Kramnik is the Champ!

Vladimir Kramnik won the four game, rapid chess, tie-break match this morning. It was a real nail-biter of an event! Game one was a blunder-filled draw. Kramnik won game two in his usual style, grinding Topalov down in a difficult, technical endgame. Topalov struck back with a win in game three, trapping Kramnik’s king in the center and then annihilating him with a whirlwind attack. But Kramnik won game four in yet another technical endgame. Let us record the final moments for posterity:



Kramnik, playing white, is a pawn up in what is surely a winning endgame. But there are still technical problems to solve in breaking black’s blockade of the white pawns. Topalov made things easy for his opponent by bashing out 44. … Rxc5??, the idea being that after 45. Rxc5+ Kxb6 it is white who has to play carefully to hold the draw. But Kramnik eaisly found 45. Rb7+! which wins on the spot because of 45. … Rxb7 46. Rxc5+ Kb6 47. axb7 and white is simply up a rook.

So Kramnik managed to win it over the board and all of Topalov’s shenanigans are now moot. Kramnik is now the sole legitimate claimant to the title of World Champion. Over the board the match was one of the most exciting in recent memory. Not one of the eleven played games was a short “grandmaster draw.” The match contirbuted greatly to the theory of the Slav Defense.

As for Topalov, a lot of players have found it impossible to return to peak form after losing a match for the World Championship. Peter Leko and Nigel Short come to mind. I suspect that won’t happen in Topalov’s case. I think he will be among the world’s elite for several years to come.

Thanks to everyone for putting up with all the chess blogging over the last few weeks.

Comments

  1. #1 Davd S.
    October 13, 2006

    Not one of the eleven played games was a short grandmaster draw. The match contirbuted greatly to the theory of the Slav Defense.

    I’ll say. Didn’t something like 8 or 9 of the games start with 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6?

    Now we need a 1. e4 Championship. :)

    As for Topalov, a lot of players have found it impossible to return to peak form after losing a match for the World Championship. Peter Leko and Nigel Short come to mind. I suspect that won’t happen in Topalov’s case.

    Hopefully he’ll take a page from the wiley old master of the comeback himself, Botvinnik.

  2. #2 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 13, 2006

    Actually, Kramnik himself had a lot to do with why Topalov never tried e4 as white. He’s turned both the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez, and the Petroff Defense into very effective drawingf weapons indeed. Topalov was probably right to stick to d-pawn openings, since he got some decent positions as white.

    Meanwhile, earlier this year Kramnik lost as white in twenty moves to Topalov with e4. Overall Kramnik’s record with e4 is much worse than his record with d4, do it is understandable that he stuck to queen pawn openings as well.

  3. #3 Chuck Morrison
    October 14, 2006

    Actually, all this chess talk rekindled my interest in the game. I’ll be curling up with a few good strategy books as soon as work winds down.

    Scandal, false accusations, petulant replies, threats to sue — this match had it all. Should go down in history as one of the most interesting title bouts ever.

  4. #4 Salvador T. Corodva
    October 16, 2006

    Thanks to everyone for putting up with all the chess blogging over the last few weeks.

    I think both sides of late in the ID discussion are tired of the topic. More fun to ponder chess. :-)

  5. #5 David D.G.
    October 16, 2006

    Salvador: No, not for everybody here. I’m not knocking the chess detour, but I look forward to further on-topic blogs and discussions.

    ~David D.G.

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