playing Vladimir Kramnik

September 15, 2005

I had real trouble describing the significance of a game against Kramnik to my non-chess playing friends and colleagues; in the end I reached for an analogy… it’s like being offered a round of golf with Tiger Woods or a game of tennis with Roger Federer… but hey, I reckon it’s even more important than that!

Playing him over the internet was a little strange; the lack of personal contact and not getting to chat with him directly took away a little of the gloss; the comments of the ‘crowd’ were great, but distracting when you’re straining your neurons trying to find counterplay on the 64 squares.

Anyway, to the game itself… it went pretty much as expected (feared). Kramnik got a slight advantage out of the opening; I sacrificed a pawn to get an active and hopefully complicated position; He found a cool, collected solution though… I got active, but he avoided anything complicated and gradually realised his advantage.

I’d prepared an obscure sideline of the King’s Indian during the afternoon hoping to catch him unprepared. Sure enough the game went down that line… first blood to me perhaps! Unfortunately, he wasn’t unprepared, played the strongest line and I suspect was still “in his book” when my theory ended.

So, to the moves… I was annoyed immediately I played my 18th … Re6; maybe I was ok until this point, but … Re6 letting his k-side pawns start to roll was even worse than just a waste of time. I can play on longer at the end with 37… Kf8, but the ending would still be winning for White.

Vladimir Kramnik (2744, World Champion) – Roger Coathup (2134)

1 d4 Nf6; 2 c4 g6; 3 Nc3 Bg7; 4 e4 d6; 5 Nf3 O-O; 6 Be2 c5; 7 O-O Nc6; 8 d5 Na5; 9 h3 a6; 10 Bf4 e5 (both … Rb8 and … Nd7 have been tried here, I choose to sacrifice the d6 pawn… there is a similar line in the Averbakh, but here White is a tempo up on development and the knight on a5 seems very offside) 11 de Be6; 12 Bd6 Re8; 13 Bc5 Nc4; 14 Qd8 Rad8; 15 Bc4 Bc4; 16 Re1 Nd7; 17 Bd6 Bc3; 18 bc Re6; 19 e5 Bd5; 20 Nd4 Ree8; 21 f4 Rc8; 22 Ne2 Nb6; 23 a3 Nc4; 24 Red1 Be6; 25 Kf2 Nd6; 26 Rd6 Rc7; 27 R1d1 Bc4; 28 Ng3 Bb3; 29 Rd3 Rec8; 30 Ne4 Bc2; 31 Nf6+ Kg7; 32 Re3 Bf5; 33 g4 Be6; 34 R3d3 Rc3; 35 Rc3 Rc3; 36 Rd8+ Rc8; 37 Ne8+ Kh6?; 38 Rc8 Bc8; 39 g5+ Kh5; 40 Kg3 1-0

Many thanks again to ajedrez21.com for the chance to play.

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