Dortmund R3: Kramnik Steals The Show But Only Draws

Dortmund R3: Kramnik Steals The Show But Only Draws

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

Vladimir Kramnik played an amazing game that got the fans on the edge of their seats, but eventually he drew his game with Rainer Buhmann. The day's victors at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund were Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez. The latter joined Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the tournament lead.

All photos below by Georgios Souleidis.

Sometimes chess is art, pure art. We forget about ratings, results and standings and simply enjoy what is happening on the 64 squares. The play triggers our imagination, reminds us of great players from the past, and urges us to see the chess board as a canvas where new paintings are created each and every day — Today, a masterpiece was created.

It takes two to tango, but in this case, the master responsible for the brilliancy was Vladimir Kramnik. The former world champion played sacrificially against Rainer Buhmann, the big underdog in this game. First a bishop, then a knight, and then even a queen was tossed away for... what exactly?

It took a while to realize what was going on: Black was in some kind of middlegame zugzwang. The only problem was that there wasn't enough material left for White to actually win this game. Still, what a joy it was to watch the game unfold. It must be noted that Buhmann defended very well, despite being in time trouble early on.

Dagobert Kohlmeyer, who has been writing about Dortmund for
27 years, makes the first move in Kramnik vs. Buhmann.

Fabiano Caruana finally got his first win in this round. After not getting much against Nisipeanu's Caro-Kann on Sunday, the American grandmaster decided to play the opening himself against Evgeniy Najer. A long and difficult maneuvering game followed; it was only on move 40 that Najer went wrong. If he doesn't let go of the b-pawn, there's still much to play for.

A good game by Caruana, who won a tough battle.

Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu is not an elite player, but he surely has a lot of experience against elite grandmasters thanks to events such as the Kings Tournament in Bazna/Medias. Today he showed that he can press with the white pieces and play for two results against 2800 GMs. It does help when that 2800 opponent is willing to follow the absolute main line of the Grünfeld where Black ends up an exchange down for a pawn with enough compensation to hold the game.

No, the Grünfeld still hasn't been refuted yet.

Vachier-Lagrave remained in shared first place, but the name next to him on the leaderboard changed. It's Leinier Dominguez now; Dominguez defeated Ruslan Ponomariov in a Najdorf. After a very interesting opening phase, the Cuban ended up with a slightly better ending, but it should have ended in a draw. This time Ponomariov was on the wrong side of a decisive rook endgame, and this one was even more difficult than the previous round. It deserves a better analysis, but it looks like there was still a study-like draw on move 64 for Black.

Another instructive rook endgame in Dortmund!

Dortmund 2016 | Round 3 Standings

Place Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2798 2885 ½ ½ 1 2.0/3 3.00
2 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2713 2844 ½ 1 ½ 2.0/3 2.75
3 Kramnik, Vladimir 2812 2722 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.50
4 Nisipeanu, Liviu-Dieter 2674 2771 ½ ½ ½ 1.5/3 2.50
5 Caruana, Fabiano 2810 2720 0 ½ 1 1.5/3 1.75
6 Ponomariov, Ruslan 2706 2692 0 ½ 1 1.5/3 1.75
7 Buhmann, Rainer 2653 2617 ½ ½ 0 1.0/3 1.75
8 Najer, Evgeniy 2687 2603 0 0 1 1.0/3 1.00

The fourth round, on Wednesday, will see the games Vachier-Lagrave vs. Buhmann, Ponomariov vs. Kramnik, Caruana vs. Dominguez, and Nisipeanu vs. Najer.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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