World Cup Final 4: Kramnik wins Tromsø 2013

9/2/2013 – It was Dmitri Andreikin's last chance, but he chose a somewhat quiet Symmetrical English in a last-ditch attempt to outplay Vladimir Kramnik and stay in the tournament. This plan quickly backfired as every attempt to complicate the issue made Andreikin's position worse. In the end, with Kramnik pressing for a win, Dmitri offered a draw which his opponent accepted. Final report with GM analysis.

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The FIDE World Cup is a knockout, starting with 128 players, with two games (90 min for 40 moves + 30 min for the rest, with 30 seconds increment) between pairs of players. The tiebreaks consist of two rapid games (25 min + 10 sec), then two accelerated games (10 min + 10 sec), and finally an Armageddon. The winner and the runner-up of the World Cup 2013 will qualify for the Candidates Tournament of the next World Championship cycle. The venue is the city of Tromsø, which lies in the northern-most region of Norway, almost 400 km inside the Arctic Circle. You can find all details and links to many ChessBase articles on Tromsø here. The World Cup starts on Sunday, August 11th and lasts until September 3rd (tiebreaks, closing ceremony). Each round lasts three days, while the final will consist of four classical games. Thursday August 29 is a free day. A detailed schedule can be found here.

Finals game four

Dmitri Andreikin did not go in with a big preparation, instead he chose the somewhat quiet Symmetrical English (he's playing 1.c4 in the picture above) as his battleground to try and outplay Vladimir Kramnik. This plan quickly backfired as every attempt to complicate the issue made Andreikin's position worse.

Kramnik knows that playing passively for a draw is not the best strategy in must-draw situations. He welcomed the complications and quickly his advantage was obvious. Despite Black's off-side knight on a5, his pawn structure was vastly superior, which gave the rest of his pieces good play. The real mistake came with 24.Qf3? which allowed Black to create a passed pawn on the e3, choking the white army.

The game was far from perfect, the tension showed as every move was arguably innacurate, but at the end the advantage proved to be too much and in the end Andreikin offered a draw in a much worse position, giving Kramnik the half point he needed to clinch the match.

Post mortem of the final game of the Tromsø World Cup, with press officer Anastasiya Karlovich,
Dmitri Andreikin, New in Chess editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Nigel Short and Vladimir Kramnik

Photos by Paul Trong

GM analysis of game four

[Event "FIDE World Cup 2013"] [Site "Tromso NOR"] [Date "2013.09.02"] [Round "7.4"] [White "Andreikin, Dmitry"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A36"] [Annotator "Negi,Parimarjan"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2013.08.11"] {Andreikin decided to go for a quite opening this time. Considering the tournament situation, it was a sensible choice, but he failed to follow it up with energetic play when required, and Kramnik easily dealt with White's desperado attack.} 1. c4 c5 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. a3 b6 {Setups with d6 are more common, but the double fianchetto is perfectly playable as well.} 6. d3 Bb7 7. Bd2 Nf6 {Surprisingly we are already in fairly unknown territory by move seven. Of course similar positions have been seen before, but this just on to show how much room for creativity exists!} 8. Nh3 $5 {The knight might look misplaced on h3, but in similar structures Black has often used the idea of bringing Ng8 out via h6 too. The point is to keep the Bg2 open - which prevents d5, and annoying jumps like Nd4 after Nf3.} O-O (8... h5 {would be a fun move to play, using the fact White can't prevent h4 - but of course this doesn't suit the situation of the match at all.}) 9. O-O e6 10. b4 d6 11. b5 Na5 12. e4 $5 {White is maintaining the tension - and now if Black continues slowly he is ready to start pushing on the kingside with f4..g4 etc. With the Na5, and Bb7 far away from kingside, a direct pawn thrust could be very dangerous.} d5 $1 {The computer doesn't particularly like this move, but it is the most logical. Black's pieces are all placed logically and it was difficult to improve the situation... while White was ready with kingside plans.} 13. cxd5 exd5 14. e5 Ne8 $1 {The regrouping Nc7 and then f6 works perfectly.} ({If} 14... Nd7 15. f4 {then it would have been much harder for Black to get f6, and the centre starts looking formidable.}) 15. f4 Nc7 16. Rb1 {getting ready for a6, and perhaps threatening Na4 now.} (16. Na4 {seems more critical, but I believe Andreikin was worried about:} d4 $5 17. Bxa5 (17. Nxc5 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Qd5+ 19. Ne4 Nb3 {and b5 pawn will fall.}) 17... Bxg2 18. Kxg2 bxa5 {and the iminent jump of Nc7 to e3 via d5 seems very dangerous.}) 16... f6 $1 {But White doesn't have forever to make his plans! The centre is already being undermined, and it's time for some tough decisions for White if he wants to continue playing for a win.} 17. exf6 (17. Na4 {would lead to unpredictable complications, but White's pieces seem totally uncoordinated, so I wouldn't really worry with black.}) 17... Qxf6 18. Ne2 Rae8 19. g4 {White's play alredy reeks of desperation. Objectively it was probably time to try and equalise somehow... But being a point behind, Andreikin decides to try his luck with a primitive attack.} d4 $1 {The knight is coming to e3! White's position quickly disintegrates.} 20. Ng3 Bxg2 21. Kxg2 Nd5 22. f5 Qe5 23. Nf4 c4 24. Qf3 (24. Ne6 {seems like a better move, but Black has a wide variety of tempting options to choose from. Even the exchange sacrifice with Re6 followed by c3 seems to give Black a rather comfortable position.}) 24... Ne3+ 25. Bxe3 dxe3 26. d4 Qd6 {Kramnik doesn't want to try and maximise the advantage with Qd4 - he is content to keep everything under control, and leave White with a depressing set of options - none of which offer the slightest chance of an advantage.} 27. Ne4 Qxd4 28. Ng5 e2 29. Nxe2 Qd2 30. Ne4 Qc2 31. N4g3 Nb3 32. Rbd1 Kh8 33. Qf2 gxf5 34. gxf5 {Black is utterly dominating, so Andreikin finally accepts it and offers a draw before his position collapses.} 1/2-1/2

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Results of the final match

Player Rtg G1 G2 G3 G4 Pts
Kramnik,Vladimir 2706
Andreikin,Dmitri 2741



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