[Event "FIDE Candidates 2018"]
[Site "Berlin GER"]
[Date "2018.03.14"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2800"]
[BlackElo "2784"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "132"]
[EventDate "2018.03.10"]
[CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Qe2 { A pet line of Boris Spassky.
He tried it twice against Tigran Petrosian in their second world championship
match in 1969. Both games were easily held by Black. } 5...Qe7 6.Nc3 ( { Carlsen
opted for the more conventional } 6.d3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Qxe2+ 8.Bxe2 g6 9.Nd4 a6 10.Bf4 Bg7 11.h3 Bd7 12.Bf3 Nc6 { but did not get much in Carlsen,M (2834)
-Caruana,F (2811) Wijk aan Zee 2018 } ) 6...Nxc3 7.dxc3 Qxe2+ 8.Bxe2 Nc6 9.Be3 Be7 10.O-O-O O-O 11.Rhe1 ( { Another recent top game saw } 11.Rhg1 a6 12.g4 Re8 13.h4 Be6 14.Ng5 Bd7 15.Kb1 Ne5 { with an eventual draw, Artemiev,V
(2697)-Khalifman,A (2614) Moscow 2018 } ) 11...Bf6 $146 { A logical novelty in
comparison to an earlier correspondence game. } ( { The predecessor saw: } 11...Bd7 12.Nd4 Bf6 13.f4 Rfe8 14.Bf3 a6 15.Bf2 g6 16.g4 { with some pressure
for White, Lehtinen,P (2180)-Halme,O (2316) corr. 2005 } ) 12.Nd2 { At first
sight it seems that Black should not worry at all. The position is symmetrical
and not much is going on. } 12...Re8 13.Bf3 Ne5 14.Bf4 { However, the slight lead
in the development for White forces Caruana to play carefully. 15.Nd2-c4 is a
threat now. } 14...Kf8 15.Bd5 ( { The timid } 15.Be2 Ng6 16.Bg3 Bd7 { is already a
bit more equal for Black. } ) 15...c6 16.Bb3 Bf5 ( { Black cannot close the
bishop with } 16...d5 17.c4 d4? { due to } 18.Ne4 ) 17.h3 g5 { Energetic play
by Black. He intends to find counter-play on the kingside. } 18.Bh2 Kg7 19.c4 ( 19.f4 { was safer, with approximate equality. } ) 19...g4! 20.Ne4! { Kramnik is ready to enter the huge complications which materialize seemingly
out of thin air. } ( { After } 20.hxg4 Nxg4 21.Bg3 Bg5 { Black's active pieces
compensate him for the slight structural weaknesses. } ) 20...Bxe4 21.Rxe4 Bg5+ 22.Kb1 gxh3 23.c5! { Another exclam, for the courage. "I've noticed this,
but I thought it was very risky for White." (Caruana) Kramnik undermines the
central knight but at a very high price. Not only is he losing a couple of is
kingside pawns, but the survivor on g2 is just a step closer to becoming a
queen. } ( { The American GM expected instead something like } 23.gxh3 f5 24.Re2 ( { Or } 24.Ree1 Nf3 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.Bxd6 Nd2+ 27.Ka1 Ne4 28.Bb4 ( 28.Bg3? f4 ) 28...Nxf2 { when Black is better. } ) 24...Nf3 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.Bxd6 Re2 { where indeed Black is doing great. } ) 23...f5 ( { Also good for Black was } 23...hxg2 24.cxd6 Nf3 25.Rg4 Re2 26.Rxg2 h6 { but apparently Caruana wants more. } ) 24.Rb4 hxg2 25.Rxb7+ Kh8 { Best. } ( 25...Kf8? { gets on the road of the
white pieces and White is clearly better after } 26.Bxe5 Rxe5 27.cxd6 ( { Or the preliminary check } 27.Rf7+ Ke8 28.cxd6 ) ) ( { "Perhaps I can just go" } 25...Re7 { suggested Caruana after the game. Then the most likely outcome is a
draw after } 26.Rxe7+ Bxe7 27.Rg1 { although it is White who needs to prove it. } ) 26.cxd6 Nf3 27.Ba4 ( { Kramnik's original plan } 27.Bg1 { fails to } 27...Re2 { For example } 28.d7 Rd2 29.Rxd2 ( 29.Rc1 Rd6 { traps the rook. } ) 29...Nxd2+ 30.Ka1 Nf3 ) 27...Nxh2 28.Bxc6 { For a moment it seems as Kramnik outsmarted
