Vladimir Kramnik to retire

by ChessBase
1/29/2019 – Vladimir Kramnik announced his retirement at an event in the Netherlands following his last-place finish in the Tata Steel Masters. He says he had already made the decision a few months ago and will focus on chess projects related to scholastic education, but that he may return to the board for an occasional rapid, blitz or simultaneous event. | Photo: Tata Steel Chess

My Path to the Top My Path to the Top

On this DVD Vladimir Kramnik retraces his career from talented schoolboy to World Champion in 2006. With humour and charm he describes his first successes, what it meant to be part of the Russian Gold Medal team at the Olympiad, and how he undertook the Herculean task of beating his former mentor and teacher Garry Kasparov.


Press release

29 January 2019
Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik (43) has just announced that he will end his career as a professional chess player. Kramnik was world champion from 2000 until 2007. He dethroned Garry Kasparov by beating him 8.5 – 6.5 in 2000. Kramnik didn’t lose a single game during this world championship match. He has won virtually all top tournaments, including the Tata Steel Chess Tournament (in 1998).

Kramnik: “I already decided to finish my professional chess career a couple of months ago and now, after having played my last tournament, I would like to announce it publicly.”

“The life of a professional chess player was a great journey and I am very thankful to chess for all it has given me. It has sometimes been difficult, sometimes more successful than I could ever imagine, but in any case it has been a priceless human experience for me. I have always tried my best to give it all from my side, being fully involved in it while working and playing chess.”

“But I have also expressed in interviews before that I would like to try doing something else one day, and since my chess player motivation has dropped significantly in recent months, it feels like the right moment for it. I would like to concentrate on projects which I have been developing during the last months especially in the field of chess for children and education. I will soon provide more detailed information about those.”

“I might still like to play a rapid or blitz chess tournament at times, or do a simultaneous like the Tata Steel Chess simultaneous in the Dutch parliament building this afternoon and will participate in various events connected with chess, popularising this great game.”

Jeroen van den Berg, director of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament: “I am honoured that Vladimir Kramnik has picked the Tata Steel Chess Tournament to be his last. I would have liked to see him to take leave with a better result, though. Vladimir is a great player. He is dynamic, all-round and a great fighter with a very keen insight. But above all he is a wonderful and warm person, with a great sense of humour. I will miss his presence in the top of the chess world, as will many chess aficionados all over the world. I wish him all the best with everything he is going to undertake and am sure our paths will cross again many more times.”

In the past weeks Kramnik participated in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. This afternoon he will play the Tata Steel Chess simultaneous (Torentje Schaak) Tata Steel has organised for members of parliament and journalists in the parliament building in The Hague. This simultaneous is always the last event of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

Former world champion plays Tata Steel simultaneous in Dutch parliament building this afternoon.

For info about the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, go to: www.tatasteelchess.com.

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


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genem genem 2/5/2019 11:48
Kramnik was the Match World Chess Champion (MWCChamp) from 2000-2008. Kramnik did not lose his Match title until 2008. In 2007 he merely came in 2nd in a Tournament: by definition nobody can have his Match title taken by a Tournament. By definition.
Anthe Anthe 1/31/2019 09:50
So Yermolinsky was wrong...
yesenadam yesenadam 1/31/2019 01:50
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)
twamers twamers 1/30/2019 11:01
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.
Vidmar Vidmar 1/30/2019 03:47
Kramnik was becoming the new Topalov - playing riskily and losing most of the time.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 1/30/2019 11:34
Thank you Kramnik for producing so many brilliancies. It was great to look at your games!


