Reports | September 02, 2013 18:41

Kramnik wins Tromsø World Cup

On Monday Vladimir Kramnik won the World Cup in Tromsø, Norway. The 14th World Champion easily held a draw with the black pieces — in fact when Dmitry Andreikin realized he was getting into trouble, he offered a draw on move 34.

Photos by Paul Truong

After 23 days of chess, and a tournament that started with 128 players from all over the world, the FIDE World Cup finally came to an end on Monday. Dmitry Andreikin needed to beat Vladimir Kramnik to force a tiebreak, but didn't manage to do so. In a much better position, Kramnik accepted his opponent's draw offer with a smile and became the winner of the 2013 World Cup. A deserved winner!

Andreikin's strategy for that last classical game made sense, and was somewhat similar to Garry Kasparov's opening choice in 1987 in Seville, when he needed to beat Anatoly Karpov to tie the match and keep his title. A quiet English opening (Kasparov also played 1.c4!), some manoeuvring, and trying to get something going.

Andreiking managed to get a lively position, and when he pushed his g-pawn he was quite optimistic, but Kramnik always felt comfortable and the computer agrees.

PGN string

Did you consider playing on? was the first question addressed to Kramnik by the commentators.

If I would win I would be second place in the ranking, so I considered playing on. I would have played on if it was totally winning, but it was not.

Kramnik pointed out that, like his opponent, before the World Cup he played in Dortmund which finished only three days before.

I played 25 classical games and 6 rapid games in one month. Strangely enough I don't feel exhausted. Tired, but not exhausted.

Andreikin said the following about his typical strategy of drawing his classical games and trying to go for the tiebreaks as quickly as possible:

[After playing Dreev] I decided that my openings were not ready for this tournament. That's why I went for this strategy.

Kramnik didn't expect his success.

I am quite surprised in general I really played well here. Of course there were mistakes, but not blunders. I was really worried I was completely out of shape.

The winner also praised his opponent:

It is fully deserved that Andreikin is in the Candidates, but he should really work on his openings! He is definitely underrated and if he works on his openings, it will surely go up.

Kramnik won $96,000 net, while Andreikin takes home $64,000 net.

World Cup Final | Score



Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


lolipops's picture

Congrats Kramnik.

Victor's picture

Against the odds, Kramnik deserves some respect. Carlsen is very strong, but Vlad knows how to play chess!

Septimus's picture

Insipid opening choice begets an insipid result. Anti-climatic finish to an otherwise excellent tourney.

john's picture

just lost a huge bet.
believed DA would win & go to rapids.
damn it!

Michael Lubin's picture

I hope you were given good odds for that one!

Chess Fan's picture

Congrats to Vlady whose play I have always been a fan of. I thought that his first game win belonged in a World Championship. Very solid.
Dmitry Andreikin seems to be the young GM to watch out from now on. Very impressive.
Russia seems to have come back to its strong chess expectations, again.

Anonymous's picture

"Dmitry Andreikin seems to be the young GM to watch out from now on. Very impressive"

He impressed in rapid but less in classical, and today he's not top 10 in Russia at world #43 while 23 years. In the world there are quite a lot of younger and higher rated players, and I still have my doubts about him after this event.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Somehow I trust Kramnik (last quote in the Chessvibes report) more than "Anonymous". With respect to opening preparation, in the press conference Andreikin surprised everyone a second time (first time was when he claimed to be better early in the game) - paraphrasing rather than an exact quote:
"I prepared seriously for Tal Memorial and Dortmund - events which I might play once in my life. I didn't prepare for the World Cup - I participated for the third time already, there's probably more to come."

Anonymous's picture

"Somehow I trust Kramnik (last quote in the Chessvibes report) more than "Anonymous""

You don't trust that I still have my doubts about Andreikin being the young player to watch today, or that there are younger and higher rated players? Did you expect that Kramnik would say that Andreikin doesn't deserve to be in the Candidates, by the way? I certainly didn't say that either.

Caruana is much stronger than Andreikin and a few years younger, but is comparatively weak in rapid/blitz and will probably not qualify for the Candidates. Difficult to say that Caruana deserves to be there more than Andreikin when it was Andreikin that qualified in the knockout, but I think knockouts are useless and would have preferred a qualification in classical chess (and Caruana rather than Andreikin in the Candidates). But since Andreikin qualified he of course deserves to be there.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Of course Caruana is currently stronger than Andreikin, even if they were tied at both Tal Memorial and Dortmund - so the gap in playing strength is a bit less than the Elo gap? Yes, Andreikin is older, but he seems to be a relative late bloomer (so was Aronian).

"Young player to watch" might mean someone whom you expect to improve a lot in the near future, and Andreikin has more "air" left (Elo- and rankingwise) than Caruana or Karjakin, let alone Carlsen.
THE young player to watch might still be an exaggeration: Vachier-Lagrave is another one who did (at least) as well as Andreikin - both were only stopped by Kramnik. And there's Wei Yi who has even more air left.

