Former World Champion Kramnik is known for his match victory against Kasparov back in 2000 and can still be a formidable opponent. In Amber this year he has not been in his best form. Anyhow I did not expect an easy match after my recent experience against Ivanchuk (who has continued to surge and is back at 50% score and shared 5th place after beating Anand and Grischuk 1,5-0,5 in round 6 and 7).
I did not get anything from the opening as white in the blindfold game but decided to turn down his (quite usual) draw offer around move 22. I gradually got the upper hand but slipped and at some point he could have had the better endgame. Instead I won a pawn and managed to convert due to the advancing b-pawn. 1-0 after 91 moves and nearly two hours of blindfold chess.
In the rapid game the fight was about d5 and in the end he was forced to take with his pawn resulting in a Benoni-like position but without two minor pieces. It was fairly even until he blundered badly with Qb7 allowing Rxe3 two moves later.
2-0 and won against Kramnik in all disciplines (classic, rapid, blindfold and blitz) over the last 4 months.
Aronian won 1,5-0,5 against Gelfand and is sole leader with 10/14. I.m second at 9.5 with Anand in 3rd another 1,5 points behind, but he is playing Aronian tomorrow and a lot can still change at the top. My opponent tomorrow is Topalov and we are playing in the second group at 4pm.
Not to forget the most important match, I beat my old man in bowling this evening☺,
Magnus Carlsen, Nice, March 19th 2011