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Magnus Carlsen vs Levon Aronian
Linares (2009), Linares ESP, rd 8, Feb-28
Semi-Slav Defense: Stoltz Variation. Shabalov Attack (D45)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Aronian was well prepared for this game and emerged from the opening with comfortable advantage. The Norwegian defended very resourcefully and reached a drawn Rook ending. Playing through 3 time troubles proved too tiring and in the final stage Carlsen made a series of mistakes, which resulted in his loss.> (chessdom)

Carlsen's decisive mistake may have been 84.Rf1 instead of Kf2, since as long as White manages to keep the black pawn on f3 it may be a draw even without the h-pawn, e.g. after 84.Kf2 Rf6 85.Rd1 Kxh4 86.Rh1+ which is a theoretical draw.

Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  messachess: Here is my theory. What do you think. If you do not play the kind of risks that are meeded for success at this level and as a consequence settle for a string of draws, then you don't get the kind of 'in-tournament' 'practice' that leads to wins (or, at least good tries) in the sharpest positions. As a consequence, you'll be at a disadvantage later in the tourney against players who have been playing hard and taking risks.

The corollary here is that 1.) this kind of in-tournament 'practice' is what really makes players stronger, and 2.) it cannot be duplicated otherwise.

Feb-28-09  Marmot PFL: In general blocking a passed pawn with the rook is the last thing you want to do in such endings and almost always loses. I thought his setup with the rook on the a file and the king on g3 would probably draw, ex, 65.Ra3+ Ke4 (Rd3 66.Rxd3+ Kxd3 67.Kf4 draw) 66.Re4+ Ke5 67.Re5+ Kf6 68.Ra3 and I'm not sure how black progresses.
Feb-28-09  wanabe2000: I expected 46.Rc8 with the idea of Ra8 placing the rook behind the passed pawn.
Feb-28-09  khursh: The mistake was 65.Rf4
btw Aronian's reply 65..Rd1 was immediate, so he recognized the mistake in a second.
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: That's true, <khursh> Aronian's moves came right away, giving the impression he was pouncing.

However, I think he missed the strongest moves almost right away also, ...have to check it further.

Feb-28-09  Marmot PFL: <khursh> Is the game lost after that? It does look funny to see the long range artillery <rook> expose itself to hand to hand fighting with the short range king and pawns.
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Carlsen may have chosen better (or at least more comfortable) defensive setups along the way, but I still don't see how Black can win this as late as move 84, if White plays Kf2 instead of Rf1.
Feb-28-09  Marmot PFL: <Eyal> Can't find a win there either.
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Black moved heaven and earth.
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: < Eyal: *** I still don't see how Black can win this as late as move 84, if White plays [84.] Kf2 instead of [84.] Rf1.>

The point (or at least part of it) apparently being that if 84. Kf2, then after 84. … Rf6 85. Rh1 Kg4 86. Rg1+ Kxh4 the resulting position (notwithstanding that Black has connected passed pawns) is a tablebase draw (87. Rh1+ is =.)

Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Peligroso Patzer> Yeah, the crucial thing is not to let Black advance the pawn to f2; another way to do it was to play a move earlier 83.Rf1 (instead of Kg3), so as to meet 83...Rf5 with 84.Rf2.
Feb-28-09  Veryrusty: Regarding <messachess: Here is my theory. What do you think. If you do not play the kind of risks that are meeded for success at this level and as a consequence settle for a string of draws, then you don't get the kind of 'in-tournament' 'practice' that leads to wins (or, at least good tries) in the sharpest positions.>

In 60 Memorable, Fischer describes a Rook-and-Pawn ending he was playing against Gligoric, something along these lines, "After the game Olafsson scolded me, 'how can you play this ending so fast?' (I'd only been taking a few seconds per move.) 'Because there's no danger,' I replied; 'it's a dead draw."

He then goes on to show where Gligoric missed a winning move ("Now it's Gligoric's turn to let me out"), and comments, "It's hard to believe. I stayed up all night analyzing, finally convincing myself and learning a lot about Rook and Pawn endings in the process."

Let's hope young Mr. Carlsen does the same thing. Aronian played it like a GM, trying every variation, but for Magnus, losing this ought to be a wakeup call.

Feb-28-09  Marmot PFL: can't be too hard on the boy. Here a more experienced GM misses an easier draw after adjournment - Geller vs Fischer, 1970
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Aronian has a history in educating Carlsen at theoretically drawn rook endgames... Aronian vs Carlsen, 2006
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: See, Carlsen should have been following his page here, where Slomarko has posted several games with stalemate. Then he might not have missed 78...Ra2.
Feb-28-09  Marmot PFL: < Eyal> That one is hard to draw once the white king gets to e6 (possible though). Ideally black likes to keep the rook on the 3rd rank to prevent this then check from behind once the pawn goes to the 6th. There is was not possible unfortunately.
Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: < Eyal: Aronian has a history in educating Carlsen at theoretically drawn rook endgames... Aronian vs Carlsen, 2006 >

Yes, that game from the 2006 Tal Memorial does invite comparison with today's Carlsen debacle.

I would note, however, that Carlsen’s error two-plus years ago (73. Ra7+?) was in a position that is clearly “theoretical”. His error today was in a position that would probably most aptly be classified as “practical”, despite the reduced material. It will probably be little solace to Carlsen, however, to try to construe that distinction as representing any sort of "progress".

Carlsen, of course, "returned the favor" when he swindled a win from Aronian in a Queen ending of this crucial game: Carlsen vs Aronian, 2007

Feb-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: In a short post-game interview to Europe Echecs, Aronian says he was surprised by Carlsen's opening choice, since he [Aronian] has played it many times as White and knows it very well [see http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches... ]; the novelty [14...c5] was suggested to him by Karjakin. Thinks he came very close to obtaining a winning position but made a bad mistake by exchanging the bishops, and then got lucky when Carlsen blundered in a completely drawn endgame. In this context, he mentions that previous game from the Tal Memorial as well...
Mar-01-09  shintaro go: A very satisfying win for Aronian, I bet.
Mar-01-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  kamalakanta: I believe that, if Carlsen can stay motivated, he will be World Champion. At 18 he has probably achieved more than the other "Super" Grandmansters did at his age (though I am not sure of this).

I believe he is fatigued from too much chess in the last year or two. And yes, he is a bit predictable. But he is fearless, and that is one of his main qualities. He is therefore not afraid to mix it with anyone, even if that person is an "expert" in the variation being played.

His game against Anand showed great maturity in the endgame. Let us remember he had the draw in hand in this game right until the very end, when he probably blundered due to fatigue (they had been playing for 6 1/2 hours!).

Oct-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  intuitivesac: Great technique by Aronian here.
Jun-19-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Omnipotent00001: 52...Rxe5 is draw
Aug-28-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: White to move at 84


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Carlsen's decisive mistake was 84. Rf1? instead of Kf2! which draws

Chess member <Marmot PFL> is spot-on about <"In general blocking a passed pawn with the rook is the last thing you want to do in such endings and almost always loses.">

John Emms in his marvelous 2008 chess book, The Survival Guide to Rook Endings, remarks about a passive rook on pages 86 and 87 as follows:

<"If the passed pawn is blocked by an opposing rook, then it is very difficult for this rook to have any other influence on the game. If it moves, the passed pawn will edge nearer to promotion.">

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