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Classical World Chess Championship 2000

Garry Kasparov Elo rating: 2849 Vladimir Kramnik Elo rating: 2772

The Classical World Chess Championship 2000, known at the time as the Braingames World Chess Championships, was held from October 8, 2000 - November 4, 2000 in London, United Kingdom. Garry Kasparov, the defending champion, played Vladimir Kramnik. The match was the best of 16 games, and in the event of an 8-8 tie, Kasparov would keep his title.

Although Kasparov was the strong favourite, Kramnik won the match with two wins, 13 draws and no losses. To the supporters of the world championship by succession (later dubbed the "classical" world championship by Kramnik), Kramnik became the 14th world chess champion.

Background

Following the split in the world chess championship in 1993, there were two rival world titles: the official FIDE world title, and the PCA world title held by Garry Kasparov. The rationale behind Kasparov's title was that he had not been defeated in a match, but in fact had defeated the rightful challenger Nigel Short in 1993, so FIDE had no power to strip the title from him.

The PCA then held an Interzonal and Candidates matches in 1993-1995, and Kasparov successfully defended his PCA title in 1995, this time against Viswanathan Anand.

The PCA folded in 1996 after its main sponsor, Intel, withdrew its support following Kasparov's decision to play against the computer program Deep Blue, which augmented the profile of IBM, one of Intel's main rivals. However, Kasparov still saw himself as the true world champion (as did the majority of the chess world), so Kasparov looked for other ways to select his next challenger.

Qualification

Without the sponsorship of the PCA, Kasparov found he was unable to organise a series of qualifying matches to choose a challenger. Eventually in 1998, he announced that, based on their ratings and results, Anand and Vladimir Kramnik were clearly the next two best players in the world, and that they would play a match to decide who would challenge for Kasparov's title.

Anand, however, as a participant in the FIDE world championship cycle, believed he was contractually obligated to not participate in a rival cycle. So instead a match was organised between Kramnik and the next person in the ratings list, Alexei Shirov, from 24 May to 5 June 1998 in Cazorla, Spain.

Despite being the underdog, Shirov won the match with two wins, seven draws and no losses.

World Chess Championship Candidates Match (1998)
Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) 2790 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0
Alexei Shirov (Spain) 2710 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1

However, during 1998 Kasparov, Shirov and sponsors were unable to come to an agreement. Shirov rejected one offer of a match in California, but believed rejecting this offer did not mean waiving his rights for a match. In December 1998, there was still talk of organising a Kasparov-Shirov match.

In February 1999, Kasparov abandoned plans for a match with Shirov and pursued a match with Anand instead, on the basis that Anand was second to Kasparov on the ratings list. Negotiations for a 1999 match failed, as did negotiations in 2000, with Anand expressing dissatisfaction with the contract. In March 2000 it was announced that negotiations with Anand had failed and so Kasparov would negotiate a match with the next player in the ratings list - Kramnik. This time negotiations were successful, and the company Braingames was formed to finance a Kasparov-Kramnik match in October 2000.

Shirov was aggrieved, and even in 2006 maintained that Kramnik was not a valid world champion. However, most supporters of Kasparov's title believe that, despite the unsatisfactory way in which a challenger was chosen, nevertheless the winner of this match would be the true World Champion. Kramnik had a far better record against Kasparov than Shirov did (a point Kasparov emphasised when the match was announced in April 2000). In the years that followed, Kasparov maintained an overwhelming plus score in his individual games against Shirov.

Championship Match

Classical World Chess Championship Match 2000
Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Total
Garry Kasparov (Russia) 2849 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½
Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) 2772 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½

Match games

White Black Date Result Moves Winner Standing Opening Notes / Reference
1 Kasparov Kramnik 8 October ½-½ 25 ½-½ C67 Ruy Lopez  
2 Kramnik Kasparov 10 October 1-0 40 Kramnik Kramnik leads 1½-½ D85 Grünfeld Defence Kramnik uncorked a novelty in Grünfeld Defence, after which Kasparov did not use the Grünfeld
3 Kasparov Kramnik 12 October ½-½ 53 Kramnik leads 2-1 C67 Ruy Lopez  
4 Kramnik Kasparov 14 October ½-½ 74 Kramnik leads 2½-1½ D27 Queen's Gambit  
5 Kasparov Kramnik 15 October ½-½ 24 Kramnik leads 3-2 A34 English Opening  
6 Kramnik Kasparov 17 October ½-½ 66 Kramnik leads 3½-2½ D27 Queen's Gambit  
7 Kasparov Kramnik 19 October ½-½ 11 Kramnik leads 4-3 A32 English Opening  
8 Kramnik Kasparov 21 October ½-½ 38 Kramnik leads 4½-3½ E32 Nimzo-Indian Defence  
9 Kasparov Kramnik 22 October ½-½ 33 Kramnik leads 5-4 C67 Ruy Lopez  
10 Kramnik Kasparov 24 October 1-0 25 Kramnik Kramnik leads 6-4 E54 Nimzo-Indian Defence  
11 Kasparov Kramnik 26 October ½-½ 41 Kramnik leads 6½-4½ C78 Ruy Lopez  
12 Kramnik Kasparov 28 October ½-½ 33 Kramnik leads 7-5 E55 Nimzo-Indian Defence  
13 Kasparov Kramnik 29 October ½-½ 14 Kramnik leads 7½-5½ C67 Ruy Lopez  
14 Kramnik Kasparov 31 October ½-½ 57 Kramnik leads 8-6 A30 English Opening  
15 Kasparov Kramnik 2 November ½-½ 38 Kramnik wins 8½-6½ E05 Catalan Opening  
Berlin Defence after 8... Kxd8
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
This position occurred four times - in games 1, 3, 9 and 13 - and each time Kramnik (black) was able to draw.

According to Kasparov, Kramnik's victory stemmed from his superior opening preparation. He relied on the Berlin Defence of the Ruy Lopez to defuse Kasparov's 1.e4, an opening Kasparov was not prepared for. Kramnik also won Game 2 with a new idea for White in Kasparov's favourite Grünfeld Defence, which Kasparov never played again in the match.

Aftermath

The world championship remained split until 2006, when Kramnik, still classical champion, defeated FIDE champion Veselin Topalov in a reunification match.

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