July 25, 2011 3:00

Kramnik beats Nakamura in 4th round Dortmund

Kramnik beats Nakamura in 4th round DortmundIn Sunday's round Vladimir Kramnik extended his lead to a full point in Dortmund. The Russian grandmaster defeated Hikaru Nakamura with the black pieces, while Ruslan Ponomariov had to be satisfied with a draw against Georg Meier. The game between Anish Giri and Le Quang Liem also ended in a draw.

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 4

In his first tournament after Kazan, Vladimir Kramnik is showing good, inspired and versatile chess. We like the comment that was already posted before we published the complete report, by andorsm. Indeed one could say that Kramnik defeated Ponomariov in Alekhine style, Meier with a half-correct Tal-like sacrifice and Nakamura using Capablanca-like technique!

Concentration on stage: Nakamura vs Kramnik

Concentration: Nakamura vs Kramnik

But, again, we should add that Nakamura is really having trouble finding his best form. After a reasonable opening he spent a lot of time on the clock today, probably trying to find a way to play for a win. But eventually the ending that was reached was dead equal and then, basically the American just self-destructed:

Dortmund, 2011

25. Rb3
Obviously 25. Be3 Rxc3 (25... Nd5? 26. Rxb7) 26. Bxb6 axb6 27. Rxb6 is a dead draw, but apparently Nakamura was still looking for more.
25... h5 26. Be3 Nd5

27. Bd4?!
27. Bxa7 Rxc3 (27... Nxc3 28. Rxb7 Nxa2 29. Rb8) 28. Rxc3 Nxc3 29. a3 still draws easily.
27... b6! 28. f4 Rc4

29. Kf1?!
After this White's position is becoming really passive. 29. Ra3 a5 30. Rb3 a4 31. Rb2 was probably a better chance.
29... Ra4! 30. Rb2 Kh7 and Kramnik won this ending with fine play.

Nakamura: struggling so far in Dortmund

Nakamura: struggling so far in Dortmund

Ruslan Ponomariov fell half a point more behind after drawing with Georg Meier. The Ukrainian was outplaying his opponent in an ending with opposite-coloured bishops and rooks, and won a pawn before the first time control. But that was all he got; Meier simply defended very well and didn't allow his opponent to make any progress. Eventually the German could give his bishop as all white pawns disappeared from the board. A while after, the infamous BR-R ending was reached, but Ponomariov didn't try it for long since Meier had lots of time on the clock to find one of the two theoretical defences.

Ponomariov: second, a point behind Kramnik

Ponomariov: second, a point behind Kramnik

Anish Giri tried the fianchetto variation against Le Quang Liem's Grünfeld, but there was just no way of breaking through. The open c-file sped up the process of exchanges, until only light-squared bishops were left on the board, with a symmetrical pawn structure. Just like in the recent Morozevich-Pelletier game in Biel, it didn't matter for Black that all his pawns got stuck on the colour of the bishops, because there were so many of them! The white king simply didn't have an entry point.

View from above: the city theater in Dortmund

View from above: the city theater in Dortmund

Games round 4

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 - Ponomariov Le Quang Liem - Giri
Meier - Nakamura Kramnik - Nakamura
Kramnik - Giri Meier - Ponomariov

Dortmund 2011 | Round 4 Standings

Photos © Georgios Souleidis


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


S3's picture

Not to discredit Kramnik in any way, he is playing superb, but man did Naka's play s*ck today. Starting around move 27 he is really playing like he has given up already.

supersheep's picture

"Apparently I have resolved that if I cannot win a game of chess, I must do everything within my power to lose instead. Good game plan!" - Nakamura on his twitter

LMedemblik's picture

The only way to avoid the so often disputed draws :-)

Merlinovich's picture

Kramnik played a fine positional game. That said I don't know what Nakamura is doing with the white pieces here, he was also inferior after 20 moves against Ponomariov. Bad preparation? Or lack thereof?

After 20 moves against Kramnik he was almost positionally lost, that black-squared bishop looking at his pawns c3 and e5 were just terrible. No wonder he looked like resigning around move 27.

