Malcolm Pein on…Kramnik’s Design

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Malcolm Pein on…Kramnik’s Design

The second event of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour is underway in Paris. Shak Mamedyarov’s fine win in round seven of the Grand Chess Tour’s Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest given yesterday featured an early g7-g5 thrust that was inspired by Aronian-Kramnik from the 2018 Candidates tournament in Berlin. This game is worth revisiting and notes are based on Kramnik’s in MegaBase.

L. Aronian – V. Kramnik
Candidates (3) 2018
Ruy Lopez Berlin

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.0–0 Qe7 (Now if 7.Nbd2 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5 9.Nc4 Nd7 is an ideal setup for Black – VK) 7.h3 Rg8! (Kramnik had considered h6 and g5, like in some lines of the Giuoco Piano, then he thought, why not Rg8 to save a tempo?) 8.Kh1 (After 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 or 8.c3 g5 9.d4 exd4 10.cxd4 Bb6 Black pressures d4 and if 11.e5 Nd5 12.Nh2 g4! 13.Nxg4 Qh4!; 8.Be3 Bxe3 9.fxe3 g5 10.Nh2 g4 is very strong) 8…Nh5 9.c3 g5! 10.Nxe5 g4! 11.d4 (Not 11.hxg4 Qh4+ 12.Kg1 Ng3 or 11.Nxg4 Bxg4 12.hxg4 Qh4+ 13.Kg1 Ng3) 11…Bd6 12.g3 Bxe5 (Or 12…Be6! and if 13.hxg4? Bxe5 – VK) 13.dxe5 Qxe5 14.Qd4 Qe7 15.h4 c5! (To transfer the bishop to c6, castle and start the attack with f7–f5 – VK) 16.Qc4 (Practically speaking the decisive mistake. 16.Qd3 Bd7 17.c4 is OK. Probably the only defensive idea here is to plant the knight on d5 to block the long diagonal – VK) 16…Be6! 17.Qb5+ c6 18.Qa4 f5! 19.Bg5 (19.exf5 Nxg3+ 20.fxg3 Bd5+ 21.Kg1 Qe2 22.Rf2 Qe1+ 23.Rf1 Qxg3#) 19…Rxg5!! 20.hxg5 f4 (White has no counterplay and is simply mated – VK) 21.Qd1 (21.Nd2 Qxg5 22.Qd1 0–0–0; 21.Kg2 fxg3 22.fxg3 Qc7) 21…Rd8 22.Qc1 fxg3 23.Na3 Rd3 24.Rd1 Bd5!! (The only way to duff up such a position is by letting oneself be lulled to sleep by the plethora of available options – VK)

L. Aronian – V. Kramnik Candidates (3) 2018

25.f3 (If 25.exd5 Qe4+ 26.Kg1 gxf2+ 27.Kxf2 Rg3 28.Re1 Rg2+ 29.Kf1 Ng3#) 25…gxf3 26.exd5 Qe2 27.Re1 (Or 27.Qc2 g2+ 28.Kh2 g1Q+ 29.Kxg1 f2+ 30.Kh2 Rh3+! 31.Kxh3 Qf3+ 32.Kh4 Qg3+ 33.Kxh5 Qh3#)

Test Your Strength

Kramnik Checkmating Aronian

For today’s puzzle, it’s Black to play and mate in five

Highlight the space below this to reveal the answer.

27…g2+ 0-1 In view of 28.Kh2 (28.Kg1 f2+) 28…g1Q+ 29.Kxg1 f2+ 30.Kh1 Rh3+ 31.Kg2 f1Q#.

Play Through the Game

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