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Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen
Tal Memorial (2006), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Nov-12
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation (E15)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-12-06  notyetagm: <acirce: ... The reason for the drawn final was the position of the black rook: it was placed on the long side. Let us shift all the pieces except for the black rook one file to the left. Now when the rook is on the short side, Black, as one can see easily, is lost.>

What this reinforces is the importance of having the defending rook on the -long- side of the pawn.

Dvoretsky's comment here is very telling and instructive. In the final position by merely shifting every piece except the Black rook one file to the left, <<so that the White e-pawn becomes a d-pawn and what used to be the -long- side is now the -short- side>>, Black now has a lost endgame simply because his rook is now on the -short- side of the pawn.

Long side draws, short side loses.

Nov-12-06  centercounter: <notyetagm: Do the tablebases say anything definitive about the position after 59 a4? This position looks rather drawish to me but I am not an expert.

Black To Play: 59 ... ?>

Not an easy game to win, but also not easy to hold. Another similar rule comes to mind regarding 3 vs. 2 Pawns on the same side: Do not trade to 2 vs. 1 unless you receive a tangible benefit that makes the 2 vs. 1 position winnable. This goes for 4 vs. 3 on the same side, also :)

The superior side is typically the only one able to make such an offer anyway.

If Black controls the 6th rank, it seems very difficult to envision any penetration by White. While being a natural post, perhaps f1 wasn't the correct one for the Rook.

I, also, am no endgame expert. In a way it kind of sickens me to see people resort to tablebases instead of figuring it out and learning from experience, but then I'll probably go and turn on Shredder and join the herd...

Nov-12-06  Ezzy: Aronian,L (2741) - Carlsen,M (2698) [E15]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6), 12.11.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 <Aronian plays this rare move for the first time. Obviously trying to take Carlsen out of his comfort zone.> 5...Nc6 <An even more rare reply. Is Carlsen already out of 'book', or is it mind games?> 6.Nbd2 <Novelty I think. 6 a3 and 6 Bg2 have been played before.> 6...d5 7.cxd5 Qxd5< Because of the discovered attack on c6 by the white queen.> 8.e4 <8 a3 has an interesting threat of 9 e4 winning the a6 bishop or the c6 knight.> 8...Nb4 9.Qa4+ Qd7 10.Qxd7+ Nxd7 11.Bxa6 Nxa6 12.0–0 Nf6 13.a3 c5 14.Re1 Be7 15.Ne5 Rc8 16.b4 cxd4 17.Ndf3 Nb8 <They say if you you are stuck for a plan, improve the position of your worst placed piece.> 18.Nxd4 Nfd7 19.Nef3 0–0 20.Bf4 Nc6 21.Rac1 Nxd4 22.Nxd4 g5 23.Nc6 <I like this move. It seems that Aronian has seen a lot further into the position than Carlsen.> 23...Rxc6 24.Rxc6 gxf4 25.Rc7 Ne5< Carlsen decides to go for a rook endgame a pawn down. Probably the correct decision as this line seems more difficult to defend. [25...fxg3 26.hxg3 Rd8 27.Rd1 Nf8 28.Rxd8 Bxd8 29.Rxa7 Which looks pretty good for white.]> 26.Rxe7 Nf3+ 27.Kf1 Nxe1 28.Kxe1 a5 29.Rb7 axb4 30.axb4 Rd8 31.f3 Rd3 32.Ke2 Rb3 33.Rxb6 Rb2+ 34.Kd3 Rxh2 35.gxf4 h5 36.Rb5 h4 37.Rh5 h3 38.Kd4 Kf8 <Now the king is in the zone to stop any possible runaway b pawn.> 39.Ke5 Ke7 <Only move. Chasing the b pawn loses. [39...Rb2 40.Kf6 Kg8 41.Rxh3 Rxb4 42.Rg3+ Kf8 43.Rg7 Rb7 44.e5 Ra7 45.f5 exf5 46.e6 f4 47.Rh7 Kg8 48.exf7+ Kxh7 49.f8Q Winning]> 40.f5 exf5 41.Kxf5 Rb2 42.Rxh3 Rxb4 43.f4 Rb5+ 44.e5 Kf8 45.Rd3 <This threatens 46 Kf6 winning > 45...Rb4 46.Kg5 Kg7 47.Rd7 Rb5 To stop 48 e6 48.Kg4 Kf8 49.Kf5 Kg7 50.Ke4 Rb4+ 51.Rd4 Rb1 52.Rd7 Re1+ 53.Kd5 Rd1+ 54.Kc6 Rf1 55.Rd4 Kf8 56.Kd7 Rf2 57.Kd6 Rf1 58.Kd5 Ke7 59.Ra4 f6 60.Ra7+ Kf8 61.Kd6 fxe5 62.Ra8+ Kf7 63.Ra7+ Kf8 64.fxe5 Rd1+ 65.Ke6 Re1 66.Rf7+ Ke8 67.Rh7 Kf8 68.Rh8+ Kg7 69.Rd8 Ra1 70.Ke7 Ra5 71.e6 Ra7+ 72.Rd7 Ra8 73.Rd6 Ra7+?< Carlsen cracks under the pressure. I don't think Aronian can break through if Carlsen plays something similar to this line. But we will have to wait for the endgame experts. [73...Kg6 74.Rd1 Ra7+ 75.Rd7 Ra6 76.Rc7 Kg7 77.Rb7 Kg6 78.Rd7 Ra8 79.Rc7] >74.Ke8 1–0

