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Levon Aronian vs Vladimir Kramnik
World Championship Candidates (2018), Berlin GER, rd 3, Mar-12
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <BigPawn: That will teach me to take you off ignore! Read what I said above when you finish your night classes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <When Kramnik gets around to doing his book of 'My Best Game This Century' I doubt very much if this will amo0ng them. It may warrant a note to another game but that is it.>

I'd take the other side of that bet.

<Yes it is nice but it it's as obvious as a Classical Bishop sac on h7.>

As I keep saying, it's not that the calculation behind it is so extraordinary, it's that the move itself is so beautiful and unusual. That's why it isn't like a bishop sac on h7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: <keypusher: As I keep saying, it's not that the calculation behind it is so extraordinary, it's that the move itself is so beautiful and unusual.>

What constitutes beauty in chess? That is an interesting philosophical question!

Does a beautiful move have to be a strong move? Does it have to be the strongest move?

In music, virtuoso technique can be so mesmerizing that it's an astounding thing of beauty to behold, but on the other hand sometimes very simple melodies are both elegant and beautiful. Is it like that in chess?

Oftentimes when we think about some very famous games that have widely regarded beautiful moves, they are often unexpected moves, like Marshall's Qg3 or Morphy's ...Rxf2 against Bird, or Nezmetdinov's Qxf6. What is it about the unexpected move that his beautiful? Is it the fact that we admire the insight, the wisdom of the player to discern the hidden truth of the position? Do we find that somehow, on a deeper level, beauty and truth are connected?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: I put the position after 7. ... Rg8 into Stockfish 7. It gives White a a slightly negative evaluation.

7. ... Rg8 creates concrete problems for White. I plugged in seeming plausible 8th moves for White, besides the one that Aronian played, and the evals are in Black's favor.

If there is a 'Novelty of the Year' award, 7. ... Rg8 should at least be a candidate.

Mar-14-18  Nf8: <If there is a 'Novelty of the Year' award, 7. ... Rg8 should at least be a candidate.>

Except that it's not really a novelty - Rg8 has already been played 4 times before (earliest game from 2012). All are correspondence games, but you don't even need a special database for them - they all appear in chessbase's open database website (

Btw, 3 of these games went 8.Kh1 h6 (instead of Nh5) - correspondence means they're almost certainly computer-assisted, and computers indeed seem to like 8...h6 - in order to proceed with g5 without letting White capture on e5 - better than the move played by Kramnik (who said in the press conference he "forgot all his analysis" after Rg8). In the game, it seems that 9.c3? in response to 8...Nh5 was a second mistake by Aronian - way too slow, instead of immediately developing a piece with 9.Nc3. As Svidler notes in his video commentary, after something like 9.Nc3 g5 10.Nxe5 g4 11.d4 Bd6 12.g3 (same as in the game only with a knight instead of a pawn on c3) White has much better chances to equalize with accurate play - not that it's a great achievement for White in principle, but under the circumstances possibly the best he can get after 7.h3?.

Mar-14-18  Nf8: <keypusher: <When Kramnik gets around to doing his book of 'My Best Game This Century' I doubt very much if this will amo0ng them. It may warrant a note to another game but that is it.>

I'd take the other side of that bet.>

Interesting to note, in this context, what Kramnik himself said in the press conference: <Frankly the game was flashy, but it was not extremely difficult. It was just too bad, White's position. This kind of thing when from one side it's beautiful, maybe it will be published in many magazines and books, but in reality it was not an incredible achievement.> (

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <ChessHigherCat> Your views might be taken more seriously if you didn't call him Krapnik and Krumbnik.

Name-calling is not a very mature form of criticism. (I've done it myself, and I'm not proud of it).

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Nf8> I know what Kramnik said. That is why I wrote, <the <I don't see what's so special about this game> attitude I see from some kibitzers (and even Kramnik, apparently) is mystifying.>

Chess masters, like poets, are not always the best evaluators of their own work. Grischuk described this game as, “one of the best games I have ever seen” and “amazing from start to finish”. So it's not just this patzer that liked it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Aronian has used this disaster to wake him up and has just scored his first win of the tournament.

Always the sign of a good player when the bounce back after loss. (especially that kind of lost, he was unrecognisable) and the boost can last for 4-5 games.

Good now we really do a have tournament on our hands. There is still quite a way to go and we are back to perming any one from 8 again though I think it's going to be between Caruana, Aronian and Kramnik (if the latter can pace his stamina.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Sally> And Kramnik seems to have knocked himself out - at least, it's hard to see him recovering. Which leaves Caruana and Aronian. On current form, Fab must be favourite.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Just for the record, I dislike the word 'patzer', even when players apply it to themselves.
Mar-14-18  Nf8: <keypusher> Sure - I actually didn't mean to imply that Kramnik is necessarily right and you're wrong, just thought it's worth quoting what he said in full.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Grandma Sturleigh: <<Sally Simpson> When Kramnik gets around to doing his book of 'My Best Game This Century' I doubt very much if this will amo0ng them.>

Whether or not this particular game makes the cut, that book is definitely overdue.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Dom,

I too dislike 'patzer' always have.

