45th Sparkassen Dortmund: Kramnik falls to Fedoseev

by Albert Silver
7/16/2017 – Vladimir Kramnik is referred to as Mr. Dortmund locally, and for good reason: he has won the prestigious tournament a staggering ten times. As the top seed and no. 2 player in the world, it was no small surprise to see him fall to the young gun Vladimir Fedoseev, the latest rising star in the Russian chess pantheon. Defending champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave also had a brush with defeat, though lived to tell the tale. Enjoy this report with analysis by GM Moradiabadi.

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The 45th Dortmund Sparkassen tournament is being held in Dortmund, Germany, from July 15-23, 2017, bringing together a fascinating and eclectic group of players: Vladimir Kramnik, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (winner in 2016), Vladimir Fedoseev (qualified by winning the Aeroflot Open), Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Dmitry Andreikin, Wang Yue, and locals Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and Matthias Bluebaum.

They will play seven rounds at the time control of 40 moves in 100 minutes, followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes, and finally 15 moves for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment as of move one.

Round one

All photos by Georgios Souleidis

Round one - July 15 - 3 pm
½ - ½
½ - ½
Wang Yue
½ - ½

To say the only game where anything happened was Kramnik’s would be a gross error. Last year’s winner, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was also in huge trouble, effectively lost, against Poland’s Radoslaw Wojtaszek. Black had a completely won position after 30 moves, with two passed pawns on the queenside, and a powerful bishop protecting them and pressuring f2.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - Radoslaw Wojtaszek


Unfortunately, possibly by excess of ways to proceed, Black got careless, and soon lost the thread of the game. The pieces were exchanged off, leaving only the queens, and White began to really gain momentum with the queen’s enormous activity, and saved the game in the queen endgame.

It was a very close call for the defending champion, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

The other games had much less to tell, except of course that elephant in the room. Vladimir Kramnik’s game against Vladimir Fedoseev is in many ways a change of the guard. Not that Sergey Karjakin is not higher placed among the younger Russian players, or even Ian Nepomniachtchi, but Fedoseev is one who is making his breakthrough this year after a long period in which his early promise had seemed to fizzle, and the chance to play elite names such as Kramnik and others is only now becoming possible. Among his notable results this year are his win at the Aeroflot Open, the fantastic result at the Russian Team Championship, and his strong performance at the recent World Team Championship in Khanty Mansiysk. One thing that is much appreciated by chess fans is his completely uncompromising play, playing for the win in tournament situations where caution is called for. It has bitten him in the rear end before, but has also brought him success and the fans can only love it.

The mayor of Dortmund, Birgit Jörder, opens the first round

Vladimir Kramnik 0-1 Vladimir Fedoseev (annotated by GM Elshan Moradiabadi)

Play the Exchange Variation against the Caro-Kann

The Exchange Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3) is a simple and easy to learn answer to the Caro-Kann. By clarifying the central tension White gives himself a clear plan of attack using the half open e-file and the e5 square. This is far from easy for Black to meet as Bobby Fischer, Jan Timman, Walter Browne and other leading Grandmasters have demonstrated in their games. Black too has his resources but he needs to know what he's doing.


You can use ChessBase 14 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs to replay the games in PGN. You can also download our free Playchess client, which will in addition give you immediate access to the chess server Playchess.com.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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