1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Qxc4 a6 7.Qd3 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Nf3 0–0 10.0–0 Qe7 11.Nc3 b6 This is a very interesting move. At a glance, it seems to be an unusual move because it allows and even provokes a discovery with the Bishop on g2. Upon further examination, White has no advantageous discovery. Once the Black Bishop on c8 is developed, Black equalizes. [11…Rd8 12.Rd1 Bb6 13.Qc4 h6+=]
12.Ne4 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Nf6 [13…Rb8 14.Bg5 f6 15.Be3+=; 13…Ra7 14.Bg5 f6 15.Be3+=]
14.Qh4 [14.Qxa8? Bb7 15.Qxf8+ Qxf8 16.Bf4 Bd5=+]
14…Bb7= 15.Bg5 White wants to create double pawns for Black. The cost is to allow Black to have a Bishop pair. Black will have little problems drawing this endgame.
15…Rfd8 16.Bxf6 It seems to me that Kramnik’s plan is to trade into an endgame where he cannot lose and then try to slowly squeeze it out.
16…Qxf6 17.Qxf6 gxf6 18.Rfd1 Kf8 One of the rules of thumb in Queenless endgames is to centralize the King.
19.Ne1 Now that Kramnik succeeded in causing Black to have double pawns, he wants to trade one of Black’s Bishop pair. After this, it will be a Knight versus Bishop endgame and his Knight is better than Black’s Bishop. Even though it is still not enough to win, this is typical of playing for 2 results (win or draw).
19…Bxg2 20.Kxg2 f5 21.Rxd8+ Kramnik is continuing with he exchanging down plan. The eventual goal is to get down to just Knight and pawns versus Bishop and pawns.
21…Rxd8 22.Nd3 Bd4 Black does not want to trade the Bishop for the Knight in this position because it will only further weaken his position with another weakness of isolated pawns after
23.Nxc5 23.Rc1 Nothing fancy, just the most logical move which is to put the Rook in the open file.
23…e5 24.Rc2= It is virtually impossible for White to lose position unless blunders occur. However, White can try to play out without risks.
24…Rd5 [24…a5 Blocking the last active square for the White Knight]
25.Nb4 Rb5 Even though it is not a blunder, I do not like Black’s plan of trading the Rook as it gives White a chance to play for the win with absolutely no risk.
26.Nxa6 Rxb2 27.Rxb2 Bxb2 In principle, this is a drawn endgame. However, the question now is which King will be more active in this endgame?
28.Nb4 Kg7 29.Nd5 Bd4 30.a4 += White is locking up the Black Bishop. The duty of the Bishop is now to guard the b6 pawn.
30…Bc5 From this point on, moves are just a matter of preference as tempos will not matter as much as in other positions
31.h3 White wants to swing his King to the Queenside and go after then b6 weak pawn. However, he does not want to allow the Black King to march in with Kg6, g5, g4 then h3.
31…f6 32.f3 Kg6 33.e4 h5 34.g4 White is making sure that the other weak f6 pawn will stay there. Black will have no chance to liberate that pawn.
34…hxg4 35.hxg4 fxe4 36.fxe4 Kg5= It is a totally drawn endgame but then again White has no risk trying in this position.
37.Kf3 Kg6 38.Ke2 Kg5 39.Kd3 Following through with his plan of bringing the King to the other side to go after the b6 pawn then advancing his a pawn.
39…Bg1 [39…Kxg4 40.Nxf6+ Kf3=]
40.Kc4 Bf2 41.Kb5 Kxg4 The draw move!