Kramnik vs Shirov – part two of the early battle

by ChessBase
1/28/2009 – Last week our Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos analysed a 1994 battle between Vladimir Kramnik and Alexei Shirov. The former had achieved a big pawn clamp on the queenside, and to avoid suffocation Shirov speculatively sacrificed a bishop. The game had reached its high point, when the variations really become insane. You can catch the second half on Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Last week, we started presenting the fantastic 1994 battle between Vladimir Kramnik and Alexei Shirov, and there was so much to see that we couldn't finish! In this game, played when the two stars were quite young (18 and 21, respectively – and nonetheless already over 2700), Kramnik had achieved a big pawn clamp on the queenside, and to avoid suffocation Shirov speculatively sacrificed a bishop.

The sac may not have been sound, but it transformed the position. Against normal play, Kramnik would enjoy a nice, stable advantage, and either win or draw with practically no danger of losing. Shirov's sac certainly increased his (Shirov's) losing chances, but it ratcheted up Kramnik's too. The position quickly spun out of control, and just as the time pressure began.

When we left, the game was just about to reach its high point, when the variations really become insane. So as fun as the game has been so far, what we'll see today or tomorrow, depending on where you are, is really amazing. So you're heartily invited to join us Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/Thursday morning at 3 a.m. CET for the second part of our presentation. It's free for Playchess members – just log on, enter the Broadcasts room and look for Kramnik-Shirov under the Games tab. Hope to see you there!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

Vladimir Kramnik: My Path to the Top

The history of chess world champions is one of famous personalities, who have each influenced and advanced our sport in their own particular way. These superstars have taken up chess, have later reached the top of the chess world and finally the throne itself in what have often been very different fashions. Every chess lover finds it rewarding and above all fascinating to study the personalities, the lives and the great games of the world champions. The reigning world champion, Vladimir Kramnik, describes on his new DVD in video format his own way to the chess throne, starting from his childhood and the first chess book to make its mark on him and going right up to the FIDE WCh match against Topalov last year. He reports on how he graduated from the somewhat provincial town of Tuapse on the shores of the Black Sea to the Botvinnik-Kasparov Chess School in Moscow and tells us about his first great successes on the national and then the international stage. At the age of 16, he was, at the insistence of Kasparov selected for the Russian team for the Olympiads and in Manila 1992 he scored a sensational 8.5 points from 9 games and thus the best result of the whole of these Olympiads.

In the same year, Kramnik had his baptism of fire in the elite tournament Linares 1992. In one of the strongest tournaments in the history of chess (with Kasparov, Karpov and almost the whole of the then world chess elite) the17 year old Kramnik achieved with +2 a superb result which definitively established him at the very top level.

Other marvellous results followed and in 2000 came the legendary WCh match against Garry Kasparov. Kramnik tells us in great detail how he prepared for this great struggle and outlines his match strategy, which included as everyone knows the ultra solid Berlin Defence. Kasparov was confronted with this opening right from the very first game, which would be decisive for the outcome of the match and for Kasparov’s loss of the WCh title. Kramnik analyses this game in detail on the DVD, going into the ideas and concepts underlying the opening and explaining why the Berlin Defence, quite apart from its objective strengths, was exactly the right choice of opening against a player such as Kasparov.


Four years after his victory over Kasparov, Kramnik would be playing the part of the defender of the title in a match against Peter Leko. On this occasion, the outlook from his point of view was totally different. Now what he had to do was not to lose the match rather than to take the title by storm. On the DVD, Kramnik focuses the key games in this second WCh match in his career, and admits that, though his title defence was successful, right until the end he felt under psychological pressure caused by the different match situation. With hindsight, he concludes on the DVD that his match against Peter Leko was probably the more difficult of his WCh matches to date.

Kramnik’s third duel for the chess throne against Veselin Topalov in 2006 is, when one gets down to it, probably the one which was of the greatest importance in the history of chess. Elista finally saw the reunification of the world championship titles brought to a successful conclusion under the aegis of FIDE. On the DVD Kramnik concentrates on his preparations for the match and on the most important games. He is convinced that the very high quality of chess seen in the games has been overshadowed by the media hype about rumours and accusations of cheating during the match. His DVD is to some extent a contribution to according to the chess side of this duel the recognition and consideration which it deserves.

If you follow the various stages of Vladimir Kramnik’s chess career to date, you will see a lot of chess and understand a lot more about the game. In addition to that, the DVD offers an excellent opportunity to get to know the reigning world champion as a person. This is the case because Kramnik speaks freely and openly, with humour and charm, in an intelligent and at times self-mocking fashion about his successes, his emotions and his chess.

The DVD contains more than six hours of video with exciting reports and game analyses. And there is also a 44 minute interview about the intrigues during the 2006 World Championship and the state of the world of chess in general. Video running time: over 6 hrs (+ 44 min. bonus material).

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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