(1) Kramnik,Vladimir (2780) - Shirov,Alexei (2749) [D43]
39th Olympiad Men Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (11.2), 03.10.2010

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.Qb3
This must have caught Shirov off-guard. While the databases will show two games from the late 90s by Kramnik with this move, the games in question are blitz.

6...Be7 7.e3 h6
[7...0-0 is the usual continuation here. Among top GMs, Dreev, for whatever reason, was targeted as black with this line several times in the last years, despite obtaining good results, and always chose 0-0.]

8.Bh4 b6
A novelty. 8...0-0 was almost universally chosen here.

9.cxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 0-0 11.0-0 Bb7 12.Rac1 Ne4 13.Bg3!?

An interesting decision by the ex-world champion. The obvious move was to exchange bishops on e7, instead he actually gives up the bishop pair in exchange for the e4 knight. Kramnik is already looking at the e4 push that will ensue after the exchange, and his central play and pressure on c6. The added purpose behind Rc1 becomes clearer.

13...Nxg3 14.hxg3 Nf6 15.Rfd1 Rc8 16.e4 dxe4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 Bf6 19.Qa3 a5
This weakens the queenside pawns, notably b6, and makes white's job easier. [A more resilient try was 19...Qc7 after which play might continue 20.b4!? (Obviously not 20.Qxa7? Ra8 ) 20...Rfe8 21.Re1 (21.Bxc6!? Bxc6 22.b5 (Or 22.d5 Qb7 23.dxc6 Rxc6 24.Rxc6 Qxc6 25.Qxa7 Ra8 26.Qd7 Qxd7 27.Rxd7 Rxa2 and the position is roughly equal.) 22...Qd7 23.bxc6 Rxc6 24.Rxc6 Qxc6 25.d5 Qd7 26.d6 Re6 is ok for black.) 21...Re7 22.b5 c5 23.Bxb7 Rxe1+ 24.Nxe1 Qxb7 25.dxc5 Qe7! 26.Nf3 (26.cxb6? Qxa3 27.Rxc8+ Kh7 28.b7 Be5 ) 26...Rxc5 27.Rxc5 bxc5 ]

20.Ne5 Qe8 21.Re1
[The attractive looking 21.Qd6 runs into 21...Rd8 22.Qc7 Rxd4! 23.Nd7 (23.Rxd4? Bxe5 24.Qxb7 Bxd4 25.Re1 g6 26.Qxc6 Qxc6 27.Bxc6 Bxb2 ) 23...Qxe4 24.Qxb7 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Qc2 26.Nxf6+ gxf6 27.Rd4 Qc1+ 28.Kh2 Qxb2 and white would have nothing better than the draw.]

The discovered threats against the queen were too many.


Classic Kramnik using his pieces to keep the pressure without compromising his pawns. At this point Shirov was not only in trouble in the position, but his clock was down to the last minute and he was surviving only on the 30-second increment he received after each move.

[The d4-pawn is protected tactically against 22...Qxd4? with 23.Qf5! Rfd8 (23...g6 24.Qxf6 ) 24.Qh7+ Kf8 25.Nf3 Qb4 26.Bd5 and black is mated.]

23.Rcd1 g6 24.Qb3!

Hitting both b6 and g6 since the f7-pawn is now pinned.

[24...b5! was worth a try and white would continue 25.a4 (25.Nxg6 wouldn't work because of 25...a4 ) 25...bxa4 26.Qxa4 Re7 27.Qa2 (27.Qb3 Kg7 28.Bxc6 Qc7 ) 27...Kg7 28.Bxc6 Ba8 29.Qa4 ]

Black's position quickly collapsed after this.

25...Re7 26.Qc5 Rfe8 27.Bxc6 Bxc6 28.Qxc6 Qb8 29.Qc3 Qb4 30.f4 Qxc3 31.bxc3 Rc7 32.Rd3 Rec8 33.Ree3 Rb7 34.d5 Rb1+ 35.Kh2 Ra1 36.Nd7 Bd8 37.Re8 Rxa2 38.d6 a4 39.Ne5 a3 40.d7 Rb8 41.Rxd8 Rxd8 42.Nc6 1-0