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Fabiano Caruana vs Levon Aronian
Zurich Chess Challenge (2014), Zurich SUI, rd 5, Feb-03
Spanish Game: Marshall Attack. Modern Variation (C89)  ·  1-0


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Given 9 times; par: 103 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  hedgeh0g: Saved it? Carlsen would have won it... :/
Feb-04-14  Ulhumbrus: Caruana wins this endgame against Aronian as if he were Aronian. Or should that be Carlsen?
Feb-08-14  fatoldsun: One of my favorite games of the Challenge; probably THE favorite except for Nakamura's collapse of which I would like to call a favorite game but should be categorized as a typical game for Carlsen where a lot of players cannot dance to the end to complete a victory against him.
Feb-20-14  Ulhumbrus: After 27 Ne3 suppose that Black tries to hold on to the d5 pawn by 27...Be6 28 Ra5 Rd8. Then 29 Bb6 displaces Black's rook from the eighth rank and on 29...Rd7 30 Ra8+ but Black's rook may instead try to chase White's QB by 29..Rb8 30 Bc7 Rc8. On 27...Be6 an alternative to 28 Ra5 is 28 f4 g6 29 Kf3 preparing 30 g4 followed by 31 f5
Oct-23-14  SpiritedReposte: Haven't seen a Marshall Gambit crushed like that. Great plan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: Found 50. c4 with the idea of 50...Bxc4 51. Nb7 1:0

Also to play after other bishop moves (not taking on c4) Rc7+ and Ne6 to win g7 and later on other pawns on the kingside. And my feeling was that this is sufficient to win- even when I have to give up c4. But I had no clear lines - more the general plan.

Mar-27-15  nalinw: <lost in space> Let us give ourselves at least half a point!

I think there are no other Bishop moves! I wonder when - i.e. how many moves prior - Caruana saw this "trap".

Was Ra5 important? Was Black losing anyway because of White's control of the 7th?

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a knight and a pawn for a bishop.

The first idea that comes to mind, 50.Kf5, trying f4-g5, fails miserably to 50... Be6+ followed by 51... Bxc8.

Another option is 50.c4:

A) 50... Bxc4 51.Nb7 Ra4 (51... Ra7 52.Nd6+ and 53.Nxc4 + - [N]; 51... Be6 52.Rc7+ and 53.Nxa5 + - [R+N vs B]) 52.Nd6+ Ke6 53.Rxc4 Ra3 (53... Kxd6 54.Rxa4 + - [R]; 53... Rxc4 54.Nxc4 + - [N]) 54.Ne4 + - [N].

B) 50... Ba8 51.Ne4 (threatening 52.Nd6+ and 53.Nf5 to attack the pawns)

B.1) 51... Bxe4 52.Kxe4 with a probably won ending due to the passed extra pawn and Black's weaknesses in the king side, the light squares and the pawns, which tie the black king to their defense.

B.2) 51... Ra6 52.Nd6+ (52.c5 is probably also good) 52... Rxd6 (else 53.Nf5 looks winning) 53.Rxa8 with a similar conclusion. For example, 53... Rd4+ 54.Kf5 Rxc4 55.Ra7+ Kf8 56.Kg6 Rc8 (56... Rc5 57.Ra8+ Ke7 58.Kxg7 folowed by Kxh6, etc.) 57.Ra7 and the g- and h-pawns will fall.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Although my 51.Ne4 seems enough to win, Caruana's 51.Rc7+ is simpler and stronger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: White is in a hugely commanding position, a pawn up and Rc7+ will force the black king to the back rank, but there is another weakness for black; Bd5.

Poor old Bd5 is running out of squares to play in, so lets make his life even more cramped...

<50 c4 ...>

50 ... Ne6
51 Rc7+ wins the bishop

50 ... Bxc4
51 Nb7! wins the bishop (due to Nd6+!)

<50 ... Ba8>
<51 Rc7+ ...>

51 ... Kf8
52 Ne6+

51 ... Ke8
52 Ne6

<51 ... Kg8>
<52 Ne6 >

One possible path is...

52 ... Ra3
53 Rxg7+ Kh8
54 Kf5 Rxf3+
55 Kg6 Be4+
56 Kxh6 Ra3
57 Nf8 Ra8
58 Ng6+ Bxg6
59 Kxg6


Hmmm, well I got the first 5 moves. Do I get a lolly?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Lambda: Perfectly happy to call this solved just from working out 50. c4 forces 50... Ba8. We've obviously improved our position. 51. Rc7+ is an obvious thing to try next, trapping the black king against the back rank and aiming at g7, maybe with the idea of playing Ne6 now the bishop isn't preventing that, but we can consider that next move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Seen this one: <50.c4>
Mar-27-15  TheBish: Caruana vs Aronian, 2014

White to play (50.?) "Difficult"

White is up a pawn, but Black's active bishop is attacking the f3 pawn, making White's task not exactly a walk in the park. The bishop is also controlling e6, making a knight jump to that square impossible for the time being. We are looking for the most efficient win, which happens to be a move which drives the bishop back!

50. c4! Ba8

Not 50...Bxc4?? 51. Nb7 Ra4 52. Nd6+ Ke6 53. Rxc4. Also 50...Be6?? 51. Rc7+ drives away the king to win the bishop. Now White is one move away from getting the knight to e6.

51. Rc7+ Ke8

White's response to the other king moves is the same.

