Kramnik wins Univé Tournament, back in the 2800 club

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage

PHOTO AND VIDEO REPORT - Vladimir Kramnik won the Crown Group of the Univé Tournament in Hoogeveen convincingly. Already one round before the end the Russian was sure of a clear first place. Drawing his last-round game against Judit Polgar, Kramnik seems to be arriving at 2800 exactly in the November rating list.

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

A glass chess set placed between the two boards in the playing hall in Hoogeveen. In earlier years the players actually played with pieces of glass.

Leading the tournament by a full point after three rounds, it didn't come as a surprise that Vladimir Kramnik won this year's Univé Tournament. The former World Champion was the big favourite from the start, and he secured clear first place already with a round to spare. Right after the last round, on Saturday afternoon, outside the playing hall we had a little chat with the Russian super GM. He revealed that the format of just six rounds suits him well. "At my age it's really nice to have such a small tournament."

Vladimir Kramnik, winner of Hoogeveen 2011

Besides, he's happy to be back into the 2800 club (according to the live ratings he's now 2799.6) even though it might be for just two months. In the video Kramnik also looks forward to the upcoming and terribly strong Tal Memorial. Thanks to his rating win in Hoogeveen, the tournament will actually be Category 22!

We arrived in Hoogeveen on Thursday afternoon, and witnessed the last moments of two excellent games in round 4. Dutch GM Anish Giri in fact had a clear plus in an ending against Kramnik, but it was never clear whether it was winning somewhere.

[Event "15th Unive Crown"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NED"]
[Date "2011.10.20"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Giri, A."]
[Black "Kramnik, V."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2722"]
[BlackElo "2791"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "125"]
[EventDate "2011.10.16"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nc3 Nb6 6. d3 Be7 7. Be3 O-O 8.
Rc1 Re8 9. Qc2 Bf8 10. a3 h6 $146 (10... a6 11. Nf3 Nc6 12. O-O Bg4 13. Rfe1
Rc8 14. Na4 Nd5 15. Bc5 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 Bxc5 17. Qxc5 Nce7 18. b4 c6 {Romero
Holmes,A (2524)-Fernandez Garcia,J (2453)/Ayamonte 2002}) 11. Nf3 Nc6 12. O-O
Bg4 13. Ne4 Qd7 14. Rfe1 Rad8 15. Nc5 Bxc5 16. Bxc5 Nd5 17. b4 b6 18. Be3 Re6
19. Qc4 Rd6 20. Bd2 Bxf3 21. exf3 Rf6 22. f4 exf4 23. Bxd5 fxg3 24. hxg3 Qxd5
25. Re8+ Kh7 26. Rxd8 Qxc4 27. Rxc4 Nxd8 28. Rxc7 Rd6 29. Rxa7 Rxd3 30. Be3 b5
31. Ra5 Nc6 32. Rxb5 Rxa3 33. Rb7 Rb3 34. b5 Na5 35. Rb8 Nc4 36. Bd4 Rd3 37.
Rd8 h5 38. Kg2 Rb3 39. Rd5 Kg6 40. Rc5 Nd2 41. b6 Ne4 42. Rc7 Ng5 43. Rc2 Rb4
44. Bc5 Rb5 45. Be3 Ne6 46. Rc7 Kf6 47. Kf3 g5 48. Rd7 Nf8 49. Rd8 Ne6 50. Rd7
Nf8 51. Rd6+ Ne6 52. Ke4 h4 53. gxh4 gxh4 54. Rd1 Ke7 55. f4 f5+ 56. Kf3 Rb3
57. Rd5 h3 58. Rd2 Nc5 59. Rh2 Nd7 60. Rxh3 Nxb6 61. Rh7+ Kd6 62. Rh6+ Kc7 63.
Rh7+ 1/2-1/2

Giri and Kramnik analyzing afterwards

Judit Polgar (Hungary) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) played a 'crazy game', in the words of the Frenchman. It was a highly complicated fight where Polgar missed wins three times, so understandably she didn't feel like analyzing afterwards. Vachier-Lagrave joined the journos in the press room to share his thoughts.

