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Reply #10: Karjakin - Kramnik, Round 4 [View All]

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-23-11 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Karjakin - Kramnik, Round 4

Sergey Karjakin
Photo by Stefan64 from Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons License, Attribution/Share Alike)

20th Melody Amber Rapid/Blind Tournament (Blindfold Competition), Round 4
Monte Carlo, 15 March 2011

Petit Spanish Royal Game: Gothic Defense
(Berlin Defense)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 Bd7 10.h3 h6 11.b3

  • For variations and moves up to here, see Istratescu-Breder, Masters 0910, Hastings, 2009.


  • If 11...Kc8 12.Bb2 b6 13.Rad1 Ne7 then:
    • 14.Ne2 14...Ng6 15.Ne1 h5 16.f4 Ne7 17.Rf3 Nf5 18.Rfd3 Bc5+ 19.Kh2 Be6 20.Rd8+ Kb7 21.Rxa8 Kxa8 22.h4 Rd8 23.g3 Rh8 gives White the more active game (Zhong Zhang-Sturua, Op, Dubai, 2005).

    • If 14.Rd2 c5 15.Rfd1 Be6 16.Ne2 g5 then:
      • 17.Rd8+ Kb7 18.Rxa8 Kxa8 19.h4 g4 20.Nh2 h5 21.Rd8+ Kb7 22.Nf4 Ng6 23.Nxe6 fxe6 24.g3 Bh6 25.Rxh8 Nxh8 26.f3 gives White better pawn structure for the endgame (Grischuk-Eljanov, World Rpd Cup, Odessa, 2009).

      • 17.c4 Kb7 18.Ng3 Nc6 19.Nh5 a6 20.g4 b5 21.Rc1 bxc4 22.bxc4 Na5 23.Rdc2 Rd8 is equal (Nijboer-Rizouk, Op, Salou, 2005).

12.Nd5 (N)

  • If 12.Rd1 Kc8 13.Bb2 Be6 14.Nd5 g5 15.c4 b6 16.Kh2 Ne7 is equal (Nepomniachtchi-Bruzn, Calpblanca Mem, Havana, 2010).

  • 12.Bb2 Nd4 13.Nxd4 cxd4 14.Nd5 c5 15.f4 Bc6 16.c4 dxc3 17.Bxc3 Bxd5 18.Rad1 and 19. Rxd5 give White the advantage in space (Shirov-Karjakin, Rpd, Odessa, 2010).

12...c6 13.Nf4

  • With a teeny bit more space, better pawns and a safer King, White has the a slight advantage.

13...g5 14.Bb2!?

  • This is not the best move objectively, but it sets up many ways for Black to go wong.
  • The objectively best 14.Nh5 Kc7 15.Rd1 Ne7 16.Bb2 Be6 17.a4 Rc8 gives White a slght advantage in spaces and promises little more.
  • If you wait for luck to turn up, life becomes very boring. --Tal

  • Black does not follow up correctly. The best thing to do (according to Rybka) is fall into the trap.
  • If 14...gxf4! 15.e6 Bg7! 16.Bxg7 Nxg7 17.exd7 Kxd7 gives Black an extra pawn.

BLACK:Vladimir Kramnik

WHITE: Sergey Karjakin
Position after 14...Rh8g8


  • Again, this pawn sacrifice is not objectively the best.
  • 15.Nh5! Be6 16.Nf6 Rh8 17.g3 Kc7 18.Kg2 Ne7 continues to give White a slight advantage in space.


  • The game is equal.

16.Rad1+ Kc7 17.Nxe6+ fxe6 18.g4

  • 18.Rfe1 Bg7 19.Be5+ Bxe5 20.Nxe5 Rad8 21.Nd3 b6 remains equal.


  • If 18...Nd6!? 19.Rfe1! Re8 20.Be5 then:
    • If 20...Rd8 21.Re3 then:
      • 21...a6 22.Bf6 Re8 23.Red3 gives White a small advantage in space.
      • If 21...b6?! 22.a4! then:
        • 22...Rg6 23.Bg3 a5 24.Ne5! Rf6 25.Red3 gives White the advantage largely having root in his superior pawn structure: the Knight is safe at e5 because it is shielded by Black's isolated pawn at e6; the Knight cannot move because a Rook will be lost; and although Black has an extra pawn, the combination of the doubled d-pawn and the isolated e-pawn provide White with more than enough compensation playing aound the pawn weaknesses.
        • 22...Re8 23.Kg2 a6 24.a5 b5 25.Red3 Rd8 26.Bg3 yields a position in which White has the active game and Black cannot move his pieces without weakening his center.
    • 20...Be7?! 21.Rd3! Rd8 22.Nd2 gives White a comfortable advantage in space.

