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Dortmund 09 r9: Petroff FTW

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Round 9: Jakovenko-Kramnik, Bacrot-Leko, Naiditsch-Carlsen. Carlsen and Leko won these match-ups with white in the first half.

Update: I hope you'll agree that FTW is better than the usual "Petroff WTF." It's clearer than ever that as much as we always hope and pray for some Petroff bashing, if White forces the issue he can become the bashee instead of the basher. Jakovenko went to heroic lengths to beat Kramnik's Petroff today despite being outprepared in the same line Kramnik drew with against Bacrot two days ago. Kramnik isn't booked up in these lines; he IS the book. His compatriot threw caution to the wind after a long think, going for a real exchange sac with 24.Qd6!? instead of the various draws that involved getting his material back with Bxf8. Brave and beautiful, if perhaps not entirely sound. Kramnik found all the necessary defensive moves. A wild pawn race developed with both sides playing accurately until Jakovenko let his time get low (Kramnik still had around 50 minutes) and blundered with 33.Re3? This allowed an immediate and spectacular win for Black with 33..Rd7!! thanks to White's back-rank problem and the far-advanced black pawns. 34.exd7 Rxe5 35.Rxe5 Qxf6 36.Re8+ Kg7 37.h3 c3 and Black wins. Or 35.Bxe5 Qe7 and the d-pawn falls. 36.fxg6 Qxd7 (36..hxg6?? 37.Rh3! Oops.) Fantastic. Thanks, computer! Nor does White have a tempo to spare. 34.h3 Rd1+ 35.Kh2 Qd6 is the simplest.

That would have basically ended the game and left Kramnik needing only a draw with Naiditsch tomorrow to clinch clear first place. (Bacrot-Leko and Naiditsch-Carlsen were already drawn.) But quite uncharacteristically, Kramnik played 33..b4 very quickly in Jakovenko's time trouble, continuing with the obvious plan and breaking Lasker's (?) maxim of "whenever you see a good move, stop and see if you can find a better one." (Not that any human would find such a move easily, of course, if at all, but unless the clock times are wrong he didn't really look around at all.) The razor-sharp play continued apace with many lines saving White only by a miracle. But finally Kramnik had to choose to take a serious risk and play for three results with 41..Kh7 (or 41..Kg7) when White has serious counterplay with Re6 coming. Instead he made the practical choice considering the standings and tomorrow's pairings and went for 42..Qb5. Now 43.axb4 axb4 is still tricky. 44.Qd6? Qb8! 45.Qxb8 Rxb8 46.e8Q+ Rxe8 47.Rxe8+ and the black pawns are too strong even a rook down. But White keeps hope alive with the remarkable 44.Qd4! c2 45.Qd7! and draws, incredibly. 45..Qb8+ Rg3 and the threat of Qe6+ with mate gives White enough play to hold. Wow.

Kramnik has a Spider-Man-like danger sense and the squiggly lines appeared over his head at this point. He went into a rook endgame with 43..Qxc5 and even that wasn't simple. But Jakovenko kept his head and centralized his king to hold without somersaults. Great stuff from both players. Naiditsch and Carlsen went at it in a Sveshnikov but once the queenside pawns come off these positions usually end drawn. Bacrot-Leko was another bad joke of a game. After massing their armies in a Hedgehog they abandoned their trenches and lay down their weapons to put on pink tutus and read their favorite passages from "Twilight" to each other.

So going into the final round Kramnik leads on +2 still followed by Jakovenko, Leko, and Carlsen on +1. I would assume that Kramnik has the better system tiebreaks (doesn't he always in Dortmund?!) due to his win over Carlsen in case Kramnik draws with Naiditsch while one of his pursuers wins. Not 100% sure on that, however, and I don't see any info about it on the German sites.


I will go out on a tiny limb and say Kramnik has this one in the bag.
42. ... Qb5!

Or not. I was thinking he would be able to force the queens off, but I guess that was more difficult than it seemed.

yep ... he is playing for a win by refusing the pertetual check. nice game by both Kramnik and Jako.
Looks like White will have to exchange the Qs; after which I think Black will win.

Anyone agree with me that Black would've had better winning chances with 43...axb4 instead of ...Qxc5?! Looks like a draw to me now...!?

Agreed, the possibility I see is that I miss a perpetual that Kramnik did see, not highly unlikely.

I asked the same question in the round 8 thread - for some reason, most of the "live" discussion on this exciting game (despite the Petroff opening??!) happened there. I can only wonder:
1) Did Kramnik (wrongly) estimate that the resulting rook endgame was won in any case?
2) Was he in a psychological hurry to get the queens off as quickly as possible?
3) Most odd option: Did he 'neglect' that the white queen was protected by the pawn that just appeared on b4?