[Event "15th Unive Crown"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NED"]
[Date "2011.10.20"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Polgar, Ju"]
[Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2701"]
[BlackElo "2715"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "88"]
[EventDate "2011.10.16"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 h5 8. g3
Be6 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. a4 Rc8 $146 (10... Be7 11. a5 Rc8 12. Be3 Qc7 13. Qd2 Nc5
14. O-O Qc6 {Moscovich,F-Wojtkiewicz,A/Parnu 1982}) 11. Be3 Nb6 12. Bg5 Be7 13.
b3 h4 14. Bxh4 Rxh4 $5 {A typical exchange sac - Black will get control over
the black squares in return.} 15. gxh4 Nh5 16. Bf3 Nf4 17. Bg4 Bxh4 18. Nxf4
exf4 19. Nd5 Bxd5 20. exd5 Rc3 $1 {Nicely using those black squares.} 21. Kf1
Qc7 22. a5 Qc5 $2 ({The computer prefers} 22... Nc8 {but Maxime didn't like it
so much.}) 23. Qe1+ Re3 24. Qd2 Nxd5 25. c4 $2 (25. fxe3 $1 {was in fact
possible but after} fxe3 {you have to see} 26. b4 $1 {and even after} Qc4+ (
26... Nxb4 27. Qg2 $1) 27. Qd3 Qf4+ 28. Ke2 Qf2+ 29. Kd1 Nf4 30. Qxd6 {it's
not easy:} f5 $5 (30... e2+ 31. Bxe2 Qxe2+ 32. Kc1) 31. Kc1 $1 fxg4 32. hxg4 e2
33. Kb2 Bf6+ 34. Ka2 $18) 25... Rd3 26. Qe2+ Re3 27. Qc2 {"I was absolutely
shocked when she played this." (Vachier-Lagrave)} Nb4 $6 ({Vachier-Lagrave
refrained from} 27... f3 $1 {because of} 28. Qh7 {but only in the press room
he found out about} Bf6 $1 {and Black is on top.}) 28. Qd2 $6 (28. Qf5) 28...
Bxf2 $2 (28... Rxb3 $1 {is still good for Black.}) 29. Qxf2 Nd3 30. Qd2 f3 31.
Rh2 $1 {A strong defensive move.} Qe5 32. Rd1 Kf8 ({Here Vachier-Lagrave saw
that} 32... f5 {fails to} 33. Bxf5) 33. Rf2 $2 ({The Frenchman had also seen}
33. Bf5 $1 {which wins on the spot.}) 33... Nxf2 34. Qxf2 Qe4 $6 (34... Rxb3)
35. Qd2 Kg8 36. Qxd6 g6 37. Qd8+ Kh7 38. Qf6 $2 (38. Qd5 Qf4 39. Rd3 Rxd3 40.
Qxd3 Qc1+ 41. Kf2 Qb2+ 42. Kxf3 f5 43. Bxf5 gxf5 44. Qxf5+ $18) 38... Rd3 $1 {
Now it's not clear whether White can still win.} 39. Qxf7+ Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kh7 41.
Re1 Rd1 42. Qf7+ Kh6 43. Qf8+ Kh7 44. Qf7+ Kh6 1/2-1/2

Against Vachier-Lagrave, Polgar missed a win in three different positions

On Friday it was Vachier-Lagrave's 21st birthday. Kramnik, however, wasn't in for a birthday present over the board. Instead he beat the Frenchman in 87 moves from a queen ending with an extra pawn.

