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Vladimir Kramnik vs Nikita Vitiugov
Alekhine Memorial (2013), Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS, rd 1, Apr-21
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-05-14  diagonalley: ... OTB i would have surely gone for the obvious 45. N-Q5 (with thoughts of increasing the pressure on the black position)... but then again... i'm no kramnik ... (not even 1% of a kramnik!)
Apr-05-14  JohnBoy: I'm right there with <suenteus po> & <al wazir>.
Apr-05-14  morfishine: <patzer2> Yes, thats the continuation I had: 45.Nd5 Qd7 46.Qxc6 winning a pawn but a difficult endgame ahead
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I was thinking of 45.Nd5 Qe8? 46.Ne7+ Kh8 47.Nxg6 Qxg6 48.Qxc6, eventually having white up 2 pawns, but 45...Qe8 isn't forced (45...Qd7 probably better).
Apr-05-14  cunctatorg: A wonderful game, a very convincing victory: a game for the manuals indeed...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: I thought of 45.Nd5, like many others. It's probably quite a good move, but not quite good enough. I think it was Silman who wrote that one mark of a top GM is the ability to reject a plausible move and look for a stronger one -- as Kramnik does here.
Apr-05-14  Memethecat: The only idea I've got is to try and eat Black's QS pawns and get a passer. I like 45.Nd5 threatening the fork and aiming for c6.

45.Nd5 Kh7 46.Ne7 Qb7/c7 47.Nxc6 Be8 48.Ne7
That's all I got.

Maybe swap Qs and take advantage of extra pawn?

Apr-05-14  Memethecat: Not even close, except for the QS pawn push.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White sacrifices one pawn to get a passed pawn. Very similar to a minority attack or this classic problem:

click for larger view

white wins by b5!! if axb5,c5 or cxb5,a5

Apr-05-14  PJs Studio: Patzer, I also thought 45.Nd5 was good, but the win of the c6 pawn was so simple it couldn't have been the answer on a Saturday. Nor could it have been so simple an answer from Kramnik. Thanks for the analysis.

Eyal - thank you for Kramnik's excellent analysis.

45.b5! Reminds me of the studies in Van Perlo's excellent "Endgame Tactics" book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Eyal: (After 47.a6) 47...Qa3 (instead of Qb4) 48.a7 Kh7 49.Nc2 Qa2 50.Qg1! - keeping an eye on the a7 pawn while preparing Qa1.>

I was fortunate to see 47 b5 I would never have seen this eloquent variation 47...Qa3 48.a7 Kh7 49.Nc2 Qa2 50.Qg1!, below.

click for larger view

Black is helpless. If, say 50...Bxd4, white can win with the simple 51 Qa1 or gain a tempo and play 51 Qh1+ Kg8 52 Qa1.

click for larger view

Apr-05-14  morfishine: <Jimfromprovidence> Sweet
Apr-05-14  haydn20: I never would have found b4!! Elegant and powerful. I wonder how far ahead Kramnik saw this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: < Al2009: After 16.f3, it seems a bad strategy mistake 16...Nxg2?, exchanging a good Knight for a bad Bg2> That's my initial impression, but the computer evaluation shows 16...Nxg2 as better for Black than the alternative (i.e. 16...Ne6).

After 16. f3!! (not 16. gxf4? exf4 17. Bc5 f3! 18. Qc3! exg2 19. Rfe11 ) 16...Ne6 17. Qb4! Qc8 18. Rad1 Qb8 19. a5 c5 20. Bxc5 Nxc5 21. Qxc5 b6 22. axb6 Bxb6 23. Nxb6 axb6 24. Qc6 Bg6 25. Nd6 to (+1.67 @ 20/47 depth per Fritz 12) White has a near decisive advantage.

P.S.: No doubt 16. f3!!, a strong attacking and defending move which passes on the tempting 16. gxf4?, was a key turning point in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Hello:

Interesting game today.

Black's 41st move was wrong, simply 41...Kg8; would have kept him in the game.

click for larger view

We now have arrived at the position for the POTD.
(Saturday, April 5th, 2014.)

The unprotected Queen on c8 suggests that White exploit it somehow. (My two main candidate moves were Nd5 and b5.)

