An Ideal Game?

Время публикации: 02.05.2015 15:53 | Последнее обновление: 02.05.2015 19:39

Shirov played against Kramnik like in his younger years

The gem of the first round of the Russian Team Championships was the game Shirov-Kramnik, on top board of the match between Malakhit and Sibir. The game did not affect the overall match result: the Novosibirsk club proved the stronger, thanks to wins by Levon Aronian and Anton Korobov, against Alexanders Motylev and Riazantsev respectively. But the two relatively older GMs have a score to settle between them. 

Over more than 20 years, Shirov and Kramnik have played each other dozens of times, including rapid and blitz, with varying success. In the middle, there was the 1998 Candidates match, won by Shirov, but it was Kramnik who played the match with Kasparov. Each side has his own view of those events, and both have given interviews to our site on the subject, Kramnik in 2011 and Shirov at the end of 2013.

Aleksey SHIROV - Vladimir KRAMNIK
Russian Team Champs 2015, 1st round

The Ruy Lopez
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.Re1 Nd6 6.Nxe5 Be7 7.Bf1 Nf5 The main move is 7...Nxe5, as Kramnik himself has played many times. Without going into the opening subtleties, we can recall the recent US Championship game Robson-So, in which White got the advantage after 8.Rxe5 0-0 9.Nc3 Ne8 10.Nd5 Bd6 11.Re1 Nf6 12.Nxf6+ Qxf6 13.d4 c6 14.Be3 b6 15.Bd3 Bc7 16.d5!.
8.Nf3 d5 9.d4 0-0 10.c3 Re8 11.Bd3 Bd6 12.Rxe8+ Qxe8 13.Qc2 g6 14.Nbd2 b6 15.Nf1 Bd7 16.Bg5 Qf8

17.Re1 f6 18.Bd2 Re8 19.Ne3

19...Nce7?! Inaccurate. It was better to start with 19...Nxe3, and after 20.Bxe3 play 20...Ne7.
20.c4 dxc4 The last two moves are the cause of Black's subsequent suffering. It was still not too late to 20...Nxe3 21.fxe3 (now with the pawn!) 21...c6. Black has not yet equalised, but he is not far off.

21.Nxc4 Nd5 22.Be4 Qf7 23.Nxd6 Nxd6 Kramnik could keep the pawn with 23...cxd6, but here too, White has his trumps – two bishops and a lasting advantage. Even so, the subsequent course of the game shows that it was better to suffer with an extra pawn than without one.
24.Bxd5 Qxd5 25.Qxc7 Nb5 26.Rxe8+ Bxe8 27.Qe7 Qf7 28.Qd8 Nc7 29.Bh6 Nd5 30.Qd6 Ne7

31.g4 Nc8 32.Qd8 Qe6 33.h3 Nd6 34.d5 Nf7 35.dxe6 Nxd8 36.Nd4 a6 37.f4 Nc6 38.Ne2 Ne7

39.Ng3 White still does not have what one could confidently call a winning position. For example, he does not succeed with 39.Kf2 Bc6 40.Nd4 Bd5 41.a3 f5! (Note this move) 42.Ke3 Be4 43.b4 Bd5 44.Bg5 Kf8 45.Bxe7+ Kxe7 46.gxf5 gxf5 47.Nxf5+ Kxe6.

It appears Kramnik missed or underestimated the saving chances with the move f6-f5 and the ending with bishop versus knight. After the move in the game, it was also essential to strive for this set-up:
39...f5! If Now if 40.Kf2?, then Black can activate his position with 40...Bc6 41.Ne2 (he is also too late after 41.Bg5 Kf8 42.Bxe7+ Kxe7 43.gxf5 Kf6!) 41...Bd5 42.Nd4 Nc6! 43.Nxc6 Bxc6 44.gxf5 gxf5 45.e7 Kf7 46.Bf8 Bd5, and the position is drawn.

Black's task can be made more difficult with 40.Bg5! Kf8 41.Bxe7+ Kxe7 42.gxf5 Kf6! 43.Ne4+ Ke7.

There is no win in any of these lines, although Black is hanging by a thread:
1) 44.fxg6 Bxg6 45.Ng5 Bf5! 46.Kg2 h6 47.Nf7 Bxe6 48.Nxh6 Bxa2; 
2) 44.Ng5 h6 45.Nf3 gxf5 46.Nd4 Kf6 with a later bishop transfer via Be8-g6-h7-g8 and good drawing chances.

