Hoogeveen: Kramnik beats Polgar, leads by a full point

10/20/2011 – In round two Vladimir Kramnik beat Judit Polgar – as usual, we are tempted to say. In twenty classical encounters Judit still has to win a single one. At the end of this game Fritz 13 surprised people on Playchess by announcing mate in 45 moves – on a super-fast spectator machine. In rounds three and four all games were drawn, but some of them quite interesting. Report and commentary.

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15th Unive Tournament 2011 in Hoogeveen, Netherlands

The double round robin Crown Group has four players: Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Judit Polgar, have an average rating of 2732, making this a Category 20 event. The time controls are 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, then 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move one. The rounds are from October 16 to 22, with a free day on the 19th.

There are also side tournaments: the Unive Open is a nine-round Swiss with around 90 players with a minimum rating of 2000. It has a prize fund of €7,500, with a first prize of €3,000. The Amateur Tournament is in two groups: a Morning and an Afternoon Group, each with a maximum of 84 players. The first prize for both groups is €250.

Round two

Judit Polgar had never won a classical tournament game against Vladimir Kramnik, losing ten times and achieving nine draws (her score against him in rapid play are even more disastrous). In this, their twentieth the Hungarian GM, strongest female player in history, at long last... no, wait a minute, that did not happen!

[Event "15th Unive Crown"] [Site "Hoogeveen NED"] [Date "2011.10.17"] [Round "2"] [White "Kramnik, V."] [Black "Polgar, Ju"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E14"] [WhiteElo "2791"] [BlackElo "2701"] [PlyCount "62"] [EventDate "2011.10.16"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. e3 Bb7 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Bd3 c5 7. O-O O-O 8. Na4 cxd4 9. exd4 Re8 10. a3 Bf8 11. Re1 d6 12. Nc3 ({This is following a recent game: Potkin,V (2653)-Bologan,V (2671)/Olginka 2011.} 12. Bf4 Nbd7 13. Rc1 g6 14. h3 e5 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Nxe5 Nh5 17. Bf1 Nxf4 18. Qxd7 Qxd7 19. Nxd7 Rxe1 20. Rxe1 Bc6 21. Nxf8 Bxa4 22. g3 Nh5 23. Nxh7 Kxh7 24. Re7 Be8 25. Bg2 Rd8 26. Bd5 Kg7 27. Rxa7 Nf6 28. Ra8 Rd6 29. Bf3 Rd3 30. Kg2 Rxf3 31. Rxe8 Rb3 32. Re2 Nd7 33. a4 Nc5 34. a5 bxa5 35. Re5 Nd3 36. Rxa5 Rxb2 37. Kf3 Nxf2 38. h4 f5 39. h5 Ng4 40. Kf4 Kh6 {0-1.}) 12... Nbd7 13. b4 Rc8 14. Bb2 Qc7 15. d5 e5 16. Nd2 g6 17. Bf1 $146 {Kramnik deviates from theory.} Qd8 18. Qa4 a6 19. Nce4 Nxe4 20. Nxe4 Rc7 21. f4 b5 $2 {Judit, who was probably getting a little nervous with the position, decided to sacrifice a pawn...} ({...instead of the very sane} 21... exf4 {Kramnik said that he did not know what he would have done after this move:} 22. Qxd7 ({or} 22. Nf6+ Nxf6 23. Bxf6 Qxf6 24. Qxe8 $13) 22... Rxd7 23. Nf6+ Qxf6 24. Bxf6 $13 {These are probably the lines Judit was afraid of.}) 22. cxb5 Bxd5 23. bxa6 Qb8 24. Kh1 exf4 25. b5 h6 26. Rad1 Ba8 27. Qd4 Re5 28. Nxd6 {Precision play by Kramnik, who has a winning position.} Rcc5 29. Rxe5 Rxe5 30. Nc4 Bc5 31. Qxd7 Re8 {and it is mate in 45 (see below).} 1-0

Mate in 45? Yes, that is where we are today. Someone with a powerful machine announced it on Playchess while the game was still in progress. Scary, right?


You can still load this game on Playchess and see Fritz 13 announce mate in 45

Such real-time mate announcements simply mean: the engine has found an absolutely certain way to force a mate in 45 moves, at the very latest. It does not necessarily mean that this is the shortest possible mate (as in a chess problem).

It will interest our software users to know that these evaluations are stored permanently in the Let's Check "cloud", so that anyone with Fritz 13 can click on the "Let's Check" button see the latest analysis. Naturally, in the meantime other computers and other users have been working on the position, probably with heavy tablebase support, and they may have found a way to force mate in a smaller number of moves. All we can say is "Let's Check".

The game Anish Giri vs Maxime Vachier Legrave looked promising, with opposite side castling, but it turned into a relatively effortless 24-move draw by the French GM with the black pieces.

Round three

The tournament bulletin calls it "a friendly and peaceful day," speculating: "Maybe it was because of the upcoming rest day, because all players seemed quite satisfied with their half points obtained without much difficulty. A zero before a rest day give the player a heavy burden to carry for the next two days."

