1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 Radjabov recently added the super-modern Sveshnikov Sicilian variation to his opening repertoire. It was Linares 2003 that Kramnik played a new idea against Teimour's favorite French Defense that seems to have led to this change.
3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 It is an important to point out that Vladimir is one of the worlds leading specialists on the Black side of this variation. Kramnik has been playing this line since 1988. I saw him defeat Grandmaster Mikhail Golubev in the USSR Junior Team Championship when Vlady was only 13 years old!
8... b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7 11. Bd3 Play usually continues between two main lines : 11...Be6 (The old one...) subsequently followed by f5! and 11... Ne7!?, the extremely sharp modern line. Black is trying to immediately eliminate the most agressive white piece.... hovever, in order to activate his Bishop pair he is going to have to give some material compensation in return. This time Radjabov is following the latest theory.
11... Ne7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. c4 f5 14. O-O O-O 15. Qf3 d5?! A very agressive pawn sacrifice. Black is getting rid of white's threat of cxb5 .... however, I am doubting that Black has any real possibilities to develop something serious on the King-side .
16. cxd5 f4 17. Rfc1 This reminds me of a comment of Anatoly Karpov's regarding his game against Gata Kamsky in their WC match .. The game was a Kings Indian defense and Karpov suggested a fascinating idea ....that Kamsky erroneously was continueing to play according to the typical ideas of the Kings Indian defense .... however, Karpov detected that the position had become more or less a Ruy Lopez-like structure....and started to follow one of the standard ideas of the Ruy Lopez central strategy ,while Kamsky was waiting for a direct Queen-side attack ..... Karpov easily gained a significant advantage.... A very similar situation has arisen in this game. The opening of this game was a sharp Sicilian defense, but the structure of the current position is more comparable to that of a Kings Indian - a structure in which Kramnik is reknowned as a leading specialist.
17... Kh8 18. Nc2 Bd7 18... Rb8 with the idea of completing his development by Rb6-g6 looks better.
19. Ne1 Kramnik is securely defends his King-side. Black has no real chances to create any counter-play on the King-side .
19... Rg8 20. Be2 Bf8 21. Nd3!? With this Knight move (putting pressure on c5 and e5, important squares) White is developing his real plan - to reach the c5 and c6 holes for his pieces to invade, and to prevent any counterplay on the dark squares.
21... Re8? This is Radjabov's last mistake ....White is going to lift the rook onto the dreaded 7th rank, which is awful for Black ... Much better was to accept the Queen sacrifice after...
21... Bg4 22. Qxg4! Rxg4 23. Bxg4 Qa7! 24. Nxe5 Qe7 25. Nc6 (25. Nd7 Bg7! 26. e5 Qg5)
25... Qxe4 26. Bf3! and White has very strong positional compensation for the material imbalance, but it is still not so clear if it will be enough for the victory.
22. Rc7 Qd8 23. Rac1 Bg4 is too late to test ....
23... Rg6 24. Qh5 Bd6 25. Ra7 Kramnik is squashing Black's last effort to complicate the game .
25... Qe7 26. h3 Bg4! is now a threat for White!.... Radjabov is now fishing in the dark.
26... f5 27. exf5 Rf6 28. Nc5 Rc8 Also hopeless
28... Bxc5 29. Rxc5 Qxc5 30. Rxd7 Re7 31. Rd8+
29. Rxd7 Rxc5 30. Rxe7 Rxc1+ 31. Kh2 1-0
[Boris Alterman and Jason Doss]