(3094) Carlsen,Magnus (2810) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2788) [E04]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 26.01.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Nc3
[7.Qc2 ; and 7.0-0 are more common.]

7...0-0 8.a3
Rarer still. Carlsen and Kasparov have something special prepared for Kramnik.

[8...Bxc3 9.bxc3 b5 10.Ne5 Ra6 11.0-0 Nfd7 12.a4 c6 13.Nxc6 Rxc6 14.Bxc6 Nxc6 15.axb5 Ne7 16.Qa4 Nb6 17.Qxa5 Bb7 18.f3 h6 19.Qa7 Bc8 20.e4 Bd7 21.Bf4 Nec8 22.Qb8 Ne7 23.Qxd8 Rxd8 24.Bc7 Rc8 25.Bxb6 Bxb5 26.Bc5 Rc7 27.Rfb1 Bc6 28.Bxe7 Rxe7 29.Rb4 1-0 Scarella,E (2348)-Del Cuadro,N (2186)/Villa Ballester 2004]

9.Qa4 c6N
[9...Nbd7 10.Qxc4 c5 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.0-0 b6 13.b4 Ba6 14.Qb3 Be7 15.Nd4 Rc8 16.Rfd1 Bc4 17.Qb2 Nd5 18.e4 Nxc3 19.Bxc3 Qc7 20.f4 Rfd8 21.e5 Nb8 22.Rac1 Qa7 23.Be1 axb4 24.axb4 b5 25.Ra1 Qd7 26.Nf5 Qc7 27.Nxe7+ Qxe7 28.Qf2 Rxd1 29.Rxd1 Na6 30.Rd6 Nb8 31.Qb6 g6 32.Bf2 Kg7 33.Bc5 h5 34.Bb7 Nd7 35.Qa5 Rxc5 36.bxc5 Nxc5 37.Bc6 h4 38.Qb6 Na4 39.Qb8 f6 40.Rd7 1-0 Lubczynski,R (2423)-Anicic,V (2212)/Budva 2009]

10.Qxc4 b5 11.Qb3 Ba6 12.Bg5 Nbd7 13.Bxf6 gxf6
(Maybe ?!) [13...Nxf6 14.Ne5 favors White, but; 13...Bxf6 doesn't seem that terrible, as the bishop can retreat to e7 to help cover the c5 square.]

14.Qc2 b4 15.Na4 Rc8 16.0-0 c5 17.d5!
The seamy side of 13...gxf6 starts to appear.

17...exd5 18.Bh3?!
[18.Rfd1 looks strong. 18...Nb6 (18...Nb8 19.Nh4 d4 20.axb4 axb4 21.Be4+/- ; 18...d4 19.Qf5! Bxe2? 20.Nxd4!+- cxd4 21.Be4 mates.) 19.Nxb6 Qxb6 20.Rxd5 b3 21.Qc3 Qe6 22.Nh4 Rfd8 23.Nf5 Rxd5 24.Nxe7+ Qxe7 25.Bxd5 Qe5 26.Qxb3 Rb8 27.f4 Qxb2 28.Qxb2 Rxb2 29.Rc1 Bxe2 30.Rxc5 a4+/= ]

Probably not the most accurate move. It's better to get the knight unpinned as soon as possible, as ...Ne5 is a very useful defensive move. [18...Rc7! 19.Rfd1 Ne5 ]

19.axb4 axb4 20.Rfd1 d4 21.Bf5 Ne5!?
Pin? What pin?

White wants to keep control over the light squares, but Black maintains a supple position in any case. [22.Nxe5 fxe5 23.Bxc8 (The immediate 23.b3 certainly deserves attention as well, blockading Black's pawn mass and preparing to bring the knight back to civilization.) 23...Qxc8 24.b3 could be good for White. Generally speaking, such a material balance is completely fine for Black, but thanks to his gappy pawn structure and White's access to the a- and c-files for his rooks, it could be promising for him. Black cannot just blow White off the board with an attack, either, e.g. 24...Qh3 25.Nb6 Bc6 26.f3 Kh8 (26...Bg5? 27.Qxc5 Be3+ 28.Kh1+- ) 27.Rf1 Rg8 28.Rf2 Bh4 29.Rg2 Bxg3 30.hxg3 Rxg3 31.e4 dxe3 32.Rxg3 Qxg3+ 33.Qg2 Qh4 34.Rd1 Bb5 35.Nc4+- ; 22.Bxc8 d3 23.Qc1 Qxc8 24.Nxe5 dxe2 is very complicated, and it seems, according to the oracle, that White can hold his own with perfect play.]

22...Kg7 23.Nxe5 fxe5 24.Bf5 Rc6 25.Qe4 Rh8
Very dynamic once again! [25...Rg8 26.Qxe5+ Bf6 27.Qe4 Qd6= ]

26.Qxe5+ Bf6 27.Qe4 Re8
Remarkable: Kramnik keeps offering the exchange, though in this case it's a sham sac.

28.Qg4+ Kf8
Black has full compensation for the pawn thanks to the bishop pair, pressure against e2 and the stranded knight on a4.

[29.Bd7 Bxe2 30.Qh3 Bxd1 31.Rxd1 Ree6! Hilariously, this move is best. By cutting off the Qh3's defense of the bishop, White is forced to make an immediate capture. 32.Bxc6 Rxc6 33.Qf5 c4-/+ Black stands better, thanks to his mighty pawn phalanx and the hapless Na4.]

Wow! This is a very bold idea, and I like it. It might not be objectively best, but it isn't bad at all, and it's very dangerous for White. Better still, even if White declines the offer, ...c4 is useful anyway. The only problem, and it's significant, is that Black was clearly better with normal play. [29...Rc7 30.Bf3 Qd6 (30...c4 31.Nb6 ) 31.Qh5 (31.b3 d3 32.Rac1 c4 33.Qh5 Qe5-/+ White is in trouble.) 31...Bg7 32.b3 d3 33.Rab1 Re5 34.Qh7 c4 35.exd3 cxd3 36.Nb2 d2 37.Nc4 (Else Black plays ...Rc3, with a winning advantage.) 37...Bxc4 38.bxc4 Rxc4-/+ ]

30.Bxc6 Bxc6 31.Qh5
White is in no hurry to allow ...Qd5, which explains Black's next move too.

31...Re5 32.Qh6+ Ke7 33.e4 d3 34.Qe3 Bxe4 35.Nb6??-+
Practically speaking, White's position is very difficult, but it seems that with best play he can hang on. [35.Re1 Bc6 (35...Qd6 36.Qf4 d2 37.Rxe4 d1Q+ 38.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 39.Kg2 Qd5 40.Kf3= and both sides are weirdly stuck.) 36.Qc5+! Qd6 37.Qxc4 d2 38.Red1 Re4 39.Qc5 Re2 40.Kf1! Qxc5 (40...Rxf2+ 41.Qxf2 (41.Kxf2?? Bd4+ ) 41...Bb5+ 42.Kg2 Bc6+= ) 41.Nxc5 Bb5 42.Kg2 Bxb2 Black has some chances, but this is most likely a draw.]

35...Bb7 36.Qf4 Qxb6 37.Qxc4 Re2 38.Rf1
and White resigned. [38.Rf1 Bd4 and the capture on f2 will be catastrophic for White (but the occasion for much joy for Black, especially if he has a sadistic streak).] 0-1