45.b5! axb5; 46.Qb6!,

This (also) wins.

[ RR 46.Nd5 Qd8; 47.Ne7+ Kh7; 48.a6 Be8; 49.Nf5 Bf7; 50.g5 Qd2; 51.Qe3 Qd8; 52.gxf6 Qxf6;

<(‹52...gxf6?; 53.Qh6+ Kg8; 54.Qg7#.)>

53.a7 Qd8; 54.Qf2! - Fritz 13. ]

46...Qf8; 47.a6 Qb4; 48.a7 Qe1+; 49.Kg2 Qd2+; 50.Kg1, 1-0

Apr-05-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: The game continuation didn't occur to me at all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The motif with b5 is obvious; one must then make sure the idea actually works.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a knight for a bishop.

The pawns on a6 and c6 look weak and the black queen is defenseless. These details invite to play 45.Nd5 with the threat 46.Ne7+:

A) 45... Kf7 46.Ne7

A.1) 46... Qd7 47.Nxc6 Qd1 48.Qd5+ Qxd5 49.exd5 Bd3 (to avoid 50.b5) 50.Na7 Ke8 51.b5 axb5 (51... Bxb5 52.Nxb5 axb5 53.a6 + -) 52.a6 b4 53.Nb5 Bxb5 (53... b3 52.a7 b2 53.a1=Q+ and 54.Nc3 + -) 54.a7 + - (54... Bc6 55.dxc6).

A.2) 46... Qf8 47.Nxc6 Qxc5 48.bxc5 Ke8 49.Nb4 Kd8 50.Nxa6 + - [N+2P vs B].

B) 45... Qd7 46.Ne7+ Kh7 (46... Rf7 47.Nxc6 transposes to A.1) 47.Nxc6 Qd2 48.Ne7

B.1) 48... Qe1+ 49.Qf2 + - (49... Qxb4 50.Qh2+ Bh5 51.Qxh5#).

B.2) 48... Qf4+ 49.Kg2 Qd2+ 50.Qf2 + - (49... Qxb4 50.Qh2+ Bh5 51.Qxh5#).

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I saw 45.b5 but thought that 45.Nd5 led to a simpler endgame. However, Houdini evaluates 45.Nd5 as slight advantage for White only.
Apr-05-14  BOSTER: This is the pos. Black to play 36...

click for larger view

Can black draw after 36...c5?

Apr-05-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: This was my first comment, originally posted in the wrong place.


Winning a pawn looks easy:

45 Nd5 (Black moves his queen or king)
46 Ne7 (Black moves his king or queen)
47 Nxc6

I'd play at least the first two moves over the board fairly quickly, and assess where things stood after that.

If Black both moves his king to the h-file and gets his queen to d2 to try for perpetual check, Qf2 looks strong in reply. And if he tries the same approach to a perpetual check with his king at f7, Qe7+/Qd8+ should force an exchange of queens.

Apr-05-14  Patriot: Material is even.

45.Nd5 seems easy enough.

45...Qe8 46.Qxc6 Qxc6 47.Ne7+ Kf8 48.Nxc6 Be8 49.b5 Bxc6 50.bxc6 Ke8 51.g5 Kd8 52.Kg4 looks interesting.

It may be cleaner to play 46.Ne7+ Kh7 47.Nxc6. Either way, 45.Nd5 seems pretty easy and it doesn't seem that black has much so there isn't much really to calculate.


I didn't even consider 45.b5. After 45.Nd5, Houdini suggests 45...Qd7 which is a pretty sneaky move that is hard to see, going for ...Qd3 and drawing. 46.Qxc6 is then the best option going for a line similar to mine.

Apr-06-14  JohnBoy: <perf: The motif with b5 is obvious> - right, but seeing 46.Qb6 is key. Once I saw the move it was obvious - DUH! But miss it I did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <JohnBoy> The flip side of such solutions is seen at A Garcia Luque vs J Bernard, 2003:

<Then there are times I have to look a minute or so at Tuesday puzzles before the winning idea coshes me on the head.>

Yup. Pure genius, I am.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <JohnBoy> is quite right -- 46.Qb6 is the key to the winning line. It helps to steer the a-pawn to a8 while protecting the Ne3.
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