Kramnik Microsense India Chess Program Day 1: Meeting Vladimir Kramnik!
The Kramnik Microsense India Chess Program kicked off on the 15th of August 2019 as Vladimir Kramnik came to the champions house in Chens Sur Leman, France. The six youngsters introduced themselves and Kramnik got to know them better in the first couple of hours. After trying some Indian food, an intense endgame session began where Vladimir showed seven of his practical endgames. It was a class where the youngsters learnt a lot and Kramnik's preparation was matched by the boys giving it their 100%. Get to know more about day one of this amazing chess camp, and also the journey of all the youngsters on how they travelled and made it to Chens Sur Leman!
For all those who are not aware about the Kramnik - Microsense Chess Program can read about it in our previous article.
Day 0: Reaching The House!
All the six youngsters are globe trotters. So it was of course difficult to have everyone coming from the same place to our final destination - Geneva. Three players - Praggnanandhaa, Raunak Sadhwani and Leon Mendonca flew with Amruta and me from the Mumbai airport, while Gukesh came from Riga International in a train, Iniyan travelled for nearly two days from Coimbatore - Mumbai - Delhi - Abu Dhabi - Geneva (!) to meet us at Geneva airport and Prithu Gupta had his own exciting journey from Delhi.
We had travelled for the entire night and it would seem logical to just take rest. Well, it's for a reason that these kids are GMs and IMs at the age of 13 and 14 and we are not! They simply eat, drink, dream chess! And so the first Chens-Sur-Leman Cup began!
Day 1: Meeting Vladimir Kramnik
To meet Vladimir Kramnik is the dream of many chess players. These six youngsters will not just have a chance to meet him but also train with him for ten days! Well, through their excellent performances they have earned this opportunity. But still when Vladimir Kramnik, entered the apartment it was a surreal feeling for the youngsters.
There were several endgames that Kramnik showed in the class and the most amazing part about them was that he chose his own endgames. Usually when you go to a camp, you are either taught theoretical endgames or endgames which are quite concrete. But Kramnik being Kramnik could take the risk of teaching the art of practical endgame play to six hungry youngsters. All six of them had hundreds of questions, but Kramnik would answer them with great respect giving his insights. Sometimes there were no accurate answers, but more important than accurate answers was to understand how a former World Champion thinks in a specific position. Teaching such endgames is really difficult because often the difference between two options doesn't seem much. You really have to be a master to actually explain the difference. At the end of nearly four hours of training, the youngsters had learnt some important lessons. One of the key ones being - you don't have always have to do something. Often the opponent will help you find a plan in the position. Kramnik's training methods are very practical and it felt as if the lessons he imparted on day one were exactly the things that youngsters lack in their play.
Just to give you an example:
Kovacevic vs Kramnik, 1997
One of the students says Bd6-e5 relocating the bishop on a strong square, while another said ...h4 fixing the kingside pawns. Which move is better? Usually trainers do not want to go into such discussions because they themselves do not understand which move is better and why. But Kramnik would often analyze such positions trying to explain his thought process. And perhaps as per the computer this wasn't the most precise, but when one of the greatest endgame players of all time chooses a plan, an idea or a move and you can understand his thinking, this is already a huge learning for the youngsters.