)

<8. Qb3> (=0.17) <8…Bb4> (=0.17)

<9. Bb5> (=0.17) <9…0-0> ( 0.31)

<10. Bxc6> ( 0.31) <10…Bxc3+> ( 0.31)

<11. Qxc3> ( 0.31) <11…Rc8> ( 0.31)

<12. Ne5> ( 0.31) <12…Ng4> ( 0.50)

<13. Nxg4> ( 0.50) <13…Bxg4> ( 0.50)

<14. Qb4> ( 0.50) <14…Rxc6> ( 0.50)

<15. Qxb7> ( 0.50) <15…Qc8> ( 0.50)

<16. Qxc8> ( 0.50) <16…Rfxc8> ( 0.50)

<17. 0-0> ( 0.50)

This marks the end of theory in respect of this opening as shown in the database. The only other game in the database to reach this point and move on was Z Pengxiang vs Zhou Weiqi, 2009 which continued with <17…f6>, quickly resulting in a draw.

Aug-04-09  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner: PART 3

<17…a5> ( 0.61)

<18. f3> ( 0.61) <18…Bf5> ( 0.61)

<19. Rfe1> ( 0.47) <19…Bg6> ( 0.58)

<20. b3> ( 0.50) <20…f6> ( 0.50)

<21. e4> ( 0.35) <21…dxe4> ( 0.35)

<22. fxe4> ( 0.35) <22…Rd8> ( 0.35)

<23. Rad1> ( 0.35) <23…Rc2> ( 0.35)

<24. e5> (=0.19) <24…fxe5> (=0.19)

<25. Bxe5> (=0.19) <25…Rxa2> (=0.19)

<26. Ra1> (=0.19) <26…Rxa1> (=0.19)

<27. Rxa1> (=0.19) <27…Rd5> (=0.20)

<28. Rc1> (=0.20) <28…Rd7> (=0.20)

<29. Rc5> (=0.20) <29…Ra7> (=0.20)

<30. Rc7> (=0.00) <30…Rxc7> (0.00)

<31. Bxc7> (=0.00) <31…Bc2> (=0.00)

<32.Bxa5> (=0.00) <32…Bxb3> (=0.00)

Draw agreed.

Aug-04-09  visayanbraindoctor: Bridgeburner: PART 4


<Note> The fluctuations generated in the relatively low (16 minimum) ply forward slide were smoothed out in the equivalent return slide. The corrected evaluations extracted from the return slide are used in this analysis, as they are considered more reliable than the raw evaluations generated on the initial forward slide. All moves have been evaluated on forward and return slide for completeness.

<Evaluation range>:

Between < 0.00> applying to the opening move <5.Bf4> and the move group <30. Rc7 Rxc7 31. Bxc7 Bc2 32. Bxa5 Bxb3> - representing complete equality - and < 0.61> in respect of the move <17…a5 18.f3 Bf5> representing a minor advantage for White.

<The largest evaluation shift(s)>:

- for White was 0.20 between <4…cxd5> (=0.20) and <5. Bf4> (=0.00). However this should be excluded from consideration because it is a strategic move in the early opening.

White had another evaluation shift of <0.20> between <29…Ra7> (=0.20) and <30.Rc7> (=0.00). However, the drawn nature of the position at this stage of the game indicates a minor level of evaluation inflation and will also be excluded from consideration.

The next largest evaluation shift for White was 0.16 between <23…Rc2> ( 0.35) and <24.e5> (=0.19).

- for Black were 0.19 between <12. Ne5> 0.31) and <12…Ng4> (=/ 0.50), followed by 0.18 between <5. Bf4> and <5…Nc6>. and 0.14 between <9.Bb5> (=0.18) and <9…0-0> (+/+0.31).

If these are excluded because of their established positions in opening theory, the next largest evaluation shift was 0.11 between <17. 0-0> ( 0.50) and <17…a5> ( 0.61).

<Computer statistics>:

• 93.8% of the ply in this game (60/64) coincided with engine preferences 1, 2 or 3

• 81.25% of the ply in the game (52/64) coincided with engine preferences 1 or 2

• 66.1% of the ply in the game (41/64) coincided with the engine’s first preference

• 90.6% of Kramnik’s moves (29/32) coincided with the engine preferences 1, 2 and 3

• 96.9% of Anand’s moves (31/32) coincided engine preferences 1, 2 and 3

• 81.3% of Kramnik’s moves (26/32) coincided with engine preferences 1 and 2

• 81.3% of Anand’s moves (26/32) coincided with engine preferences 1 and 2

• 65.6% of Kramnik’s moves (21/32) coincided with the engine’s first preference

• 62.5% (20/32) of Anand’s moves coincided with the engines first preference.

<The engine evaluation of the final position>:

was <=0.00> in a position agreed drawn.


<Using method A, the game is weighted at 0, representing 0 bad moves and 0 blunders by both Anand or Kramnik.

Using method B, the game is weighted 0 at representing 0 blunders, 0 bad moves, and 0 dubious moves by both Anand or Kramnik.>

Oct-31-10  micartouse: I would guess Kramnik's intriguing opening choice was informed by his previous match experience. In his previous 3 title matches, his opponent came at him very aggressively in the first few rounds and lost. He may have been hoping to provoke his opponent to overextend in a solid opening.

It is to Anand's credit that he played well and drew easily - we don't need to fault Kramnik one bit for trying to recreate the type of environment that previously worked for him.

Mar-19-15  RookFile: Looking back on this game 5 years later, I find it remarkable that Anand could so calmly play a line where he is a pawn down. Obviously he knew the position very well.
Apr-17-19  Hulkhogan357: Very instructive...
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