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Wesley So vs Levon Aronian
World Championship Candidates (2018), Berlin GER, rd 6, Mar-16
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-16-18  notyetagm: <chancho: ...

Aronian is going to have to find the kind of inner strength he has not shown before.

Hopefully he will.>

C'mon, you knew Aronian was not going to win this after he chickened out against Ding in Round 1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Beautiful game by Wesley! Wow! He gives up the "Spanish Bishop" and goes on to win a masterpiece.

I said that So is one of the most creative players today. I stand by that. Great game GM Wesley So!

Mar-16-18  Toribio3: GM Wesley So is phenomenal! He can play K4, Q4, C4 and many more in the opening as White. In the end game, he is razor sharp in his techniques of delivering the killer moves. GM Levon Aronian is a great player as well, very hard to beat! I love this game, both players are great.
Mar-16-18  DansChessLounge: Aronian has been on an emotional roller coaster in this tournament. Too bad Wesley So didn't go for 33.Rd6!! For a video recap of the game with analysis check out my Youtube page --->
Mar-16-18  Mudphudder: Wesley So and Levon Aronian are the two biggest streak players among the top super-grandmasters, in my opinion. Both have potential to win a candidates tournament. But both have these winning/losing streaks that make them appear stellar one moment....and then horrible the next.

Interesting to see them go against each other and no result in a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: <33. Rd6> ...Bxd6. Then what?

What I don't understand is why Aronian didn't play 48...Rc1+? What am I missing?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Phil.

"....why Aronian didn't play 48...Rc1+? What am I missing?"

click for larger view

The a3 Bishop also covers c1. It X-Rays though the b2 pawn.

48...Rc1+ 49. Rxc1 bxc1=Q+ Bxc1.

Mar-17-18  chessic eric: <PhilFeeley: <33. Rd6> ...Bxd6. Then what?> Glad you asked!

Next is the killer move 34.Ng5!! threatening mate on h7 as well as the fork on f7 (such that ...g6 doesn't work yet). Black can defend momentarily via 34...Qh2+ 35.Kf1 making 35...g6 possible. Now is 36.Rxd6 and if the Q recaptures it falls to the same f7 fork. So black can continue 36...Qh1+ 37.Ke2,Qa1 to defend the checks on the long diagonal, but then 38.Qd2 coordinates the pieces to develop a forced mating net.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Peter Svidler annotates the game at
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi eric,

Sometimes we make it sound so easy.

"Black can defend momentarily via 34...Qh2+ 35.Kf1 making 35...g6 possible. "

click for larger view

Stop there. When playing (not sitting relaxed in your bedroom ) you do not let a player of Aronian's class anywhere near your King unless it's the only way.

This game will still sting

W So vs Aronian, 2015

Wes So is good but he is human. And look at the variations if Aronian does not take on d6. Aronian can ignore it and play for example c4.

Too much to take on. Wes could have dug in and analysed both lines (taking on d6 and not taking on d6) and drifted into horrid Time Trouble and then he is not in control anymore.

As played he kept it within his comfort zone. He did not want to look at his exposed King on every move to see if it was safe. (that is when you start seeing ghosts and making no need preventative and often timid moves.)

Don't go there, no need.

Mar-17-18  chessic eric: <Sally> of course to find it otb is beyond challenging and would have made the game a modern classic; yet during the press conference Aronian said he saw this Rd6!! and that he would have contined ...c4 and was then expecting Bf4 protecting the rook. However, as So suggested at the presser, Bd4! is better: Qxd6 Bxg7+,Kg8 Rxd6,Bxd6 I believe Qd1 maintains the pressure and is at that point easier to play in practical terms for white.
Mar-17-18  yhehy: Alpha_So Awakens Mate :)) kudo's to Levon & Wesley good fighting chess. What a game :))
Mar-17-18  yhehy: "AlphaSo"

Credis to @AylerKupp

Coin the Term :))

Hat's off to those.. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <AylerKupp: <<Richard Taylor> Peter Svidler is saying that this was "an absolute masterpiece" by Wesley So.> I don’t know how Svidler defines "masterpiece", but to me it seemed like a fairly straightforward gaining a material advantage after Aronian's mistake of 34...Qc3 followed by the forced 35...Qf6 and 38...Qg5 and then converting it to a win. But, masterpiece or not, a win is a win and great to have after starting the tournament with 2 consecutive losses. But, the tournament is not even half over and anything can happen.>

No. I cant see it as a masterpiece. The game flowed etc but Aronian just went wrong. I feel he went into an opening line that is dubious for Black. The R wasn't much use on b5 as he himself said....But Wesley played a good game.

I don't know whether the ending was even lost, it is usually easier to have Q. It looked bad for Aronian. But I am glad for Wesley but also I would like to see Aronian do well!

I like both their styles for different aspects....

Grishuk is almost a "comic" figure. A droll man! A kind of Gogolian figure or Dickensian....but he has a kind of electric flair for the game.

Aronian said that the missed win against (Kramnik?) ([if I am right] it was a complex game and he wasn't always winning) had nothing to do with his game against So. He said he only looks at the situation if it is the last round or something. A good policy, attend to each game. Concentrate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Ulhumbrus: <Richard Taylor: Peter Svidler is saying that this was "an absolute masterpiece" by Wesley So.> In which case I, for one, am inclined to assume that it was: When in good form Svidler would have as good a chance of winning this event as any of the participants.>

Yes he can. Svidler is great player.
Naturally he was always up there with Anand, Topalov, Leko, Kramnik (who he has rarely beaten I believe), and many others...