Nice play by Aronian. He always had the initiative and forced Carlsen into an rook endgame a pawn down. The endgame was probably theoretically drawn, but Aronian kept the pressure on, making Carlsen find the only move. Eventually Carlsen cracked under the pressure.

Nov-13-06  Confuse: nice grind at the end... aronian pushes carlsen really hard, and he falls over. fantastic wins from aronian this tournament : )
Nov-13-06  notyetagm: <Ezzy: Aronian,L (2741) - Carlsen,M (2698) [E15] Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (6), 12.11.2006
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 <Aronian plays this rare move for the first time.>>

5 ♕c2!? is fast becoming a main line against the Queen's Indian 4 g3 ♗a6.

In fact, over at chesspublishing.com, they speculate that Judit Polgar played 4 ... ♗b7 at Essen and not 4 ... ♗a6 in part to avoid the 5 ♕c2!? reply.

Chesspublishing.com also points out that -all- Queen's Indian books on the 4 g3 ♗a6 line are now obsolete, since in the past 5 ♕c2!? had been dismissed as a harmless sideline.

Nov-13-06  notyetagm: Black To Play And Draw: 73 ... ?


click for larger view

73 ... Kg6! is the only move that draws.

From chessbase.com:
<Everything has gone according to plan, the position is still drawn, but Black must play an accurate move. 73...Ra7+?? That's not it, only 73...Kg6! keeps the draw. 74.Ke8! Now White could force a win – as demonstrated by Alessandro Salvio in the 17th century, but (perhaps falsely) attributed to Luis Ramirez Lucena at the end of the 15th century. Carlsen's memory reached back far enough to understand that he had blundered, and so the Norwegian teenager resigned. 1-0.>

Nov-13-06  notyetagm: <The reason for the drawn final was the position of the black rook: it was placed on the long side.>


click for larger view

<Let us shift all the pieces except for the black rook one file to the left. Now when the rook is on the short side, Black, as one can see easily, is lost.>


click for larger view

Nov-13-06  Ezzy: <notyetagm: Chesspublishing.com also points out that -all- Queen's Indian books on the 4 g3 a6 line are now obsolete,> All those trees that could of been saved.

<74.Ke8! Now White could force a win – as demonstrated by Alessandro Salvio in the 17th century,> Carlsen is going to have to get his head stuck into some 400 year old history books.

Nov-13-06  notyetagm: <Ezzy: <notyetagm: Chesspublishing.com also points out that -all- Queen's Indian books on the 4 g3 a6 line are now obsolete,> All those trees that could of been saved.>

Here is the link to the chesspublishing.com site that I mentioned: http://www.chesspublishing.com/cont....

GM Emms says that there has been an "explosion" of interest in this line, 4 g3 ♗a6 5 ♕c2!?. We may be witnessing the birth of a brand new mainline.

Nov-13-06  Tariqov: I suppose the reason for Kg6!!(Rd6!? has been said as the most trickiest move) is to remain the Position of the rook. At a8 it controls the 8th rank AND is at the long side(so Rb8?shortens the rook)Because of this The rook cannot move so only the king can. By understanding you can remember easier i suppose.
Nov-13-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Damn, Aronian knows his endgames.> Rather Carlsen doesn't know basic endings well. This is one of best known endgame positions and anybody can find it not only in Dvoretsky but probably in every endgame manual published in last two centuries or more. Magnus is natural supertalent but this game shows that he has a lot of work and study ahead of himself to become the real top player. Lessons of this kind can help him but I would say that loss in this engame in such a tournament is a bit expensive lesson.
Nov-13-06  Ezzy: <notyetagm:> Thanks for the information.

