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Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The Russian Super Final Championship 2013 is now going on with 10 Grandmasters present and Vladimir Kramnik, a former world champion. In the first round, he is facing Anton Shomoev, a Grandmaster with a “mere” 2579 rating. Kramnik takes his opponent in stride, as we shall see.

 

66th Russian SuperFinal Championship, 2013

Vladimir Kramnik (2796)

vs. Anton Shomoev (2579)

 

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1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 An unusual approach against what will turn into a King’s Indian Attack. 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0–0 e6 5.d3 d5 6.Nbd2 The King’s Indian Attack (KIA). A favorite system for many great players, including this author. In fact, this system was for a long time a favorite of Bobby Fischer who won many famous games with it. I should mention that the first game in Fischer’s “60 Memorable Games” is a KIA against James Sherwin. 6…g6 Again, unusual and maybe a little bit too slow. Usual is 6...Be7. 7.c4 A different approach from a normal KIA. There e4 is the idea, trying to get a King Indian Defense structure, but with colors reversed. Kramnik blazes a new path as I can’t find any other game with this line. 7...Bg7 8.b4!? Now, the game starts. This essentially sacrifices an exchange (rook for a knight or bishop) for “just” positional compensation. 8…Ne4 9.cxd5 exd5 If 9…BxR then 10.NxN with the idea of Bg5 is virtually winning, i.e.;10…Bg711. dxe fxe 12.Neg5 Qe7 13.Nxe6! QxN 14.Ng5 Qc8 15.Qb3 threatening mate after 16.BxB QxB 17.Qf7+ and Ne6++ for which there is no good defense. 10.Nb3 Bxa1 11.Nxa1 For his exchange, White has the two-bishops, a big lead in development and a lot of weak squares in Black’s camp. However, the computer is very skeptical, as computers are often are when it comes to sacrifices. It is doubtful if this is enough but in practical, over the board terms, it may be. 11…Nd6 12.Bg5 f6 13.Bf4 a5! Everybody and everything (computers) loves this move. It immediately counterattacks and by getting rid of White’s b-pawn, it will allow Black to get in c5 to help his development. After 13...0–0 White can continue his positional pressure with either 14.Nd4 or 14.Qb3. 14.bxa5 Rxa5 15.Qc2 c5 16.Nb3 Ra7 17.Nxc5!? (Diagram) Well, now it is a whole rook for two pawns.The computer just loses its “mind” over this but Black’s pieces are still uncoordinated and his king is still in the center, which will require a steady hand to refute this enterprising sacrifice. 17…bxc5 18.Qxc5 Ra6 19.Rb1 Nd7? 19...Ba8 Seems to be the big test of Kramnik’s idea then after 20.Ng5 fxg5 21.Bxg5 Qc8 22.Qxc8+ Nxc8 23.Rxb8 Kd7 24.Bh3+ Kd6 25.Bf4+ which is essentially equal but this line over looks 20…Nd7 which seems to give Black a big advantage in the all the lines after 21.Qe6+ Qe7 22.Ne6. 20.Qe3+ Kf7 The tide has turned against Black and he should be thinking of drawing with 20...Qe7, i.e., 21.Bxd6 Qxe3 22.fxe3 Ba8 23.Bb4 Rxa2 24.Bh3 Kd8 25.Nd4 Re8 26.Ne6+ Rxe6 27.Bxe6 Rxe2. 21.Bxd6 Now it is only an exchange for a two pawns 21…Ba8 22.Qf4 Re8 23.Nd4 Rxa2? 23…g5 doesn’t work due to 24.Qf5! So, 23…Kg8 threatening that seemsto be Black’s best chance.Then after 24.Bc7 Qe7 25. 24.Bh3 f5 Black is OK. 24.Bh3! With two very annoying threats: 25.Qh6 and 25.Rc1 with the idea of 26.Rc7. Both of which are very hard to meet. 24…Raxe2 Desperation 25.Nxe2 Rxe2 26.Qh6; 1–0 As there is no good defense toQh7+ - 26…Nf8 27.Bg4 Re8 28.BxN RxB 29.Qxh7+ Ke8 30.Re1+.

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