his opponent. The g2 pawn is stopped and the one on d6 has everyone around it
for support. } 28...Rad8!! { A fantastic resource. All black pieces are now into the
game and help each other. } ( { Indeed, bad was } 28...Red8 29.Bxg2 { when White
has all the fun. } ) ( { However, besides the text move the where a couple of very
interesting alternatives. Caruana spent his last three minutes trying to make
the move: } 28...Re4 { work. It does indeed in case of: } 29.Bxe4 ( { But he
could not find anything after } 29.Rg1! Rae8 ( { Maybe the simple } 29...Re6 { when Black is much better is a good idea though. } ) 30.Bxe4 ) 29...fxe4 30.Rg1 e3 31.fxe3 Rf8 { (Caruana) } ) ( 28...Nf1!? { was the other idea, with advantage
for Black after } 29.Bxg2 Nd2+ 30.Ka1 Rad8 ) 29.d7 { The only move, as tactics
works well for Black. } ( { After both } 29.Bxg2 Rxd6! ) ( { and } 29.Bxe8 Rxd6! 30.Rd7 Rxd1+ 31.Rxd1 Nf1 { and Black wins. } ) 29...Re2 30.Bxg2 Rxf2 31.Bc6 { Caruana preserved the extra piece and even kept two dangerous passers on the
kingside. But it ain't over yet, moreover because Black is in serious time
trouble. } 31...Ng4 ( { Another idea was to send the knight to the queenside after } 31...Nf1 32.Rxa7 Nd2+ 33.Ka1 Nc4 { with serious winning chances for Black. } ) ( { Both players considered the forcing } 31...f4 32.Rxa7 f3 33.Ra3 Rd2 34.Rxd2 Bxd2 35.Bxf3 Nxf3 36.Rxf3 Rxd7 { when Black is better, but Kramnik
believed he should hold. } ) 32.Rxa7 Ne3 { "A nice knight, but it cost me a lot
of time to get there." (Caruana) } 33.Rg1 h6 { In order to bring the king into
the play. But as Kramnik summarized it, Black has no time to waste. } ( { Caruana
was not sure what to do after } 33...Rxc2! 34.Rc7 { and apparently both
missed the strong } ( 34.Ba4 { is better
although Black is once again close to winning after } 34...Rf2 ) 34...Bf6! { which wins for Black. } ) 34.Rc7 Kg7 35.a4 { All of a sudden the white pawns started to run too fast and it is not clear
who is better at all. } 35...Kf7 ( { Instead } 35...Rxc2 { could have led to a curious
draw after } 36.Rc8 Rxc6 37.Rxd8 Rd6 38.Re8 Ng4 ( 38...Rxd7? 39.Rxe3 ) 39.Rf1 Ne3 ( 39...Kg6 40.Rg8+ Kh7 41.Re8 ) 40.Rg1 ) 36.Bb5 Ke7 37.a5 Rf4 38.c3! ( { Correctly avoiding the counterplay after } 38.a6 Rb4 39.Rb7 ( { Or } 39.Bc6 Bf6 ) 39...Bf6 ) 38...Kd6 39.Rb7 ( { Kramnik thought that } 39.Rc6+ Ke7 40.Rb6 { leads to a win, but this might not be the case after } ( { However } 40.a6! { is clear edge for White. } ) 40...Re4 41.a6 Nc4 ) 39...Rg4 40.Re1 ( 40.Rh1 { "finishes it immediately" (Kramnik) } ) 40...f4 41.a6 { Finally, the time
trouble is over. However, the position remains enormously complicated with
loads of nuances and this determined the following drama. } 41...h5 42.a7 Ra8 43.b4 { A first step in the wrong direction. Once again Kramnik decides to deprive
his opponent of any counterplay, but this time it turns out to be wrong. } ( { Correct was: } 43.c4! { with the idea: } 43...h4 ( { Caruana was planning the
desperate } 43...Kc5 44.b4+ Kd4 { although here too, White should win after } 45.Bc6 Bd8 ( 45...Kc3 46.Rc7 ) 46.Rc7! Bxc7 47.Bxa8 Rg8 48.Bb7 ) 44.c5+ Kxc5 45.Rc1+ Kd6 46.Rc8 { and White wins. } ) ( { The straightforward } 43.Rb8 Rxa7 44.d8=Q+ Bxd8 45.Rxd8+ Ke5 { leads only to a draw. } ) 43...h4 44.c4 { Going for another forcing line. Things are not that clear anymore. } ( { For
