How Vladimir Kramnik Took Down Garry Kasparov in 2000 – IM Valeri Lilov

In this video, IM Valeri Lilov takes a look at a number of games between the two great players in the match, showing how Kramnik approached the match and how he deployed certain strategies to take down a player of such talent in Kasparov.

You’ll see how the principles that govern good chess play apply not only at beginner and club level but right at the very top of the leaderboards. For example, Kramnik managed to create a good center and shore it up with good piece support – and used that strong center to slowly suffocate Black and get the win.

This was the match that popularised the Berlin Defense in the Ruy Lopez as a good weapon to get a draw. In many of their games, Kramnik used the Berlin to take the bite out of Kasparov’s 1. e4 openings.

The match itself was surrounded by controversy and discussion. Kasparov had split ways with FIDE to create the Professional Chess Association (PCA). However, the PCA had collapsed when its main sponsor Intel had withdrawn. Now, it seemed as though Kasparov was choosing his opponent, just as in the days of old.

Shirov had earned the right to play the match and was right to feel aggrieved when Kasparov arranged the game versus Kramnik instead. Still, Kramnik was certainly a worthy opponent, as these games show.

Kramnik vs Kasparov

How Vladimir Kramnik Took Down Garry Kasparov In 2000 - Im Valeri Lilov
The Grunfeld Defense

Valeri Lilov begins by taking a look at game 2 from the 2000 World Chess Championship in which Vladimir Kramnik pulled out a novelty – so good, in fact, was Kramnik’s game, that Garry Kasparov didn’t play his beloved Grunfeld for the rest of the match!

It began with 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5, the Grunfeld, as you can see in the diagram on the left.

4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7. The idea for Black is to challenge White’s center, usually with a move like …c5.

7. Nf3 c5 8. Be3 Qa5 9. Qd2 Bg4, and we reach the position on the right.

How Vladimir Kramnik Took Down Garry Kasparov In 2000 - Im Valeri Lilov
Kasparov challenges White’s center

…Bg4 is an aggressive strategy, which makes sense – Kasparov is attacking and challenging White’s center right away. The game continued 10. Rb1 a6, where Black is offering the b7 pawn! Why?

Kasparov offers the b7 pawn in exchange for faster development: 11. Rxb7 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Nc6.

How Vladimir Kramnik Took Down Garry Kasparov In 2000 - Im Valeri Lilov
Kramnik – Kasparov 200 WCC, Game 2

But Kramnik decided this position was okay, probably because although Black has developed, the pieces are still not optimally placed – they aren’t working together and coordinating effectively yet, and will take Kasparov some time to accomplish.

13. Bc4 0-0 14. 0-0 cxd4 15. cxd4 Bxd4 16. Bd5, and White has maintained a decent position. How did the game continue? Be sure to watch the video!

Take Down Tough Opponents

When the 2000 World Chess Championship rolled around, Garry Kasparov was the strong favorite. Yet, Vladimir Kramnik won the match with two wins, 13 draws, and no losses, becoming the new Champion.

The truth is there are a number of fixes and tips we can all apply to our game, no matter our level, in order to shore up our play and start taking down even our toughest opponents.

GM Damian Lemos reveals all – click here to sign up for his FREE chess masterclass today.

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