Now here is something that I can relate to, having been brought up in OPEN tournaments. This was Kramnik’s first OPEN tournament in 20-years or so…at the Qatar Masters taking place right now. LIFE in the opens is VERY different from the relaxed (not to say incestuous) atmosphere of the SUPER tournaments where each opponent KNOWS each other SO WELL! For example, when Kramnik finally played Anand for the World Championship back in 2008 (?) both players had ALREADY played each other more than 100 times! The only thing being decided in that World match was a WORLD RECORD for having played each other so many times!!
IN ANY CASE, Kramnik’s opponent was GM Halkias, one of the most under-rated Greek players. The opening was an Evan’s Gambit, an opening that Kramnik had NEVER encountered before. The game was a draw, but only after some VERY difficult moments for Kramnik….who conceivably was lost at one point!
Photo by D.Rukhletskiy