<We may be witnessing the birth of a brand new mainline> Interesting. I suppose that doesn't happen too often. Because of the power of computer analysis, I suppose the world of chess openings will eventually go through a radical change.

Nov-13-06  dehanne: Even I, a major patzer, know that black has to prevent white from getting to the Lucena position in order to draw, but Ra7+?? just hands the Lucena position to White.
Nov-19-06  Rolfo: Found this on Akavall's page:
"No one is too good not to be humbled by a R+P ending -- not Capablanca, not Rubinstein, not Kasparov, not Anand, not anyone.

--- keypusher"

Jun-04-07  micartouse: Funny ... I was drilling through a bunch of endgame FEN codes the other day (I play them out against Fritz) and I forgot how to defend this and lost. I played ... Ra7+? and was very angry I forgot the long side defense.

Now I see GM Carlsen messed it up, and I don't feel so bad. 73. Rd6(!) is a trap recommended in Seirawan's Winning Chess Endings.

Jun-25-08  aazqua: This is less Aronian knowing his endgames as Carlsen not knowing an endgame he should. For the best player in the world to drop a game like this is a shock. These rook pawn endgames are really interesting - some of the most theoretical miniatures in chess. Dvotsky's manual is excellent for this stuff.
Mar-10-09  WhiteRook48: let's bash Carlsen!
May-26-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  cocker: Position after 73 ♖d6 is discussed in John Nunn's book, UCE, diagram 48a.
Sep-01-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: .

<From Nov-12-06>:

<Ulhumbrus: According to one master, possibly Dvoretsky, 73...Ra7? is a losing mistake, 73...Kg6! being necessary. It is conceivable that if a player applies a knowledge and understanding of a handful of Rook and Pawn endings, he will be able to understand what Black gains or avoids by 73..Kg6.>

The key point, as I understand it, is what Black <avoids> by playing <73. … Kg7-g6!>.

In the position after <73. Rd7-d6> (Black to move):


click for larger view

Black’s defense depends on:

<(1)> his Rook's maintaining control of the 8th rank;

<(2)> his Rook's maintaining “maximum checking distance” (i.e., remaining on the a-file); and

<(3)> his King's maintaining contact with the f6-square (so that it can move there when White threatens to advance e6-e7); for example: <73. … Kg6 74. Rd8 Ra7+ 75. Ke8 Kf6!> [Note: 75. ... Kg6-f6! is the <only move> to draw in the position after 75. Ke8].

In the position in the diagram, <73. … Kg7-g6> is the only move that <avoids> surrendering any of the three above-listed desiderata.

Nov-14-11  Ulhumbrus: <Peligroso Patzer...<Ulhumbrus: According to one master, possibly Dvoretsky, 73...Ra7? is a losing mistake, 73...Kg6! being necessary. It is conceivable that if a player applies a knowledge and understanding of a handful of Rook and Pawn endings, he will be able to understand what Black gains or avoids by 73..Kg6.>

The key point, as I understand it, is what Black <avoids> by playing <73. … Kg7-g6!>.

In the position in the diagram, <73. … Kg7-g6> is the only move that <avoids> surrendering any of the three above-listed desiderata.>

Bravo!

Nov-14-11  aniceto: At move 69, wouldn't it be easier to play Re2 preventing Ke7?
Nov-15-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Carlsen gets 'his revenge' in winning a tb draw endgame one year later: Carlsen vs Aronian, 2007
Feb-11-16  Howard: Chess Monthly just analyzed the last several moves of this ending a few issues back.
Sep-02-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: White to move at 43


click for larger view

This is a drawn position if played correctly - analysis by FinalGen

Look at a similar game between Dzagnidze and Zhukova to see how defender should have drawn...

'N Dzagnidze vs N Zhukova, 2008

Muller and Konoval comment that <"When the attacking pawns are far advanced, the defender needs to know the main motifs. Otherwise it is very difficult to hold in practice, which is confirmed by our statistics: 49% of the games are won">

Section 4.3.5) e- and f-Pawns vs f-Pawn on page 85, Karsten Muller and Yakov Konoval in their illustrious 2016 chess book, <Understanding Rook Endgames>

Back to the game continuation:

47...Rb5! (also Re4 draws) is the thematic way of preventing the setup of e5, f5 and the white king on g5.

Carlsen had the draw in hand but misplayed the rook plus a lone pawn versus rook phrase with 73...Ra7+? when 73...Kg6! is a draw - see the next post.