[Event "15th Unive Crown"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NED"]
[Date "2011.10.21"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Kramnik, V."]
[Black "Vachier Lagrave, M."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A15"]
[WhiteElo "2791"]
[BlackElo "2715"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "173"]
[EventDate "2011.10.16"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qa4+ Bd7 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 a6 7. d4 b5 8.
Qd3 Bg7 9. g3 b4 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Qxe4 Bc6 12. Qf4 O-O 13. Bg2 Qd6 $146 (13...
Bxd4 14. O-O e5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Qxe5 Re8 17. Qc5 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Rxe2 19. Bh6
Nd7 20. Qxb4 Ne5 21. Rad1 Qf6 {Popov,V (2580)-Petrosian,T (2477)/Moscow 2004})
14. O-O Nd7 15. Qh4 e5 16. d5 Qxd5 17. Be3 Qb5 18. Rac1 Bd5 19. Rxc7 Rac8 20.
Ng5 h6 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Ne4 g5 23. Qh3 Be6 24. Qh5 Rc4 25. Rd1 b3 26. a3 Rd4
$2 ({Panic. After} 26... Qa4 {Black is OK.}) 27. Bxd4 exd4 28. h4 Ne5 29. hxg5
Bg4 30. Qh4 Qxe2 31. Rxd4 Nf3+ 32. Bxf3 Bxf3 33. Rd8+ Kh7 34. Nd2 Bc6 35. gxh6
$2 {Careless.} (35. Nf1 {should win relatively easily.}) 35... Bxb2 36. Qg5
Qd1+ 37. Nf1 Qf3 38. Qg8+ Kxh6 39. Rd6+ Bf6 40. Qh8+ Kg5 41. Qg8+ Kh6 42. Rxc6
Qxc6 43. Ne3 Qf3 44. Ng4+ Kh5 45. Nh2 Qd1+ 46. Kg2 Qd5+ 47. Kh3 Qe6+ 48. Ng4
Bg5 49. f3 Qf5 50. Qh8+ Kg6 51. Qg8+ Kh5 52. Qg7 Be3 53. Qc3 Qe6 54. Qg7 Bh6
55. Qh8 f5 56. Nxh6 Qxh6 57. Qg8 Qd6 58. Qxb3 {Perhaps this is objectively a
draw, but over the board it's almost impossible to hold.} Kg6 59. Qg8+ Kf6 60.
Qh8+ Kg6 61. Qg8+ Kf6 62. f4 Qd3 63. Qf8+ Kg6 64. Kh4 Qd5 65. Qe8+ Kf6 66. Qh8+
Kg6 67. Qh5+ Kg7 68. g4 Qh1+ 69. Kg5 Qc6 70. gxf5 Qg2+ 71. Qg4 Qb2 72. Qf3 Qf6+
73. Kg4 Qb6 74. Qc3+ Kf7 75. Qe1 Qd4 76. Qe6+ Kf8 77. Qc8+ Kf7 78. Qe6+ Kf8 79.
f6 Qg1+ 80. Kf5 Qc5+ 81. Qe5 Qc2+ 82. Kg5 Qg2+ 83. Kh6 Qh2+ 84. Kg6 Qc2+ 85.
Qf5 Qc3 86. Qd5 Qc2+ 87. f5 1-0

Vachier-Lagrave is not going to hold the queen ending against Kramnik

Giri got back to fifty percent thanks to a win against Polgar. Her piece sacrifice wasn't incorrect, but the follow-up was.