RG13's picture

Kramnik made the right choice to take the draw and therefore win the match. However I suspect that if the maniac Fischer was in the same circumstance then he would have not accepted the draw offer. Otherwise he would not have won two matches with a score of 6 - 0.

Chris's picture

RJF was not maniac but real fighter and loved chess.

Soviet School's picture

Fischer,s 6-0 v Larsen was due to fact that Larsen was a fighter who still kept trying to win. His famouse crush his ego quote showed Fischer was more comfortable when ahead. Is it better to win many close matches or a couple of 6 0 matches?

Chris's picture

Fischer 6.5 - 2.5 vs iron Petrosian and 6:0 vs Taimanov you forgot. They wanted to hunt more draws but were unable!
Spassky was demolished in first 12 games although got forfeit for Fischer not attending 2nd game.
Soviet chess school - does it exist. Kramnik is playing more like Steiniz (austria-german school) Nakamura more like Chigorin (russian school)

RG13's picture

Well Fischer was a great exponent of the Soviet chess school else why did he learn Russian so that he could read all their books?

Anonymous's picture

bulletins with game collections not books

Anonymous's picture

Congrats Kramnik!

DirkBredemeier's picture

Great result for Kramnik!
Shame on all conspirancy maniacs who thought, Vlad would play badly so Karjakin would not participate in the candidates!

Thomas Oliver's picture

"Shame on all conspirancy maniacs ..."
If you mean me (whom else?), it's a misunderstanding: I merely suggested that Kramnik might have mixed feelings about Karjakin joining the candidates, and that this could affect his play consciously or subconsciously. Dennis Monokroussos likes Kramnik (so do I), this is what he wrote after the semifinals:
"Today was an interesting day for Kramnik, and it's not clear that he really benefited. There's the prestige of making it to the finals of the World Cup, and even more if he wins it. There's the added payday, too. On the other hand, his score against Karjakin isn't fantastic, to put it mildly."

Otherwise, I am only aware of discussions/speculations/wishful thinking of French chess fans at Europe Echecs that Kramnik might let Vachier-Lagrave win the semifinal - to face him rather than Karjakin in the candidates event.

DirkBredemeier's picture

Did not mean you (dich meinte ich nicht...). It was a spontaneous reaction to people who believe Kramnik is part of all kinds of conspirancy, bribing, playing pre-fixed games (some people made that claim during the candidates London 2013, especially about the games Grichuk-Kramnik and Kramnik-Svidler which Kramnik won when he was in the middle of the field; so for "the russians" it would have made more sense getting free points from Kramnik to Svidler or Grichuk who were at that point of the tournament closer to Carlsen than Kramnik).

Bye the way, Anastasiya Kharlovich really is hot...

Chris's picture

Kramnik played good because Karjakin is from russian federation and was his second, so playing for Karjakin was according to conspiracy theories.:)
He can have additional support in candidates.

Anonymous's picture

"for "the russians" it would have made more sense getting free points from Kramnik to Svidler or Grichuk who were at that point of the tournament closer to Carlsen than Kramnik"

That they were not. Thus it all was a conspiracy.

Chris's picture

they have less points then Kramnik this time

Chris's picture

if you look to rating it is usual for Kramnik. Opponnents ranked >60 below.

Anonymous's picture

Didn't like how Short revealed private talk from Kramnik on the GM who offered him a bribe. Should not be a commentator for chess like that.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Question to the chess community: In the post-game session, Kramnik also said (quoted by Europe Echecs) "This year, I finished in second place five times, so I would have been really deceived about losing the final here."

Including December 2012 as part of 2013, I only count to four: London twice, Geneva Rapid and Dortmund. Am I missing something, or was Vlad slightly wrong (which wouldn't be a big deal IMO)? Still further back is the Olympiad in September 2012 - where silver for Russia was as "tiebreak unlucky" as Kramnik's second place in the candidates event.

Chris's picture

unlucky? lucky!

Anonymous's picture

"Including December 2012 as part of 2013, I only count to four"

So it was three and not five :) Kramnik also said that he would have been second on the rating list if he had won the last game instead of accepting the draw, and he was wrong there too :)

Thomas Oliver's picture

I am not sure - would have to watch the entire video session again - whether Kramnik really said "this year" or "over the last year" (= the last 12 months) when he could indeed count to five.

Also, I guess he can be forgiven for being slightly wrong about Aronian's rating (what he did remember is that Aronian had a relatively bad event?). With a win by Kramnik against Andreikin, the live ratings would have been Aronian 2802.2, Kramnik 2801.4. Calculations at the board have to be as exact as possible, calculations in post-game interviews not necessarily :).

