Dortmund 2012 – Kramnik shocks Gustafsson with a KID... as black!

7/14/2012 – Vladimir Kramnik is famous for his merciless destruction of the King's Indian. He has been so efficient that even Garry Kasparov shied away from it, and it all but disappeared from elite play for many years. So imagine Jan Gustafsson's shock in round two, when he found himself facing it in the hands of its most notorious killer. And what a game! Report with notes by GM Alejandro Ramirez.

From Thursday July 13 to Sunday July 22, 2012 the 41st edition annual Sparkassen Chess-Meeting is taking place in Dortmund, Germany. It is a ten-player round robin played. Draw offers are not allowed – a game can only be declared a draw, by the arbiter, if there is no possible win for one side, or if a position is repeated three times. The winner of the tournament will be determined after nine rounds.

Games start at 15:00h = 3 p.m. local time (CEST, = 17:00 Moscow, 14:00 p.m. London, 9:00 a.m. New York). All games will be broadcast by the official web site's "Live Games" page and on the Playchess.com server. As in the previous year the moves of the Sparkassen Chess-Meeting will be transmitted on the Internet with a delay of 15 minutes – which means that the moves stay in the playing hall for that period, before they are broadcast to the rest of the world. This is an important anti-cheating measure that has been proposed to FIDE since October 2005 and has the support of most of the top players. We commend the Dortmund organisers for taking the initiative.

Participants

Player
Rating
Kramnik, Vladimir
2799
Karjakin, Sergey
2779
Caruana, Fabiano
2775
Leko, Peter
2730
Ponomariov, Ruslan
2726
Naiditsch, Arkadij
2700
Bartel, Mateusz
2674
Fridman, Daniel
2655
Meier, Georg
2644
Gustafsson, Jan
2629

Round one

Round 1: Friday, July 13, 15:00h
Daniel Fridman 
½-½
 Jan Gustafsson
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Fabiano Caruana 
½-½
 Arkadij Naiditsch 
Georg Meier 
1-0
 Mateusz Bartel
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik


Harald Heinze, the state commissioner, plays the traditional opening move

There is something about the Dortmund Super-GM that clearly appeals to Vladimir Kramnik. If he were able to figure out what it was, and how to reproduce the conditions in other venues, he would be nearly untouchable. This isn't an idle claim. Consider that he has won it no fewer than ten times already.

Still, be that as it may, there are more than a few hungry wolves, all of whom are ready to start their own record run if given the chance. Contrary to the last few years, in which the event brought six players for a ten-round tournament, including one top German representative, and of course the winner of the prestigious Aeroflot Open, this year the organizers changed the formula a bit to allow as many as four top German players, including Arkadij Naiditsch, Daniel Fridman, Georg Meier, and popular ChessBase author, Jan Gustafsson. Mateusz Bartel was the Aeroflot qualifier, and completing the table are top players Vladimir Kramnik, Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana, Ruslan Ponomariov, and Peter Leko.


The stage is set as Dortmund 2012 gets underway

The first round was fairly uneventful, despite the games being played out, and the only decisive result was Georg Meier's inhospitable reception of newcomer Mateusz Bartel, by giving him an egg as an opening round gift.

Round two

Round 2: Saturday, July 14, 15:00h
Jan Gustafsson 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Fabiano Caruana
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Georg Meier
Mateusz Bartel 
0-1
 Sergey Karjakin
Daniel Fridman 
½-½
 Peter Leko

Round two was simply amazing. What was amazing was not the results, but just one game. If one were to coyly say Kramnik beat Gustafsson in a King's Indian, the immediate reaction would be: was the German brave or suicidal to play this opening against the most famous King's Indian killer of all time?

It bears remembering that Garry Kasparov himself dropped it after the non-stop traumatizing losses against Vladimir Kramnik. The once ever-popular opening was reduced to surprise value, no more, as it all but vanished from elite play for years.

Now for the reason for this interlude: Vladimir Kramnik was playing black. This wasn't some oddball transposition either. The Russian made no effort to camouflage his intention. In fact, he had to be ready for just about any line, since one of the challenges of the combative opening is that White determines which line will be played, not Black. To add to the thrill, Vlad played a strong inspired game, and won in impressive fashion.


