Vladimir Kramnik, the former World Champion, shows no signs of slowing down.

Chess is increasingly dominated by young players, but, at 41, Vladimir Kramnik, the Russian former World Champion, is still among the game’s elite. The following win over Baskaran Adhiban of India at last month’s Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, propelled Kramnik to the highest rating of his career. 

Kramnik, V. vs. Adhiban, Baskaran
42nd Olympiad 2016 | Baku AZE | Round 10.3 | 12 Sep 2016 | ECO: A07 | 1-0
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Bf5 4. O-O c6 5. d3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. Qe1 Be7 So far, the game has proceeded on a very normal path, but Kramnik has no intention of letting it stay that way.
9. f4! I like this move. The bishop on h5 could become trapped.
9... Nfd7
9... O-O 10. e4! And now the bishop really would be in danger.
...  Nbd7? 11. g4! Nxg4 12. hxg4 Bxh4 13. Qe2 Bg6 14. f5 And white wins a piece  )
10. Nf3 f5!? A risky move, but not a bad one. Black wants to change the character of the pawn structure in the center.
11. e4! Bxf3?! I'm not sure why Adhiban wanted to trade the bishop.
11... O-O Looks more natural to me, since
12. Nd4 Can be met by
12... Qb6! 13. c3 c5 And Black is fine.  )
12. Bxf3 O-O The position is pleasant for White.
13. Nc3 Definitely not a bad move, but also not the only one.
13. e5!? Locking the center is not as stupid as it looks. White can reopen the position later by playing c4, g4, or both.  )
13... fxe4 14. dxe4 d4 15. Nd1! The right square for the knight, which will soon reroute to f2.
15... e5! A necessity. Allowing White to play e5 would be a positional disaster.
15... c5 16. e5  )
16. Nf2 c5 17. Qe2
17. f5 A typical move in the King's Indian was also possible, but I don't like it. The light-squared bishop would be locked in and it would be difficult to organize g4-g5 with Black's dark-squared bishop on e7.  )
17... Nc6 18. Bg4! I like this move. Kramnik wants to install the bishop on e6. Black is much weaker on the light squares than he normally would be because of the previous exchange of Bxf3 several moves ago.
18... Kh8 19. Be6 exf4
19... Qc7 The computer wants to maintain the tension, but after
20. f5!? The position looks very dangerous for Black.  )
20. gxf4 g5? Adhiban lashes out, clearly not content with the way the game is going so far. But Kramnik is not the best guy to make such lunges against.
21. Ng4! Activating more pieces and fighting for control of more dark squares.
21. f5? The computer prefers this move, which gives White connected passed pawns, but they are firmly blockaded on the dark squares. That is clearly not the best plan.  )
21... gxf4 22. Bxf4 Qe8 23. e5
23. Qb5 This cold-blooded move with the goal of taking the queenside pawns might be even stronger, but it's very hard for a human to play. I prefer the text for its simplicity.  )
23... Bh4
23... h5 Is the engine's suggestion. I would be surprised if Adhiban even considered it! Still after
24. Kh1! Black is in big trouble, since the knight cannot be taken:
24... hxg4? 25. Qxg4 With Rg1 and mate soon to follow.  )
24. Bc4! Even in dynamic positions, positional themes always come into play. Kramnik chooses the right square, looking to reroute the bishop to d3.
24... Qg6 25. Kh1 Bg5 26. Bh2 Black is crushed. White is threatening e6 and then Black will be helpless.
26... Nb6 27. Bd3 Qe6 28. Qe4 Qd5 29. e6! The board opens up for the bishops. The rest requires no comment.
29... Rae8 30. Rxf8+ Rxf8 31. Ne5 Qxe4+ 32. Bxe4 Nd8 33. a4 Nxe6 34. a5 Nc8 35. Nd7 Re8 36. Be5+ Ng7 37. Rg1 Bh6 38. Bxb7 Ne7 39. Nf6 Rf8 40. Be4 Ng8 41. Nxh7 Re8 42. Ng5 Re7 43. Bd3 Bxg5 44. Rxg5 Nh6 45. Bxg7+ Rxg7 46. Rh5


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.