NN's picture

If Kramnik's rating would have been 2801.5, it would be rounded to 2802 and he would surpass Aronian due to more games played this month. So he was only wrong "by a milimeter", to use one of his expressions.

Thomas Oliver's picture

That's what I also thought, but Aronian still plays the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis next week, so his rating may well change one way or another (even if Kramnik will remain ahead of him on "more games this month", or more precisely more games to be rated for the October 2013 list).

ZDENKO's picture
ALISA's picture


Al F's picture

Congrats to Kramnik for winning and Andreikin for qualifying for the candidates!

The knock-out format is proving to be an entertaining one, but could still be better.

Next world cup (assuming two players will qualify to the candidates tournament), I suggest skipping the final and having the semifinals last 6 games.

Thus the tournament winners will play 16 classical games like now, while the REAL match, the one which determines if you qualify or not, will more probably have the strongest player win.

JPS's picture

I find it strange that Andreikin thought he had a "big advantage" after 19. g4. Isn't it quite obvious that Black's position is very sound and that White is just fishing in muddy waters? From a player of Andreikin's strength I would have expected more objectivity.

AljechinsKater's picture

This is exactly the patzer-from-the-back answer that the professionals- and amateurs as well are moaning about. What stupid. Idiot pretending understanding better than 2700, so whats your rating, dick?

Anonymous's picture
JPS's picture

@Chessvibes: I am surprised to see that your policy rules apparently permit this kind of infantile insults by people who just wait for any opportunity to eject their aggressions, which are probably based on a complex of inferiority.

@AljechinsKater: The engines, Kramnik and all commentators agreed that at no point White had any advantage whatsoever. Top-grandmaster may occasioanlly miscalculate somethig, but it is extremely rare to see them so clearly overestimate their position. Usually they evaluate their chances much more carefully than weaker players ("... and maybe I have a slight advantage here, but it is not clear ...").
My rating is 2300.

Johan de Witt's picture

Draws by mutual agreement are ruining (the results of) chess games. So many draws are offered/accepted just because a player needs it to clinch the tournament, or players feel they need rest so they play a 12-move-draw, or draws are agreed when players are tense because they are in or heading towards time trouble. Sometimes just because the position is too complicated for them and they're afraid of losing. Do we call that a sport? We should force players to properly finish their games, just like Carlsen said in his latest tweet.

Soviet School's picture

Johan I agree , I suggested making stalemate worth say .8-.2 or baring the king .7-.3 this would not affect the structure of game it would still be better to be stalemated than mated but could open up a new world of endgame theory and encourage longer games.

NN's picture

Quite a ridiculous proposal, in my opinion. You must have been influenced by Short's constant "effort" to change the rules of the game. But it is not a real effort, because he still plays chess, and earns money a commentator on chess events.
I suggest you people formalize your propositions, create your new game with its new rules, organize tournaments and see how popular the game will become. And leave chess players play their game as they have done for hundreds of years.

Anonymous's picture

Ofcourse ruining, but if not allowed will not play, then FIDE looses Golden Gooses.

observer's picture

You are quite right.
I suggest having a "no draw offers before move 45" rule. This gets you past the time control, and also forces the players to do a couple of moves after that (how many blunders have occurred on move 41?).
The number of really interesting games that are suddenly drawn at moves 31-40 because of fear in time trouble is legion.

Stalemate should also be abolished. This is an anachronism left over from the 'romantic' days. Look at the enormous number of games that are drawn when one player is a pawn up but all pawns are on the same side of the board. If you have played well enough to be a pawn up without compensation for your opponent, you should be able to win. This is where Tartakover's 'drawing injustice of chess' comes from.
The rule should be: It is legal to move the king into check. If it is taken, the taker wins the game. If you are in such a bad situation that you have to move your king into check, that's your problem. Or Soviet School's suggestion could be considered.

The other drawing rule that needs changing is the 3-move repetition. It should be that if a position is repeated 3 times, the second player must vary or lose.
This would make attacks stronger (and thus the game more interesting) and eliminate a convenient and much used way of arranging a quick draw and getting around other anti-draw rules.

I predict that if those 3 rule changes were implemented, the number of draws would go down by at least a third.
It would also be not quite so clear that the starting position is a draw.

How about it FIDE? (Not holding out any great hopes.)

Remco G's picture

Abolishing stalemate is too much. It'd kill much of the difficulty of chess (many endgames would be trivial) just for the false god of fewer draws.

observer's picture

I disagree. A real difficulty created would be for players in a position that is seriously inferior, but can currently all too easily be baled out of into an inferior ending, but one that is drawn because of the stalemate rule.

Most of the work in knowing how to play endings currently is rote memorization of a type most players loathe (this is why endgame books do not sell well). This aspect of the game should be reduced as far as practicable. I would rather see middlegame skill predominate.

