After seven grueling rounds, the World Cup 2013 has found a worthy champion: Russian Vladimir Kramnik. He is a former world champion and got his crown in the Classical World Championship match by defeating the great Garry Kasparov in 2000. He defended his title in a match against Peter Leko of Hungary in 2004. He became the undisputed world champion by defeating FIDE champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, thus reunifying the World Championship title in 2006. He lost the title to Viswanathan Anand in the 2007 World Championship tournament in Mexico. This year he had nearly qualified to challenge Anand by tying Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in the London Candidate’s tournament but lost out to him on tie-break.
In the World Cup semifinals Kramnik, 36, eliminated Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and the other semifinalist, Dmitry Andreikin, defeated Russian Evgeny Tomashevsky.
So it was Kramnik vs. Andreikin in the finals, a four game series, with possible tiebreaks. In their first game, Andreikin played the Tartakower defense to Kramnik’s Queen’s Gambit. Kramnik blockaded the position and on the 30th move gambled by sacrificing his queen for a bishop and rook and with a very strong passed pawn on the sixth rank. This pawn was a thorn in Andreikin’s position but not necessarily decisive. However, Andreikin lost the inititative by advancing on the kingside. Kramnik got two rooks for the queen and digested Black’s pawns with masterful technique. Andreikin hoped for a mistake, but Kramnik did not oblige.
Following the storm of the first game, the match appeared to be becalmed because Kramnik played carefully and accurately to be certain of draws. The second game was a queen’s pawn opening in which Andreikin avoided Kramnik’s preparations with an early Qc2. Kramnik counterattacked with a pawn fork of two pieces in the center, but Andreikin found an escape, temporarily winning a pawn. However, Kramnik won it back, exchanged queens and held the draw without difficulty. The third game was a Slav defense by Andreikin, as Black. Kramnik initially made a few passive moves including the loss of tempo by exchanging queens. He played cautiously and drew, holding on to his one point advantage.
In the last game, Andreikin played an English opening and finally abandoned his classical game for a kingside fianchetto. He advanced on the queenside but got not much of an advantage. Kramnik challenged Andreikin’s center pawn at e5, and when Andreikin exchanged it, his chances of drawing the match virtually evaporated. Eventually Andreikin, faced with a likely loss, settled for a draw.
Superlatives are insufficient to describe Kramnik’s performance, but now attention will be focused on the Sinquefield Cup, Sept. 9-15 featuring Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura, and Gata Kamsky.
Brevity: D. Iwaniuk v. H. Vogel (2001) 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Be6 12.Nc2 Bg5 13.a4 Rb8 14.axb5 axb5 15.h4 Bxh4 16.Ra6 Na5 17.Rxh4 Qxh4 18.Nc7+ Kf8 19.Qxd6+ Kg8 20.Nd5 Re8 21.Ne7+; 1–0
Winners: Maine Downeast Open 1st: Jarod Bryan, 3.5-0.5; 2d-3d: Roger Morin, Aaron Spencer, 3-1; Boylston Aug. 21 Rapid Quads: Quad #1: 1st: Lawyer Times: 3-0, Quad #2: 1st: Howard Goldowski: 3-1.
Coming Events: Sept. 15, First Scholastic State Qualifier Spiegel Championship (Novice sections open to out-of-state players), Best Western Hotel, 181 Post Road, Marlboro, info@mass
chess.org; Sept. 21, 7th Max Malyuta Memorial Tournament, 250 Main St., Providence, rhodeis