Vladimir Kramnik is a Russian Grandmaster born in 1975. He won the 1991 World Under 18 Championship and was the Russian national champion in 1990.
Without qualifying (he was picked by the titleholder) for the 2000 World Chess Championship against his mentor Garry Kasparov, he was able to win the title of World Champion with 8,5 to 6,5.
Defending his title against Peter Leko in 2004 and Veselin Topalov in 2006, he eventually lost it in the 2007 held super tournament. He lost the 2008 World Chess Championship against Anand with 4,5 to 6.
He is known for his very strong, solid defense.
He was the highest rated player in the world as early as 1996.
Hikaru Nakamura is an American Grandmaster, born in 1987. He was the youngest player up to that point to receive the title of International Master with 13 years and became Americas youngest ever Grandmaster with 15 years.
In 2001 he won the World Under 14 Championship. He won his first super tournament in 2011 by winning the Tata Steel (formerly Corus) tournament.
He is considered the best bullet (1 minute time control) player in the world.
In July 2011 his Elo rating was 2766, making him the number 9 in the world.
Up until this game they played 6 times, with Nakamura winning 2 to 1 and 3 draws, all wins coming from the Black side.
Nakamura plays the Dutch defense, an unsound opening rarely seen at top level play, nevertheless he already used it once in the tournament in a drawn game against World Champion Anand.
Nakamura sacrifices a pawn in the midgame to gain initiative and King side space. Kramnik defends and is soon able to calm the game down and a further blunder leaves Kramnik up 2 pawns without compensation for his opponent.
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