CBM #156 – the resurgence of Vlad Kramnik

12/28/2013 – We have already reached ChessBase Magazine 157, but Nagesh Havanur, who was busy writing on the World Championship match in Chennai, has sent us his impressions of CBM 156, which celebrates Vladimir Kramnik's victory at the Tromsø World Cup. He has taken a special look at one particular opening survey: 9…Ne8!? against the King’s Indian Bayonet Attack. Review.

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ChessBase Magazine #156

Review by Prof. Nagesh Havanur

Languages: English, German
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Price: €19.95
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On seeing this issue of ChessBase Magazine a friend commented, “Kramnik should have played the match with Carlsen.” Indeed, amidst the euphoria over Carlsen’s victory in the recently concluded world championship one could not help wondering whether Vlad would have done better against Magnus.

This issue of ChessBase Magazine rightly celebrates the resurgence of the former world champion in the chess arena. In September he won the World Cup in Tromsø, Norway. He finished the event in style, scoring five wins in regular rounds and four in play-offs. He also remained unbeaten, never in the danger of losing.

In CBM 156 Kramnik (above left) himself annotates his final game against Andreikin. Runner-up Dmitry Andrekin also played attractive chess – Here is how he floored Karjakin:

[Event "FIDE World Cup"] [Site "Tromso"] [Date "2013.08.22"] [Round "4.3"] [White "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D03"] [WhiteElo "2716"] [BlackElo "2772"] [Annotator "Andreikin,D"] [PlyCount "63"] [EventDate "2013.08.11"] [EventRounds "7"] [EventCountry "NOR"] [Source "ChessBase"] [SourceDate "2013.09.17"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 d5 4. Nbd2 {I think these moves are quite suitable for rapid chess.} h6 5. Bh4 c5 6. e3 Nc6 7. c3 {These moves were made rather quickly. White's position has many active ideas.} Qb6 {You can't call this move a mistake, but it isn't quite clear. Usually White uses it in the opening, but I have an extra tempo and I don't have to defend my pawn with the queen. The more reasonable alternative looks like this} (7... Bd6 $5 8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O e5 10. e4 g5 11. dxc5 dxe4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 Bxc5 14. Bg3 Qxd1 15. Raxd1 f6 16. b4 Be7 17. Ne1 $11) 8. Rb1 {Of course, I am not going to exchange queens.} Be7 9. Bd3 {White has a nice position.} Nh5 $6 {This move looks strange, especially in connection with the previous one. It's better to move the knight to d7, though after} (9... Nd7 10. Bg3 $1 {Black is unbalanced, it is not clear how to develop the queenside. Castling, recommended by the computer, looks rather dangerous.}) (9... O-O 10. O-O Bd7 11. Ne5 $1 Qc7 12. f4 {with attack.}) 10. Bxe7 {It is possible to play on the queenside:} (10. b4 $5 cxb4 (10... cxd4 11. b5 $1 Na5 12. cxd4 $14) 11. Bxe7 Nxe7 12. Rxb4 Qc7 13. Bb5+ Kf8 14. O-O Nf6 15. Qc2 $14 {but I decided not to change the master plan, my aim is to reach the black king!}) 10... Nxe7 11. O-O {Here I could have transferred my queen, but in rapid chess such ideas are often hard to see.} ( 11. dxc5 $1 Qxc5 12. Qa4+ Bd7 13. Qg4 $1 g6 14. Ne5 Qd6 15. Ndf3 {with a strong initiative for White. This variation shows the weakness of the 7th and the 9th moves of Black.}) 11... Nf6 12. Ne5 {The attack! Houdini comments like this:} (12. Qa4+ Bd7 13. Qa3 cxd4 14. cxd4 Nc6 15. b4 $1 $14) 12... O-O 13. f4 {Exactly like this! My aim is to go ahead, whereas Black's pieces are not in the game yet. It doesn't make sense to exchange the bishops.