Chess24 Sopiko Scotch

Dortmund 2010 (2)

Ponomariov on 100% after beating Kramnik in Round 2

Ruslan Ponomariov beat Vladimir Kramnik in Round 2. Photo © Georgios Souleidis

Ruslan Ponomariov beat Vladimir Kramnik in Round 2. Photo © Georgios Souleidis |

Ruslan Ponomariov went to a 2/2 score when he handed out a bit of a beating to defending champion Vladimir Kramnik. On a day of interesting play and where all three games might have finished decisively Ponomariov managed to secure the sole lead. Both Le Quang Liem and Peter Leko looked to have close to winning positions but their opponents defended well.

Kramnik would not have enjoyed his position very much from almost the start and he was almost certainly lost after just 18 moves. Kramnik played the highly unusual 10...Qc8 instead of the almost universally played 10.Nfd7. His 12...Nxe5 also looked a bit suspicious unless he can make 13...Ng4 work tactically. After this all Kramnik's pieces looked to be on the wrong squares and Ponomariov opened the position up before Kramnik was ready, securing a really rather easy win.

Defending Champion Vladimir Kramnik got a bit of a hiding in Round 2. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

Ponomariov,Ruslan - Kramnik,Vladimir [E00]

Sparkassen GM Dortmund GER (2), 16.07.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Be7 5.Bg2 d5 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Rd1 Ba6 10.Ne5 Qc8?!? 11.Nc3 Nbd7 12.Rac1N!

[12.Bf4 Nh5 13.Be3 1-0 Sambuev,B (2496)-Smirnov,P (2629)/Krasnoyarsk RUS 2003/The Week in Chess 462 (62)] Ponomariov's move is much more direct.

12...Nxe5!? 13.dxe5

Vladimir Kramnik


Ruslan Ponomariov

Position after 13.dxe5


13...Ng4 was a clear and probably forced alternative. This leads to tactical play. After turning this option down and playing 13...Nd7 there may be computer lines that keep Kramnik in it but his position is really very bad.

14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Bf4 g5 16.Bxd5 exd5 17.Nxd5 Qd8?!

Computers recommend the beyond ugly 17...Bd8. Whatever the objective assessment this is a miserable position for black to defend.

Ruslan Ponomariov moved to 2/2 with his win against Kramnik. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

18.Nc7 Rc8?

Vladimir Kramnik


Ruslan Ponomariov

Position after 18...Rc8

Again lines like 18...gxf4 19.Qf5 Bc8 20.Nxa8 Nc5 21.Rxd8 Bxf5 were hardly the kind of thing Kramnik would enjoy assessing. However Kramnik is almost certainly lost after Rc8 and it doesn't seem to take very much effort to do it.

19.e6 fxe6 20.Qc6 Qe8 21.Qxe6+ Qf7 22.Qxf7+ Kxf7 23.Nxa6 gxf4 24.Rxc8 Rxc8 25.Rxd7 Rc2

Resignation isn't totally out of the question here.

26.Nb4 Rxb2 27.Nc6 Rxe2 28.Rxa7 f3 29.h4 h5 30.Rxe7+ Rxe7 31.Nxe7 Kxe7 32.g4 hxg4 33.Kh2 Ke6 34.Kg3 Kf5 35.a4 Ke4 36.Kxg4 1-0

Arkadij Naiditsch had to work hard not to be on 0/2. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

Le Quang Liem looked set for a win in round 2 after a very dubious 17...e5 from Arkadij Naidisch.

Arkadij Naiditsch


Le Quang Liem

Position after 17...e5

However a position with all major pieces on the board can offer quite a few drawing chances and after Le failed to land a decisive blow (and to be sure I am not quite sure where the best opportunity was) the game drifted out to a draw.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov defended well in a difficult position against Peter Leko. Photo © Georgios Souleidis :

Peter Leko played a Fianchetto Variation against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's King's Indian. Leko looked like he might convert to the full point but Mamedyarov kept his position going.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


Peter Leko

Position after 31...Nc5

Maybe 32. b4 Nce4 33. Nc7 Rb8 34. Rg1 Rxg1 35. Rxg1 offered the clear advantage Leko was looking for.

As it was Leko had to be careful towards the end and he eventually forced the draw with perpetual check.

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