Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Human Miscalculation?

Garry Kasparov split from FIDE in 1993 because of complaining about corruption within FIDE and created the Professional Chess Association (PCA).

From then on, two lines of World Chess Champions appeared: a) the “Classical” World Champion, under the auspice of PCA and b) the “Official” Champion under the auspice of FIDE.

In 2004, Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko played a match for the “Classical” World Chess Championship. The match took place in Brissago (Switzerland) from September 25th to October 18th. Kramnik was the defending champion and according to the rules, the new champion would be the player earning more points in a fourteen-game match.

The final score was 7-7 and Kramnik remained champion.

Although Kramnik thoroughly prepared his opening repertoire for that match, something unexpected happened in the 8th game. The players entered the dangerous Marshall Attack in the Spanish opening:

Where is the mistake? It is apparent that the whole variation chosen by Kramnik is a big blunder!

The drama of this story is that Kramnik and his team prepared the entire line based on computer analysis!

In an interview to “New in Chess”, Kramnik explained:

“It was clearly a hole in my preparation, but it was a very strange hole. We analyzed this whole line (…) I was in the restroom and decided to play fast, not to give him time to think. To put further psychological pressure on him by responding immediately. I was checking variations and I already saw queen d3, but I thought it was just a perpetual. After all we had probably checked this with a computer so it shouldn’t be lost, because otherwise the computer would have shown that such a position is clearly lost.(…) This kind of thing had never happened to me before. You are White, you play all moves according to your preparation and you shake hands. This is something unbelievable (…) I don’t know if this ever happened in a world championship match before. ”

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