Thomas Oliver's picture

Is the whole World Cup now reduced to a few premature draws, including the last one that both players didn't mind (Andreikin reluctantly, Kramnik happily)?

The general problem seems to be: some people apparently cannot accept that draw is a legitimate result of the game, and that an advantage might not be enough to win.

About rule change 1: Is the underlying rationale "I love blunders" even more than "I love decisive results and hate draws"?

Rule change 2 can be discussed, but I see no urgent need.

Rule change 3 can lead to absurd situations, e.g. 32.Rxg6+ fxg6 33.Qxg6+ Kh8 34.Qh6+ Kg8 35.Qg6+ etc. is suddenly winning for white because at the end black has to leave his king in check. It's winning even if the rook sacrifice was the only resource in an otherwise hopeless situation - black is a piece up or has an otherwise unstoppable passed pawn. Also, a known variation in the Pirc (black sacrifices his queen for perpetual check) suddenly wins for black. Such rule changes might be fun for exhibition events, altogether it's more reminiscent of chess variations such as bughouse ..... .

Frits Fritschy's picture

Not really related, but pondering about rule changes that might have a chance and searching for google back up, I came across the following nice little story:
(It gets even funnier when you read the comments to it.)

observer's picture

Rule change 1: I don't delight in blunders per se, but I do think it should be part of a player's skill set to be able to pick himself up after the time control and play properly for 2 or 3 more moves.

I have no problem at all with legitimate draws that have been played out properly. The draws I hate are the ones where there is still plenty of play in the position; that are made out of fear or convenience or for a rest; or prearranged.
I accept the draw as a legitimate result of the game - as long as the draw itself is in fact legitimate. But the current rules weigh what should be an advantage too much down towards a draw. Surely if you are a pawn up without compensation, this ought to be enough to win in the vast majority of cases. That it is not, I don't regard as really legitimate.
And it would make chess considerably more interesting.

Rule change 2: If a rule is a bad one, why wait around to change it? No time like the present.
There is top level GM support, too. Short also thinks stalemate is an absurd rule.

Rule change 3: Obviously you would play the game to the new rules and it would be part of the skill of the game to avoid such "absurd situations".
A little bit of opening theory would change - but not to an unrecognisable extent. Who wants those horrible lines that end in forced draws as part of opening theory anyway?

Frits, good one, very funny.
I have sometimes wondered about the castling rule myself. But it can make the game more interesting if there is opposite-side castling. But in particular, it is probably needed to be able to get the rooks into the game.
There is also the issue that a change as radical as this would make the game (and certainly opening theory) too unrecognisable - we might as well be talking about the realms of going to chess 960 or whatever [this will eventually be inevitable anyway].
I think my suggested changes would keep the game within recognisable bounds - except for the boring endings, which nobody wants to play or study anyway.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"if you are a pawn up without compensation, this ought to be enough to win"
Then it's even more unfair that an extra piece may not be enough to win - I don't think it's possible to force stalemate with bishop or knight against bare king. If an endgame isn't won for the stronger side, this is some sort of "static" compensation for a pawn - like other situations: the extra pawn is securely blockaded, the extra pawn is doubled and rather worthless. BTW considering stalemate a win would change the theory for pawn endgames, but probably not for most piece endgames.
"nobody wants to play or study [endgames] anyway" - you can speak for yourself, but not for the entire chess community!
Attempts to make the game of chess less drawish are a bit like "let's make football more dynamic, get rid of the goalkeepers!".

observer's picture

Well yes, you have touched on a relatively minor point that I did not mention so as to not make the post too lengthy.
So rule change number 4 would be: If all pawns are eliminated, then the side left with more material automatically wins. If equal, automatic draw. There may or may not need to be one or two refinements.

Well, "nobody" is a figure of speech for "most". In my time, I have come across heaps of players who enthusiastically studied the openings. I have yet to meet one who I know to have had a similar enthusiasm for studying the endings.

"Get rid of the goalkeepers". Not a bad idea at all, actually! That's the way we used to play friendlies at primary school (no offside either!) and it was a lot more fun. I remember one game where we did play with goalies. For some reason, nearly all the play occurred at one end of the pitch and the goalie at the quiet end got so hacked off with having no part in the game, he just went up and joined in as if he was an ordinary player. I was a bit timid in those days, so tended to hang back a bit, and thus became the last defending player for our side. They still didn't give me the responsibility of being goalkeeper though!!
Perhaps getting rid of the goalkeepers is a bit radical. But certainly the goalposts should be widened. Why not??

And in rugby union, a try should be 6 points, the conversion 1, and a penalty 2.

Silly and outdated rules are usually there through inertia and politics, not because what is suggested as improvements isn't superior.
Chess is not the only game or sport with this problem. But chess players are supposed to have more intelligence.


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