Saturday, August 18, 2007

It was meant to be. Sooner or later, Vladimir Kramnik would join the ranks of GMs who have showcased their great, if not picaresque, moments in chess on DVD. Chessbase announced that My Path to the Top is ready for ordering ($45). This DVD holds six hours of video, and it traces Kramnik's career from the early and formative years all the way up to the top of the world.
Let's take another look at Kramnik-Topalov, the final game. The position above should take its place among the many memorable moments in world championship play, probably next to Fischer's Bh2 capture against Spassky. I was following this game online, and my heart missed a beat when Topalov played 44...Rc5. Evidently, this move alarmed Kramnik as well. With only five minutes left in the game, this move seemed to cut the legs off from under Kramnik's attack. According to Kramnik, his heart rate soared to 200. But, it took only a few microseconds for this great and pragmatic player to realize that 44...Rc5 was a colossal blunder. Kramnik attributes this mistake to Topalov's tendency to shatter under pressure particularly when defending unfavorable endings.
Kramnik took advantage via 45. Rb7+ Rb7 46. Rc5+ Kb6 47. ab7 and Black is a rook down. With this win, Kramnik became undisputed world champion, again.


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