[Event "15th Unive Crown"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NED"]
[Date "2011.10.21"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Giri, A."]
[Black "Polgar, Ju"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A15"]
[WhiteElo "2722"]
[BlackElo "2701"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "93"]
[EventDate "2011.10.16"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. Nf3 e5 5. Nc3 d6 6. O-O Be7 7. d3 O-O 8. a3 h6
9. Ne1 Rb8 10. b4 $146 (10. Rb1 Be6 11. b4 Qd7 12. bxc5 dxc5 13. Nc2 Bh3 14.
Ne3 Bxg2 15. Kxg2 Rfd8 16. Ned5 {Soelch,H-Heinze,W/Wuerttemberg 1993}) 10...
cxb4 11. axb4 Nxb4 12. Rxa7 d5 13. cxd5 Bc5 14. Ra1 Bd4 15. Ra3 Nbxd5 16. Nxd5
Nxd5 17. e3 Bc5 18. Ra1 Re8 19. Bb2 Nf6 20. Nf3 Bg4 21. Qb3 Bd6 22. Rfc1 Qd7
23. Ra5 b5 24. Qa2 Qf5 25. Ra7 Rf8 26. Ne1 Bb4 27. e4 Qh5 28. d4 Bd2 29. Ra1 b4
30. dxe5 Be6 31. Qa5 Bxe1 $5 {Going for an interesting piece sacrifice.} ({
Another option was} 31... Ng4 $5 {as now} 32. h3 $2 {fails to} Nxf2 $1 33. Kxf2
Qg5 34. Qc5 Rbc8 35. Qb6 Rfd8 {with a winning attack.}) 32. Rxe1 Ng4 33. h3 {
Forcing Black to sacrifice the knight.} Nxf2 34. Kxf2 Rfd8 35. Re2 Bc4 36. Bf3
Qxh3 37. e6 $1 {A good zwischenzug that helps the defence.} Qxe6 38. Rc2 Bb5 $6
({After} 38... Bb3 $1 39. Re2 Bc4 {White can take the draw or continue with}
40. Be5 $5) 39. Kg2 g5 $2 {This is more problematic for the black king than
for the white one.} ({Here} 39... Bd3 {keeps the game going.}) 40. Kh2 Qb3 41.
Qc7 $1 {Now it's White who has a winning attack.} Bc4 42. Rf2 Qe3 43. Kg2 Re8
44. Bh5 Qxe4+ 45. Kh2 Rf8 46. Ra6 Be6 47. Rxe6 1-0

Giri checking what the computer thinks of his game against Polgar, with chess journalist IM Gert Ligterink and (standing) IM Li Riemersma

The last day was a quiet one. Polgar didn't want to take risks, and played the very safe 5.Re1 line against Kramnik's Berlin.

[Event "15th Unive Crown"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NED"]
[Date "2011.10.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Polgar, Ju"]
[Black "Kramnik, V."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C67"]
[WhiteElo "2701"]
[BlackElo "2791"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "44"]
[EventDate "2011.10.16"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. Re1 Nd6 6. Nxe5 Be7 7. Bf1 Nxe5
8. Rxe5 O-O 9. d4 Bf6 10. Re1 Re8 11. Rxe8+ Nxe8 12. d5 d6 13. Nd2 Bf5 $146 (
13... Bd7 14. c3 c6 15. Nf3 Nc7 16. dxc6 Bxc6 17. Bf4 Ne6 {1/2-1/2 (17) Bakre,
T (2491)-Roktim,B (2345)/Visakhapatnam 2004}) 14. Nc4 Bg5 15. Be3 Bxe3 16. Nxe3
Bd7 17. Qd4 a5 18. c3 Nf6 19. Re1 Qb8 20. Bd3 Qa7 21. Qxa7 Rxa7 22. f3 Kf8
1/2-1/2

A relatively quick draw between Polgar and Kramnik

Vachier-Lagrave and Giri could have ended in a quick draw as well, if the Frenchman had accepted the draw offer from his opponent at move 28. A move later he regretted his decision to play on! Eventually a queen ending with four against three on one wing ended in a draw at move 96.

