Kramnik's Norwegian nemesis

2/2/2011 – Vladimir Kramnik seems to have a problem with Magnus Carlsen. At the London Chess Classic the Norwegian was lost against the former World Champion, but somehow survived. In Wijk aan Zee in a drawn position Carlsen played on and took home the full point in a masterful and highly instructive endgame performance. Deep analysis by GM Karsten Mueller.

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This event took place from January 14th to 30th, 2011 in the traditional De Moriaan Center in Wijk aan Zee. There were three Grandmaster Groups, with 14 players each and each competitor playing against every other. The rate of play was 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and finally 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds/move increment starting with the first move of the game.


A traumatic encounter for Vlad Kramnik in round 11 [photo Frits Agterdenbos]

In round eleven Magnus Carlsen, who had lost against Nepomniachtchi in the previous round, bounced back with a fantastic endgame win over Kramnik. The Russian has clearly found his chess nemesis in Carlsen, as Magnus seems to constantly defy expectations in their games. When the Norwegian is lost, he somehow survives, and when the position is equal or unclear, a strange voodoo takes place and Kramnik is seen resigning at the end. Despite not having anything near a winning edge, Carlsen clearly sensed his opponent’s vulnerability, when after 22 moves Vladimir proposed a draw. “I know Kramnik well,” Carlsen said afterwards, “and I know what it means when he offers a draw. It meant I had to play on.”

Carlsen won the game in the final phase. Here it is, deeply analysed by the ChessBase Magazine endgame specialist Dr Karsten Müller. You can replay the analysis in the following window.

Note that in the replay windows below you can click on the notation to follow the game.

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