Getting ready for the World Championship

9/30/2008 – With the Anand-Kramnik match coming up later this month, it's time to start whetting our appetites with a look back at some of their career highlights. This week our Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos will start with a look at a game that was instrumental in bringing Vladimir Kramnik to the title, his second win over the then-defending champion Garry Kasparov. Be there.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

With the Anand-Kramnik World Chess Championship match coming up later this month, it's time to start whetting our appetites with a look back at some of their career highlights. This week, we'll start with a look at a game that was instrumental in bringing Vladimir Kramnik to the title, his second win over the then-defending champion Garry Kasparov.
It was game ten of 16, and although Kramnik led by a game it was a precarious lead. Kramnik had won game two, but after missing wins in games four and six and narrowly escaping defeat in game eight, the tide was turning in Kasparov's favor. At this point, the match looked like it might be decided by the next win. If Kramnik could win, then a two-point margin with six games to go would be awfully hard to overcome, while a Kasparov win would put him in the lead, thanks to the champion's draw odds, while showing that Kasparov could take Kramnik's best punch and beat him anyway.

The game proved fascinating and extremely unusual. For one thing, the two players, almost always superlatively well prepared, were groping about at a surprisingly early stage of the game. For another, Kramnik chose a line that violated his unofficial "queen swap" policy for the match. Indeed, rather than trying to grind his opponent down in a queenless middlegame, Kramnik played aggressively – and it paid off.

The whys and wherefores of this Karpov variation Nimzo-Indian will be revealed tonight (Wednesday night) at 9 p.m. ET. It's an interesting game in its own right, but its value is enhanced by the historical and psychological factors surrounding it, too. And there's even a bit of scandal involved, too, so good reasons to tune in tonight abound (especially since the show is free). To watch, log on to the Playchess server, go to the Broadcasts room, find and double-click "Kramnik-Kasparov" under the games tab when we start, and then sit back and enjoy. (Further details, if necessary, here

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).



Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007
 

Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the Internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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