Friday, October 21, 2011

Kramnik Express rolls on...

In the "old" days strong chess players would sometimes try to figure out what potential score they could make by assuming the games that they would play as white would be wins and that the games they had as Black would be draws. Some players would entertain such notions before the first round of an event just as a kind of pre-game warm up. Since the impact of strong chess playing engines has totally rewritten the rules to opening preparation we now see Black easily equalizing in certain lines. With top notch opening prep we see the top players overcome and defeat less well prepared opponents. But Kramnik 2.0 seems able to depend upon winning with White and drawing with the Black pieces which is quite an accomplishment in this brave new world of modern chess!

At +3 and =3 Kramnik's live chess rating has gone up from 2791 to 2797.8!

Former World Chess Champion Kramnik is getting ready to jump back across the historic 2800 threshold! We could end up with four players rated over 2800 - a first in the history of chess. Now some people will say "Ratings inflation" but I will say that it all boils down to the dedication, creativity and hard work of these four outstanding individuals. Obviously the computers have allowed the most talented players - and by talent I also mean their ability to work hard - to excel with tools that their predecessors could only dream about.

If Kramnik can win his final round game at the 15th Unive tournament he will be right on the brink of falling over that 2800 finish line. A hard race that I can only begin imagine as it is the culmination of every year that Kramnik has been playing chess! Having said that though I have to point out that the last two players I cheered for ended up losing their last round games. Do I dare sabotage Kramnik? Hopefully he can win or draw this last round game as this would potentially set up an amazing 4 player 2800 club level tournament. Organizers please line up! That would be something for the entire chess world to rejoice about!

Make it a great day! - Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Kramnik continues on with a more combative mind set while at the chess board these days - to the enjoyment of chess fans everywhere in the world. Today's example comes to us from his win over Judit Polgar at the 15th Unive double round robin event being held in Hoogeveen Holland. This event is rated as a Category 20 event - all four participants are over the 2700 rated "sound barrier" and thus this event weighs in at the average rating of 2735. Many people have made a run at breaking through this stratospherically high rating barrier but few have ever crossed it.



We pick up just after all of the really heavy lifting has been done in this game with White to play his twenty seventh turn. To create a spacial crush against a strong opponent is the dream of every chess player. To do it against the ever tactical Judit Polgar who is rated 2701 is another matter entirely and would remain only a dream for mere chess mortals. But not to Vladimir Kramnik during round two of this double round robin event.

With the move 27. Qd4 the threats along the a1 to h8 diagonal are obvious and the way to defend only staves off the inevitable for but a short time. Given the time controls used for tournaments these days this is literally more true than I perhaps would like to admit. But for skilled hands such as Kramnik's - no matter. There is chess and chess art - the latter being timeless because of it's very nature.

27. Qd4 Re5 28. Nxd6 Rcc5


Kramnik wraps things up nicely with 29. Rxe5 Rxe5 30. Nc4 Bc5 31. Qxd7 going up a piece, maintaining the crushing space advantage and still on the attack. Polgar resigned after playing the move 31. Re8 out of momentum.

If Kramnik continues to play with a free and light spirited yet focused mind for the rest of this event he could very well crash through the 2800 barrier again - perhaps even to smash it should he win most of his six games from this double round robin event. Which would, of course, be another historical event worthy of praise should Kramnik accomplish this feat. The key to this is for Kramnik to keep playing tactically at the board and to not dwell on the speed bumps that all chess players hit during tournaments - the loss that can break the stride of those thus distracted. For us mere chess mortals we are rather more used to hitting those speed bumps!

Keep on eye on this stellar event by visiting your favorite websites and mine at: or - Ja mata! - Coach Sean.