[Event "15th Unive Crown"]
[Site "Hoogeveen NED"]
[Date "2011.10.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Vachier Lagrave, M."]
[Black "Giri, A."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2715"]
[BlackElo "2722"]
[Annotator "ChessVibes"]
[PlyCount "192"]
[EventDate "2011.10.16"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. a3 c5 7. dxc5 Ne4 8. Qc2
Na6 $5 $146 (8... Nxc3 9. Qxc3 Bf6 10. Qc2 dxc4 11. e4 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 c3 13. Bxc3
Bxc3+ 14. Qxc3 {1/2-1/2 (14) Simeonov,L (2430)-Hausdorf,H (2336)/ICCF email
2007}) 9. Nxe4 dxe4 10. Rd1 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qc7 12. Qxe4 Nxc5 13. Qe5 Qc6 14. g3
Bf6 15. Qe3 Bxb2 16. Bg2 Qc7 17. O-O b6 18. Nd4 Bb7 19. Nb5 Qe7 20. Bxb7 Qxb7
21. Bb4 a6 22. Rd2 Bf6 23. Nd6 Qc6 24. Bxc5 bxc5 25. Ne4 Be7 26. Rfd1 Rfd8 27.
Qf3 Kf8 28. Qf4 f6 29. Nc3 Rd4 30. Rxd4 cxd4 31. Qxd4 Rd8 32. Qh4 Rxd1+ 33.
Nxd1 h6 34. Qf4 Bxa3 35. Qb8+ Kf7 36. Qb3 Bc5 37. Qc2 Bd4 38. Qd3 Qd6 39. Nc3
Be5 40. Qc2 Bxc3 41. Qxc3 Qd1+ 42. Kg2 Qxe2 43. Qd4 Ke8 44. c5 Qa2 45. Qb4 Qd5+
46. Kg1 Kd7 47. Qb6 Qc6 48. Qa7+ Qc7 49. Qxa6 Qxc5 50. h4 Ke7 51. Qb7+ Kf8 52.
Qd7 Qe7 53. Qc8+ Kf7 54. Qc6 Qa7 55. Kg2 Ke7 56. Qc8 Kf7 57. Qc6 Qd4 58. Qc7+
Kg6 59. h5+ Kh7 60. Qf7 Qe4+ 61. Kg1 Qf5 62. Qe8 e5 63. Kg2 Qe4+ 64. Kg1 Qc4
65. Qg6+ Kh8 66. Qe8+ Qg8 67. Qe7 Kh7 68. Qd7 Qf8 69. Qf5+ Kh8 70. Qe6 Qb8 71.
Kh2 Qg8 72. Qd7 Qf8 73. Qe6 Qd8 74. Kg2 Qg8 75. Qd7 Qa8+ 76. Kg1 Qb8 77. Qe6
Kh7 78. Kh2 Qd8 79. Kg2 Qa8+ 80. Kg1 Kh8 81. Kh2 Qe4 82. Qe8+ Kh7 83. Kg1 Qf5
84. Kg2 e4 85. Kg1 Qg4 86. Kg2 f5 87. Kh2 Qg5 88. Kg2 Qf6 89. Kh2 Qg5 90. Kg2
Qf6 91. Kh2 Qb6 92. Kg2 Qd6 93. Kh3 Qd5 94. Kh2 Qc5 95. Kg1 Qd6 96. Kg2 Qf6
1/2-1/2

Vachier-Lagrave and Giri took much longer to split the point

Tournament study

At the request of the organization our co-editor IM Yochanan Afek composed an endgame study to commemorate the 15th Univé Tournament:

[Event "Univé Challenger"]
[Site "Univé Challenger"]
[Date "2011"]
[FEN "k1B1K3/P1p4r/8/8/8/8/8/1R6 w - - 0 0"]

1. Ra1 Rh8+ (1... c6 2. Bd7 Rh8+ 3. Ke7 Rh7+ 4. Kd8 Rh8+ 5. Kc7 Rh7 6. Rb1 Rh8
7. Bxc6+ Kxa7 8. Ra1#) 2. Kd7 Rf8 (2... Rh7+ 3. Kc6 Rh6+ 4. Kc5 Rh5+ 5. Kc4
Rh4+ 6. Kc3 Rh8 7. Bf5 c6 8. Bd7 Kb7 9. a8=Q+ Rxa8 10. Bxc6+ Kxc6 11. Rxa8) 3.
Bb7+ Kxb7 4. a8=Q+ Rxa8 5. Rb1+ Ka6 6. Kc6 Ka7 7. Kxc7 Ka6 8. Ra1+ Kb5 9. Rxa8

White to play and win

Univé Chess Tournament | Crown Group (Hoogeveen) 2011 | Round 6 (FInal) Standings

 

 

An unfortunate second half put Judit Polgar in last place, with minus two

Last year's winner Vachier-Lagrave ended third this time, on minues one

Second, with fifty percent: Anish Giri

The winner, with plus three: Vladimir Kramnik

Please note that we'll return to Hoogeveen once more in the coming week for a report on the strong open tournament.

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