Friday, August 19, 2011

Kramnik... a preview of Kramnik 2.0?

Kramnik sacrificing pieces now as a "regular" feature to his play?

Okay, obviously former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik can do it all but he definitely has a style. Some would say that his chess style is quite a bit like Karpov's or perhaps to some extent even Capablanca's. He is known as a positional genius who can pick up on the slightest sent of a weakness in certain openings, like the Catalan, and eventually convert that advantage into a win. But these days something is different about his play.

Whenever a player starts to push them self and to change up the way they play their game practical results may fall off at first. However once such a player pushes beyond their limits then they can even push their game further than before. So for an older player such as myself it is quite reassuring to see this new Vladimir Kramnik who pushes himself for victory, who creates unbalanced games, who is not afraid to actually step outside of his older but still very "stylish" style of playing. Cutting new ground and pushing one's limits is never easy. Bravo Kramnik!

I (and the whole world!) have noticed this change during Kramnik's last two chess tournaments: Dortmund and the 64th Russian Championship - this years "Super Final". In Dortmund Kramnik took top honors but despite his guaranteed first place finish with a round to spare he pushed himself to defeat Hikaru Nakamura in that final round. He came up short in that game but showed a new level to the depths of his fighting spirit - and a new chess style as well too. In the 64th Russian Championship Kramnik had three wins, two losses and two draws but played uncompromising chess all the way. Having already been World Champion - the very player who dethroned Garry Kasparov back in 2000 - we can only wonder what future results Kramnik will achieve now that he is pushing himself. Having attained the highest title possible in chess most players never again can find the inspiration to push themselves - but Kramnik has! I for one look forward to his future games. - Chess Coach Sean Tobin.



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