Kramnik-Anand: English at Las Palmas

Kramnik-Anand: English at Las Palmas

GreenLaser
NM GreenLaser
Jan 23, 2010, 12:00 AM |
8 | Opening Theory

Las Palmas 1996 was the first ever category 21 tournament. The players had an average rating of 2756. Garry Kasparov, the world champion at the time, and Anatoly Karpov, his immediate predecessor, were playing. Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, and Veselin Topalov also played. Those three would later become world champions. Vassily Ivanchuk participated as well. The event included six of the top seven rated players in the world. Gata Kamsky's rating was slightly above Topalov's in the December 1996 FIDE list which came out just before the event began. According to Jeff Sonas of Chessmetrics, as of mid-2009, the only tournament that was more elite than Las Palmas 1996 was AVRO 1938.

After the double round robin, in which each player played two games with each opponent, the scores were: Kasparov 6.5, Anand 5.5, Kramnik, 5 Topalov 5, Karpov, 4, and Ivanchuk 4.

The following game from the event was between Kramnik and Anand. The opening is the English. Calling it the English Opening does not limit what the players have to know to only the lines belonging it. The move orders and choices required them to think of the Queen's Indian, the Catalan, Hedgehog, and even Gruenfeld ideas. Kramnik broke open the center, sacrificed his queen, and had compensation in the form of rook, bishop, and passed (but not extra) pawn. The passed pawn was isolated in the center, but was not weak. It was born on e2 and ended its career on d7. The threat of promotion was enough for Black, whose queen exhausted its check book, to resign.

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