Dortmund: Kramnik beats Duda

by André Schulz
7/19/2018 – Jan-Krzysztof Duda had a great start at the Sparkassen ChessMeeting in Dortmund, but fell victim to Vladimir Kramnik in the fourth round. Anish Giri also got a full point on Wednesday, as he beat Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. These results left four players tied in first place. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

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Kramnik stops the youngster

Jan-Krzysztof Duda was the "man of the hour" after the first three rounds of the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess-Meeting. With a draw against Vladislav Kovalev and two victories — over Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and Radoslaw Wojtaszek — the young Polish champion had taken the lead in the standings at the Orchesterzentrum. Kovalev and Ian Nepomniachtchi, each with a win, followed him in second place.

In the fourth round, however, Duda had to overcome a particularly difficult obstacle: he was Black against the ten-time Dortmund winner Vladimir Kramnik.

Duda and Kramnik

Duda lost the lead against Mr. Dortmund | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

The 14th World Chess Champion chose the English Opening and got a slightly better position thanks to the pair of bishops. The isolated white doubled pawns in the centre gave the game a special touch.


Black continued, unimpressed, with 14...b6. The pawn on d5 is weak and will soon be lost. White's central pawns are safe for now but could also become weaknesses later. Under pressure, however, the young Polish GM did not find the best continuation, was forced to get on the defensive and finally landed in a worse rook ending. Here, Kramnik was in his element.


With 30.d5, White started marching his passed pawn down the board.

My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.

Two early defeats, against Duda and Nepomniachtchi, left Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu in the clear last place after three rounds. Yesterday, Germany's number one faced Anish Giri, not exactly the ideal opponent to get back in track.

Giri Nisipeanu

Anish Giri defeated Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

The game started with a quiet variation of the Sicilian Najdorf and, here, the German player tried to play in classical positional style, looking to control the weak d5 square. White succeeded only temporarily, and when the queens were exchanged, Black got some counterplay on the queenside.


White took on e5 here: 34.Nxe5 (better was 34.g3) and was clearly at a disadvantage after 34.Nd2 — 34.Rxb3 was also possible for White. Nisipeanu gave up the exchange and then fought unsuccessfully for the draw.

The second German player in the field, Georg Meier, had previously drawn all his three games and faced Vladislav Kovalev with White. On the board, we saw a frequently played variation of the Catalan. White could not get any advantage. Gradually, the pieces were exchanged until only one bishop remained for each side. The draw was agreed on move 40.

Round four underway | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Ian Nepomniachtchi played a rare variation of the Slav Defence. After 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4, Black took his bishop out. Later, the Russian GM rerouted the same bishop to b7, while White built a very strong pawn centre.


White, however, found no effective breakthrough in the centre, while Black developed counterplay on the kingside and was able to open a file on that flank. White decided that Black's initiative was dangerous and agreed to a draw by threefold repetition.

Standings after Round 4


Games of Round 4


Translation from German: Antonio Pereira


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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