BLACK:Vladimir Kramnik

WHITE: Sergey Karjakin
Position after 18...Bf8g7


  • The exchange disrupts Black's piece co-ordination.
  • If 19.gxf5?! then Black wins a pawn after 19...Bxb2 20.fxe6 Rae8 21.Rd7+ Kc8 22.Re1 Rg6.


  • This is Black's only playable move.
  • If Black tries 19...Rxg7? 20.gxf5 exf5 with the idea of sweeping away White's kingside pawns and attacking with Rooks, then White refutes the plan after 21.Rfe1! when:
    • 21...g4 (Rabbit) 22.Nh4 Rf8 23.Re5 gxh3+ 24.Kh2 leaves Black in shambles.
    • 21...Rag8 (Rybka) 22.Re6 Rh8 23.Kg2 f4 24.Re5 gives White active pieces.


  • White has a small advantage in space.

20...Rad8 21.Rxd8 Rxd8 22.f4 gxf4 23.Rxf4 Rd1+?!

  • Black's time should have been spent battoning down the hatches to defend the King.
  • 23...b5! 24.Kg2 Rd2+ 25.Rf2 Rd5 26.Rf7+ Kd6 27.Nf3 gives White nothing more than a small advantage in space.


  • This move isn't bad, but it's not the best.
  • 24.Kf2! (moving toward the center: the King is a strong piece, use it! --Steinitz) 24...Ne8 25.Rf7+ Kb6 26.Nc4+ Ka6 27.Rh7 gives White a stong game. Black's King is expose in front of his own pawns.


  • This would be moe effective with the Rook on the back rank.
  • If 24...Rd2+! 25.Kg3 Ne8 26.Rf7+ Kc8 27.Re7 Nc7 28.Rh7 wins the pawn.

25.Rf7+! Kb6?

  • Black's chances are long, but the King runs the wrong and makes them nil from this point on.
  • If 25...Kc8 26.Re7 Nc7 27.Rh7 Nb5 28.Rxh6 gives White two connected passers, but not quite an ion-clad win.

BLACK:Vladimir Kramnik

WHITE: Sergey Karjakin
Position after 25...Kc7b6

26.Re7 Nf6

  • No better is 26...Rd8 27.Kg3 Nf6 28.Rxe6 Ng8 29.Rg6 when White goes lion hunting.

27.Rxe6 Nd5

  • 27...Ng8 28.Rg6! Rd8 29.Kg3 Re8 30.Nf7 wins the h-pawn and gives White a winning position.

28.Rxh6 Ne3+

  • If 28...Rd2+ 29.Kf3 Rxc2 30.Nc4+ then:
    • If 30...Ka6 31.g5 Rc3+ 32.Ke4 Rc2 33.g6 then:
      • 33...Rxa2 34.Kf3 Ra1 35.Ne3 Ne7 36.g7 when the theat of the pawn queening wins a piece.
      • 33...Rf2 34.a4 Re2+ 35.Kf3 Re6 36.g7 the pawn must queen.
    • 30...Kc7 31.Rh7+ Kd8 32.Rxb7 wins easily for White.

29.Kg3 Nxc2 30.h4 Nd4

  • If 30...Rg1+ 31.Kh2 Ra1 32.a4 Ne3 33.g5 then:
    • 33...Rb1 34.Rh7 Nf1+ 35.Kg1 Nd2+ 36.Kg2 Rb2 37.Nd7+ gives White time to advance the pawn.
    • 33...Ra2+ 34.Kh3 Ra3 35.Rf6 c4 36.bxc4 Kc7 37.Nf3 wins easily.

31.h5 Ka5

  • If 31...Ne2+ then White wins after 32.Kf3 Nd4+ 33.Kf4 Rf1+ 34.Kg5 Kb5 35.Rf6.

BLACK:Vladimir Kramnik

WHITE: Sergey Karjakin
Position after 32...Kb6a5


  • The rest requires no comment.

32...b5 33.h6 Rh1 34.Kg2 Rh4 35.Kg3 Rh1 36.g5 Kb4 37.Nd3+ Kc3 38.Nxc5 a5 39.Rf7 Kb4 40.Nd3+ Kc3 41.Nf2 Rh5 42.Nh3 Ne6 43.Rf3+ Kb2 44.Kg4

  • The Rook cannot escape.
  • Vladimir Borisovich resigns.

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