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Vladimir Kramnik vs Magnus Carlsen
"The Client" (game of the day Jan-14-2022)
Tata Steel Group A (2011), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 11, Jan-28
Catalan Opening: General (E00)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-28-11  polarmis: <AuN1>, don't agree with your phrasing, as ever, but yes, it does look as though pushing the pawn to h5 should be a simple draw - or at least that was Sergey Shipov's opinion. He's discussing that point in this video at about 27:52 - He thought 44. h3?! and then 45. g4? were terrible. His only explanation for Kramnik's play was that Kramnik was exhausted, though he also said that Carlsen played brilliantly and the game could go straight into an endgame textbook.
Jan-28-11  Creg: <Marmot PFL> You should look at the great Capablanca when it comes to natural endgame ability. However, with that said, Magnus is clearly on par with his endgame technique as well. I have to continuously remind myself that Magnus is only 20 years old!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: From page 101 of this thread: Tata Steel (2011)

<anandrulez: GM Nunn from official site : Carlsen was pleased with the win but said that Kramnik had to play very carelessly to lose this endgame. He pinpointed 59.Bb7 as the final error, because after 59...Kd2 White is in zugzwang. "If he had played 59. Bc8! I don't see how I can win. I would have had to bring my king back and play for ...d4, but I don't think it is enough. I have plenty of time to try, though." Earlier in the game, Carlsen described 16...b5 as "a trap. He missed that if 19.Nxd7 I have this very nice move 19...Bb7!!. Then after 22.Qxb5 he offered a draw, but I have played Kramnik often enough to know what that means - I must play on. "I was disappointed to see 24.Qe3 - I didn't see any way to win after that. But he really played the endgame carelessly. I think he could have played 44.Ke6 - after I get ...g5+ I at least have winning chances.">

Jan-29-11  Eyal: <He [Carlsen] pinpointed 59.Bb7 as the final error, because after 59...Kd2 White is in zugzwang. "If he had played 59. Bc8! I don't see how I can win.">

The point is that after 59...Kd2:

click for larger view

White has to keep his bishop on the long diagonal to keep attacking d5, otherwise ...Nd1 either wins the e3 pawn (similarly in case of 60.Kf2, when it comes with check) or achieves a passer that would cost White his bishop after 60.e4 d4. But after 60.Bc6 (or Ba8, for that matter) Ke1 he can't put the bishop on a6, to stop the invasion of the black king to f1.

However, if the bishop really must shuttle between a6 & c8 as long as the black king is within one move range from d2, it doesn’t look as if White could hold on much longer even after 59.Bc8 before Black induces the desirable zugzwang – e.g. 59....Kc1 60.Ba6 Kc2 61.Bc8 Kd1 62.Ba6 Ke1 and White has to remove the bishop from the a6-f1 diagonal and allow the invasion to f1.

Jan-29-11  acme: <Eyal> After 59. Bc8 Kc1 why can't white respond with 60. Kf2?

60. ...Nd1+ will no longer lead to loss of the e3 pawn because of Ke2.

Jan-29-11  Eyal: <acme: <Eyal> After 59. Bc8 Kc1 why can't white respond with 60. Kf2?

60. ...Nd1+ will no longer lead to loss of the e3 pawn because of Ke2.>

Yeah, but 60...Kd2! is again winning in such a case (the Nd1 threat becomes decisive)

Jan-29-11  polarmis: Amusing coincidence - when Carlsen beat Kramnik with Black in Wijk-aan-Zee 2008: Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2008

...Kramnik also made a simple tactical blunder by taking a poisoned a-pawn, and tried offering a draw in a bad position after Qb5!

Jan-29-11  arjunkakar: especially creditable after two uncharacetristic losses earlier in this tournament to much lower ranked players.
Jan-29-11  Gilmoy: <Eyal: 59..K[d2-]c1 60..Kc2 61..Kd1 ... and White has to ...>

GMs move their Ks in elegant little triangles!!

(and their Kts in slightly bigger ones)

Jan-30-11  Ulhumbrus: Carlsen gives Kramnik's move 44 h3 (keeping Black's Knight out of g4) as an example of the way in which he says that Kramnik played the ending "really carelessly", saying that he could have played 44 Ke6.

This suggests the paradox that the "careful" move 44 h3 which keeps the Black Knight our of g4 is an example of careless play.

Jan-31-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: Magnus Carlsen Best Games
Jan-31-11  JamesT Kirk: 80.../f5(another Greek's gift).Simple and
Feb-04-11  Eyal: There's an (inevitable) analysis of this endgame by Karsten Mueller on chessbase ( - I see that he mentions the same triangulation maneuver that I pointed out in a previous post as forcing zugzwang and allowing the black king's invasion even after <59.Bc8> - <59...Kd2 60.Bb7 Kc1 61.Bc8 Kd1 62.Bf5 (62.Ba6 Ke1 Zugzwang 63.Bd3 Kd2 64.Ba6 Nd1 65.e4 d4 ) 62...Ke1 63.Be6 Kf1 64.Bg8 Kg1 65.Kg3 Ne4+ 66.Kf3>:

click for larger view

The position is similar to the one reached in the game after 64.Kf3, except that the bishop is on g8 rather than a8, and this way it's actually harder for Black to win - because 66...Nd2+ (as in the game) runs into 67.Ke2 Nc4 68.e4! (68.Bxd5 Ne5 69.Be4 Kh2 70.Kf2 Kxh3 71.Bf5 Kh4 is the idea that would have won in the game). But there's another, more intricate, way for Black to win after <66...Kh2 67.Bxd5 Nc3! Black must win a tempo. 68.Bc4 Nb1!! The point. The knight will either sacrifice itself on d2 or return with gain of time [etc.]>. Some brilliant stuff there.