In the Pono-Meier game 91.Kxe4 was not part of the game - the position is dead after 90...Kxb5 The king move probably happens from putting the kings on the four center squares of the electronic board to seal the draw. It would be a DGT software error because after 90...Kxb5 it should know that no more moves can be made according to FIDE rules. This would also happen with one single same-coloured bishop for each player, because you can't construct a mate. If opposite-coloured bishops you *can* construct a mate. Shouldn't the DGT software know these things?

S3's picture

That's nonsense he could have traded the q-side pawns easily and though black might have a small theoretical advantage it would be pretty meaningless in practical play. It was not the opening that cost him the point and he certainly wasn't lost positionally at move 20.
(see also the analysis in the game viewer at move 27).

TMM's picture

Naka's 25th is just ridiculous. 25. Be3 is quite obviously sufficient for equality, but instead he played for a win in a pretty lame position. Surely you can leave it to Kramnik to punish him for his arrogance.

James Maskell's picture

Nakamura took 50 minutes over move 18 so its not a huge suprise he seemed a little off afterwards. You cant do that with Kramnik. He had a go but you have to be at your best in the endgame in that sort of position.

kaspy fan's picture

kramnik in this form can steam roll any player excluding the world champ

szoker's picture

Missed with the form there Mister Kramnik. You should had be in tip top shape during Candidate matches ;(

but nevermind, good to have Vlad back in form anyways.

gg's picture

Kramnik is just a tournament player :-)

andorsm's picture

Today we have witnesed another side of Kramniks talent. He defeated Ponomarev in Alekhin style, crushed Meyer With half-correct Tal sacrifice and won in Capablanca tecnical style with Nakamura. GM Zagrebelny at chesspro.ru supposed that Nakamura didn't read Nimzovich, his bad Bishop and poor endgame playing were terrible.

kaspy fan's picture

very correct,
Kramnik has a very deep understanding of chess.
He has been been hailed as a genius not just by fans but by several greats.
In classical chess there is no player who has a positive record against him except may the world champ himself.
Kramnik and anand are the best chess players today.
Carlsen is better than them at beating lower rated players though.
But he usually looses in classical chess to these two giants , (he has a negative score against both in classical chess ) .

Me's picture

Kramnik, Carlsen, Aronian branched for some time, each going its own way, and predictably, each dominating its path:

Carlsen - Biel,
Kramnik - Dortmund,
Aronian - World chess team championship

andorsm's picture

Yes, it is a pity we have not got them all in the same tournament (WCC)

Drag Queen's picture

I see Kamsky in good shape too

christos (greece)'s picture

He is very close to becoming the no 1 American player (in live ratings).

realitycheck's picture

Hey, you forgot the main man!

Anand -- Chennai

Chillin' at the crib. Babysittin'. Watchin' the games on the internet.

S3's picture

Let's be honest, it's Leko who is dominating at the world team championships!

Septimus's picture

If S3 says so, it must be true. Why argue with Jesus Christ our lord and savior? After all, it is o.k to have a Bc1, isolated c pawn and a hanging e5 pawn on move 20 with no problems. Right?

jussu's picture

When some position is drawn it is drawn, even if it looks really bad.

Septimus's picture

Super endgame play by Kramnik! White's play was a bit strange. He did not move Be3 till move 23 or so.

James Maskell's picture

Carlsen, Kramnik, Aronian all at London this December. Oh yes, it will be good.

Thomas's picture

And before at Botvinnik Memorial (rapid, with Anand) and Tal Memorial (with Anand, Nakamura, Gelfand, Wang Hao, Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi and probably Ivanchuk).

S3's picture

And before that they will probably all play at Bilbao: that will be even better since (almost) no weaker players will be there.

aerodarts's picture


Interesting comment. Have you heard any stories about Fischer and mirror's? It is said that wherever he stayed all mirror's would have to be removed.

blueofnoon's picture

Nakamura is certainly in terrible form, but this fact in no way should reduce the value of Kramnik's win.

I have seen patzers saying Carlsen is "lucky" many times because (according to them) his opponents often play weaker than they should do.

I hope those poor fellows change their minds. Chess is a game of mistakes, and this is the case even at the highest level.

