Game of the Week: Kramnik plays a model game

by Merijn van Delft
7/29/2020 – In his “Game of the Week” show Merijn van Delft looks at an instructive win by Vladimir Kramnik. The former world champion showed marvellous understanding from the black side of a Carlsbad structure to defeat Peter Leko! | Merijn’s show is freely available at 15.00 UTC (17:00 CEST, 11:00 EDT) for a limited time, and on-demand with a ChessBase Premium Account. You can register a Premium account here. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

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Game of the Week #422

The Legends of Chess tournament is a rich source of inspiration and a pleasure to watch. Last week we saw Ivanchuk successfully playing a King's Gambit, and this week he played the Sicilian Dragon, another favourite of so many chess fans. However, the game we will study is of a completely different nature: Kramnik playing a model game from the black side of a Carlsbad structure.

We will use the opportunity to talk about the different strategies that White can choose in this structure and the different ways in which Black can cope with each of them.

In the introduction to his DVD on the Carlsbad, Sam Collins notes:

What gives strong players the edge over their opponents is not some blockbuster novelty, but a deep understanding of the pawn structures to which their openings lead – an understanding that lasts into the middlegame and endgame, and is transferable between different openings with similar structures. [...] Long the playground of the world champions, whether with Karpov’s classical approach of Nf3 or Botvinnik and Kasparov’s incredible results with Nge2 and f3, the Carlsbad has an enormous strategic potential for White (exemplified by the legendary “minority attack”) countered by Black’s deceptively simple kingside counterplay.

Exactly what Kramnik is famous for: deep understanding of plans and pawn structures! In round 4 of the Legends of Chess tournament, he won his match over Peter Leko by scoring an instructional win from the black side of the well-known structure.

Warming-up question: What would you play here with Black?


The live show is free to watch for a limited time, and available on-demand for ChessBase Premium accounts.

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Merijn van Delft is an International Master from the Netherlands who lived in Hamburg for many years and is currently based in Amsterdam. After scoring a GM norm in 2017 he is eager for more. His ChessBase show on Wednesday evenings has been running for over ten years now.


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