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Vladimir Kramnik vs Arkadij Naiditsch
Dortmund Sparkassen (2010), Dortmund GER, rd 5, Jul-19
Catalan Opening: Open Defense (E04)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-19-10  ajile: Amusing the way Kramnik keeps the Black Ra4 trapped. Also somehow Black never got in the early ..Bc6 which usually equalizes.
Jul-19-10  zluria: A good day at the office for mr. Kramnik. White spends two tempi to win the "poisoned" Black b pawn with 13. Bxb7. The result is that by move 20, White is still a pawn up but is grovelling a bit to hold that pawn. It would be fair to say that Black has full compensation with his open files, active Rooks and weak White pawns. 21. ... a5, however, turns out to be a grave mistake, from which Black never recovers. With 22. Qc2 White sets in motion a series of moves that ends up with the Black Rook trapped forever on a4 - a somewhat unusual motif. This costs Black the game.
Jul-19-10  polarmis: I've put up a translation of Sergey Shipov's commentary on this game here:
Jul-19-10  AuN1: where are all the kramnik haters today?
Jul-19-10  sallom89: Kraaaaaaaamnik ! amazing WIN!!!
Jul-19-10  Bobsterman3000: <where are all the kramnik haters today?>

We're right here, praising Kramnik for this very nice win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: Beautiful win. Really made that Ra4 look sick! We will see more greatness from Kramnik in this tournament.
Jul-19-10  apexin: Hahah, i love the way Arkadi's rook is out of play for most of the game.
Jul-19-10  howlwolf: Parts of the above game felt more wowen than played. black's rook is the inset piece knitted up in the contrasting white pawns, knight and bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Naiditsch could be forgiven for just shaking his head at the end.

When your opponent can play moves like 39 Kc3 with impunity, you know that the King will walk through your whole position, which it does.

Shipov's note after 39 Kc3: <Black’s discovered checks are as harmless as an envious glance.>

Jul-19-10  Blunderdome: Was there no hope in giving back the exchange (since the Rook is trapped anyway) with Rxa5 at any point?
Jul-20-10  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 12...0-0 is 12...b6 keeping the pawn
Jul-20-10  Garech: <Blunderdome> - good idea, I hadn't thought of that personally. Still, I guess white would remain two pawns up, and despite their being doubled and isolated, in the hands of an endgame connoisseur like Kramnik it would most certainly still be a technical win. I think this was a brilliant conception from him - Capablanca was famous for trapping his opponent's pieces out of play, and this game was surely reminiscient (although with Capa it tended to be a bishop as opposed to a rook). There's certainly good pun potential here too - something along the lines of rook/crook/jail/prison etc. Kudos to Vlad!
Jul-20-10  whatthefat: White's position looked very uncomfortable around moves 16-21. Kramnik very cleverly managed to untangle, yet I'd be surprised if Black didn't have an improvement.

But what a great endgame!

Jul-20-10  kirkow: very nice rook prison!
Jul-20-10  black.pr0jekt: hes too agressive thats his demise
Jul-20-10  polarmis: I just realised that in my translation of Shipov's commentary yesterday I missed one absolutely key comment :(

<28. exf3 It’s clear that for now black has no means of freeing the rook on a4. Which means that white only needs to activate his rook and, above all, his king. Then the victory will be a done deal. The general plan can be given with the notation: Kg1-b3!>

I've added it now: It was the sort of game where good grandmaster commentary gives you far more insight into the position than computer analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 42... Nb7 looks much better as it allows the rook to escape.

click for larger view

Now, for example, if 43 Kb3, then 43...Nc5+ 44 Kc2 Rxa5 45 bxa5 Ne6+!

click for larger view

Jul-20-10  badlooser: Kramnik plays the most beautiful chess nowadays
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Very nicely played by Kramnik. Looks like Smyslov at his best in this game.
Jul-21-10  tacticalmonster: Hi <Jimfromprovidence>: You made an interesting point. But I do believe Black is dead lost despite an exchange up. Notice Black had the option of reaching the same position except with the BK on h7 on move 38: 38 Rd4 Rxa5 39 bxa5 Nb3+ 40 Kd3 Nxd4 41 Bxd4. White will follow up with Ke4-Kd5. White's B,K and 2 A pawns overwhelm Black's lone rook.

In your variation, Black is better off with BK on f7 but it is still losing.Sadly, Black is losing by only one tempo! A sample variation could be: 45 Ne6+ 46 Kb3! Nxd4+ 47 Bxd4 Rc6 48 Kb4 Ke7 49 Kb5 Kd7 50 a6 Kc7 51 a7 Kb7 52 a8=Q+! Kxa8 53 Kxc6

Jul-21-10  tacticalmonster: The a3 pawn makes all the difference in the resulting ending. Black no longer has the option of checking from the rear. Black rook is stuck defending on the side or in front of the pawn and neither helps Black.
Jul-21-10  tacticalmonster: Here is another variation: 45 Ne6+ 46 Kb3 Nxd4+ 47 Bxd4 Ke7 48 a6 Kd7 49 a7 Rc8 50 g5! fxg5 51 Bxg7- The two passers should decide.
Jul-27-10  DiscoJew: "In the jailhouse now"

And, a nice song to go with it!



Jun-12-13  Everett: Yes, the Ra4 is terrible, but it takes a N stuck at a5, along with two pawns, to keep it there. With those things out of the way, we have an equal material ending on the K-side. So the idea is quite cool, but in practice it is not like White was a R up.

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