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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Levon Aronian
"Shak it Off" (game of the day Jan-28-2015)
World Chess Championship Candidates (2014), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 9, Mar-23
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Kmoch Variation (E20)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-23-14  chess gunners: <whiteshark: <34.Qe5!!> and Black can resign due to 35.Nh5/36.Nf6+ threat>

I think there is an answer
34...Bg6


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How do you continue??

Mar-23-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Does anyone have an opinion why Aronian did not play 17...Nxc4? After 18.Rxc4 (forced, I think) 18...dxc4 19.Kf2 Bf5 Black stands slightly better according to Critter 1.6a ([-0.25], d=19) since the Pg7 will soon fall. Stockfish DD has a simiilar line and evaluation with a lower eval ([-0.12], d=26) but thatís probably because I didnít let Critter run as long as I should have.


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Mar-23-14  haydn20: < Marmot PFL: These guys are so much better, but why not 10...Re8+ and then 11...Nxf6 or Qxf6? Seems to solve most of black's problems. maybe I'm missing something but maybe Aronian is over-complicating the game. > I thought this too, but I couldn't find anything for Black to do after 10...Re8+ 11. Kf2 N(or Q)xf6 12. Bd3. I guess Aronian thought his best chance for a win was vs Shak, and didn't want to play an equalizing line.
Mar-23-14  haydn20: <cs math: 17. dxc4!? [...Nxc4 18. Rxc4 dxc4 19. Kf2 Bf5 and it is hard to see what white has gained in the opening as pushing kingside pawns against black heavy pieces controlling center will not be a great strategy.] 19. Ne2 Bf5 20. Kf2 Qxg7 21. Re1 and White has a Pawn and better devt. for the ex., and what is Black to do? Lev probably thought he had to play 17...dxe4 to have winning chances.
Mar-23-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: This was a great counter attack but I'm not convinced by this f3 line. The first time I faced it I had never seen it so I tried this:

[Date "2008.01.16"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 exd5 6. cxd5 d6 7. e4 a6 8. a4 Qe7 9. Bd2 h6 10. Bc4 Nbd7 11. Nge2 Ne5 12. b3 g5 13. O-O Bd7 14. Nc1 Rg8 15. Nd3 g4 16. f4 Nf3+ 17. Rxf3 gxf3 18. e5 Rxg2+ 19. Kh1 Bg4 20. Qe1 Rxd2 21. exf6 Qxe1+ 22. Rxe1+ Kf8 23. Nxb4 f2 24. Rf1 Bf3# ♗lack mates 0-1

But when I tried this idea again my opponent (the same player) was ready for it, he was over 2000 Elo (but not in 2008, but he is a strong player). The idea however was simply my own on the spur of the moment as although I had started to play the Nimzo I only knew a few ideas from a very old book I had and 4. f3 wasn't in it.

Mar-23-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Then I studied the Nimzo a bit more systematically and played this line:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.e4 Ne7 ... which is a good line but although I won some games I started running into preparation so I decided to look into either;

4. ... d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 and then 0-0 ...

Or other moves

Or 4. ... 0-0 as Aronian played.

In the line with an earlier d5, either of Nxd5 or exd5 are playable (Shirov has played both at various times for example)...

Mar-24-14  haydn20: <csmath: 25...Qb5? [25...Bd3 26. Nf4 Qd6 27. d5 etc., draw]> What about 27. h6! which seems to give Black all sorts of problems?
Mar-24-14  vsiva1: Why not 10. ...Nxf6 in order to win a pawn avoid any possible built-up afterwards like what we have seen in the match
Mar-24-14  devere: <chess gunners: <whiteshark: <34.Qe5!!> and Black can resign due to 35.Nh5/36.Nf6+ threat> I think there is an answer
34...Bg6

How do you continue??>

35.d6 forces checkmate soon.

