July 26, 2011 6:22

Dortmund: Kramnik on 4.5/5 after beating Giri

Dortmund: Kramnik on 4.5/5 after beating GiriAfter beating Anish Giri in the 5th round on Monday Vladimir Kramnik finished the first half of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund with a superb 4.5/5. Le Quang Liem is in clear second place after beating Ruslan Ponomariov. Georg Meier and Hikaru Nakamura drew a marathon game of 150 moves.

General info

The 39th Sparkassen Chess Meeting takes place July 21-31, 2011 in the City Theater of Dortmund, Germany. Like Biel, it's a 6-player double round robin event. This year Vladimir Kramnik, Hikaru Nakamura, Ruslan Ponomariov, Anish Giri, Le Quang Liem and Georg Meier play. For the second time Dortmund uses an anti-draw rule: the players are not allowed to offer a draw during the game. The game will be declared a draw when a win for either side is not possible any more, or in case of a three-fold repetition.

Round 5

Vladimir Kramnik might be out of a World Championship cycle for the first time since God knows when, but so far he's been playing like a World Champion in Dortmund. His score of 4.5 out of 5 in the first half is good for a 3103 performance but, more importantly, the Russian is just 3.1 points shy of a 2800 rating in the live list.

Round 5 in Dortmund

Round 5 in Dortmund in progress

In the 5th round Kramnik defeated Anish Giri with remarkable ease, although we tend to think that it wasn't really a fair battle. Let's face it: he used an old analysis that he had prepared for his World Championship match against Kasparov in 2000! Come on, that's cheating, Vlad! ;-)

Dortmund, 2011

13. h4N
According to the official website, afterwards Kramnik said that he could 'finally' use this move, after all those years. However, in the same position he played 13. Bb5 against Mamedyarov at the Tal Memorial in Moscow last year.
13... Nc6 14. e5 Bd7?!
Better was 14... Rd8 15. Bg5 Rd5 16. Bc4 Rd7 17. Bb5 Rd5 18. Bxc6 bxc6 19. Rxc6 Bb7 with counterplay (Giri).
15. Rb1 b6 16. h5 Ne7 17. hxg6

17... fxg6?!
A strategic mistake, but even after 17... hxg6 White has good possibilities on the kingside according to Kramnik. In the game Giri didn't manage to find enough counterplay.

Kramnik vs Giri

Kramnik beats Giri using 11-year-old analysis

The only player who didn't lose against Kramnik in this first half is Le Quang Liem. Fittingly, the Vietnamese grandmaster is in sole second place. On Monday he profited from what seems to have been a one-move blunder by Ruslan Ponomariov.

Le Quang Liem-Ponomariov
Dortmund, 2011

31... Qb6?
Mixing up the move order perhaps? 31... cxd5 32. exf5 (32. Nxd5 Bxd5 33. Rxd5 fxe4 34. Qd4 Qb6!) 32... Qb6! 33. Qxb6 Ndxb6 34. f6 Ne3 35. Rc1 Re5 36. Bf3 d4 looks OK for Black.
32. Qxb6 Ndxb6 33. dxc6 Rxd1+ 34. Nxd1 fxe4
34... bxc6 35. exf5.
35. cxb7+ Kb8 36. Nc3 and White won after showing excellent technique.

Le Quang Liem

Le Quang Liem: again solid and strong in Dortmund

The game Meier-Nakamura was a fascinating affair. It started with one of the absolute main lines of the King's Indian Defence, which means that spectacle is guaranteed. But there was also the psychological warfare of Nakamura hoping to improve his thus far disappointing play, and trying to beat the lowest seed. In doing so, the American avoided a move repetition which led to a lost position. Then, Meier didn't play accurately himself, and only got a slightly better position which he tried to win until move 150 (!) but to no avail.

Georg Meier

Georg Meier missed an excellent chance to beat Hikaru Nakamura

Tuesday is the first and only rest day, when traditionally the players will be available for autograph signing in the sponsor's customer centre. For the fans in Dortmund: this starts at 15:00 CET and there will be prizes to win, such as iPods touch and iPods shuffle.