The main idea behind 42.-Qb5 seems to be 43.Qd6? [looks dangerous, but:] 43.-Qb8! 44.Qb8: Rb8: 45. e8Q+ Re8: 46. Re8:+ Kf7 and the passed pawns are stronger than the rook. But doesn't this also work with the a-pawns off?

Taking the entire game - exciting and full of "second-best moves" (blunders for some people) - we can only wonder what would have happened earlier in Kramnik-Jakovenko if Vlad hadn't offered a premature draw on move 19 ... ,:).

I think acirce (again in the round 8 thread) gave the most plausible answer.

Actually, the round 7 thread. The wrong thread, in any case :)

In Jakovenko - Kramnik game I refer to my earlier post and still wonder what black has against 21.e6!

Though today's round featured a non-game with Bacrot-Leko, the Naiditsch-Carlsen and especially Jakovenko-Kramnik games were very enjoyable. Looks like Jakovenko and Kramnik decided to make up for their first half game with a real fight this time.
Nakamura is on fire with another win. He's for real.
Does anyone know what happened in the Karpov-Granda game? Things stopped being updated on Playchess after move 14.

Meanwhile at San Sebastian Nakamura beats Vallejo-Pons in a Scandinavian to get to 3.5/4

A shame Kramnik didn't found the winning move they report at Chessbase. Good stuff, in spite of being a boring Petroff :-)

After 21.e6 Qxc3 22.Qc7 Black can defend g7 by 22...f5 and it looks like Black has at least a draw after 23.Bxf8 Rxf8 24.cxd5 Nb3 25.e7 [25.d6? Qd3 26.Rg1 Ng5-+] 25...Re8 26.Qd7 [again 26.d6? Qd3 27.Rg1 Nc5-+] 26...Qc4 27.Re1 Kf7 and White must force the draw by perpetual: 28.Qe6+ Kg7 29.Qd7 Kf7 30.Qe6+ etc.

oops... make that 26...Kf7 [not 26...Qc4??? 27.Qxe8+ Kg7 28.Qf8#] 27.Qe6+ Kg7 28.Qd7 etc.

Watching Jacko-Drawnik was like watching a skier crash down a slope. Ooohhhh, aaaahhhhh, oonnnnooooo!!!!, ooooohhhh, ewwwwwwww, OOOHHH!!!. Painful. Up, down, up, down.

Jim You obviously didn't read my earlier comment. White plays 21.e6! Qc3 22.Qd6 (not 22.Qc7) and now 22...f5 23.e7+-. The difference is that now white threatens both 24.ef8Q and 24.Qe6.

By the way, 43.axb4 axb4 44.Qd6 Qb8 does not win for Black because White gets a RPP vs QP fortress, e.g.: 45.Qxb8 Rxb8 46.e8Q+ Rxe8 47.Rxe8+ Kf7 48.Rc8 b3 49.Rxc6 b2 50.Rxc3 and so on. Computers probably show this as -3,5 or something but it is an obvious draw.

"I would assume Kramnik has the better system tiebreaks ..."

Yes, at least in the past Dortmund used Sonneborn-Berger as a tiebreak. At the moment, this is indeed favorable for Kramnik (24) vs. Carlsen (21.5), Leko (21.25) and Jakovenko (20.25). [Number of wins would favor both Carlsen and Jakovenko, number of moves played would put Jakovenko on top ,:)].

However, let's assume the following last-round results:
Kramnik-Naiditsch 1/2
Carlsen-Bacrot 1-0
Leko-Jakovenko 1-0

If my calculations are correct, the winner on tiebreak would be ... Leko (28.75) ahead of Kramnik (28.5) and Carlsen (27).

So ... : Hey Peter, you still have a chance to win this thing! Of course his chances might have been better if he had played on against Bacrot yesterday.
And from Kramnik's point of view, he can concede a draw against Naiditsch only if Leko doesn't win.
I wonder if the players themselves (or their seconds) bother to make such calculations ... .

"However, let's assume the following last-round results:
Kramnik-Naiditsch 1/2
Carlsen-Bacrot 1-0
Leko-Jakovenko 1-0

If my calculations are correct, the winner on tiebreak would be ... Leko (28.75) ahead of Kramnik (28.5) and Carlsen (27)."

If my calculations are correct it gives this table:

Kramnik 6
Carlsen 6
Leko 6
Jako 5
Naiditsch 3.5
Bacrot 3.5

Kramnik gets 9+6+5+5.25+3.5 = 28.75
Leko gets 6+6+7.5+3.5+5.25 = 28.25

Thanks percy, I don't know where I made a mistake ... . On the sunny side, whatever happens (excluding the relatively unlikely scenario of Kramnik-Naiditsch 0-1) there will be no discussions whether Leko would be a deserved winner - could a convincing win against Jako erase the impression he left in earlier rounds, particularly yesterday?

