(3034) Carlsen,Magnus (2801) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2772) [A29]
London Chess Classic (1), 08.12.2009

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nb6 7.0-0 Be7 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 Be6 10.Rb1 f6 11.d3 a5 12.b5 Nd4 13.Nd2 Qc8 14.e3 Nf5 15.Qc2 Rd8 16.Bb2 a4 17.Rfc1 Nd6 18.Nde4 Ne8
[18...Bb3 19.Qe2 Nf7 20.f4 (20.Nd1 Qd7 21.d4 Ba2 22.Ra1 Bd5 23.Ndc3 Bc4 24.Qf3 Nd5 25.Qh5 Nxc3 26.Nxc3 c6 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.Ne4 Bd5 29.dxe5 fxe5 30.f4 exf4 31.gxf4 Ra5 32.Bc3 Rb5 33.Rd1 Rb3 0-1 Anilkumar,N (2486)-Sender,C (2633)/ICCF email 2001) 20...Qd7 21.Nf2 exf4 22.gxf4 Nd6 23.Ng4 Be6 24.Nf2 Ra5 25.Bf3 Nxb5 26.Bxb7 Nxa3 27.Ra1 Nb5 28.Nxb5 Qxb5 29.Bd4 Nd5 30.Bxd5 Bxd5 31.Rxc7 Bd6 32.Rcc1 Ra6 33.Qg4 Bf8 34.Rc7 Rc6 35.Ra7 a3 36.Qf5 Qb3 37.h4 Rc2 38.Rf1 a2 39.h5 Rxf2 40.Rxf2 Be6 41.Qe4 Qb1+ 42.Rf1 Bh3 43.Rxb1 axb1Q+ 44.Kh2 Bg4 45.Qg2 Rc8 46.Ra1 Qc2 47.h6 Qxg2+ 48.Kxg2 Be2 49.hxg7 Bxg7 50.Ra3 f5 51.Bxg7 Kxg7 52.Kg3 Rd8 0-1 Van Damme,L (2275)-Sedlacek,P (2439)/ICCF email 2005]

Probably not the product of home prep, as the position only arose an hour into the game - and Carlsen had used more time than Kramnik. [19.Ne2? Bb3-/+ 20.Qc3 Qd7 21.d4 Qxb5 22.Bf1 Bc4=/+ (22...Ba2! 23.Ra1 Bc4-/+ was better.) 23.Ba1 Bb3 24.Nd2 Bxa3 25.Nxb3 axb3= (25...Nd5=/+ ) 26.Rxb3 Qa5 27.Rcb1 exd4 28.Nxd4+/= Qxc3 29.Bxc3 Kf7 30.Bh3 Rdb8 31.Be6+ Kg6 32.Nf5 Nd6 33.Nxd6 Bxd6 34.Bd4 Be5 35.Bxb6 cxb6 36.Rxb6 Ra6 37.Bd5 Rxb6 38.Rxb6 Bc7 39.Rxb7 Rxb7 40.Bxb7 Kf7 1/2-1/2 Cvitan,O (2540)-Milman,L (2484)/Pula 2007]

This looks a little vague, but it's not bad at all. After White's next move, the e-file may open, and then the unprotected Be7 could become a tactical liability. Further, even if the e-file is only half-open, it could prove useful to clear the obstructions in anticipation of an eventual ...Re8. With no active plans immediately available to him, Kramnik's prophylactic and preparative move makes sense.

20.f4 exf4 21.gxf4
The standard recapture. [21.exf4 looks quite odd, but the oracle thinks it's just as good as Carlsen's choice.]

21...Qd7 22.d4 c6
This might not be best.

23.Nc5 Bxc5 24.dxc5 Nc4?!
And this definitely isn't. Black's knight soon finds itself out of play, and it remains in that condition to the end of the game. [24...Nd5 ]

25.Rd1 Qc7 26.Bc1+/= Na5 27.bxc6 bxc6
[27...Nxc6 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Qb5 Na5 30.Nd5! (30.Nxa4 Bd7 31.Qb4 Bxa4 32.Qxa4 Qxc5= ; 30.Qxa4 Qxc5= ) 30...Qd7 31.e4 Nb3 32.Qxd7 Rxd7 33.Be3 f5= ]

[28.Rb4+/= ]

[28...Nb3 29.Qc2! Rxd1+ 30.Qxd1 Rd8 (30...Rxa4 31.Rxb3 Rc4+/= ) 31.Qc2 Qa5 32.Nc3 Nxc5 33.Bxc6 Nd6 34.Rb4= /+=]

Now Black's Na5 is stuck out of play. In fact, both knights are pretty bad, and he's a pawn down to boot. The only thing Black has going for him is that White hasn't really coordinated his pieces yet either, so he has a few moves left before Carlsen simply consolidates and wins.

[29...Nb3? is too late now: 30.Rxb3 Rxa4 31.Rb6+- ]

30.Qc2 Qf7 31.Nc3 Qh5?!
Kramnik's turn to the kingside is easily rebuffed, after which the situation with the Na5 is even worse. [31...Bb3 32.Qb2 Qh5 33.Bxc6 Qxc5+/= ]

32.Ne2 Bf5?!
[32...Kf8+/= The following comes from IM Ken Regan: "The point is to stop Zwischenschachs along the a2-g8 diagonal, both to threaten 33...Bb3 and answer 33.Nd4 Rxd4! 34.exd4 Bf5! All programs had initially feared the queer regrouping 33.Bf1(!?), but 33...Qg4+ 34.Ng3 Qd1! turns out to be counterplay. Maybe 35.Qe2!? keeps a slight edge for White there."]

33.e4+/- Bg4?! 34.Ng3 Qf7 35.Bf1 Be6 36.Qc3 Ra8 37.Rb4+-
Keeping the pitiful Na5 dominated. Black is losing.

37...Qd7 38.f5 Bf7 39.Bf4 Qd1 40.Kf2 Nb3 41.Be2 Qb1
[41...Qd7 42.Bc4 (The simple 42.Rxb3 Bxb3 43.Qxb3+ is an easy win too.) 42...Na5 43.Bxf7+ Kxf7 44.Ra4 Qd8 45.Qd2 Nb7 (45...Ke7 46.Qxd8+ Kxd8 47.Bd2+- ) 46.Rxa8 Qxa8 47.Qd7+ Kf8 48.Bd6+ Nexd6 (48...Kg8 49.Qxc6+- ) 49.cxd6+- ]

42.Bc4 Rxa3 43.Ne2
What a horrible position! Material is even, incredibly, but that's the end of Black's good news. The Nb3 is doubly pinned so the rook can't move, the queen can barely move, the Ne8 can't move and the Bf7 can only capture on c4. Worse still, White threatens to give mate or win everything with 44.Bxf7+ Kxf7 45.Qc4+ Kf8 46.Rb7 or 46.Rb8 with the idea of 47.Bd6#. Black has no remotely reasonable response, so he resigned. 1-0