Talking to Yury Vasiliev of Chesspro, Vladimir Kramnik gave a critical assessment of his opening play at Corus, and especially during his loss to Anand.
Originally posted at Chessgames (as “Polarmis”).
In principle [the tournament] ended up fine. But my openings went very badly here, I don’t know why. With white I got nothing and with black I was worse in every game. Coming out of the opening like that it’s very hard to try and win such a tournament. In contrast to Moscow and London, where my openings were more or less fine, here they were a complete failure. And I constantly “failed to predict moves” or developed pieces “to the wrong square”, like today [against Karjakin]. In the second half of the tournament especially I barely raised my head with black. In the Petroff I was being pressed in every game… I won everything I could, collected the maximum possible points. Except, perhaps, in the game with Leko.
But what happened against Anand?
I was simply tired and mixed everything up. Of course I’d analysed it, but I mixed it up.
19…Bf8 – the wrong square?
No, before that. 17…Na5 is already a mistake. The position was practically resignable by move 20… It was a bit stupid, because I’d analysed it all but suddenly forgot. Usually my memory doesn’t let me down. But in any case I’ll have to work on my openings as the store of ideas I had after Bonn is beginning to dry up. Now I’ve got some time before any classical tournaments and I need to work out some fresh ideas. Because in chess today it’s impossible to win such tournaments without some interesting opening ideas. Maybe you don’t need to dominate in the opening, as Kasparov did in his time, but you can’t be inferior. If you’re inferior then you can get +2 to +3, but it’s hard to win.
Magnus has a lot of ideas?
He’s got a flow of fresh ideas from Kasparov. He sprung an interesting idea on Dominguez, the game with Van Wely was almost decided in the opening. In terms of opening preparation Carlsen was superior to everyone here.
And his play?
In terms of play two or three players are on the same level. As in London he was ahead of me by half a point. That’s not domination, but little by little he’s getting better at picking up the essential half points. But it’s still not full domination. He’s a dangerous opponent, but you can still compete with him.