} Ne8 {Black is preparing ahead his defence against the White g-pawn. Black is in danger:} ( 13... Bd7 14. g4 Bb5 (14... Be8 15. g5 hxg5 16. fxg5 Nd7 17. Ndf3 $40) 15. g5 hxg5 (15... Bxd3 16. gxf6 Bxb1 17. fxe7 $16) 16. fxg5 Nd7 17. Qh5 Bxd3 18. Nxd7 Qa6 19. Nf6+ $1 gxf6 20. gxf6 Bxb1 21. Rf2 $1 Qd3 22. Rg2+ Qg6 23. fxe7 Rfe8 24. Nxb1 $18) 14. Qh5 {In connection with the black knight retreat I have extra chances. Why not using the strongest piece?} f6 {This move strengthens the game. Perhaps, Black should strengthen his position.} (14... f5 $5 15. Qh4 Nf6 16. Rf3 cxd4 17. exd4 Qd6 18. Re1 Bd7 19. Rg3 Kh8 $14) 15. Ng6 {The immediate moving of the pawn is more effective} (15. g4 $1 {I saw this move, but didn't take the risk of playing it. I thought my simple move would lead to a strong advantage. I didn't want to "overthink it". Now after} fxe5 16. fxe5 { Black has to give the piece back} Nf5 {and now comes a quiet move} 17. Rf2 $1 $16) 15... Nxg6 16. Bxg6 {I could make my opponent play f6-f5 and then continue a long fight.} (16. Qxg6 f5 17. Nf3 $14 {But I know very well that it's very difficult to win a slightly better position against Sergey. So I undertook a direct attack. I kept in mind that at the moment he was in time trouble. I think my decision was right.}) 16... Bd7 17. g4 $1 {Black wants to exchange bishops, but he lacks a tempo.} cxd4 $6 {The opening of the e-line is in White's favour. The variation looks weak-spirited} (17... Nd6 18. g5 Be8 19. Bxe8 Raxe8 20. gxh6 Nf5 $16) ({Black should have considered} 17... Bb5 $5 18. Rf2 Nd6 {Black is safe against g4-g5, but suddenly the white knight enters the game!} 19. Nb3 $1 {So, again Black gives up his pawn.} cxd4 (19... c4 $6 20. Nc5 $40) 20. Nxd4 Be8 (20... Bd7 21. Rg2 $1 {the threat is great g4-g5}) 21. Nxe6 Bxg6 22. Qxg6 Rf7 23. Nd4 Re8 24. Re2 $14 {Black has some compensation for his pawn and a chance to draw.}) 18. exd4 Qd8 {A vain attempt to hold the position.} 19. Nf3 {Still another piece is in the game! Houdini considers the line:} (19. g5 fxg5 20. fxg5 Rxf1+ (20... Qxg5+ 21. Qxg5 hxg5 22. Bh7+ Kxh7 23. Rxf8 $18) 21. Rxf1 Qxg5+ 22. Qxg5 hxg5 23. Bf7+ Kh7 24. Nf3 Nf6 25. Nxg5+ Kh6 26. h4 $16 {I saw the lines while playing, but I didn't think they are strong enough.}) 19... Qc7 20. Nh4 {It's a reasonable move, but still using the rook could be tough.} (20. Rbe1 $1 $16) 20... Bb5 21. Rfe1 $1 {It's time for the decisive attack!} ({The line} 21. Rf2 Nd6 22. Re1 Rae8 $1 {shows that Black is still alive.}) 21... Bd7 {Taking the pawn leads to a poor ending for Black.} ( 21... Qxf4 22. Rxe6 f5 $1 23. Bh7+ $5 Kxh7 24. Ng6 Nf6 25. Nxf4 Nxh5 26. gxh5 Rae8 27. Rbe1 Rxe6 28. Rxe6 $16) 22. f5 {I didn't want to play a complicated ending:} (22. Bd3 Qxf4 23. Ng6 Qg5 24. Ne7+ Kh8 25. Qxg5 fxg5 26. Ng6+ Kg8 27. Nxf8 Kxf8 $16 {White's position is winning, but he has to work hard to achieve the result.}) 22... e5 (22... exf5 $4 23. Re7 $18) 23. dxe5 fxe5 24. g5 {The brave pawn continues its mission. In spite of the open position, the white king feels comfortable, because all the black pieces are too passive.} Qc5+ 25. Kg2 d4 ({A more difficult task for White could be in the line} 25... Bc6 26. gxh6 Nf6 27. Qg5 gxh6 28. Qxh6 Qc4 {and here two beautiful moves in a row are required from White:} 29. Bh7+ $3 Nxh7 30. Rg1 $3 $18 Kh8 31. Ng6+ Kg8 32. Nxe5 ) 26. gxh6 {There was a more straightforward way to win:} (26. f6 Bc6+ 27. Kg3 Nxf6 28. gxf6 Rxf6 29. Qxe5 $18) 26... Nf6 27. Qg5 gxh6 28. Qxh6 dxc3 {Black could use his queen in his defence, but after} (28... Qe7 29. cxd4 e4 30. Rg1 Qg7 31. Qe3 $1 {the end is near.}) 29. Kh3 $1 {The white king is quite safe and it watches its rooks.} c2 30. Rbc1 {At such decisive moments it is important not to make a beautiful sacrifice. Black has no defense on the g-file.} Qd4 31. Rg1 Qd3+ 32. Rg3 1-0