Mar-24-14  haydn20: <Richard Taylor> Thanks for the informative personal history. When I played seriously, I loved the Nimzo and against the Samisch played 4...0-0 and after 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3, I felt I could determine the direction of the game. I don't remember 5. e4 but would likely have played ...d5.
Mar-24-14  haydn20: <vsiva1: Why not 10. ...Nxf6 in order to win a pawn avoid any possible built-up afterwards like what we have seen in the match> Of course, there's nothing <wrong> with 10... Nxf6, but after 11. Bd3, White has no problems and a small initiative. In the tournament situation, Black felt he needed winning chances even at some risk.
Mar-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  hedgeh0g: I must admit, I thought that after 11...Qf7!?, Aronian was going to bring the point home; Black has a nice initiative and I couldn't see how White would untangle before the Black army got fully mobilised. Credit to Mamedyarov for successfully navigating his way through the complications.
Mar-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < haydn20: <Richard Taylor> Thanks for the informative personal history. When I played seriously, I loved the Nimzo and against the Samisch played 4...0-0 and after 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3, I felt I could determine the direction of the game. I don't remember 5. e4 but would likely have played ...d5. >

4. f3 has become an opening on it's own. It was or is really the Saemisch. I'm a bit wary, in the main line Saemisch of the Capablanca line partly because some of the games associated have become famous although his Ne8 was a brilliant idea. But overall the Nimzo, with the disadvantage one often loses the 2 B (for weaker pawns and development) is a fascinating opening.

In a variant of this line Fischer as Black lost to Lisitsyn when he tried Nh5 which I had prepared for a tournament but the computer wasn't liking it so I went back to the main line (I had also found another new idea which was also dubious but perhaps I should have tried it as it was not clearly easy for White to play, and removes preparation, but I kind of panicked). I lost that game going into the other main line with Nxd5 etc

Mar-24-14  Ulhumbrus: After 12 fxg7 it may seem that the g7 pawn will help shelter Black's king.

However the g7 pawn serves not only as a shelter for Black but as a weapon for White as well: It controls the two flight squares f8 and h8.

By itself the pawn may seem not to do much but in concert with a knight on f6 it becomes a powerful weapon, if White can support it by advancing his h pawn up to h6.

Perhaps Aronian thought that the g7 pawn would serve as a shelter for his king in the middle-game and that after this his king could gobble it up in the ending.

However the advance of White's h pawn to h6 changed completely this evaluation.

The pawn became then a weapon in the middle-game when acting in concert with a knight on f6 and Black was not able to gobble it up in the ending except when White advanced it as a sacrifice.

Mar-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Daniel ♔ video-annotated this game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...
Mar-24-14  MountainMatt: Is there any particular reason Aronian didn't take the g7 pawn on any move from, say, 14 through 22? Seems like getting that out of the way would have been very beneficial in the long run.
Mar-24-14  Nerwal: <Is there any particular reason Aronian didn't take the g7 pawn on any move from, say, 14 through 22? Seems like getting that out of the way would have been very beneficial in the long run.>

Taking g7 wouldn't solve all the safety problems as the king would become rather exposed on g7; instead, he tried to create something before white's army was fully mobilized; black had no time to waste on the g7 capture in this fight for initiative which he eventually lost. Maybe it would have been objectively better to take on g7 at some point, but then it would be basically admitting the whole concept was flawed.

Overall it doesn't look like it was a very good opening preparation by Aronian. At least, he wasn't prepared enough for the very complex middlegame that arose after Mamediarov found the best defence. He found himself in a position that was actually harder to play as black than white - that's not what one seeks from home-analysis.

Apr-03-14  Ulhumbrus: If White can play a brilliant exchange sacrifice perhaps it is better for Black to not give him the chance eg by 15...Nc4 16 Bxc4 dxc4 17 Rb5 c5. Aronian mentioned that he should have played ...c5 at some point.
Jan-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: http://youtu.be/nfWlot6h_JM
Jan-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: What a brilliant, wonderful and complex game! Chess at its best.
Jan-28-15  fisayo123: Easily one of the best games of this years Candidates Tournament.

<What a brilliant, wonderful and complex game! Chess at its best.>

Not surprising when you consider the two players involved.

Jan-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Great Game
Jan-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Say, what I've noticed with these GOTDs recently is that when <tpstar> puts a title in one of the games in his collection (ex. Shak it Off), it magically is the title of the GOTD as supplied by <cg> as well. Is that supposed to be a coincidence?
Jan-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AdolfoAugusto: Maybe it is because those titles are ironic, sarcastic and fun?

We don't play cards, so we (mostly) don't rely on luck and enjoy the double meaning and maybe inference of words.

Or maybe tpstar is just the owner of cg?

I like the inside jokes they bring.

Jan-28-15  rickycota: Those titles are being put by little girls. 'Caruana Grande'? (Ariana Grande) 'Shak it off' (Shake it off - Taylor Swift). Both today and yesterday were great games but those puns just suck
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