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Levon Aronian vs Hikaru Nakamura
Sinquefield Cup (2016), Saint Louis, MO USA, rd 8, Aug-13
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack. Main Line (D37)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I would hate to sit opposite Aronian during one of those games where he weaves a seemingly impossible win out of a seemingly hopelessly drawn endgame. It must rank among chess' greatest agonies to watch him appear to do nothing for 75 moves and yet your position continues to deteriorate ever so slowly.

One good example: from moves 49-54, watch how he rearranges his Rook and Bishop with the goal of placing the prelate on e6, the perfect square from which it can protect the b-pawn.

I don't understand one part of the game, when Black had a Rook on h2 and numerous chances to snatch the g2 pawn (e.g., after 40.Bd7). Why didn't Nakamura take the pawn?

Aug-14-16  Jamboree: An Englishman sez:

"I don't understand one part of the game, when Black had a Rook on h2 and numerous chances to snatch the g2 pawn (e.g., after 40.Bd7). Why didn't Nakamura take the pawn?"

I believe the reason is because Aronian was ready to spring a diabolical trap!

If 41. ... Rxg2, then white plays

42. Rh1! and suddenly black's rook has no flight squares! White is threatening simply Kf1 or Bh3 and the rook is lost!

No black king or pawn move does anything to rescue the rook, so his only hope is something like 42. ... Nf5, but then white just goes 43. Kf1 anyway, and it looks like black either has to sac the knight to save the rook with 43. ...Nxe3+, which leads to a lost endgame, or his only hope to hang on to the material which would be then 43. ... Rg4, but that leads to a terribly cramped position for black, with the knight pinned and the king protecting the knight, and it looks like white could then go 44. Rh8, the swing over and nab the undefendable a pawn, while black struggles to untangle his knot of pieces over on the kingside.

The problem then for black is that if he tries for counterplay with 44. ... Rh4, 45. Ra8 Rh1+ 46. Ke2, now white is threatening to win the knight with 47. Ra6+, and black has to deal with that problem instead of playing the hoped-for 46. ...Rb1. So then white will win the a-pawn uncontested, and will easily usher the two connected queenside pawns down the board, as black's king and knight are way offsides and won't be able to stop them.

So, THAT's why Nakamura didn't play 41. ... Rxg2?

I think.

Aug-14-16  5hrsolver: I think in some lines the rook is in danger of getting trapped if it takes on g2. For example, 40...Rg2 41. Rd1 (to prevent Pf5) Nc4 42. Rh1 followed by Kf1 or Bh3.
Aug-14-16  5hrsolver: Another thing I noticed is that 37...Ng4 is not possible because of 38. Be6 skewering rook and knight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: Can one suggest what is wrong with Black's game after 19...b6? One answer is this: White's pieces enjoy a lead of two moves in development but in effect four moves if we consider that White's rooks have reached the open c and d files whilst Black's rooks have not.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Open Defence: One question which could arise is 15...Nxf4 instead of 15...Nf6

followed by 16.exf6 Ra7

click for larger view

e.g. 17.a3 a5 18.Rac1 b6 and now if 19. Ne5 Rc7 20. b4 here Black can ply 20...Bd6 as the Bishop cannot be taken without losing to Rxc1+

and after 21. Rxc7 Bxc7

click for larger view

I dont see anything nasty

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