"Of course I will fight to the end to keep my title," declared an
unconvincing and drained Garry Kasparov at the conclusion of the 11th game
of his Braingames World Championship match against Vladimir Kramnik.
Kramnik had just successfully defended an endgame which Kasparov's pre-game
preparation had indicated should be lost. Kasparov, who has failed to
defeat Kramnik to date in the 16 game contest, claimed that one poor move
"equal to the blunder of a piece" had prevented him from winning the 11th
game but Kramnik quietly demurred. "Of course I have also analysed this
endgame a great deal," said the 25-year-old Russian challenger, "and even
after [Kasparov's suggested improvement] it is not winning for White, to
say the least."
Kramnik is on the verge of an amazing upset victory thanks in large part to
the following game, the 10th of the match, which Kramnik won with such
embarrassing ease that it seems to have destroyed Kasparov's legendary
At the start of game 11 it was already clear from the body language of the
players that Kasparov was in serious trouble. Kramnik, looked relaxed and
cool while his opponent fidgeted constantly, Kasparov's eyes seemingly
haunted by the possibility
of failure in a match for the first time in his career.
When asked after the 11th game if the new World Champion sat opposite him,
Kasparov just shrugged and said "We will know in a few days' time. If he
beats me he is World Champion - even if the quality of the games has been
Opening: Nimzo-Indian Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0-0 cxd4 8.exd4
dxc4 9.Bxc4 b6
Perhaps surpised by Kramnik's fourth move (he previously played 4.Qc2),
Kasparov tries a line popularised by his old arch-rival Karpov.
10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Re1 Nbd7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qb3 Be7 14.Bxf6 Nxf6?
Kasparov deliberately provoked the following combination, but 14...Bxf6 was
more solid. Kasparov thought long and hard over recapturing with the knight
- a clear sign that he was out of his opening preparation, and later
admitted that he was (wrongly) scared off 14...Bxf6 by the annoying reply
15.Bxe6! fxe6 16.Qxe6+ Kh8 17.Qxe7 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Qxd4 19.Nb5 Qxb2?!
The first new move, but the old line 19...Qf4 is stronger.
20.Rxc8 Rxc8 21.Nd6 Rb8 22.Nf7+ Kg8 23.Qe6 Rf8?!
Immediately fatal, but after 23...h5 24.Ng5!+ Kh8 25.Qf5! followed by
26.Re6, White's attack should prove overwhelming.
24.Nd8+! Kh8 25.Qe7 1-0
Black could fight on with 25...Rxd8 26.Qxd8+ Ng8 but after 27.Qd5 White
should win in the long run.