example } 44.Re2 h3 { (Caruana) } ) ( { Or } 44.Be2 Rg3 45.b5 h3 46.b6 h2 47.Rb8 Rg1 { and here Kramnik mentioned only } 48.Bf3!! { which leads to an utterly
fantastic position after } 48...Rxe1+ 49.Ka2 Ng2! { Then } 50.Bxg2 Re2+ 51.Kb3 Rxg2 52.d8=Q+ ( { Not } 52.Rxa8 Bd8!! 53.Rxd8 h1=Q 54.a8=Q Qb1+ { and Black
mates.... } ) 52...Bxd8 53.Rxa8 Rg8! ( 53...Bxb6 { is a draw after } 54.Rd8+! Bxd8 55.a8=Q h1=Q 56.Qxd8+ { with perpetual... } ) 54.b7 h1=Q 55.b8=Q+ Ke6 { leads to a position where Black fights for the win. } ) ( { Therefore, for
practical purposes most likely best was to (somewhat) clarify matters with } 44.d8=Q+ Bxd8 ( 44...Rxd8? 45.Rb8 ) 45.Rd7+ Ke6 46.Bc6 Rxa7 47.Rxa7 { with
winning chances for White. } ) 44...h3 45.c5+ Ke5 46.Rb8 ( 46.c6 h2 47.c7 Rg1 { is a draw according to the computer. Say } 48.Bc6 Rxe1+ 49.Ka2 Re2+ 50.Kb3 Nd5 51.Bxd5 Kxd5 52.c8=Q Re3+ 53.Kc2 ( 53.Ka4 h1=Q 54.Qc5+ Ke6 55.Rb6+ Kxd7 56.Qd6+ { and perpetual. } ) 53...Re2+ 54.Kd3 Re3+ ) ( { Nothing is clear
after } 46.Bc6 h2 ) 46...Rxa7 47.Rg8 { "And I thought it just finishes the
game" (Kramnik). However... } 47...Bf6!! { A second shocker for the former world
champion. } 48.d8=Q { The only move. } ( { It transpires that the rook is
invinsible due to the sudden discovery } 48.Rxg4? Kf5 { and the threat of Ra1
mate wins for Black. } ) ( 48.Rxe3+? { is bad as well after } 48...fxe3 49.Rxg4 h2 ) 48...Bxd8 49.Rxg4 Bf6 50.Rg6 Rb7 { Caruana became ambitious. It was Kramnik
who was low on time now. } ( { The American GM rejected the possible draw after } 50...Kf5 51.Bd3+ Ke6 52.Rxf6+ Kxf6 53.b5 ) 51.Be2 Rxb4+ 52.Ka2 { "All of a
sudden I am better again." (Kramnik) "I completely underestimated how fast is
the c-pawn" (Caruana) } 52...Nc2 ( { Actually, it is still most likely a draw after } 52...Be7 { say } 53.c6 Ra4+ 54.Kb3 Rb4+ 55.Kc3 Nd5+ 56.Kd2 Bh4 57.Rc1 Rd4+ 58.Bd3 h2 ) 53.Rc1 ( 53.Rb1 Re4! { holds for Black (Caruana) } ) 53...Nd4 54.Bd3 ( 54.Bg4!? ) 54...Ra4+ 55.Kb1 { In time trouble Kramnik decided to repeat
the moves. } ( { His original intention } 55.Kb2 { would have probably led to a
draw after } 55...Ke6 56.c6 ( 56.Rh1 Rb4+ 57.Kc3 Nc6+ 58.Rxf6+ Kxf6 59.Rxh3 Kg5 { (Caruana, Kramnik) } ) 56...Nxc6+ 57.Rxf6+ Kxf6 58.Rxc6+ Kg5 { (Caruana,
Kramnik) } ) 55...Nb3! { Black is taking his chance! The king hunt creates a
myriad of tactical opportunities, even in the endgame. } 56.Re1+ ( { Like the
one after } 56.Rd1? Ra1+ 57.Kc2 Nd4+! { An important maneuver. } 58.Kd2 Nf3+ 59.Ke2 Rxd1 60.Kxd1 h2 61.Rh6 Nh4 { and all of a sudden the h-pawn
queens! } ) ( { Safe was } 56.Rc2 Ke6 57.Rh2 Ra1+ 58.Kc2 Ra2+ 59.Kxb3 Rxh2 60.c6 { with a draw. } ) 56...Kd5 57.Kc2 ( { Kramnik suggested another "draw line" } 57.Rxf6 Ra1+ 58.Kb2 Rxe1 59.Kxb3 h2 60.Bb5? { but there is a nasty little
spoiler } ( 60.Bc4+ Kxc5 61.Rf5+ { instead is a draw. } ) 60...f3!! { interference theme that wins for Black! } ) 57...Nd4+ 58.Kb1 ( 58.Kc1! { would have still shared the point. } ) 58...Nf3 59.Rd1?? { With two seconds
left on his clock Kramnik blunders! } ( { He could have still saved the game with } 59.Rxf6 Nxe1 60.Bf1 h2 61.Rh6 Kxc5 62.Rxh2 ) ( { At the very last moment
the former world champion saw } 59.Rf1 Nd2+ 60.Kc2 Ra2+! { which wins for
Black. } ( 60...Nxf1 61.Bxf1 Ra2+ ) ) 59...Ra1+ 60.Kc2 Rxd1 { An echo from the
line from above (see the line on move 56). Now Caruana wins this hugely
dramatic game. } 61.Ba6 ( { Since } 61.Kxd1 h2 62.Rh6 Bh4 { promotes the pawn. } ) 61...Rd2+ 62.Kc1 Bb2+ 63.Kb1 Kxc5 64.Bb7 Ne5 65.Rf6 f3 66.Rf5 f2 0-1