In any case, Kramnik's over 3,000 performance is just superb, and I hope he will continue his success in Dortmund.

aerodarts's picture

defending the Queen Bishop Isolated pawn with the only bishop on the board is shocking. Why turn a bishop into a pawn? Why indeed? Everyone says get rid of draws, and I understand that thinking, but changing the very nature of a chess battle is the change the very nature of mankind and if you do that, then throw out all the chess games prior to that change. Just like they did in baseball, the DH, more games per season, changed the game. Yes, Maris broke the Babe's HR record, but with the record came an astrik * forever.

aerodarts's picture

Hex placed on USA’s Top Rated Chess Player
Posted on July 24, 2011
Hikaru Nakamura is an American professional chess player. Recently, Hikaru Nakamura has been proclaimed to be the next Bobby Fischer. Nakamura is not the next Bobby Fischer and he knows it. He is in a slump.. His last couple of tournaments has seen poor play by him and he admits it.

Why the sudden slump? Simple answer. A label has been place on him. The label says, “The next Bobby Fischer”. He is not Bobby Fischer. Nakamura is completely different than Bobby. Yes, he is very good at chess. He still has a lot to prove to the Chess World. His place in Chess History is unknown. So everyone stop saying he is the next Fischer. He is an American chess player who has a shot at becoming the World Champion and even if he becomes the champion, he does not become Bobby Fischer. If he becomes World Champion, let us hope he is the not the next Fischer. Anyone wondering why not, then just look what happened to Bobby after he defeated the Russians Chess Machine and became the Champion.

Nakamura looks in the mirror and what does he see? He see’s himself, not Fischer. If Hikaru ever becomes the chess champion of the world and then looks in the mirror he will see himself, not Fischer! What Nakamura will think at the moment is, I am Nakamura, the 2nd American who is the champion of the world.

Today, I predict that Nakamura has hit bottom. He lost a chess game today that was a draw (tie) against Vladimir Kramnik, one of the best chess players in the world. The Chess World will be report on why he lost. In chess chat rooms vicious things were said about Nakamura when it became apparent he would lose this game. Expect in the second round of the Dortmund Chess Tournament a different player.

I am not a chess expert. I am good spotting a trend on what is going on as a whole in our country and this trend is not good. As a whole, we need to come to grips with this reality and take the tough steps to reverse this downward spiral. If we do not, well who would really want to think about where we would end up?

Our country is in a slump also. We have fallen down the ranks in so many aspects that make a great country. The women’s soccer team loses to a non professional team. Does that remind you of anything? How about in Hockey when we beat the almighty Russians or when Bobby Fischer took it Spassky. What happened to the Soviet Union shortly after that? We need to start being very clever on what we write about and stop putting a fake spin on matters. Do you really believe Fischer won on talent alone when defeating the mighty Soviets?

The River Front Times has a lot of good information about Nakamura, so if you are interested in learning more about him do a search. http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2011-07-21/news/hikaru-nakamura-bobby-fis...

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jussu's picture

I am fairly certain that everyone would rather see himself in the mirror than Fischer.

bhabatosh's picture

Nakamura's game today is complete disaster !

aerodarts's picture

Naka is holding on so far. Good chance he will pull off a draw.

aerodarts's picture

game ended in draw....150 moves. naka breaks losing streak and slump!

LMedemblik's picture

LOL - Topalov is rising on the Live Ratings without playing.

Does this mean in theory you can get the worlds number one? :-)

Thomas's picture

No, because Anand is also taking a break from chess at the moment ... :)

LMedemblik's picture

get should be become but there still is no edit function

chessgate's picture

The great game! The light-squared strategy in action. It was clear that after 19... Bc6! Black was at least OK, but after 35... Kf5! and 36... b4 it was over. If Kramnik gains 7 more points then he will back to 2800 club - www.2700chess.com

Topafan's picture

I don't quite understand how Nakamura misplayed his position so terribly. Up to Re4 he was still pretty much okay

LMedemblik's picture

Maybe he thought so long about a Kings attack together with Bh6. When Kramnik did not let him get that far he became disgusted about his plan falling into the water and never recovered from that.

But maybe now I am peeing on the Devils tale. :-)

CID's picture

Kramnik-Giri 1-0.Kramnik 4.5/5 !!!

Thomas's picture

And today, I think, he simply played in the style of ... Kramnik. Or who else in chess history is/was as strong in (that type of) queenless middlegames?

Webbimio's picture

Yes Rh1 followed by Rc1 (once f8 was not free anymore for the bishop) was pure genius

columbo's picture

impressive game, i can't even see where Giri made a mistake, PURE KRAMNIK !

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