52. Ne6 and White wins the g-pawn and the game, e.g. 52...g5+ 53. hxg6, or 52...Ra4 53. Nxg7+ Kd8 54. Ne6+ Ke8 55. Kf5 Bxf3 56. Kxf6 and Re7# is next. Even with the better defense 52...Ra3, White wins with 53. Nxg7+ Kd8 54. Ne6+ Ke8 55. Nd4 Rd3 (or 55...Ra5 56. Rh7) 56. Rc8+ Kf7 57. Rxa8 Rxd4+ 58. Kf5 Rxc4 59. Kxf6 and White will soon win the h6 pawn followed by queening a pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Thought this one was from the Sinquefield Cup...

Anyway, I got 50.c4 and the variation to follow if black takes: 50...Bxc4 51.Nb7 followed by 52.Nd6+, picking up the bishop. If black moves to defend d6, then white just takes the bishop.

Mar-27-15  TheBish: In case anyone is curious what happens after 15. Qxf5, my engine (Rybka) gives 15...Qxh2+ (15...Rae8 16. Rxe8 Qxh2+ 17. Kf1 Qh1+ transposes) 16. Kf1 Rae8 17. Rxe8 Qh1+ 18. Ke2 Rxe8+ 19. Be3 g6 20. Qf3 Qc1 21. Bxd5 cxd5 22. Qxd5 Bf8 23. Qb3 Bh6,

click for larger view

when White's best is giving up the rook with 24. Nd2 Qxa1, since 24. Qd1 is met by 24...Bxe3 25. Na3 Bd2+! 26. Kf1 Qxb2 27. Nc2 Qxc3, when (after taking the d-pawn) Black will soon be up two pawns with a dominating position.

Mar-27-15  TheaN: Friday 27 March 2015 <50.?>

A rook-piece endgame and white is a passed pawn up. Black tries to hold it at bay with the centralized bishop. Without some tactics, this position is most likely a draw.

<50.c4!> this works because the pawn is immune, forcing the bishop back.

A) The point <50....Bxc4 51.Nb7> threatening Nxa5, Rxc4 and Nd6+. <51....Ra4> takes care of two options, but not <52.Nd6+ Ke6 53.Rxc4 > and white is a full piece up.

B) <50....Be6 51.Rc7+ Ke8 52.Nxe6 > is worse.

C) <50....Ba8> is playable, but it surrenders the initiative to white. <51.Rc7+>:

C1) <51....Kf8 52.Ne6+ Ke8 53.Nxg7+ > just gives up g7 with tempo.

C2) <51....Kg8 52.Ne6 > and black loses g7 as well.

C3) <51....Ke8> not really different than Kg8, yet white should probably watch out to play Rxg7: it gives up the defense of c4 and makes the knight vulnerable. And after 53.Ne6-c7+ black has Kf8, putting the rook ex prise. I'd be content with just playing <52.Ne6 > and keep up the patterns of the other moves.

Mar-27-15  TheaN: Hm missed 52....Ra3, it does indefinitely wins f3, so the king march Kf5-g6 must work. It seems still that white has the upperhand regardless. Would have played this OTB.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonalley: this VERY difficult... <diagonalley>: nul points :-(
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: too complicated for me.
Mar-27-15  A.T PhoneHome: Got the first move; long live humanity!

Not bashing myself for this one because these guys are really strong players. Good luck on this one <fellow kibitzers!>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I backed into 50 c4 only after figuring out why 50 Rc7+ does not work.

I just now realized that 54 c5?? allows 54...Rxf3#.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Caruana's final manoeuvre 64.Nh3-g5-h7 is both pretty and lethal. After 66.Nh7 White threatens g7 and Rf8+, so that 66...Bd3 is necessary (to exchange the N if White advances the g Pawn). But once the Black Bishop leaves the a2-g8 diagonal then 67.Rf7 follows, and there is no defense against the coming mate in the corner.
Mar-28-15  Pedro Fernandez: It is notable that after 49.Rc8+ Kh7, 50.c4 does not work.
Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this ending, white's passed c-pawn is a force to be reckoned with. Even though black's bishop is on a central square, most of the squares it can reach are controlled directly or indirectly by white's rook and centralized knight. The vulnerability of black's king and rook to knight attack suggest a tactic to make progress:

50.c4! pushes the bishop to a passive spot.

A) 50... Bd6? 51.Rc7+ wins the bishop.

B) 50... Bxc4? 51.Nb7 Ra4 52.Nd6+ Ke7 53.Rxc4 wins the bishop.

C) 50... Ba8 51.Rc7+ Kg8 52.Ne6! (must be calculated carefully) Ra3 (threatening mate) 53.Rxg7+ Kh8 54.Kf5! (for some reason, I had trouble finding this) Rxf3+ 55.Kg6 Bd5 56.Rf7!! Bxe6 57.Rf8+ Bg8 58.g5 f5 59.g6 Rg3 60.f5 and the pawn promotes with mate to follow because the black rook can't leave the g-file (g7#)

C.1) 51... Ke8 52.Ne6 Ra3 (threatening mate) 53.Nxg7+ Kd8|f8 54.Ne6+ Ke8 55.Nd4 snatches the base pawn then stops the mate.

C.2) 51... Kf8 52.Ne6+ transposes to one of the other C lines with a tempo in hand.

Maybe I missed something simpler. Time for review..

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: Not bad, but I failed to analyze 54... Bf3. Way too slow on the analysis, though.
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