Games round 5

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Dortmund 2011 | Schedule & results
Round 1 21.07.11 15:00 CET Round 6 27.07.11 15:00 CET
Meier ½-½ Le Quang Liem Le Quang Liem - Meier
Kramnik 1-0 Ponomariov Ponomariov - Kramnik
Giri ½-½ Nakamura Nakamura - Giri
Round 2 22.07.11 15:00 CET Round 7 28.07.11 15:00 CET
Le Quang Liem ½-½ Nakamura Nakamura - Le Quang Liem
Ponomariov 1-0 Giri Giri - Ponomariov
Meier 0-1 Kramnik Kramnik - Meier
Round 3 23.07.11 15:00 CET Round 8 29.07.11 15:00 CET
Kramnik ½-½ Le Quang Liem Le Quang Liem - Kramnik
Giri 1-0 Meier Meier - Giri
Nakamura 0-1 Ponomariov Ponomariov - Nakamura
Round 4 24.07.11 15:00 CET Round 9 30.07.11 15:00 CET
Giri ½-½ Le Quang Liem Ponomariov - Le Quang Liem
Nakamura 0-1 Kramnik Nakamura - Meier
Ponomariov ½-½ Meier Giri - Kramnik
Round 5 25.07.11 15:00 CET Round 10 31.07.11 13:00 CET
Le Quang Liem 1-0 Ponomariov Le Quang Liem - Giri
Meier ½-½ Nakamura Kramnik - Nakamura
Kramnik 1-0 Giri Meier - Ponomariov

Dortmund 2011 | Round 5 Standings

Photos © Georgios Souleidis


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Sergio's picture

But i bet all the players there beat you playing blindfold

The Golden Knight's picture

Kramnik strikes back from the dungeons...

PP's picture

What is it with Kramnik in Dortmund? He always does so well there. Is it something in the water? ;-)

Amazing performance scoring 4.5/5 in this field.

Grahamski's picture

weak field

PP (nl)'s picture

Yeah, right. One former world champion, 3 more players with a 2700+ rating and one with a only 2656. It's nothing...

Sorry, but that is a stupid remark.

CID's picture

A real strong field means Carlsen,Anand,Aronian,Karjakin.Weak field for Kramnik in Dortmund and for Carlsen in Biel too.

Me's picture

Well, regarding the best of the best, you may call it a weak field, but as a whole, it is of course not anywhere near to being a weak field. Just best of the best branched for a while, taking a well-deserved rest from each other.

Thomas's picture

If the fields in Dortmund and Biel are weak for Kramnik and Carlsen, respectively, it just shows how strong they are themselves (which isn't their "fault"). Strong at least when in form, a similarly "weak" Dortmund field was too strong for Kramnik last year ... .

I actually like it that Kramnik and Carlsen play different events. This way, both can shine and get the full recognition they deserve. If they played the same event, one player would have to finish in second place - if only by some fairly random tiebreak criterion (cf. Bazna between Carlsen and Karjakin).

Me's picture

You missed Aronian, and Anand, of course, although Anand is now kind of busy.

ebutaljib's picture

Yep, category 20 tournaments is always comprised of weak players.

realitycheck's picture

Yep, tournaments using the classical score card (win = 1, draw = 1/2, loss = 0) are always boring and full of dull draws.

foo's picture

perhaps you are referring to water closet?

christos (greece)'s picture

On one hand I feel a little sorry for Meier ...
But since he could not win this game when he had a completely winning position more than once, he did not really deserve it.

newfan's picture

Will the real Kramnik, please standup.

delfano's picture

lol. Kramnik is on a killing spree

aerodarts's picture

you choice of words...after Norway.....yes he is winning and yes 4.5 out of 5 is excellent and I admire his chess play....

Let us observe round 2 and see if this winning spree continues.

realitycheck's picture

@newfan Take your pick:

a) GM Vladimir Kramnik
b) Former WC Kramnik
c) Vlady
d) Drawnik

Mauricio Valdés's picture

Is Kramnik gonna reach +2800 elo now?

andorsm's picture

Have Kramnik ever started 4.5/5 in his career after his first chess Olympic?

Me's picture

Le Quang Liem showed some class. I remember in one of the comic strips he was depicted as a small dog dining with the leftovers from the elite table; a slick reference to his preference of appearing in second-class events. Le Quang Liem is rising now. I am guessing he is going to be part of the elite sooner.

johnxy's picture

This tournament is not enough to judge how strong Kramnik is!
The same Kramnik was not able to win a single game in the classical time format in the Candidates matches.