But I think I'm on safe ground calling myself one when compared to a GM.

If someone uses it first and I want the quote I'll take it.

Maybe, now thinking about it after the heat of the battle, this game will make the book (especially if it's semi-ghosted) the publishers will want it in.

Could be a surprising read. He will have loads of anecdotes and I was surprised by Smyslov's book (similar styles?) just how tactical his was.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: I tried to find the etymology of patzer, and some people claim it's related to an old German word "patzen" or "batzen" meaning to bungle". I'm surprised nobody speculated that it might be related to "putz" because "potzer" is a fairly common variant:

putz - Wiktionary
English[edit]. Etymology 1[edit]. Borrowing from Yiddish פּאָץ (pots, “penis, fool”). Compare similar semantic developments in futz. Pronunciation[edit]. IPA: /pʌts/; Rhymes: -ʌts. Noun[edit]. putz (plural putzes). (slang) Fool, idiot. (slang) Jerk. (slang) Penis. Derived terms[edit]. putzhead, putz-head, putz head. Verb[edit].

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <I tried to find the etymology of patzer...>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: What a vigorous attack by the veteran, straight out of the opening! This is important for this topical line of the Berlin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: Stockfish 8 Depth: 26

-0.72 12. ... Be6 13. Rg1 Nf6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. e5 gxh3 16. exd6 Qxd6 17. Bf4 Qd5+ 18. f3 Nh5 19. Nd2 Nxf4 20. gxf4 Rxg1+ 21. Qxg1 O-O-O 22. Qg5 Qxg5 23. fxg5 c5 24. Nb3 Bxb3 25. axb3 cxd4 26. cxd4 Rxd4 27. Rxa7 Rd3 28. Kh2 Rxf3 29. Ra6 Kd7 30. Rh6 Rxb3 31. Rxh7

-0.55 12. ... Bxe5 13. dxe5 Qxe5 14. Qd4 Qxd4 15. cxd4 gxh3 16. Kh2 Be6 17. Nc3 O-O-O 18. Be3 f5 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. Rae1 Kb8 21. b3 b6 22. Rg1 Nf6 23. f3 h5 24. b4 Kb7 25. a4 Rd7 26. Bf2 Nd5 27. Nxd5 Rxd5 28. Re7 a5 29. bxa5

-0.16 12. ... Bd7 13. Nxd7

Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: Stockfish 8 Depth: 25

0.00 9. Nc3 g5 10. Nxe5 g4 11. d4 Bd6 12. g3 Bxe5 13. dxe5 Qxe5 14. h4 Bd7 15. Qe2 O-O-O 16. Rd1 Be6 17. Rxd8+ Rxd8 18. Bh6 Kb8 19. Rd1 Rxd1+ 20. Qxd1 Nxg3+ 21. fxg3 Qxg3 22. Qd8+ Bc8 23. Qd2 Qh3+ 24. Qh2 Qf1+ 25. Qg1 Qh3+ 26. Qh2

-0.28 9. Bg5

Apr-12-18  sombreronegro: 19 ... B-g5. Probably was looking to prevent the castle and then pound up the middle but the exchange sac was underestimated . Probably should have liquidated that black f pawn first. Otherwise that black square blockade looks trough to crack without black's black squared bishop.
Apr-13-18  Clement Fraud: It might well be mainline theory, but I have long harbored the deepest suspicions about a move like 5.Bxc6 - the move is unforced and passive: I understand that the idea behind the move is to fix black's queenside pawns in preparation for white to castle queenside. Yet still the idea seems wrong to me... not least since it squanders the Bishop pair. It was Magnus Carlsen who demonstrated the correct way for white to contest the Berlin variation Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2015
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Nobody really knows what "mainline theory" means

"Mainline" is just someone's opinion while "theory" is just what it states: a theory


Apr-13-18  rcs784: Astonished this hasn't been GotD yet.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: <Sally Simpson: Giri played 9.Rg1 and passed on this idea to Kramnik.>

Kramnik claims to have found this himself a couple of years back and was waiting to use it:

Apr-14-18  FairyPromotion: <rcs784: Astonished this hasn't been GotD yet.>

I know an old movie about a turkish family living in Berlin, whith the story about a german photographer taking the picture of the man's wife without consent. The title of it would fit this game perfectly.

GotD: Berlin in Berlin

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