A textbook example of non-standard thinking!

39...Bc6?! 40.f5! gxf5 41.gxf5 Bb5 42.Ne4 Nxf5? The last chance was 42...Nd5! 43.Kf2 Bd3 44.Kf3 a5. At least the king is not shut in the corner and there seems to be no direct win.
43.Nxf6+ Kh8 Now White is winning.
44.Bf8! a5 45.Kf2 Bc6 46.e7 Nd6 47.Kg3 Ne8 48.Ng4 h5 49.Ne5 Bd5 50.a3 Kg8 51.Kf4 Bb3 52.Kg5 Bd1 53.Nc4 Kf7 54.Nxb6 Nd6 55.Nd5 Ne4+ 56.Kh4 a4

57.Nc3! (The most technical way) 57...Nxc3 58.bxc3 Be2 59.Kg5 Ke8 60.h4 Kd7 61.Kf6 Bc4 62.Bh6 Ke8 63.Bf4 Bf7 64.Bg5 Bb3 65.Ke5 Kd7 66.Kd4 Bf7 67.Kc5 Kc7 68.c4 Be8 69.Kd5 Kd7 70.c5 Bg6 71.c6+ Kc7 72.Bf4+ Kc8 73.Ke6 Bf7+ 74.Kf6 Be8 75.c7 Kd7 76.Kg7 1-0

Maybe one can criticise some of Shirov's moves in this game, but we Chess-News have not found any. However, one must mention Kramnik's tenacity in defence. And if Vladimir had found the study-like draw, the game would have been an ideal draw. But it seems that it is not yet time to conclude peace...

[Event "TCh-RUS Men 2015"] [Site "Sochi RUS"] [Date "2015.05.01"] [Round "1.1"] [Board "1"] [White "Shirov, Alexei"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteTitle "GM"] [BlackTitle "GM"] [WhiteElo "2691"] [BlackElo "2783"] [ECO "C67"] [Opening "Ruy Lopez"] [Variation "Berlin defence, open variation"] [WhiteTeam "Malachite (Sverdlovsk region)"] [BlackTeam "Sibir (Novosibirsk)"] [WhiteFideId "2209390"] [BlackFideId "4101588"] [EventDate "2015.05.01"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nf5 8. Nf3 d5 9. d4 O-O 10. c3 Re8 11. Bd3 Bd6 12. Rxe8+ Qxe8 13. Qc2 g6 14. Nbd2 b6 15. Nf1 Bd7 16. Bg5 Qf8 17. Re1 f6 18. Bd2 Re8 19. Ne3 Nce7 20. c4 dxc4 21. Nxc4 Nd5 22. Be4 Qf7 23. Nxd6 Nxd6 24. Bxd5 Qxd5 25. Qxc7 Nb5 26. Rxe8+ Bxe8 27. Qe7 Qf7 28. Qd8 Nc7 29. Bh6 Nd5 30. Qd6 Ne7 31. g4 Nc8 32. Qd8 Qe6 33. h3 Nd6 34. d5 Nf7 35. dxe6 Nxd8 36. Nd4 a6 37. f4 Nc6 38. Ne2 Ne7 39. Ng3 Bc6 40. f5 gxf5 41. gxf5 Bb5 42. Ne4 Nxf5 43. Nxf6+ Kh8 44. Bf8 a5 45. Kf2 Bc6 46. e7 Nd6 47. Kg3 Ne8 48. Ng4 h5 49. Ne5 Bd5 50. a3 Kg8 51. Kf4 Bb3 52. Kg5 Bd1 53. Nc4 Kf7 54. Nxb6 Nd6 55. Nd5 Ne4+ 56. Kh4 a4 57. Nc3 Nxc3 58. bxc3 Be2 59. Kg5 Ke8 60. h4 Kd7 61. Kf6 Bc4 62. Bh6 Ke8 63. Bf4 Bf7 64. Bg5 Bb3 65. Ke5 Kd7 66. Kd4 Bf7 67. Kc5 Kc7 68. c4 Be8 69. Kd5 Kd7 70. c5 Bg6 71. c6+ Kc7 72. Bf4+ Kc8 73. Ke6 Bf7+ 74. Kf6 Be8 75. c7 Kd7 76. Kg7 1-0

See photo-report from the venue.


  


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