Reactions to Kramnik's retirement

by ChessBase
2/15/2019 – Kramnik's sudden retirement from tournament chess caused great consternation among chess fans and his fellow professionals alike. Numerous players have commented on Twitter, and so have ChessBase readers. We sample the growing body of reactions, as we celebrate the release of a new entry in our Masterclass video series.

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No more classical chess for Vladimir Kramnik

The response has been pouring in, both on Twitter an in our comments section on the announced retirement of the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. Although it appears he will no longer fight in the World Championship cycle, we're willing to bet we haven't seen the last of Kramnik behind the board.

His rivals

Most reactions were flattering:






Magnus Carlsen responded with a bit of black humour:

In an interview with Jan Gustafsson — one of his seconds in recent World Championship matches — he said there was no animosity between the two, and in fact Magnus recalled that Kramnik had been his sparring partner before the 2015 World Blitz and Rapid Championship in Berlin.

"I was desperately searching for another jibe...Vlad's quote about Nakamura from a few years ago whe he was asked whether [Nakamura] could become World Champion, and he said something along the lines of 'maybe when we all retire' and I couldn't find that quote so I came up with the next best thing."

"I read the book Kramnik my Life and Games...and that became one of my very favourite books growing up. I absolutely loved his way of playing, his style, and just the richness of ideas in his play, which is still there. So, I admire him very much and that's not going to change."

Countless players have been inspired by Kramnik and studied his play to learn from him. On the new Masterclass DVD about Kramnik experts analyse Kramnik's play to help others to study his phenomenal chess and to learn from him.

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• Video running time: 9 h 36 min (English)
• All Kramnik’s games, and short biography
• Kramnik Powerbook: The opening repertoire of the 14th world champion as a variation tree
• Tactics training with 121 Kramnik games: 399 training questions, max. 835 points
• With ChessBase Reader 2017

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Chess professionals

Nigel Short, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Fiona Steil-Antoni weighed in during a Question and Answer session in Gibraltar:

"The main issue is just that people lose the enthusiasm to keep on working."













Say it isn't so! The Russian Chess Federation seems to have been blind-sided and still call him back into service for the 2020 Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk:

Even an artist laments:

ChessBase authors

IMs Lawrence Trent and Merij van Delft each featured Kramnik's games in recent episodes of The Weekly Show and Game of the Week:

ChessBase readers

When the news broke last month, it bumped Kramnik onto our Hot Topics list thanks to the many reader comments.

Noooo. He was 2817.8 (personal best) not long ago! - in October 2016. What a shame. I was hoping the 'new' fun Kramnik could enjoy a long successful phase. One of my very favourite players, a funny guy and thoughtful speaker. There's no-one whose name I got more pleasure out of seeing in a tournament lineup. I hope to see him banter blitzing sometime, that would be amazing. Thank you for all the incredible contributions to the chess world! (Apart from the Berlin hehe)

Always a shame to see a truly great player retire but Kramnik has been a top player for so many years. I attended some of the London 2000 World Championship games when he became World Champion and also met him at the London Chess shop in July 2000 where he autographed his book of games for me. A treasured book. A real top person and a fantastic player who has added greatly to the history of chess and who I wish a very happy future for in his new endeavours.

A legend and one of the greatest players of the game. 
All the best for future!

please say this is early "April Fool's". Kramnik will be missed at the board :(


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genem genem 2/18/2019 07:53
Kramnik is just the latest elite chess players to retire earlier than he would have if chess960 (FRC) was a more prominent companion to classical chess. Vlad is not tired of playing chess, he is tired of constantly studying the latest avalanche of opening minutiae. I believe this was also a factor about why Kasparov retired even though he was a top rated player at the time. I read a statement by Karpov that partly blamed, very directly, the constant demands of opening study under classical chess's inflexible endless reuse of just one starting setup position. Are or inflexible rules are killing off our great players before their time? (Gene Milener)
Lightning McQueen Lightning McQueen 2/17/2019 12:10
sad to read
TRM1361 TRM1361 2/16/2019 04:28
nd he retires still rated higher than Topalov!!! Bo-Ya Baby!!!

Sad to see you go Vlad but lots of great memories.
benedictralph benedictralph 2/16/2019 01:07
Yes, with a few exceptions, midlife is about the time professional chess becomes too much to bear. Especially in this age of computers and exhaustive analyses. Humans may be living longer (or rather, dying later) but they were never getting any younger.
amarpan amarpan 2/15/2019 08:19
Kramnik came very close to winning the candidates to qualify for playing Anand in 2013. Had he played for a draw in his final game, he would have had a great opportunity to recapture the world championship.
Stupido Stupido 2/15/2019 07:31
@marselos - Big Vlad is still alive ^^ He quit competitive chess, but his new projects might be related to chess.
identity777 identity777 2/15/2019 04:22
This article is a very nice tribute
TomE57ach TomE57ach 2/15/2019 03:05
Vladimir Kramnik: A true gentleman, family man, fierce competitor, one who set the standard for deep opening preparation (along with Kasparov and Anand), great sense of humour, one of the greatest players ever.. and - not everyone may know this - but also an incredible chess analyst. Though we won't see him playing classical anymore, I do hope and anticipate that he will play the occasional simul, rapid, blitz, or some such event, and of course keep promoting the game... On behalf of chess players everywhere, thank you, GM Kramnik.
Marselos Marselos 2/15/2019 12:57
He was a great man.
After him chess is only a videogame.
thirteen thirteen 2/15/2019 11:39
Must be SO many slightly lesser players than Vlad [and lets be honest here, that is almost everybody but the very top elite] absolutely delighted never again to have to face him over the board anymore.
Best praise I can think of!