Converting Advantage According to Kramnik, Part 4

  • WIM energia
  • | Jul 12, 2013

Today we will continue with the topic of converting an advantage according to Vladimir Kramnik. Over the past few weeks we have covered different methods that Kramnik uses to bring home points from better positions. Today's article does not have a unifying topic of a single method, but is rather a combination of different ideas and interesting examples from Kramnik's play.

The first two positions feature sharp tactical complications, which Kramnik entered by choice in the first position and by necessity in the second. The last two positions are more of technical nature where Kramnik restricts the opponent's play with positional and tactical means.

Better development and d-file give White an advantage. With the last move Black threatens to take the pawn on h2, so h3 is very natural, right? In my game I would probably play it without thinking too much about the alternatives. The move is very natural, improves White's position and keeps a significant advantage.

However, we should ask what is Black's next move? Probably Bf5, defending the e4-pawn after which Black needs just one more move to consolidate: Rd8. Kramnik probably noticed all of this and chose a concrete move that required tons of calculations but which is ultimately the strongest move in the position. When faced with a small advantage after a calm move, or a bigger advantage that required tactical complications, Kramnik chose the second one. He has perfect feel for timing. Here he doesn't waste time on improving the position because Black can significantly improve his position while White can only improve his slightly.

While in the above example Kramnik had a choice between two continuations, in the next example he has to go all in. White is up a pawn but his pieces are not that well-placed, while Black's pieces are active - Rc3 & Ne5 coordinate well and threaten the white king. There is no quiet move that will do the job of keeping the advantage, so White has to go into tactical complications and foresee four moves ahead of the simplifications that will bring this major advantage. There is no way around it - one has to train tactics to be able to execute strategic ideas properly!

Vladimir Kramnik | Photo ChessVibes

The next two examples are of a different nature. They are more of the kind where Kramnik keeps the opponent's active resources to a minimum, while keeping his line of play. Hikaru Nakamura built some initiative against the white king, and it is Kramnik's turn to quench it and convert two extra pawns. For now the g3-pawn is hanging and there is no direct way to defend it, so Kramnik uses tactics to win few tempos and find a defense along the third rank, which is not obvious at all. By counter-attacking the black king, Kramnik regroups his pieces to build a defense of the g3-pawn.

In the last position Kramnik is dominating because of Black's discoordinated rooks, more space, d-file control and overall better placed pieces. It is not clear how to improve the position though. Black seems to be defending his weaknesses on b6 and h6 and if given a chance, he will bring the a-rook closer to the center. Kramnik chooses a strategy where he threatens the black king and at the same time further misplaces the black pieces. This might take some time but the 14th World Champion is patient in his implementation!

Next week we will wrap up with examples from Kramnik's most recent play and then I will show you a few examples from my recent practice where I followed or failed to follow Kramnik's methods.



  • 2 years ago


    The artical very nice

  • 3 years ago


    Awesome series of articles, thank you so much!

  • 3 years ago


    jah rastafari 


  • 3 years ago


    @ generalchesspr,   In the Jan 24 2010 game vs Nakamura if Black takes the R on f7 White plays Bg6+ winning the R on e8, then will be able to promote the pawn to c8.

  • 3 years ago


    Interesting collection of a variety of situations!  Thanks for the article, Miss Zenyuk!

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for the article energia!


  • 3 years ago


    GM Kramnik's amazing ... puts Carlsen in zugs in the sweet it is !!!

  • 3 years ago


    if he hadn't a disease, he will be the best player of history of chess...

  • 3 years ago



    White's plan is given in the move list.

  • 3 years ago


    Bobby Fischer..Anything to win

    a good documentary, watch it later

  • 3 years ago


    finish the end game

  • 3 years ago


    The oct 9 2010 game? Black is in zugzwang and resigned because of the following plan by White:?? who is doing these articles? is it so hard to set up a new table below this game to show why hes in Zugwang? And show the plan by white? wouldnt it be more clear that way?


  • 3 years ago


    Still a bit sketchy. After these long games why dont they play them out so the rest of the people can see the ending? It would be good for the game for people to get interested by seeing the end of these briliant games.

  • 3 years ago


    I see bg6.

  • 3 years ago


    I'm trying to see how white wins the Jan 24, 2010 match. I have analized it and it looks like black can win it. black king takes whites rook on f7 then what does white do? I'm sure theres a move somewhere that decides the game, but what is it?

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    very nice

  • 3 years ago



    and Kramnik is just boss...

  • 3 years ago


    kramnik is a mad scientist

  • 3 years ago

    NM papapizza


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