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Karpov opens with 1. d4 and Kramnik responds with the Stoltz Variation of the Semi-Slav Defense in the Queen’s Gambit Declined, rapidly introducing complications by opening the center with 8. …e5. Although 14. Bh7+ may look weird, it has the very good point of pushing black’s king away from the center which could become very relevant in a future endgame. Although many players would have simply agreed to a draw, Karpov understands his slight advantage and proceeds to inflict permanent damage on Kramnik’s pawn structure with 21. Bxf6. Karpov’s ensuing technique is absolutely brilliant, patiently massaging black’s pawn weaknesses until he senses the critical moment to sacrifice his queenside pawns to form a potentially winning mating net around black’s king on the kingside. Karpov’s positional pressure and subsequent technical conversion in this game is extremely instructional as he wears down Kramnik’s defense with a long series of threats to finish the game with a devastating tactical sequence.