Full point lead for Kramnik in Hoogeveen

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Vladimir Kramnik is leading the Crown Group of the Univé Tournament in Hoogeveen after three of a total of six rounds. The Russian grandmaster scored 2.5/3 and is already a full point ahead of number two, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Event15th Univé Chess Tournament | Crown Croup | PGN via TWIC
DatesOctober 16th-22nd, 2011
LocationHoogeveen, The Netherlands
System4-player double round robin
PlayersVladimir Kramnik, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Judit Polgar
Rate of play

90 minutes for the first 40 moves and then 30 minutes to finish the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1

The annual chess festival in Hoogeveen, The Netherlands is currently on its way. ChessVibes will be visiting the event during the last three days, right after the train trip which concluded on Tuesday (this report is written from a Prague hotel!). At this point, the Crown Group is already at half-time while the Open has reached its fifth round (Aleksandr Lenderman and Ilya Nyzhnyk are shared first with 4.5 points - later we'll report on this more extensively).

For the first time in its 15 years of history, the playing field of the Crown Group in Hoogeveen includes former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. The other participants are Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (as the winner of last year), Anish Giri (as the strongest Dutch player) and Judit Polgar (as the strongest female player).

In the first round, on Sunday, Kramnik defeated Giri in good style, but not in a 100% perfect game. His young, Dutch opponent showed he had guts by choosing the King's Indian (and not the Grünfeld, like in Dortmund earlier this year). If he wasn't already one of the greatest experts against the KID from the White side, Kramnik certainly is 'after Kazan'. The Russian must have spent many hours preparing for Teimour Radjabov's favourite opening, but during the Candidates the number one from Azerbaijan surprisingly went for the Queen's Gambit Declined.

Instead of the usual 10.Re1, in the Bayonet Attack Kramnik chose an old favourite of Loek van Wely: 10.g3. Two moves later he deviated again from the main paths with 12.Bf3, and Giri quickly went astray. Kramnik reached a completely winning position, but then went wrong with 27.Bb2? where the simple 27.Rxb7 is more or less curtains. However, the Russian's position was so good that he kept a big advantage and won anyway.

Vachier-Lagrave had an advantage throughout the game with White against Polgar, but the Hungarian lady defended like a lion and eventually held a rook ending to a draw.

The next day Kramnik won again. This time his opponent helped him even more: at some point Polgar felt she was in trouble and sacrificed a pawn on move 21. However, the trouble wasn't really there, and the sacrifice wasn't really correct. Giri and Vachier-Lagrave drew relatively quickly from a middlegame position that seemed promising, with opposite castling.

On the third day both games ended in a draw. Vachier-Lagrave had prepared an interesting set-up against Kramnik's super-solid QGD, which involved castling queenside. The Frenchman tried to start an attack, but his opponent found a quick way to create counterplay. When all the light pieces went off the board, the position was just equal. Polgar and Giri had drawn even quicky in a Scotch Four Knights.

A joint post-mortem that shows the good atmosphere between the players | Photos
courtesy of the official website

Later more about this tournament with on-the-spot reports from Hoogeveen!

Games rounds 1-3



Univé Chess Tournament | Crown Group (Hoogeveen) 2011 | Round 3 Standings


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