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Levon Aronian vs Alexander Ipatov
FIDE World Team Championship (2013), Antalya TUR, rd 7, Dec-03
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-03-13  Shamot: Good finish by Aronian. 39.Rxh7!!

39...Kxh7 not possible due to the threat of 40.Qa7+ and mate to follow on next move by 41.Qg7

If 39...Kg8 then 40.Rg7+ and mate to follow next move by 41.Qh2

Dec-03-13  haydn20: A pretty & instructive game, as noted on the tournament page. 8...c5 looks premature to me; maybe 8...Nc6 is better. Also, maybe Black should get in 14...b5 while he can, and he has no business opening lines with 22...e5. White lets him off the hook with 23 c3?! because of 23...a5!. However, Black misses this and Levon finds the lovely 27. d5! which both blocks the a8-h1 line AND anchors a Knight. After Rxh7+! there is mate in six with 41. Qa7+! etc. Since I'm a patzer, I probably threw in too many !, but I meant well.
Dec-03-13  asiduodiego: My comments on this game:

7 Nd4. Strange looking move, but not bad per se: it's just a violation of the old principle, "don't move the same piece twice in the opening", but the idea is to make Black waste time defending the exposed b pawn.

8 ... c5?. The first mistake by Black, leading to the typical trade of "Two Minor Pieces vs Rook and Pawn". It doesn't lose material, and it's not a horrible mistake, but against an active player such as Aronian, it's not a good idea at all.

18 ... Rfe8. Why not the "obvious" 18 ... Nxb3 ?. Because, although it leaves White with doubled pawns, it's not a trouble at all, because the c4 square will be in complete White control, so Black will get in trouble opening the game in the Queenside. For example, if 19 cxb3 b4 20 axb4 cxb4 21 Na5, and White's position seems very comfortable with open diagonals for the Bishop and the Queen to jump to attack Black's pawns on the Queenside, and the Knight in excellent position to jump to b6 and create threats. The computer recommends the prophylactic move 18 ... Kh8 in this situation, though.

21 Rf1!. Strange looking move, but a deep attacking idea: the White f-pawn soon will be gone, so the idea is to set up a battery on the f-column to attack the Black King.

23 c3!?. It leads to open the c-column and gives White doubled pawns. But, Levon wants to get rid of the weakness that pawn represents, so he can release the Queen of the defense of the c pawn. The computer recommends the obvious idea of: 23 fxe5 dxe5 24 Qxf5 and the c-pawn is untouchable for the moment, but White soon will have to return to defend it. Perhaps not the best choice for Levon, but it's understandable.

26 ... Rf8? A bad decision, perhaps the decisive mistake in a subtle way. It defends the pawn, but dooms Black to passivity. Levon soon will take control of the open e-column, and the White rook will crush Black defenses.

31 ... Kh8? Underestimates the danger of Re7. As the game will show, Rf7 was necessary. Perhaps Ipatov was scared for his weak d-pawn.

34 Nd4 The Kingside will soon be under siege.

35 ... Rg6 Too passive. 35 ... Rb8 is more active. In time trouble, Ipatov is just trying to hold everything, but that leads to his defeat.

38 ... Qb4?? A blunder made in a lost position, but, Black was in severe time trouble. 38 ... Rg6 avoids mate, but Black's game is lost anyway.

39 Rxh7+!! A natural attacker such as Levon will never miss a combination such as this. The idea is 39 Kxh7 40 Qb7+ and after Kh6 there is no way to avoid Qg7+ Kh5, and one of the Knights will mate on f4.

Another great game by Aronian, and an excellent lesson for begginers of why you shouldn't (in general) make the trade of "rook + pawn" for "two minor pieces". After being on the brink of defeat yesterday, today Levon showed great accuracy.

Dec-03-13  asiduodiego: Slight correction: in the mating line it's obviously Qa7+ not Qb7+
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: White's King's knight was the power piece here. It used the d4 square as a nice pivot point to go from the annoying c6 to the powerful e6 square. From there the mating threats sprang up as the Q + N coordinate so well.
Dec-03-13  csmath: 8. ...c5?

Has to be considered a blunder as trading N+B for R+p is a material loss.

When you blunder in the opening like that against 2800 player there is little or no chance to survive. It is amazing Ipatov lasted this long.

Dec-03-13  Mudphudder: This game is just beautiful. Such coordinated piece work as Aronian is so good at.
Dec-03-13  asiduodiego: <csmath> In a sense, yes, 8 ... c5? was the decisive mistake of the game. To make the infamous "N+B" vs "R+p" trade against Aronian is clearly suicidal.

But, at least in the "naive" system of relative value of the pieces, it's not a "material loss". Of course, the side with the two minor pieces is almost always better in this case, so it's an objective mistake, but I consider it more an "activity loss" rather than a "material loss".

Dec-03-13  haydn20: If I can get my extra P an open file with the Rook behind, I like my chances vs the two N's. But if those N's get coordinated first, it's curtains for me.
Dec-03-13  csmath: Rook and pawn is not worth two minor pieces unless there is a positional reason for the exchange. Any GM should know that. I am sure Ipatov does know that and what he did is simply a blunder.
Dec-03-13  Everett: <7 Nd4. Strange looking move, but not bad per se: it's just a violation of the old principle, "don't move the same piece twice in the opening", but the idea is to make Black waste time defending the exposed b pawn.>

Another factor to consider is that it's ultimate home at Nb3 - ofttimes a dubious position for a N in the KI - remains active because of Black's .. b5. Both a5 and c5 were weakened by that one move. The subsequent e5 from White highlights Black's weakened c5 square.

BTW, two books to help with these material imbalances are Esben Lund's work and the chapter on Tal's handling of the R vs 2 minors in Marin's Learn from the Legends

Also Andrei Sokolov tore some people up on the rook side of things in the mid-80's. It is a rich area of study.

Dec-05-13  notyetagm: Aronian vs A Ipatov, 2013

<asiduodiego: My comments on this game:

7 Nd4. Strange looking move, but not bad per se: it's just a violation of the old principle, <<<"don't move the same piece twice in the opening">>>,>

Do not move the same piece twice in the opening <UNLESS YOU HAVE A REALLY, REALLY GOOD REASON>.

Aronian knows when to break the rules. :-)

Dec-05-13  notyetagm: Aronian vs A Ipatov, 2013

<Mudphudder: This game is just beautiful. Such coordinated piece work as Aronian is so good at.>

When Aronian is on, he is the best player in the world, IMHO.

Dec-05-13  asiduodiego: <notyetagm> Of course. That's why I added: "the idea is to make Black waste time defending the exposed b pawn".
Dec-06-13  Everett: <asiduodiego> thanks for your original post. It helped me find more things in the game that I would possibly miss otherwise.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Beautifully original play by Aronian, and a nice mating combination.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Domdaniel: Beautifully original play by Aronian, and a nice mating combination.>

<Domdaniel> you are quite right. It was such nice and original play I didn't even understand the finish until I realized that White had both an open h-file AND open a7-g1 diagonal.

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