He also played a match against Lékó Péter in 2004. He won the first game, Lékó equalized in the fifth, won brilliantly in the eighth game and hung on to the lead until the very last game, the 14th, when Kramnik, in a must win situation produced the game of the year, beat Lékó and the match therefore ended in a tie of 7 - 7, which meant that Kramnik remained the Classical Chess World Champion.
Checkravuh Checkravuh 1/30/2019 11:22
A legend and one of the greatest players of the game.
All the best for future!
vocal_citizen vocal_citizen 1/30/2019 08:18
Kramnik V, hats off to you for the 25+ years of delight brought to your fans! Soon the world will give you a permanent place in the group of the game’s greatest geniuses. Will miss your games. Consider being the 2nd of Caruana to beat Magnus in the next WCh.
thlai80 thlai80 1/30/2019 05:24
Remember Carlsen laughing at Kramnik capability as top player last year. Time to become second for Caruana and launch another attack on Carlsen crown. That and Kramnik could be having the last laugh.
James Satrapa James Satrapa 1/30/2019 03:42
Thank you Grandmaster Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik, for your great games and for the memories you leave with us all from your incredible career. Looking forward to your projects and your ongoing service to Caissa.
fixpont fixpont 1/30/2019 12:41
it was the right time, thx for everything
Air Bubble Air Bubble 1/29/2019 11:11
@RayLopez chess is in "a sense" "a way to not be around reality" , an escape from reality ....probably Kramnik want to discover the world without 64 squares? he deserves some liberty, no?
KungFuChess KungFuChess 1/29/2019 09:22
RayLopez writes, "It's common for a player to consider retirement after a bad tournament. Recall Kasparov himself retired after losing to Topalov."

Ummm, every chess champion ever has lost games occasionally but Kasparov WON that tournament in Linares. In no way was it a "bad tournament", rather he was in great form. He lost the very last game at Linares against Veselin Topolov because, as Gary himself stated, his head was not into it the game knowing he'd already wrapped up the tournament championship regardless the result, and his heart not into due his coming retirement announcement at tournament end.
badibadibadi badibadibadi 1/29/2019 09:18
The biggest factor with age, is to keep motivation, Kramnik lost it unfortunately, but anyway, his career speaks for itself
Air Bubble Air Bubble 1/29/2019 08:34
Korchnoi seems to have beaten all the records for playing way beyond 40...
tomohawk tomohawk 1/29/2019 06:51
At the moment there are 19 players in the top 100 born before 1980. I would think that someone like Anand, if he wanted to, could stay in the top 100 for at least another five years. At which point he would be 54.
Daniel Quigley Daniel Quigley 1/29/2019 06:49
It is not at all unusual for players in their early 40s to retire, either officially, or by significantly reducing their tournament schedule. Chess is a sport every bit as much as tennis or football. The age reached in the late 30s is the beginning of the decline both in physical and mental abilities.That's why there are so few top 100 players born before 1980, none of whom are ascending.
sshivaji sshivaji 1/29/2019 06:21
please say this is early "April Fool's". Kramnik will be missed at the board :(
bbrodinsky bbrodinsky 1/29/2019 04:45
A great player who added much to chess.
RayLopez RayLopez 1/29/2019 04:32
It's common for a player to consider retirement after a bad tournament. Recall Kasparov himself retired after losing to Topalov. I think both K's should have stuck around a few more years. Both of them probably will be over 2700 for the next 10 years. But, some of these top players don't want to be beaten by guys who they would have beat in their younger days.
Rambus Rambus 1/29/2019 02:25
There are only 2 instances of a player forfeiting a game in a WC. In both cases (Fischer & Kramnik), the forfeited player won.
calvinamari calvinamari 1/29/2019 02:23
Hats off to Vlad. Like many champions, he changed and advanced the game in obviously lasting ways. Wishing him every good fortune. (I’m also hoping that his efforts in chess education extend also to authoring another book or two, or perhaps many more ChessBase videos.)
playd4 playd4 1/29/2019 02:17
I wish Kramnik the best in his retirement. It is his choice. But I do think it is odd for a 43-year-old rated 2777 (at least before Tata Steel), with perhaps another 40 years ahead of him, to retire. It should be possible to promote chess education and also continue to play tournaments. I hope Kramnik will reconsider.
Rambus Rambus 1/29/2019 01:54
Kramnik was at his peak in the early 2000's. Let us remember his great WC matches against Kasparov (won), Topalov (won) and Anand (lost).