On the not-so-sunny side: If Kramnik is happy with first on tiebreak, it seems he can secure this with a (short) draw today. Maybe it is good that there is no Bilbao qualifying spot at stake. Could one really blame Kramnik for playing it safe under such (hypothetical) circumstances??

I made several very incorrect calculations of the thing and finally maybe got it right :)

Kramnik does have the rating points to think about if he wants a rating spot in the candidates, that might be one reason to press harder for a win.

Leko can actually win the tiebreak if Bacrot beats Carlsen but that seems unlikely.

Pawnpusher. No, I didn't see your suggestion of Qd6 and it does look like you're about 21.e6. This what I see: 21.e6! Qxc3 22.Qd6 Qxc4 23.Rg1 Qd4 24.e7 Rfe8 25.Qe6+ Kh8 26.Qf7 f5 27.Bg5+-. Any improvements for Black in this line?

Kramnik's playing like a man possessed and refusing all chances to draw. Could this be a turning point?

Either: 1) He overpresses and Naiditsch wins + Leko beats Jakovenko - he concludes that Leko has the right approach and returns to more peaceful chess.

2) Naiditsch collapses and Kramnik wins the tournament with a performance in the high 2800s - Kramnik goes on to out-Topalov Topalov and become a win-at-all-costs player in the tradition of Fischer and Kasparov.


You are being over enthusiastic ,mishamp , winning Dortmud doesnt mean that much.
Topalov won tournaments much more serious than this one.
Kramnik in the Kasparov/Fischer tradition? Yeah, sure.

Kramnik on the attack, as usual :)
I suspect that somewhere between the last rounds, they have replaced Kramnik, and the man playing now is Shirov with a black wig.

Kramnik wins the game and the tournament! Congratulations Vladimir! How many times is it now, nine?

Nothing to do with the tournament, Manu, just the style of play, which wasn't bad... Kramnik shows if he's the one to make the game tactical and attack he's not actually so bad at it :)

MANU .stop before you look to foolish - Wining Dortmund is a great achievement, You dont think so offcause because Kramnik won. You are pathetic. Your Aniti-Kramnik rants are boring and idiotic. Kramnik is one hell of a player and has dominated Topailov the last 15 years. Look up the stats if you know how to.

The interesting pattern is that lately some of the old timers come to edge Magnus right towards the end. Will see how long this pattern will stand...


Manu on the (counter-)attack, as usual ... . I don't get why a category XX tournament is "nothing (that) serious", but otherwise I even agree that mishanp was a bit overly enthusiastic. For example, Kramnik's TPR was 2851, not really 'high' 2800's ,:).

On the other hand, those saying that his match loss against Anand was (the beginning of) the end of Kramnik's career as a top player may also have been óverly enthusiastic' ... .
BTW, it is interesting that Kramnik didn't only win games, but also the tournament "in the style of Topalov": going strong in the final rounds when his (younger) opponents may have gotten exhausted ,:)

Yes, nine times as confirmed by the tournament webpage. It also states that Kramnik has just beaten a record concerning the number of wins in world-top tournaments (Corus, Dortmund, Linares). Before today, he was tied with Kasparov who won Linares eight times. For what it's worth ... .

"For example, Kramnik's TPR was 2851, not really 'high' 2800's ,:)."

Hmm, 2851... Kasparov's peak rating! That's interesting :)

But of course mishanp wasn't completely serious.

Lafite ,Kramnik must be very proud of having such a bright fan like you to defend him .

Then what about Nakamura's (current) TPR of 3030? ,:).
As threads are getting mixed anyway, what about today's game Vallejo Pons - Vachier-Lagrave? Does it contain a novelty on move 3 (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.g4!?!) ?

¨BTW, it is interesting that Kramnik didn't only win games, but also the tournament "in the style of Topalov": going strong in the final rounds when his (younger) opponents may have gotten exhausted ,:)¨

Sorry but pulling some tactics gainst a bad beaten Naidistch is not winning ¨in the style of Topalov¨ , but is nice to see how some Kramnik´s fans would love to see him play like Topa.

Btw, it depends on how you count, but I think Kasparov won Linares nine times. In 2000, he shared first with Kramnik, and all the tiebreak criteria were also equal. They were about to play some blitz playoff after turning down the idea to decide it by a coin flip (!), but Kasparov decided that Kramnik could have the trophy. However, I think they were both formally considered winners. Even if I'm wrong about that, I think normally a shared first counts as a win anyway.

"The interesting pattern is that lately some of the old timers come to edge Magnus right towards the end. Will see how long this pattern will stand..."

For what it's worth, Kramnik had this to say on Chesspro - http://chesspro.ru/_events/2009/dortmund4.html

"Interviewer: - I recall that at Wijk-an-see you said about Magnus that it's possible that chess has found its Federer. That is, for the moment it's possible to play on equal terms with him, but soon that'll be difficult. However for the moment the rivalry is clearly in your favour...