The surprise of the World Cup was the fall of so many experienced campaigners. The list reads like a Who’s Who of modern chess: Aronian, Gelfand, Svidler and Morozevich… Only a few of these gladiator contests are annotated on this DVD. That’s a pity. One game that missed the attention of annotators is Kramnik’s knockout of Vassily Ivanchuk – amasterpiece in which the Ukranian maverick is outgunned by Vlad with some sharp tactics. Hopefully, annotations to this game would find their way in the next MegaBase.

Reports on other events are as worthy of attention, especially Biel, Dortmund and FIDE Grand Prix at Bejing. For reasons of space I shall not dwell on them here.

In all there are 792 OTB games, of which 100 are annotated. This time there are no correspondence chess games, and the annotations by Juan Morgado and Roberto Alvarez are missed. Correspondence chess is a valuable medium of the game and ChessBase Magazine should carry regular updates.

This brings me to other sections of the DVD. There are eleven opening surveys:

  • Budapest Gambit
  • Sicilian Kan
  • French with 3 Nc3 a6
  • King's Gambit with 3...Ne7
  • Ruy Lopez with 5...b5, 6...Bc5
  • Exchange QGD
  • Grunfeld Defence, Prins Variation
  • Tango Part 1
  • KID Saemisch
  • KID Bayonet Attack

Here I shall mention just one of the above. It relates to 9…Ne8!? against the Bayonet Attack in the King’s Indian. As is well known, Hikaru Nakamura scored a sensational victory over Viswanathan Anand in London Chess Classic 2011, employing a “dubious” line with the black pieces. That was two years ago. More important developments have taken place ever since.

In his analysis Krisztian Szabo comes up with some dangerous stuff. The centerpiece is his game with Hagen, which I am giving here with my own comments.