Jan Gustafsson stares at the board in shock

Annotations by GM Alejandro Ramirez

[Event "40. Sparkassen Chess-Meeting"] [Site "Dortmund"] [Date "2012.07.14"] [Round "2"] [White "Gustafsson, Jan"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E94"] [WhiteElo "2629"] [BlackElo "2799"] [Annotator "Ramirez, Alejandro"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [EventCountry "GER"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 {I can't imagine anything more exciting or better for chess than the KID slayer, the bastion of the bayonet attack, the super star that scared Kasparov of the KID, to play the KID himself!} 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 (7. O-O {is by far the main line. I'm not familiar with Gustafsson's repertoire, but I would have loved it if he played Kramnik's line against him.}) 7... c6 {a sideline, as Ng4 is definitely center stage. That being said, Black has tried nearly everything in the position.} 8. O-O (8. d5 Ng4 9. Bg5 f6 (9... Qb6 10. O-O Qxb2 11. Qd3 {gives Black some problems even if he is temporarily up a pawn.}) 10. Bh4 c5 {is a typical Kid position. Kramnik used this with White to crush Van Wely in 2010.}) 8... exd4 9. Nxd4 $6 (9. Bxd4 {is a better move. White takes advantage of the awkward pawn on c6, since now Nc6 is not possible at all. White will follow up with Nd2 and consolidate his center. Black should still be ok though.}) 9... Re8 10. f3 d5 { This center break works well in this position specifically as White's e3 bishop is majorly misplaced. White shouldn't be any worse but Black has equalized.} 11. cxd5 Nxd5 (11... cxd5 12. Qb3 $1 dxe4 (12... Nc6 13. Rad1 $14) 13. Bc4 {actually gives White a nice initiative. Taking with the knight is much better.}) 12. Nxd5 cxd5 13. Rc1 (13. Qb3 Nc6 {gives Black counterplay.} 14. Rad1 Bxd4 $1 {is the difference.}) 13... a5 $5 {Nothing but fighting spirit. The move itself is questionable. I don't believe that it can be the best move in the position, but Kramnik wants to fight! He intends to push the pawn to a4 where it will restrict some of White's activity. Also the pawn wants to queen on a1. And you think I'm kidding...} 14. Qb3 a4 15. Qxd5 Qxd5 16. exd5 {It's possible that upon reaching this position Jan completely missed Kramnik's next sequence. I can't blame him I wouldn't have though of it either. That's why Kramnik is Kramnik.} a3 $1 17. b3 Nc6 $1 {This part is not so hard to see.} 18. Nc2 {Now Black has some choices, for example:} (18. dxc6 $2 Rxe3 { is obviously losing as White can't protect the knight on d4 and the bishop on e2.}) (18. Nxc6 $2 Rxe3 19. Kf2 Rxe2+ 20. Kxe2 bxc6 21. Rfd1 $17) 18... Rxe3 $1 {Boom! This sacrifice is almost decisive. White must be very careful now.} ( 18... Nb4 19. Nxb4 Rxe3 20. Bc4 {is what I would expect. Black has a lot of initiative for that pawn and the dark squares are weak, but White is in no immediate danger yet.}) 19. Nxe3 Nb4 {Black is down the exchange and a pawn. However, his bishop on g7 is dominating and the a2 pawn cannot be protected. One that falls, it is clear that the a-pawn is a powerful force.} 20. Rc4 (20. Rc7 Bd4 (20... Nxa2 21. d6 $14) 21. Re7 Nxd5 (21... Nxa2 $1 22. Kf2 Nc3 23. Re8+ Kg7 24. d6 Nd5 25. d7 Bxe3+ 26. Kg3 Bxd7 27. Rxa8 Nf4 {gives Black excellent compensation - probably enough to be better.}) 22. Re8+ Kg7 23. Kh1 $1 Nxe3 24. Rc1 Nd5 25. Rcxc8 Rxc8 26. Rxc8 Nc3 27. Rxc3 $1 $11 {is the computer line. Good luck finding that.}) 20... Nxa2 {It's really hard to see how White can improve his position, whereas Black's plan is beyond obvious. What is surprising is how effective it is.} 21. Ra4 $6 {This does make Black's task easier.} Rxa4 22. bxa4 Bd4 23. Kf2 Nb4 {White's position is already hpeless. Even after the best moves Black has a decisive advantage.} 24. Rc1 ( 24. Rd1 Ba7 $1 25. Rc1 a2 26. Rxc8+ Kg7 27. Rc1 Nc2 $19) 24... a2 25. Rxc8+ Kg7 {White is a full rook ahead, but he cannot even retain material equality.} 26. Rc1 Nxd5 27. Rd1 Nxe3 (27... Nxe3 28. Rxd4 a1=Q 29. Kxe3 Qg1+ {is clearly over, so Gustafsson resigned. What a wonderful game by Kramnik.}) 0-1

For the record, Vladimir Kramnik has only two other games on record with the King's Indian. One is a win over Jeroen Piket in 1996, and the other is a loss to Vesselin Topalov in 1997.


