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Vladimir Kramnik vs Alexey Shirov
Grand Slam Chess Final (2010), Bilbao ESP, rd 2, Oct-10
Slav Defense: Soultanbeieff Variation (D16)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-10-10  tarlan13: Well done, Kramnik!
Oct-10-10  Eyal: <Shirov tried a new idea in the Slav/QGD hybrid [with 5...e6 instead of the main line ...Bf5], but it was a bad one. I don't know if Kramnik found the refutation over the board or in his preparation, but his 14.d5! spells the end forever to Shirov's 12...Na5 + 13...Nb4 idea.> (
Oct-10-10  randzo: Shirov was worse already after 15 moves.bad opening preparation.
Oct-10-10  rapidcitychess: Kramnik won in style.
Oct-10-10  Marmot PFL: 5...e6 is not new, played many times, ex. Shabalov vs B Finegold, 2008. From the way he followed it up, bad play without any prep evident, I wouldn't be surprised if he meant to play Bf5 but moved the pawn by mistake. far fetched maybe, but it happens.
Oct-10-10  acirce: Must have meant new for Shirov. Incidentally I think it was Kramnik who "reintroduced" it on top level in his match against Lékó
Oct-10-10  acirce: Oh, I see now. He didn't mean 5..e6 to be the new thing at all, but the <12...Na5 + 13...Nb4 idea>.
Oct-10-10  Eyal: Yes, the comment I added in square brackets about 5...e6 was meant to explain why it's called a "hybrid", not the novelty. Also, the hybrid is actually of the Slav with Queen's Gambit Accepted, not Declined. As for the novelty, since the position after 12.Bb3 is quite rare and Shirov thought for quite a while before playing 12...Na5, it's likely that the Na5-Nb4 maneuver was the result of an unsuccessful improvisation otb.
Oct-10-10  BarcelonaFirenze: Maybe 16...,Qe7 is a mistake. Perhaps Qe8 was better
Oct-10-10  kudubux: Hello!

Indeed 12.Bb3 is indeed rare. 12.Bd3 seems to be the usual.

This ...Na5-Nb4 looked like two useless moves and could be the culprit exposed by Kramnik's 14.d5! Things went downhill for Shirov after.

Oct-10-10  acirce: <As for the novelty, since the position after 12.Bb3 is quite rare and Shirov thought for quite a while before playing 12...Na5, it's likely that the Na5-Nb4 maneuver was the result of an unsuccessful improvisation otb.>

Yes, the ICC timestamp says he spent almost 31 minutes on 12..Na5 and then over 17 minutes on 13..Nb4.

Oct-10-10  Atking: Time consuming to take this light squares B. Funning enough Kramnik indeed won on a light squares. First on d5 then e6 and finally a8! One can say that Shirov played an erroneous scheme in the opening but the fashion Kramnik made a win of this strategical mistake should have all our praise.
Oct-11-10  GlennOliver: 17. Ne5?

Surely 17. exf7# must be better.

Oct-11-10  polarmis: There's a very in-depth analysis by Vasily Lebedev at Crestbook here: (it's in Russian, but you can play through all the analysis)
Oct-11-10  Eyal: <There's a very in-depth analysis by Vasily Lebedev at Crestbook here: >

Thanks for the reference, <polarmis>. Lebedev gives an especially detailed analysis of Black's options on move 15 - ...Qb6 in particular - which illustrates very well how strong is White's initiative (b4! at the right moment is a recurrent motif in several lines).

One important point which Lebedev seems to miss is that 16...Qe7 (which he calls "the most resistant", giving only Qb6 as an alternative) was a mistake - Qe8 would have been better, with more chances for Black to fight for a draw after, e.g., 17.exf7+ Qxf7 18.Nd5 Re8 (or Be6). According to chessvibes, Kramnik said after the game that, in case of 16...Qe8, he was trying to make 17.Nd5 Bxe6 18.Nxf6+ gxf6 19.Nd4 (19.Ra3 Bb3!) 19...Bxa2 20.Qg4+ Kh8 21.Qh4 work, e.g. 21...Qd8 22.Rd3, "but maybe it's too much" (with which the computers agree...).

Oct-11-10  polarmis: <Eyal>, someone pointed out 16...Qe8 to Lebedev at the Crestbook forum and he said he'd look at it tonight - so perhaps he'll add something to the analysis!?
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I esp. like how Kramnik turned his Ra2 from misplaced to invaluable with 18.b4!, menacing the Knight whilst protecting the Queen.
Oct-12-10  polarmis: By the way, Lebedev did add 16...Qe8 to his analysis and concluded that 16...Qe8! 17. exf7+ Qxf7 18. Nd5! Bg4! is a draw - or at least he couldn't find anything for white, who lacks piece coordination while black has the two bishops.
Oct-12-10  Caissanist: Since 2005 Kramnik owns Shirov by a tremendous margin; +8 -0 =5 (+6 -0 =3 in classical games). Odd that things would turn around so decisively, since they're both pretty much the same players as they were five years ago, and before 2005 Shirov was ahead (+18 -13).
Oct-12-10  acirce: <Since 2005 Kramnik owns Shirov by a tremendous margin; +8 -0 =5 (+6 -0 =3 in classical games).>

That can't be right. Shirov won this game: Shirov vs Kramnik, 2010

Also, I "only" count to 5 classical wins for Kramnik.

Haven't checked the draws.

Oct-12-10  acirce: Thanks <polarmis>, that's interesting. Too bad he doesn't share any of his analysis of that position.
Oct-12-10  Caissanist: <acirce> is right of course, I reversed the players on the Shirov win, so it's =7 -1 =5 / +5 -1 =3. Still impressive, not quite as overwhelming.
Oct-12-10  Mr. Bojangles: It is almost 25 years since Shirov and Kramnik were classmates at Botvinnik School of chess and they are still playing at the top of the game while other classmates have whittled away.

A testimony to their talent and longevity.

Oct-13-10  Ulhumbrus: Shirov could have fallen prey to an optical illusion when performing his calculations. He could have thought mistakenly that White "could not" play d5 after the disappearance of his KB when this is in fact compensated for by the displacement of a Black piece which covers d5, the Black N on b4. We can assume that Shirov's own explanation, if he happens to give it, will be the right one.

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