So perhaps White's last chance to draw was 57.Bd3 Kb2 58.Kf2 Kc1 59.Ke1, not allowing the black king to invade.

Another nice sideline given by Mueller, toward the end: <79.Kxf6 (instead of 79.Ke4) Ne3 80.Be2 Nxg4+ 81.Kg6 h5 82.Bd1 Ne3 83.Bxh5 Ng4

click for larger view

White is in zugzwang. A tragicomical picture.>

Feb-07-11  splatty: A legitimate positional/endgame win against Kramnik with black demonstrates a level of class that very few players possess or are capable of. Great win.
Feb-26-11  Ulhumbrus: One sequence after 44 Ke6 ( instead of 44 h3) is 44...Ng4 45 Kf7 Nxh2 46 Kxg7 Ng4 47 Be6 Nxe3 48 Kxh6 Nf1 49 Kg7 Nxg3 50 Kxf6 with a draw
Aug-23-11  splatty: Amazing game from Carlsen, seemingly easily getting a clear advantage and potential win against Kramnik straight out of the opening with black in a fairly quiet standard looking Slav position. The sequence 16..b5, 17.Qxa5 Qxd6 18.Rc6 Qb8 19.Rxa6 Rxa6 20.Qxa6 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Qxe5 22.Qxb5 Rb8! (the point as far as I can tell) 23.Qd3 Rxb2 looks like an incredibly deep sequence of trades by Carlsen who saw further than Kramnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Chess keeps evolving, fortunately. In my youth, the position after 8.0-0 would have been rated a big plus for White; Black is cramped, behind in development, and suffers from a very poor light squared Bishop. Back then, we never would have seen the potential in Black's position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: Very interesting, technical game. Either Kramink missed something in the opening (see Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2011 (kibitz #18)), either he overvalued his chances based on the passed a Pawn which would be surprising since the g2 B is blocked.

click for larger view

From there on the endgame is remarkably well handled by Carlsen exploiting White's imprecisions. Two worthwhile posts:
Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2011 (kibitz #22)
Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2011 (kibitz #34)

I don't get the pun (again) since in classical games the score is Carlsen 6, Kramnik 5, draws 16 and for Corus/Tata respectively 2, 1, 1.

Jan-14-22  Ironmanth: Good first (?!) indication of years of torture by Magnus in the endgame against the best. Inspiring game! Thanks, chessgames. Y'all stay safe out there this weekend and savor all the drama of Tata Steel.
Jan-14-22  Brenin: <Teyss>: I agree, about both Carlsen's endgame play and the pun. "The Client" is a John Grisham novel, and a related film and TV series, but I don't see the connection with this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knighthawkmiller: 17. Rc6 is slightly better (per Stockfish) than the game move of 17. Qxa5. Black is set back by giving up the knight for a pawn plus initiative. 17.Rc6 continues ... =0.00 (38 ply) 17...b4 18.Qe3 Bb7 19.Nexf7 Bxc6 20.Qxe6 Rxf7 21.Qxf7+ Kh8 22.Qe6 Bb5 23.Nf7+ Kg8 24.Ng5+ Kh8 25.Bxd5 Ra6 26.Nf7+ Kg8 27.Nd6+ Kh8 which can force a draw with this continuation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The reference dates back to October 2010:

Until that point, going by the <> DB, Kramnik led Carlsen 4-2 in classical games, and 10-4 in all games. Since then, Carlsen won 4-1 in classical, and 19-2, overall.

Jan-14-22  Brenin: Thanks, <MissScarlett>, for the link. My goodness, that was a tough interview, but Kramnik's modest demeanour and evident respect for his rivals shone through, didn't they? The word "client" is surely a mistranslation, or perhaps Kramnik was more familiar with the Urban Dictionary than I was. If so, this seems be a classic example of insults motivating an opponent to greater success.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: < Kramnik thinks he knows everything.

It’s very impressive how Kramnik reels out variations and so on, and it’s not so easy to discern if you don’t understand the game well yourself, but if you look a little deeper it’s often nonsense. He always plays very principled chess, but the biggest difference between him and me is that he makes a lot more mistakes. Often he seems to think he’s in the right, but I’m actually right.

He’s very confident. He’s not afraid of anyone. He doesn’t think I’m better than him. He doesn’t think Aronian’s better than him and he doesn’t think Anand is better than him. He actually loses games to Nakamura, but he certainly doesn’t believe Nakamura is better than him.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Teyss> Thanks for those links to <Eyal>'s kibitzes. He is missed.
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