Me's picture

It is not enough for making some kind of an ultimate judgement in a sharply manner, but it is very much enough for small and nice judgements that complement the overall picture.

guitarspider's picture

I don't understand why there's so little respect for these 2700+ guys (or 2650 guys for that matter). I don't understand by which standard you can call them weak, just because they're not in the top 4? Clearly the games show that everybody can beat everybody in this tournament, even Meier almost beat Naka, and he's just 23 and playing the biggest event in his life. Le is the only player who has won the Aeroflot Open twice, how is he weak competition? It has been a tremendous tournament so far. Look over to Biel and a "weak" Vachier-Lagrave beats Carlsen, surely that's got to do something with skill. The difference between the elite and the 2700s apparently isn't quite as big as some people think.

Also I'm grateful not every tournament has Aronian, Anand, Carlsen and Kramnik, how boring that would be. I much prefer to see them play some new guys instead of themselves for the 400th time.

Me's picture

You made very good points, especially the last one. I suspect they tired playing each other for the 400th time too. Like a breath of fresh air, which clearly showed the level of the best.

bernd's picture

Absolutely! I remember Linares in the 2000s was SUPER boring, because always the same players where drawing each other. The best cure for the "short draw sickness" is to invite fresh, strong, aggressive players to challenge the old guard. Just off the top of my head: Nakamura, Karjakin, Giri, Le, Vachier-Lagrave, Naiditsch, Meier, Gustafsson (ok he's not so aggressive:) ), Jon Ludvig Hammer, Nepomniashtchi, ... and probably many many Russians and Ukrainians that are not so well known.

Ebomuche Cardinal's picture

I wonder why we fail to commend good chess! A Grandmaster is a grandmaster!! Whether or not the event be a Linares or Wijk an zee...It takes a lot of guts to beat a GM! If you are in doubt, improve your chess and maybe, just maybe, you would get an invitation.
But for now let's sitback and watch these grandmasters give and endure mental torture...Nakamura has changed his gameplan: "if he doesn't find a way to win he would by all means lose!" not an easy task I must say but one worthy of some commendation!...as Dortmund continues we hope to see more wins #

Arjo's picture

Were there ever 4 players rated over 2800 at the same time? (1 more win from Kramnik should lift him over 2800).

szoker's picture

I n c r e d i b l e from Mr Kramnik !!!

why didnt he played so good in the candidates ?!

damn ! :(

Me's picture

I can offer one, although not very comprehensive explanation: because none of Dortmund participants played in candidates.

john's picture

Kramnik is also the master of preparation, and Dortmund allows him to prepare in detail for the opponents because he knows the order he will meet them etc. Candidates was more random and so cut down on this element of his advantage.

Garnoth's picture

He might have been in good form but both Radja and Grischuk played for a draw against him, even with the white pieces. They both were counting on the rapids. IN a tournament, you can never win playing like that, so whenever these players take risks Kramnik strikes!

L's picture

@szoker: because the match, like most of the other matches, were decided by rapid or blitz tie-breakers

szoker's picture

ye ye ;P that was a rhetorical question ;)

Chess Fan's picture

Clearly Kramnik cannot be ignored from the list of potential World Champion right now. So, he should be added to the pool of Carlsen and Aronian who could challenge rightfully the current World Champion, if Kramnik keeps playing like this.
Of course, Gelfand had already won the right to challenge Anand. I do not see anyone else in this super league, other than Karjakin topping the next level.

jmd85146's picture

Why are there 5boards shown on the screen in the first picture?
Who else is playing?

Thomas's picture

Well-spotted: There is another round robin (Helmut-Kohls-Turnier) with FMs, IMs and weak GMs. It doesn't get nearly as much media attention, but two games take place on the stage next to the main event. For participants, see http://www.sparkassen-chess-meeting.de/2011/helmut-kohls-turnier/teilneh... . Dutchies might be interested in the fact that top seed is IM Robin van Kampen, currently leading with 3.5/4.


According to FRITZ12 Kramnik, GIRI game is draw..!!

Clifford's picture

White's final move was actually Kc4, which wins easily . Ke4 is just a typical DGT board error.

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