Kramnik vs Deep Fritz: Game five ends in a fighting draw

12/3/2006 – World champion Vladimir Kramnik had the white pieces for the last time in this match, and needed a win in order to have chances for an overall victory. He played a sharp game, very exciting for the world-wide audience, but one in which Fritz was able fight back. The game ended in a 35-move draw. Full report with pictures and video.

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The chess duel Man vs Machine, Vladimir Kramnik vs Deep Fritz is being staged from November 25 until December 5th. It is sponsored by the RAG AG, one of Europe's largest energy companies. The venue is the National Art Gallery in Bonn, Germany. Schedule:

Game 1: Saturday 25.11.2006 15:00 h
Game 2: Monday 27.11.2006 15:00 h
Game 3: Wednesday 29.11.2006 15:00 h
Game 4: Friday 01.12.2006 15:00 h
Game 5: Sunday 03.12.2006 15:00 h
Game 6: Tuesday 05.12.2006 15:00 h

There is full live coverage on the Playchess server, as well as on the official site and a number of partner sites. The Spiegel is broadcasting them with live audio commentary directly from the site, in German by GM Helmut Pfleger and GM Klaus Bishoff; and in English it is by GM Yasser Seirawan.


Game five

Before we start let our English language on-site commentator Yasser Seirawan take you on a stroll through the playing venue to show you how the event is being staged.

In this critical fifth game, Vladimir Kramnik's last with white, it was obvious that the world champion desperately wanted a win. That was required to catch up with the opponent's lead and regain chances for an overall victory in this match.


Initiator and organizer Joseph Resch addresses the audience


The handshake between Mathias Feist, operator of Fritz, and Vladimir Kramnik,
nominated representative of the human race


Photographers and TV film crews


The start of game five, in front of a packed audience


All 350 seats were sold out, and additional chairs had to be mobilised for the
audience. The organisers said that they could easily have sold 1000 tickets.


Vladimir Kramnik in his last game with the white pieces


Jeroen van den Belt bringing the games to a world-wide
Internet audience


GM Helmut Pfleger commenting on the game from a sound cabin high up in the hall


In the press room three Botvinniks follow the game: Alexey and Igor, standing,
are nephews of the great world champion, while Alexander Botvinnink is Alexey's son.

Kramnik,Vladimir (2750) - Deep Fritz 10 [E51]
Man vs Machine Bonn, Germany (5), 03.12.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3 0-0 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 c5 8.Bb2 Nc6 9.Rc1 Re8 10.Bd3 dxc4 11.Bxc4 e5 12.dxe5 Qxd1+ 13.Rxd1 Nxe5

14.Nxe5 Rxe5 15.Be2 Bd7 16.c4 Re7

17.h4N. The previous game, from which Kramnik deviates, is Geller,E-Spassky,B, Riga 1965, Candidates: 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Rd6 Kg7 19.Kd2 Bc6 20.Kc3 Re6 21.Rd2 f5 22.Rg1 Rh6 23.h3 Re8 24.Bd3 Kf6 25.Bc2 Rh4 26.Rd6+ Re6 27.Rd2 f4 28.exf4 Rxf4 29.Bxh7 Be4 30.Bxe4 Rexe4 31.Rd7 Rxf2 ½-½. Experts were stunned when Kramnik played 17.h4 against the computer, instead of exchanging on f6 as Geller had done, disrupting Black's pawn structure and playing with this small advantage. In the press conference after the match Kramnik said that he was convinced that Deep Fritz would have held the position quite easily ("It is very hard to beat this computer"). He also said that he was always fond of the pair of bishops, so he decided to take a risk and play a dangerous game.

17...Ne4. "Octapus to e4!" said GM Yasser Seirawan in his live audio commentary. Truly, this knight is going to dominate Kramnik's attention for the rest of the game. 18.h5 Ba4. Fritz has equalised and is starting to smell chances for a win. 19.Rd3. The other possibility which Kramnik considered was 19.Rd5 Bc6 20.Rd3 b5, which is the same as in the game, except that the black bishop is on c6. 19...b5. Strong and aggressive. Fritz is activating his queenside pawn majority, as any strong grandmaster would do. 20.cxb5 Bxb5 21.Rd1 Bxe2 22.Kxe2 Rb8.

Fritz has activated his second rook, with dangerous counterplay. White has to play the slightly embarrassing 23.Ba1 to avoid immediate disaster (the bishop has to keep c3 covered to avoid the deadly knight fork). 23...f5. A dual-purpose move that supports the knight on e4 and gives the black king an escape route from the eight rank. The back rank mating threats have now disappeared. 24.Rd5. Kramnik wants to trade his a3-pawn against the more valuable black f5 pawn – and Fritz is willing to cooperate. 24...Rb3 25.Rxf5 Rxa3 26.Rb1 Re8

Fritz was expecting 27.Re5 Ra2+ 28.Rb2 Nc3+ 29.Kd3 (now all black pieces are hanging) 29...Rxe5 30.Rxa2 Rxe3+ 31.fxe3 Nxa2 32.Kc4 Nb4 33.Kxc5. In the press conference Kramnik said that this line was probably a draw, but only Black can play for a win.

27.Rf4 Ra2+ 28.Ke1 h6. With the white rook on the f-file the back-rank mate threat had reappeared. Fritz needs "luft" (an airhole for its king). 29.Rg4 g5 30.hxg6.

A sharp endgame. White is now threatening 31.Rxe4 Rxe4 32.Rb8+ Re8 33.Rxe8#. 30...Nxf2 31.Rh4. Now the threat is Rxh6 and Rh8 mate. 31...Rf8. It's Fritz's turn to threaten mate: 32.-- Nd3+ 33.Kd1 Rf1#. 32.Kf1. Paradoxically this very dangerous-looking move, which sets up the white king for a discovered check, is the only defence. 32...Nh3+ 33.Ke1 Nf2 34.Kf1 Nh3+ 35.Ke1. Both Kramnik and the computer cannot deviate from the repetition without losing. Here Fritz operator Mathias Feist wrote down the next black move, 36...Nf2. When Kramnik saw this he smiled ("Okay, you do know the rules of offering a draw") and streched his hand out for the peace offering. ½-½. [Click to replay]


The position will be repeated, both players have no other alternative


Making 100% sure that the repetition is inevitable and the game is drawn


Waiting for one more move by the computer


After the three-fold repetition the draw is finally sealed...


Match commentator GM Artur Yussupow discussing the game with Mathias Feist


Vladimir Kramnik in the post match press conference


Part of the press conference was in Russian


Kramnik's bodyguard and his manager (Carsten Hensel)

Current standing

 Player
Rating
1
2
3
4
5
6
 Tot. 
 Vladimir Kramnik
2760
½
0
½
½
½
 
2.0
Deep Fritz 10
-
½
1
½
½
½
 
3.0

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