Kramnik Wins 2013 FIDE World Cup
On Monday Vladimir Kramnik emerged as the glorious winner of the FIDE World Cup, one of the toughest chess competitions in the world. The 38-year-old Russian grandmaster drew the fourth classical game of the final with his compatriot Dmitry Andreikin, and so the all-Russian final ended 2.5-1.5 in favour of Kramnik, who netted $96,000.
It was a gruelling event that took more than three weeks, but the World Cup final is finally over and we have a winner. Vladimir Kramnik knocked out FM Gillan Bwalya of Zambia and GMs Mikhail Kobalia of Russia, Alexander Areshchenko of Ukraine, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Anton Korobov of Ukraine, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and then Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in the final.
After three games the score was 2-1 for Kramnik, and so Andreikin was in a must-win situation on Monday. The youngest of the two Russians opened with 1.c4, and a Symmetrical English came on the board. White's decision to close the queenside with 11.b5 was slightly surprising, but a few moves later it seemed like he was developing some initiative on the other side of the board.
After the game Andreikin said that he felt that he was better when he played 19.g4, but a few moves later he realized that he "had no ideas". When Kramnik played 26...Qd6 he thought it was "very solid, not even close to acceptable for White."
Black took over the initiative, and at move 34 Andreikin, who was worse, offered a draw.
Normally Kramnik would have played on at least a few more moves, but in this situation a draw was almost the same as a win!
"If I would win I would be second place in the ranking, so I considered playing on. I would have played on if it was totally winning, but it was not."
The first half of 2013 wasn't great for Kramnik. After a dramatic last round he finished second on tiebreak at the Candidates Tournament, and this year's Tal Memorial was one of the worst tournaments he ever played. But in Dortmund things went much better (he came second, behind Michael Adams), and in Tromsø the Russian was in great shape. It was a long, hot summer for him:
"I played 25 classical games and 6 rapid games in one month. Strangely enough I don't feel exhausted. Tired, but not exhausted. I am quite surprised in general I really played well here. Of course there were mistakes, but not blunders. I was really worried I was completely out of shape."
Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen posted the following on Facebook:
FIDE World Cup 2013, Final | Score
Held every two years, the World Cup is part of the World Championship cycle. The winner and the runner-up will qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. The World Cup takes place August 10th-September 3rd in Tromsø, Norway. Photos by Paul Truong courtesy of the official website; games via TWIC.