I cant see the game as great masterpiece like some of Rubinstein's extraordinary games or even Karpov's or others.

I have no doubt though that Wesley So will produce some great games in his career. Even if he doesn't win this one he can and may well do so later.

Mar-17-18  Ulhumbrus: If 19...Nxa5 gives White too much play one alternative is 19...Re8 freeing the queen from having to defend the e6 pawn and clearing the f8 square for the king's knight
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi eric,

I have not seen the after match interview. Looks like Aronian would have declined it. Something I use to stress to my students. 'If someone sacs something against you. The first thought should be - what happens if I do not take it.' (sometimes that option has not been considered by the lad saccing the piece.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  bubuli55: Occupational hazard
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: One minute in the dog wakes up for Wes, but not for long
Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: Stockfish 8 64 Depth: 26

1.00 34. ... Bf6 35. Qa2 Ra8 36. Bc1 Qc7 37. Qxa6 Qc6 38. Rd6 Rxa6 39. Rxc6 Ra8 40. Be3 c4 41. bxc4 Nxc4 42. Rxc4 b3 43. Nd3 b2 44. Nxb2 Bxb2 45. g3 Kg8 46. Rd2 Rb7 47. Kg2 Be5 48. Rc6 Bf6 49. Rdc2 Kf7 50. R2c5 h6

2.22 34. ... Qf6 35. Qe4 Qf7 36. Ne6 Qf5 37. Bf4 Qxe4 38. Rxe4 Kg8 39. Nxf8 Kxf8 40. Bc7 Kf7 41. f3 a5 42. Kf2 h6 43. Ke3 h5 44. Bxb6 Rxb6 45. Rd7 Re6 46. Ra7 c4 47. bxc4 b3 48. Rxe6 Kxe6 49. Ra6+ Kf7 50. Rxa5

2.24 34. ... Qf5 35. Qxf5

Premium Chessgames Member
  cormier: Stockfish 8 Depth: 27

3.79 35. Qa2 Ra8 36. Ne6 c4 37. Bd4 Qxb3 38. Qxb3 cxb3 39. Nc7 Bf8 40. Nxa8 Nxa8 41. Re8 Kg8 42. Rc1 Nb6 43. Rc7 Rg5 44. Bxb6 b2 45. Re1 Rd5 46. Kf1 g6 47. Rb1 Bg7 48. Ke2 Rb5 49. Be3 a5 50. Kd3 Rb8 51. Ra7 Rd8+ 52. Kc2 Rc8+ 53. Kb3

1.75 35. Qb1 Qf6 36. Qe4 Nc8 37. Ne6 Qf5 38. Qxf5 Rxf5 39. Bxc5 h6 40. Bd4 Rf7 41. Rc1 Nd6 42. Bxg7+ Kh7 43. Be5 Rb6 44. Bd4 Rb7 45. Rc6 Nb5 46. Rxa6 Nxd4 47. Nxd4 Rd7 48. Nf3 Kg7 49. Ree6 Rf6 50. Kf1 Rxe6 51. Rxe6 Bd6 52. Ke2 Bc5

0.00 35. Ne6 Qxc2 36. Rxc2 Rc8 37. Nxc5 Kg8 38. Rdc1 Nd5 39. Bd4 Nc3 40. Ne6 Kf7 41. Re1 Rc6 42. Nf4 Bd6 43. Ne6 Be7

Mar-26-18  protonchess: I agree with Svidler - I think this was the best game of the event up to now. Black made mistakes but they weren't out of the blue - he was under a *lot* of pressure already with all the White pieces beautifully centralized. Look at all the juicy squares for the N after 33. Nf4!
Mar-27-18  MadFaqirOfSwat: Seemed like Aronian was the sick man of this tournament however
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<yhey> "AlphaSo" Credis to @AylerKupp Coin the Term :)) >

Sorry, but I can’t take credit for it, I never used the term. To verify I used Search Kibitzing and no post by me was found that had the term “AlphaSo”

Then I used Search Kibitzing and search for other posters that used the term “AlphaSo” and your post (W So vs Aronian, 2018 (kibitz #84)) was the first one where it appeared.

Same for “Alpha_So”. Therefore the credit is all yours.

Aug-17-18  johnkr: A game in full! I especially like the positions after Aronian Q lost. But what I really want to say is: people should look at the game and ask: why is white better after, for example, move 35? Largely it's because White's rooks are so well placed, on open files while Black is vulnerable to back-rank stuff. Instead of just looking at computer-generated variations, it's important to see themes. One 'hidden' variation, after 34 Re2! Black can't play 34... Rxf4 35. Bxf4 Qxf4 36. Rd8+! Bf8 37. Ree8 Nd7 38. Qe4 Qf7 39. Rxd7. There is the back-rank theme.

So knew he was winning because of his better pieces and active rooks, then, he simply had to find the right tactical ideas. He missed some of those ideas, and Aronian missed some of them because they are human but So understood his pieces were better -- which is probably why he is a Grandmaster and we are not!

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