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Alexander Motylev vs Vladimir Kramnik
Russian Championship Superfinal (2013), Nizhny Novgorod RUS, rd 5, Oct-09
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-09-13  Marmot PFL: Good game by Kramnik, reminded me of Capablanca given white's rather old fashioned opening play and the way black stops the attack and soon reaches a winning ending.
Oct-09-13  Marmot PFL: Actually I see Carlsen, Karjakin, Nepomniatchi and others have played this so it's still current theory. 20 Rfb1 looks better for white than giving up material.
Oct-09-13  Ulhumbrus: Perhaps Kramnik won this game in the style of Smyslov.
Oct-09-13  OneArmedScissor: Push dat der pawn, son!
Oct-09-13  visayanbraindoctor: The psychology of missing a tactical shot.

Why in the world would GM Motylev, a leading positionally solid top master, allow a pawn grab by Kramnik in a more or less even game?

20. Rab1; and Kramnik grabs the a-pawn Qxa3

The simplest explanation is that I think Motylev just missed a tactical shot.

I think Motylev was thinking of Bh6 in some variations, but moving the bishop out of the h2-b8 diagonal in order to attack allows the black queen to occupy it with a check Qd6+ once the white knight is gone, and this piece can be taken anytime by Black's bishop on c8. He just might have missed this possibility. Some psychological factors possibly involved.

1. The Black Queen has to place herself in the a3-f8 diagonal to get to d6.

2. The White Knight on f5 has to disappear.

3. The White Bishop on f4 has to disappear out of the h2-b8 diagonal.

Only after these occur would Kramnik be able to move Qd6+. Anticipating a devastating attack on the Black King with themes of Bh6, Qg5, Nxg7 Motylev got himself into a trap of his own making.

Kramnik BTW is pretty good in NOT missing these tactical shots relative to other top masters, although he also occasionally does.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: In the opening, why doesn't white grab a pawn,
7. Nxe5?
Oct-10-13  mike1: 7 Nxe5 Qd4 is unfriendly.
Oct-10-13  Nerwal: <In the opening, why doesn't white grab a pawn, 7. Nxe5?>

Carlsen vs E Alekseev, 2008

Also 7... ♗xf2+ might be possible (the thematic imbalance center pawns vs shaky king makes it hard to assess)

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: clearly I have to "book up".
Premium Chessgames Member
  devere: Wrong rook! After 20.Rfb1 Black has only a slight advantage. After Rab1 White is lost. What could have been going through Motylev's mind?
Oct-11-13  asiduodiego: Beautiful game!. A nice defense and counterattack by Kramnik. Probably with 20. Rab1?, Motylev was attempting a pawn sacrifice to deflect the queen from the a1-h8 diagonal, and preparing an attack on the kingside. But his attack was out of steam pretty quickly, and then, Kramnik came and crush him with the positional steamroller.

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