[Event "Budapest FSGM Nov "] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.11.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Hagen, Andreas Skytte"] [Black "Szabo, Krisztian"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E97"] [WhiteElo "2418"] [BlackElo "2541"] [PlyCount "64"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 {The Bayonet Attack with which Kramnik disarmed Kasparov's King's Indian} Ne8 $5 {Nakamura's favourite with which he has won quite a few games.} ( 9... Nh5 {is the standard move.}) (9... a5 {is the other line.}) 10. c5 f5 11. Nd2 Nf6 12. a4 g5 {Young Szabo tries this move, although it ran into problems in the well-known game, Anand-Nakamura, London Chess Classic 2011.} ({I still think} 12... f4 {is preferable.}) 13. Nc4 h6 {The problem with 12...g5 is that the pawn needs to be defended, slowing down Black's attack.} (13... g4 $6 {is met by} 14. Bg5 {and Black cannot advance...f4 without dropping the pawn on g4. }) 14. f3 f4 15. Ba3 Ng6 16. b5 dxc5 17. Bxc5 Rf7 18. Kh1 $1 $146 {This is Hagen's improvement. The king makes way for the bishop who will guard h2 and continue to target a7.} ({The older move} 18. a5 {was met by} h5 $6 {in the aforesaid Anand-Nakamura encounter and the American talent won in spite of a dubious position out of the opening.} ({In his analysis Szabo suggests a nice improvement with} 18... Bf8 $1 {and Black will have a fine position whether White plays 19. Bxf8 or retreats with 19.Bf2.})) 18... Bf8 19. Bg1 h5 20. a5 g4 21. b6 g3 $6 (21... cxb6 $1 22. axb6 a6 $13 {This is Szabo's improvement. However, White's chances may be preferable now that the bishops are well-placed to guard the king and he is ready to make inroads into queenside.}) 22. Nb5 Nh4 $6 {Threatening 23...Bh3 24. gxh3 g2 mate. Tempting and wrong.} ({ But the other line} 22... gxh2 23. Bf2 cxb6 24. axb6 ({Szabo mentions} 24. Nxa7 $5 {as a possibility. This is also dangerous for Black. For example,} Rxa7 25. Bxb6 Qe7 26. Bxa7 h4 27. Nb6 $18) 24... h4 {also does not work.} 25. Rxa7 Rb8 26. Kxh2 Nh5 27. Nc7 {and White dominates the position.}) 23. hxg3 $2 {Now the tide turns and White loses.} (23. h3 $4 Bxh3 $1 24. gxh3 Qd7 $19 {is worse.}) ( {He would have won with} 23. bxc7 $1 Bh3 24. Rf2 $3 {(wonderful defence)} gxf2 25. gxh3 $18 {according to Szabo.}) 23... fxg3 24. Nxe5 ({If} 24. Nxc7 $2 Ng6 $3 25. Ne6 Bxe6 26. dxe6 Nd5 27. exf7+ Kg7 $1 $19 {There is no way of stopping the mate on h-file. Another beautiful line given by Szabo.}) 24... Bh3 $3 25. gxh3 Qc8 26. Ng4 g2+ 27. Kh2 gxf1=N+ $1 ({After} 27... gxf1=Q $2 28. Nxf6+ $1 Rxf6 29. Qxf1 {White survives.}) 28. Qxf1 hxg4 29. hxg4 Nxg4+ 30. Kg3 Bh6 31. Kxh4 Bf4 32. Kh5 Rh7+ 0-1

A dramatic game! While I have my reservations regarding the 12…g5 line employed here, I appreciate Szabo’s overall verdict on 9…Ne8, “Objectively it should be slightly better for White. But Black has very good attacking and practical chances.”

Beside these surveys the DVD also offers trademark sections with middlegame tactics and endgame exercises, the latter by the redoubtable Karsten Müller.

A wag quipped, “Magnus trained with Müller and practised rook and pawn endgames – that was the decisive factor in Chennai Match.”


ChessBase Magazin 156 - Intro


Free opening survey - download a sample!

<img data-cke-saved-src="/Portals/4/files/news/2013/cbm156-04.png" src="/Portals/4/files/news/2013/cbm156-04.png" style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 5px; width=" 320"="" height="450">Martin Breutigam: "A simple plan"
(King's Gambit C34: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Sf3 Se7)

The German chess coach and Bundesliga player Martin Breutigam recommends the move 3...Ne7 against the King's Gambit to you. 
There is much less to learn here than in the main line with 3...g5. Moreover, 3...Ne7 is not only in vogue these days but it also has the best statistics!

White usually replies with 4.d4 or 4.Bc4 - but according to Breutigam in both cases it is the white player who must struggle to equalize the game. In contrast, the black setup is "amazingly simple!"


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