Qatar Masters 2014 – Rubinstein!

A very instructive game played by Kramnik today in Round 8 at the Qatar Masters. Faithful to his usual openings Kramnik equalised easily against Salem and the game appeared to be a dead draw. But only one odd move was necessary so Kramnik could do a Rubinstein! I’m referring here to the famous pawn endgame Cohn-Rubinstein from St. Peterburg 1909:

25…Kf6-g5-h4-h3!

Kramnik’s maneuver was no less impressive. Here’s the game with comments:

I found it curious that Kramnik didn’t change his repertoire to play in an open event. He slugged it out in the dull Berlin with 5 Re1 against Debashis (2485) for 81 moves and things didn’t work out against the below-2500 guys in the first rounds. Obviously these guys are so far from Kramnik’s world that they didn’t care what happens in that one game and played bravely and didn’t deserve to lose. Which cannot be said for the likes of Vovk (2640) who played cowardly or Sjugirov (2673) who played shamefully. These guys are a bit closer to Kramnik’s sphere and they know who Kramnik is and what Kramnik means – they were afraid, showed too much respect and lost without a fight. Hence, the irrelevance of Kramnik’s openings.

Kramnik is now on course to win the tournament, being the sole leader with 7/8 before the last round. I’m sure this tournament will serve as proof for those who state the elite are way too strong for the “common” GMs and that’s why they don’t play opens.

Alex Colovic
A professional player, coach and blogger. Grandmaster since 2013.
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2 Comments
  • Dec 5,2014 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    Dec 4,2014 at 8:57 am

    Very nice Alex! With good premises and clever conclusions you deliver nice, fresh and readable comments.

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