[Event "15th Unive Crown"] [Site "Hoogeveen NED"] [Date "2011.10.18"] [Round "3"] [White "Polgar, Ju"] [Black "Giri, A."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2701"] [BlackElo "2722"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2011.10.16"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O d5 9. exd5 cxd5 10. Bg5 c6 11. Na4 h6 12. Bh4 Be6 13. c3 Be7 14. Re1 Re8 ({This was a position Judit Polgar had against Jon Hammer in Kristiansund last year.} 14... Nd7 15. Bxe7 Qxe7 16. f4 f5 17. Qe2 Rae8 18. Qf2 Qd6 19. Rad1 Nf6 {and draw in 44 moves.}) 15. Bc2 Nd7 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. f4 $146 ({Predecessor (9):} 17. Qd3 Nf6 18. Qd4 Qd6 {1/2-1/2 (18) Paehtz,E (2449)-Romanishin,O (2542) /Solin 2006/CBM 116}) 17... Qf6 18. Qd4 Qxd4+ 19. cxd4 g6 20. Rac1 Rab8 21. a3 Nb6 22. Nxb6 axb6 23. Ba4 Bd7 24. Re5 Ra8 25. Bb3 f6 26. Ree1 Kf7 27. Kf2 g5 { and draw agreed.} 1/2-1/2


Judit and Anish analyse their Scotch Four Knights game, Maxime and Vladimir watch

Judit Polgar and Anish Giri, according to the tournament bulletin, "spent as much time analysing their not very exciting game as they had spent for the game itself, exploring the microscopic threats and super-accurate defensive manoeuvers in positions that most chess players would push aside as boring." Maxime Vachier Lagrave and Vladimir Kramnik had taken one move longer in their only slightly more exciting game (opposite castling) to reach a peaceful conclusion.

Round four


This was a wild and complicated game, full of missed opportunities – see for yourself

[Event "15th Unive Crown"] [Site "Hoogeveen NED"] [Date "2011.10.20"] [Round "4"] [White "Polgar, Ju"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2701"] [BlackElo "2715"] [PlyCount "88"] [EventDate "2011.10.16"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 h5 8. g3 Be6 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. a4 Rc8 11. Be3 Nb6 12. Bg5 Be7 13. b3 h4 14. Bxh4 Rxh4 15. gxh4 Nh5 16. Bf3 Nf4 17. Bg4 Bxh4 18. Nxf4 exf4 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. exd5 Rc3 21. Kf1 Qc7 22. a5 Qc5 23. Qe1+ Re3 24. Qd2 Nxd5 {Judit has gained a very nice advantage in this game, but she throws away the win with her next move.} 25. c4 $2 ({The winning line is} 25. fxe3 fxe3 (25... Nxe3+ 26. Ke2 $16) 26. b4 $1 { Maybe she was afraid of complications like the following:} Qc4+ 27. Qd3 Qf4+ 28. Ke2 Qf2+ {Looks terrible for White, doesn't it?} 29. Kd1 Nf4 30. Qxd6 f5 31. Kc1 $1 fxg4 32. hxg4 {and White is winning. Well, Judit simply proves that she is not a chess engine running on a quad core machine.}) 25... Rd3 26. Qe2+ Re3 27. Qc2 {Judit is not willing to accept a draw - or she is worried about survival.} (27. fxe3 {no longer works, e.g.} Nxe3+ 28. Kg1 Kf8 29. Bf3 Nxc4+ 30. Kh2 Bg3+ 31. Kg2 Ne3+ 32. Kg1 Nc4+ {and perpetual check to follow.}) 27... Nb4 ({Now Maxime misses a nice chance:} 27... f3 28. Bxf3 Nb4 29. Qd1 ({or} 29. Qh7 Bxf2) 29... Bxf2 $1 30. Rh2 ({of course} 30. Kxf2 Rd3+ $19) 30... Re1+ 31. Qxe1+ Bxe1 32. Rxe1+ {and Black is probably winning.}) 28. Qd2 Bxf2 29. Qxf2 Nd3 30. Qd2 f3 31. Rh2 Qe5 32. Rd1 Kf8 33. Rf2 $2 ({Judit was back on track, with complicated winning lines beckoning:} 33. Bf5 Re2 34. Qxd3 Rxh2 35. Qxd6+ Qxd6 36. Rxd6 {and White will win.}) 33... Nxf2 34. Qxf2 Qe4 35. Qd2 Kg8 36. Qxd6 g6 37. Qd8+ Kh7 38. Qf6 (38. Qd5 {could still have won her the game.}) 38... Rd3 {threatening mate in two.} 39. Qxf7+ (39. Qh4+ Kg7 40. Qe1 {would have been a final attempt by White to win this tactically wildly complicated game.}) 39... Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kh7 41. Re1 Rd1 {and White is forced to go for the perpetual.} 42. Qf7+ Kh6 43. Qf8+ Kh7 44. Qf7+ Kh6 1/2-1/2

Anish Giri and Vladimir Kramnik played a long, hard-fought game in which the younger player was pressing, but Kramnik was able to hold and retain his full point lead (with two rounds to go).

Schedule and results

Round 1 – Sunday, October 16, 2011, 14:00h
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
½-½
Polgar, Judit
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Giri, Anish
Round 2 – Monday, October 17, 2011, 14:00h
Giri, Anish
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Kramnik, Vladimir
1-0
Polgar, Judit
Round 3 – Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 14:00h
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Giri, Anish
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Round 4 – Thursday, October 20, 2011, 14:00h
Polgar, Judit
½-½
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Giri, Anish
½-½
Kramnik, Vladimir
Round 5 – Friday, October 21, 2011, 14:00h
Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
  Giri, Anish
Polgar, Judit
  Kramnik, Vladimir
Round 6 – Saturday, October 22, 2011, 14:00h
Kramnik, Vladimir
  Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
Giri, Anish
  Polgar, Judit


A double rainbow over Hoogeveen: the promise that there will be two exciting rounds?

Pictures by the official web site.


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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