Kramnik: Well, for the moment Magnus still isn't Federer, but his potential is enormous. Perhaps at the moment I'm not a very convenient opponent for him: a couple of years ago I beat him quite easily here, in Monako a short time ago I beat him with black in 20 moves, today - also quite easily... But in any case, he's still a very strong player and a win against him is on the same level as beating Anand or Topalov."

Just bear in mind that Carlsen is finally about to become a full-time professional after finishing school :)

Hmm, during the Olympiad Topalov's fans got rather enthusiastic about his wins against opponents who were weaker than Naiditsch (at least Chessdom did). And how do you argue away Kramnik's tactical win against Carlsen?
On the other hand, I do not mind either if "Kramnik plays like Kramnik", i.e. converts a small positional advantage. Maybe Dortmund (but also Amber and Azerbaijan vs. the World) just show that he is a more 'complete' player than some people think: not afraid of entering tactical complications when the position calls for it, and doing well under such circumstances.

I personally prefer the long positional grinds, but it's no big secret for people who actually know chess that Kramnik is a quite universal player.

Btw, does anyone know if Kramnik will play in any classical event between this and Tal Memorial (probably November)? After that it is London in December, but all I know of in the nearest future is the "Champions" simul/rapid event in Zürich ( http://www.sgzurich2009.ch/pages/simul.php?lang=en , http://www.sgzurich2009.ch/pages/rapid.php?lang=en ).

Quite interesting interview, I read it with google translate. I liked the cruel joke Kramnik made in the end, when he was asked if he knew that his book had influenced Carlsen.

"Yes, have heard... He said that he studied it as a child... but maybe it's either studied insufficiently so far, or I was not very good as a teacher."

Kramnik is a class player though of course Dortmund is his pocket borough. On the other hand after Bonn he did say he was going to shake up his style a bit. I don't know if this is a manifestation of that.

**For example, Kramnik's TPR was 2851, not really 'high' 2800's**

This must be one of the dumbest comments ever. How much more satisfying if the TPR was only in the low 2800's, such as 2849.

You forgot to copy and paste the smiley face at the end of that sentence chbd. It was sarcasm... Oh no! Perhaps your comment was sarcasm and I have continued the vicious cycle! :)

I didn't even say that 2851 is in the "high 2800's" (for me, that would be something like 2870 or 2880).
[At most half ironic comment:] The difference between 2849 and 2851 may be(come) quite relevant for rating spots for the candidates tournament [digits behind the comma could be decisive], given the tight situation on the rating list.

The live rating list was last updated on Friday, including the first eight rounds of Dortmund. Currently it says
3 Carlsen 2774.1
4 Aronian 2768.0
5 Kramnik 2767.5
But Kramnik's win against Naiditsch yields him another 4.1 points, whereas Carlsen should lose ~1 point by drawing Naiditsch and Bacrot - so then Kramnik is 'presently' #4 (2771.6) within striking distance of Carlsen.

Trying to answer acirce's question: Kramnik's homepage mentions Zurich and London, but not the Tal Memorial (do you know or just assume that Kramnik will play?). London (where Carlsen also plays) finishes December 15th and should(?) be rated for the January 2010 list, every single game in this tournament may be crucial!!?

Normally I don't care about "ultra-precise" ratings, but now it's different ... . Kramnik is of course coming from slightly behind (#6 in the July list), and as there are/appear to be two rating spots it doesn't matter if he overtakes Carlsen or not.

I find incredible beauty in Kramnik's games when he decides to play, especially when he converts small advantages into wins. I get that same sense of awe now watching his masterworks as I did when I first "discovered" Capablanca and his games more than 40 years ago. What I really object to is Kramnik's habit of playing short innocuous draws (true, Capablanca did this too).

Indeed, when he plays at best I get the impression that nobody sees as deep in chess as he does, but it's true that unfortunately that doesn't happen everyday :) When he was a youngster already some of his games looked like played by someone who would mark chess. Too bad health (and maybe lack of ambition?) somehow stopped him. He's still on a league with Anand (and maybe Topalov) no matter what rating says at the moment.

"Trying to answer acirce's question: Kramnik's homepage mentions Zurich and London, but not the Tal Memorial (do you know or just assume that Kramnik will play?)."

I think I know :) I don't know the exact source yet, but I heard that Vasiliev said so somewhere on chesspro.ru.

I see Mig mentions the clock times. Are they on record somewhere---e.g., are they preserved on ICC?

Yes, though they are occasionally a bit funky since it's a relay of a relay that had a 15-minute delay and the occasional transmission glitch. But overall they are good for relative usage and reasonably close to the minute if not reliable to the second.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 11, 2009 9:15 AM.

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