Vladimir Kramnik, considered one of the top chess players in the world and who was world champion from 2000 to 2007 announced his retirement from international chess at the age of 43 following his poor show in the recently concluded Tata Steel Chess tournament held in Wijk Aan Zee and Lieden. Kramnik had a poor tournament, finishing last and securing just 4.5 points out of 13. He lost games to Anish Giri, Viswanathan Anand, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Vidit Gujrathi, Vladimir Fedoseev, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Samuel Shankland. The only high points in the tournament was holding reigning world champion and eventual winner Magnus Carlsen to a draw while winning just one game in the tournament, which was to Jorden van Foreest.
Speaking after the end of the tournament, Kramnik said his motivation for the game had dropped considerably in the last few months and has now plans to get into chess teaching in education. “I already decided to finish my professional chess career a couple of months ago and now, after having played my last tournament, I would like to announce it publicly. The life of a professional chess player was a great journey and I am very thankful to chess for all it has given me. It has sometimes been difficult, sometimes more successful than I could ever imagine, but in any case it has been a priceless human experience for me. I would like to concentrate on projects which I have been developing during the last months especially in the field of chess for children and education. I will soon provide more detailed information about those,” Kramnik told on the official website of the Tata Steel Chess tournament.
The announcement of Kramnik’s retirement resulted in tributes from players like Anand and India woman Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli, who considered Kramnik an idol. “Vlady,a friend,rival and confidant. One of the most influential chess players of our times.His rivalry was a constant inspiration.I will miss his dry humour at tournaments. For me you will always be the Big Vlad from 89. All the best Vlady in your new avatar.#VladimirKramnik,” Anand wrote on his Twitter handle
King of the Chess world
At the age of 21, Kramnik made headlines for becoming the youngest world number one by dethroning Garry Kasparov, who was the world champion at that time. However, in 1993, the world championship match between Kasparov and Nigel Short was marred by accusations of corruption and lack of professionalism from FIDE, the governing body of chess. The split within FIDE and the Player Chess Association (PCA) resulted in 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. In 2000, Kasparov and Kramnik squared off in London in 16 games but Kramnik won the title with 8.5-6.5, winning two, drawing 13 and suffering no losses.
Vlady,a friend,rival and confidant. One of the most influential chess players of our times.His rivalry was a constant inspiration.I will miss his dry humour at tournaments. For me you will always be the Big Vlad from 89. All the best Vlady in your new avatar.#VladimirKramnik— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) January 29, 2019
It's a sad day for chess. Another giant leaves the game earlier than we all would hope for.Vladimir Kramnik leaves an incredible legacy behind him. Almost every opening line played in last 25 years has his major input.Thanks maestro https://t.co/1xgAAJ0rcR https://t.co/1xgAAJ0rcR— Levon Aronian (@LevAronian) January 29, 2019
Kramnik remained the world champion till 2006 and in the reunification clash against Vaselin Topalov, the FIDE World Chess champion, he defeated him 2.5-1.5 in the tie-break after the 12 classical games were drawn 6-6. The event was marred by a toilet controversy, in which Kramnik was accused of going to the toilet a lot of times and it was alleged he received outside help.
In 2007, Kramnik finished second as Anand was crowned the new undisputed world champion. In the 2008 championship in Bonn, Kramnik was outdone by Anand as the Indian Grandmaster won 6.5-4.5 to remain world champion. Kramnik secured a peak ELO rating of 2883 points in 2009 and in 2010, he assisted Anand in winning the championship in Bulgaria against Topalov.
In 2016, he once again reached a peak rating of 2817 but it was the only peak in a late career marred by some lows. However, with the retirement of Kramnik, another giant of the chess world from the golden era has disappeared into the sunset.