Mark Dvoretsky in an article <Swimming in Theory> commented: <"What can we say about all this? The conclusion seems obvious: the young and exceptionally talented Norwegian grandmaster was unfamiliar with basic endgame theory, because he never studied endgames.

However, the day after the game, I talked with Carlsen's trainer, grandmaster Peter-Heine Nielsen, who assured me that Magnus had studied books on the endgame. This invalidates the obvious explanation - the problem cannot be ignorance of elementary concepts. In fact, this episode spurs us to give some thought to the disconnect between theory and practice, and the need to train oneself in putting one's knowledge to practical use.

School lessons in mathematics cover theoretical rules, formulas, and problem-solving methods. But teachers do not confine themselves to teaching theory: they also give their students many exercises. Without these, acquired knowledge only becomes dead weight, most of which is soon forgotten.">

Dvoretsky deduces: "knowledge of endgame theory does not guarantee that you will know how to play the endgame."

Sep-02-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: As chess member <Honza Cervenka> points out in his notes: <"This is one of best known endgame positions and anybody can find it not only in Dvoretsky but probably in every endgame manual published in last two centuries or more.">

John Emms, Reuben Fine, Paul Keres, Karsten Muller and others give credit to the below and similar diagrams to Tarrasch

White to move at 73 leads to <(Tarrasch, 1906)> =/=

Wow! That is right, 100 years ago before Aronian vs. Carlsen game of 2006 this position was analyzed...


click for larger view

John Emms in his marvelous 2008 chess book, <The Survival Guide to Rook Endings>, remarks about the Short-Side Defense using Tarrasch Draw on pages 24 and 25 as follows:

<"This is another significant position. Critically, Black has control of the a-file and keeps enough checking distance. Black draws, whoever has the move.">

1 ♖d8 ♖a7+

<(1...♖a6! 2 ♖d6 ♖a8 is perhaps the simplest way to draw, but 1...♖a1? loses to 2 ♔e8 ♔f6 3 e7 ♔e6 4 ♖b8 ♖a6 5 ♔f8!)>

2 ♖d7

<(Or 2 ♔d6 ♖a6+ 3 ♔e5 ♖a5+ 4 ♖d5 ♖a1 5 ♔d6 ♔f6.)>

2...♖a8

<(Black repeats. 2...♖a1 (or 2...♖a2) also draws, but 2 ♖a6? loses to 3 ♔e8+ ♔f6 4 e7 ♔e6 5 ♔f8!, when Black has no check.)>

(2...♖a3 or ♖a4 or ♖a5 also draw)

3 ♖d6!
Paul Keres says this is <"A crafty move which Black must defend exactly.">

Karsten Muller says <"Tarrasch's draw is quite difficult, so you should familiarize yourself with it:">

3...♔g6!
John Emms continues <"(This is the only move to draw. The point is that when White's rook is on d6, Black's rook must guard the back rank. 3...♖a7+? loses to 4 ♔e8 ♔f6 5 e7+ ♔g7 6 ♖e6 followed by ♔d8. Another problem is that 3...♖b8? reduces Black's checking distance, allowing White to win after 4 ♖d8 ♖b7+ 5 ♔d6 ♖b6+ 6 ♔d7 ♖b7+ 7 ♔c6 ♖e7 8 ♔d6. Luckily the king is just as effective on g6 as it is on g7.)">

4 ♖d7 ♔g7 5 ♖c7 ♖a1
<"Once again Black must keep on the a-file.">

6 ♖d7 ♖a2
<"(6...♖a8, reaching the start position again, is possible, but this also draws.)">

7 ♔e8+ ♔f6 8 e7 ♔e6 9 ♔f8 ♖f2+ 10 ♔e8 ♖a2

<"and no further progress can be made.">

References:

"Rook plus a lone Pawn vs. a Rook may look simple, but appearances are deceiving" by Mark Weeks

'https://www.mark-weeks.com/aboutcom...

Diagram 154 on page 123, <Practical Chess Endings> algebraic edition by the great grandmaster Paul Keres, ISBN 0-7134-4210-7 unfortunately out of print but the descriptive edition is still available.

Diagram 1.07 on page 13, Karsten Muller and Yakov Konoval in their illustrious 2016 chess book, <Understanding Rook Endgames>

For rook chess nerds like me, John Nunn goes into detailed positions with the following starting with topic 4.2.2 on page 268:

Pawn is on the 6th rank, attacker's king is in front of the pawn

From John Nunn's classic book on Rook endgames published by Gambit Publications 1999 <Secrets of Rook Endings>

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