Mexico 2007: preview of favorites Anand and Kramnik

8/29/2007 – With the world championship in Mexico City almost upon us, our Playchess trainer Dennis Monokroussos will spend the next few shows previewing the players. He starts with the clear favorites: world champion Vladimir Kramnik and world #1 by rating Viswanathan Anand. These two would merit many hours of study, but Dennis keeps things brief and takes a look at one highlight apiece.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

We’ll start, alphabetically, with an Anand win. Many chess fans hate the Petroff (wrongly, in my opinion), so they should delight in our first game, an Anand massacre with the white pieces in round seven of the 1999 Siemens Giants rapid tournament. At that time the following line was in vogue: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 Nb4 9.cxd5 (9.Be2 is almost automatic these days) 9…Nxd3 10.Qxd3 Qxd5 11.Re1 Bf5 and now 12.g4!?

This rapid event was a testing ground for the variation, and the sequence of games was quite amusing. The round one game between Anand and Kramnik continued 12…Bg6 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.Qxc3 Qd6 and Black drew quickly. Yet something was felt to be amiss in Kramnik’s treatment, and in round five Karpov tried 14…Kf8, and after 15.Bf4 c6 16.Re3 h5 17.g5 h4 18.Rae1 Qf5 19.Rxe7 Qxf4 20.h3 Bh5 21.g6!! White was winning with room to spare. Anand managed to lose that game, unbelievably, in a completely won position with a huge time advantage, but it wasn’t the fault of his opening and middlegame play. That brings us to round seven, when Kramnik went for this line again, intending to improve on Karpov’s play. (One guess is that instead of 16…h5, he planned 16…f6.) Unfortunately, Anand improved first, and the result was devastating. The game is a fine example of both attacking play and opening preparation, and as a fringe benefit this is a variation you can use against local Petroff players who have forgotten about (or never knew about) this chapter of the opening’s history.

Now for the Kramnik win. Around the turn of the century, was often on the White side of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and he won many attractive attacking games in the isolani positions that arose. Our second game, from the 2001 Dortmund tournament, was one of them, and a very complete game as well. The position after the opening was highly complex, and after an inaccuracy by Black Kramnik sacrificed a pawn for a powerful kingside attack. Anand’s typically resourceful defense allowed him to reach an endgame, but Kramnik’s technique was, as usual, up to the job.

Both games highlight the winners’ strengths, and some of their weaknesses too, I think. So come join me: the games are great, and it’s time to start getting psyched up for the world championships. The show starts Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET – hope to see you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 01:00h GMT, 02:00 Paris/Berlin, 11:00h Sydney (on Friday). 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).


Dennis Monokroussos is 40, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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