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.
Loek van Wely is a Dutch Grandmaster born in 1972. He won 6 consecutive Dutch Championships starting in 2000. He worked as a second for Vladimir Kramnik and reached his peak rating of 2714 in 2001.
The two played 39 games in official play, with Kramnik winning 23 to 5 with 11 draws.
The game sees the nowadays unpopular Kings Indian defense. In a very precise game Kramnik stops van Welys early King-side advance. He plays for the breakthrough on the Queen-side and after a long struggle is able to open the b-file.
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