Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The seventh round of the 2013 Dortmund Grandmaster Tournament, in Germany, brought a little unhappiness to former world champion Vladimir Kramnik. He yielded the lead to England’s Michael Adams when he lost to former world junior champion Dmitry Andreikin. Adams went on to win the tournament after drawing Kramnik in the last round. Here is Kramnik’s fatal seventh-round game in which he was unable to develop his queenside pieces adequately or stop White’s passed d-pawn.

41st GM Dortmund, 2013

Dmitry Andreikin (2727)
Vladimir Kramnik


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5  4.Bg5 h6 5.Qxf6 Behold the Capablanca-Duras variation of the Queen's Gambit declined. Capablanca is the former world champion and child prodigy. Duras is Oldrich Duras, a leading Czech player of the early 20th century. This a fairly rare line these days. 6.Nbd2  A line, but also rare. Many more games go 6.Nc3. I assume that the benefit of the knight being on d2 is to avoid any damage to White's pawns after a Bb4 by Black.The drawback is that the knight has much less influence on the center on d2 than on c3.  6…g6 A truly rare and rather dubious choice based on the result of this game. I can only find one other occurrence of this line and that was in the game Labib - Smeets, 2012, where Black fared much better than Kramnik does here: 7.g3 Bg7 8.Qa4+ Nd7 9.Ne5 Qe7 10.f4 0-0 11.Bg2 Nxe5 12.fxe5 c5 13.Qa3 Qc7 14.e3 cxd4 15.exd4 dxc4 16.Rc1 Qb6 17.Rxc4 a5 18.Qb3 Qa7 19.Qe3 0-0 20.Rc7 Rad8 21.Rxb7 Qa6 22.Nb3 Bc6 23.Ra7 Qxa7 24.Bxc6 Qb6 25.Qc3 Rc8 26.Nxa5 Rfd8 27.b4 Rxd4 28.b5 Bxe5 29.Nc4 Qc5; 0-1 Maybe it was this game that inspired Kramnik to give it a try. 7.Qb3! Much better than the g3 played in the Labib – Smeets game. White puts immediate pressure on Black’s center and queenside. 7…dxc4 Better was c6 or Qd8, holding the center. 8.Qxc4 Qe7 9.Rc1 c6 10.e4 White has the big center and a large lead in development.  10...Bg7 11.e5 0-0 12.Bd3 The opening has gone badly for Black. Now, how is he supposed to develop his queenside safely? 12…b6 13.0-0 Rd8? Now, either 13…c5 or 13…Ba6 keeps White's advantage to a minimum, i.e., 13...c5 14.Qc3 Nd7 15.Be4 Rb8 16.Rfd1 Rd8 17.g3; or 13...Ba6 14.Qc3 Bxd3 15.Qxd3 c5 16.Qe4 Nd7 17.Nc4 13… Rd8 does nothing to help get Black's queenside into action. Qb3! Stopping both Ba6 and c5.14...Bb7 15.Be4 Rd7 Trying to get in the freeing c5 by protecting his bishop.16.Rfd1 c5 17.dxc5 bxc5 The c5 pawn is real target now.18.Qa4 Keeping the black's knight right where it is.  18...Rd8 19.Nb3 Na6 19...Bxe4 20.Qxe4 Nd7 21.h3 a5 22.Qe1 Rdc8 is a better line where Black at least has some activity. 20.Rd6! (Diagram) Bxe421.Qxe4 Rxd6 Virtually the only move as Black's knight is attacked and White is threatening to annex the c5 pawn. However, now the passed White d-pawn becomes a monster. 22.exd6 Qf8 23.Qb7 Nb4 24.d7 Nd3 25.Rd1 c4 If 25...Nxb7 then 26.QxR wins. An example of the power of this passed pawn. 26.Na5Rd8 27.Nc6 Qc5 Trying to scrounge up counterplay anyway he can but his pressure on f2 is not enough to save the game. 28.Nxd8 Qxf2+ 29.Kh1 Bd4 30.h3 Or 30. NxB also wins. 30...Qe3 31.Nxf7 Bb6 32.N7e5 Nf2+ 33.Kh2 Nxd1 And Black resigned not wanting to wait for 34.d8(Q)+ BxQ. 35.Qf7+ Kh8 36.Ng6 mate. A fine game by Andreikin; 1-0