In just the second round, Vladimir Kramnik has made it a memorable event

Mateusz Bartel was not himself in the second round, and though he certainly had his own mountain to climb, in the face of Sergey Karjakin, he made it easier on his opponent after an incomprehensible blunder.

[Event "40th GM"] [Site "Dortmund GER"] [Date "2012.07.14"] [Round "2"] [White "Bartel, Mateusz"] [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A15"] [WhiteElo "2674"] [BlackElo "2779"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2012.07.12"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. d4 e6 5. a3 d5 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Qa4+ Nd7 8. Nxd5 Bxd5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. e4 Be7 11. Bf4 Rc8 12. Rd1 O-O 13. Bd3 c5 14. d5 c4 15. Be2 exd5 16. exd5 Nc5 17. d6 Bf6 18. Qxc4 $4 {What an incredibly odd blunder, and a clear indication that the Pole is not himself. The discovered attack on the queen is not exactly hidden, nor are the tactics thereafter. Ugly.} ({Needless to say,} 18. O-O {was the move.}) 18... Ne6 19. Qb4 Rc2 { attacking b2 and subsequently the bishop on f4 as the queen is the only piece protecting it. White cannot castle as the bishop on e2 would be hanging.} 20. Be3 (20. b3 Bc3+ $19) 20... Rxb2 {Black is winning.} 21. Qc4 Qd7 22. Bd3 Rc8 23. Qg4 Rc6 24. Bf4 Bc3+ 25. Kf1 Rc5 26. Ng5 h5 27. Qxh5 Nxg5 28. Bxg5 g6 29. Bxg6 fxg6 30. Qxg6+ Bg7 31. Be3 Rd5 32. Ke1 Qxd6 33. Qxd6 Bc3+ 34. Kf1 Rxd6 0-1

One would love to wish him a swift recovery, but the pairings have him facing Mr. Dortmund himself (Kramnik) in round three. Four players lead after two rounds.

Photos by Georgios Souleidis


Schedule and results

Round 1: Friday, July 13, 15:00h
Daniel Fridman 
½-½
 Jan Gustafsson
Peter Leko 
½-½
 Ruslan Ponomariov
Fabiano Caruana 
½-½
 Arkadij Naiditsch 
Georg Meier 
1-0
 Mateusz Bartel
Sergey Karjakin 
½-½
 Vladimir Kramnik
Round 2: Saturday, July 14, 15:00h
Jan Gustafsson 
0-1
 Vladimir Kramnik
Ruslan Ponomariov 
1-0
 Fabiano Caruana
Arkadij Naiditsch 
½-½
 Georg Meier
Mateusz Bartel 
0-1
 Sergey Karjakin
Daniel Fridman 
½-½
 Peter Leko
Round 3: Sunday, July 15, 15:00h
Peter Leko 
   Jan Gustafsson
Georg Meier 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
Sergey Karjakin 
   Arkadij Naiditsch 
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Mateusz Bartel
Fabiano Caruana 
   Daniel Fridman
Round 4: Monday, July 16, 15:00h
Jan Gustafsson 
   Mateusz Bartel
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Sergey Karjakin
Arkadij Naiditsch 
   Vladimir Kramnik
Daniel Fridman 
   Georg Meier
Peter Leko 
   Fabiano Caruana
Round 5: Tuesday, July 17, 15:00h
Fabiano Caruana 
   Jan Gustafsson
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
Mateusz Bartel 
   Arkadij Naiditsch 
Sergey Karjakin 
   Daniel Fridman
Georg Meier 
   Peter Leko
Round 6: Thursday, July 19, 15:00h
Jan Gustafsson 
   Arkadij Naiditsch
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Mateusz Bartel
Peter Leko 
   Vladimir Kramnik
Georg Meier 
   Sergey Karjakin
Fabiano Caruana 
   Georg Meier
Round 7: Friday, July 20, 15:00h
Georg Meier 
   Jan Gustafsson
Arkadij Naiditsch 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
Mateusz Bartel 
   Daniel Fridman 
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Peter Leko
Sergey Karjakin 
   Fabiano Caruana
Round 8: Saturday, July 21, 15:00h
Jan Gustafsson 
   Ruslan Ponomariov
Daniel Fridman 
   Arkadij Naiditsch
Peter Leko 
   Mateusz Bartel
Fabiano Caruana 
   Vladimir Kramnik
Georg Meier 
   Sergey Karjakin
Round 9: Sunday, July 22, 13:00h
Sergey Karjakin 
   Jan Gustafsson
Ruslan Ponomariov 
   Daniel Fridman
Arkadij Naiditsch 
   Peter Leko 
Mateusz Bartel 
   Fabiano Caruana
Vladimir Kramnik 
   Georg Meier

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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Topics Dortmund 2012
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