Nepomniachtchi Beats Teammate Kramnik Brilliantly: Dortmund R5
Nepomniachtchi beats Kramnik in round five of Dortmund. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Nepomniachtchi Beats Teammate Kramnik Brilliantly: Dortmund R5

| 25 | Chess Event Coverage

With two rounds to go, Ian Nepomniachtchi is the sole leader at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund. The Russian GM defeated his Olympic teammate Vladimir Kramnik with great style in the only decisive game of the fifth round.

Two days before the deadline, the Russian Chess Federation today revealed the lineup of its teams in the Batumi Olympiad. In the open section, the Russians will be going for their first Olympic gold since 2002.

It's not surprising that both Nepo and Kramnik are in the team, together with Sergey Karjakin. The remaining two names are Dmitry Jakovenko and Nikita Vitiugov; at the time of writing it's not clear why the higher-rated GMs Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler were not chosen.

In the battle of teammates, it looks like Kramnik was playing for a win as Black today. Instead of his usual Berlin, he played the Møller variation of the Ruy Lopez.

Our annotator Dejan Bojkov points out that had played this just once before, last year in an important game against Vishy Anand in Stavanger.

The Møller, only once before played by Kramnik

Incidentally, it was the first time ever that Nepomniachtchi faced this variation! But it didn't show. It was Kramnik who went astray after the opening, from a position where he had nice compensation for a pawn.

Making use of a small tactic, Nepomniachtchi could lock up Black's key bishop in this variation, and this remained the positional theme for the rest of the game.

Nepomniachtchi played a splendid game. In case you're wondering, today he used about the same amount of time as his opponent. Afterward, he commented: "I'm happy about the result of course, but even more about the quality of my play."


Jenny Deppe, Dokom21 Dortmund 2018

This time Jenny Deppe of internet provider Dokom21 made the first move. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Georg Meier continued his very solid tournament with a fifth draw.The Polish rising star Jan-Krzysztof Duda tried a setup with White that the highly creative Dutch IM Manuel Bosboom likes to play, but perhaps it was also influenced by the fact that Magnus Carlsen gave his stamp of approval at this year's Norway Chess tournament!

The move 10...g5 was an interesting way of stopping White's g4-g5, similar to some lines in the Sicilian. Castling queenside was the logical follow-up, when Duda decided to trade queens. Not much later the draw was agreed.

"I am very satisfied about how I played the opening," said Meier. "At the end I was considering to continue playing, but objectively speaking there was no reason."

Meier vs Duda Dortmund 2018

Another fine game by Meier. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Anish Giri and Radoslaw Wojtaszek drew an English game where White quickly won the bishop pair, but then played with less space. It was only on move 32 that White made his second pawn move beyond the third rank; the first one was 1.c4!

White kept a slight edge throughout the game, but it doesn't look like there were chances for a bigger advantage.

Giri Wojtaszek Dortmund 2018

Giri vs Wojtaszek. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Vladislav Kovalev vs Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu was a Tarrasch French that quickly became a queenless middlegame. White won a pawn, but Black had the bishop pair and after lots of trades, it was 3-vs-2 on the queenside with both a rook and a bishop. Kovalev tried for long, but couldn't win it.

Nisipeanu Kovalev Dortmund 2018

Kovalev vs Nisipeanu. | Photo: Georgios Souleidis.

Dortmund 2018 | Round 5 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts SB
1 Nepomniachtchi,Ian 2757 2873 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 3.5/5
2 Kovalev,Vladislav 2655 2785 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.0/5 7.5
3 Duda,Jan-Krzysztof 2737 2766 ½ ½ 0 1 1 3.0/5 5.75
4 Meier,Georg 2628 2739 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 6.5
5 Kramnik,Vladimir 2792 2706 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 5.75
6 Giri,Anish 2782 2689 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 2.5/5 5
7 Wojtaszek,Radoslaw 2733 2669 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.0/5
8 Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter 2672 2504 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1.0/5

Round-six pairings, Saturday, July 21 at 3 p.m. (6 a.m. Pacific, 9 a.m. Eastern): Meier-Nisipeanu, Wojtaszek-Kovalev, Kramnik-Giri and Duda-Nepomniachtchi. You can follow the games in Live Chess.

Games via TWIC.

Correction: an earlier version of this article stated that Kramnik played the Møller also in his match with Leko. However, there Kramnik only used the Petroff against 1.e4.

Earlier posts:

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.”

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