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Levon Aronian vs Loek van Wely
Corus Group A (2006), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 7, Jan-21
Slav Defense: Quiet Variation (D11)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-21-06  bane77: I thought white played 24.Re8 with the idea 25.Rd8, though I'm not sure I understand this position, I think it's uncertain with changes for both sides. What's the best 25th move for white?
Jan-21-06  russep: Aronian was the exchange up but had a weak back rank which Van Wely exploited with d1=Q and then from there Van Wely just simplified and pushed his passed pawns.
Jan-21-06  pawn to QB4: I too expected 25.Rd8, but looking again, isn't 25...Qe4 hard to meet? If not 25.Rf1 then is 25. Rd1 any good? I agree this was a vital point in the game.
Jan-21-06  bane77: I put this position on a computer. In fact it's won for white after 25.h4. Black has nothing to play, he has too much weaknesses - f7 pawn and 8th rank and the idiot bishop on b7. White is threatening h5, hxg6 and Qxg6 with mate. 25...c5 is impossible because it's covering e7 and then 26.Re7 25...Qd6 26 Qxd6 and 27.Re7
25...Qg4 to prevent 26.h5 also fails because of 26.Re7. 25...Qc5 to prevent 26.h5 and to cover e7 square is losing - 26.Rd1 a5 27.Re2 a4 28.Rexd2 and black cannot take the rook because of Qxf7. 25...a5 26.Rd8 Qe7 27.Qxe7 Rxe7 28.Rxd2 is the best for black, but it's lost anyway. 25.Rd8 is not too good: 25...Qe4 26.Rf1 c5 27.f3 Qe3 and black has a better position. But everything is better then 25.Rf1???
Jan-21-06  Al Notation: Hey, if Van Wely could play with this much skill, perseverance, and resourcefulness, he could beat Anand. A very good game by home town boy!
Jan-22-06  MarvinTsai: I love this game, Van Wely refused to draw and give up his pawn for a more solid position for his king, then confidently and precisely pushed his queen-side pawns. Nice game!
Jan-22-06  ahmadov: This is one of the most interesting games of this tournament. The first half of the game was in favor of Aronian but his 25.Rf1 was a blunder (instead, he could play h3), which turned everything on the board. I think Aronian's performance in Khanty Mansiysk was much more better.
Jan-22-06  ChessLeader: Excellent game! Worth studying!
Jan-22-06  pawn to QB4: I thought 40 through 60 were particularly interesting. Van Wely trying to secure his king before the winning pawn push, Aronian finding more than I thought could possibly be there to keep things on a knife edge. Finally, Loek went for it with 57...Qd5! allowing the heavy pieces to come in on g7...and his king walked away from the attack. At the time, kibitzers seemed to think White had finally got his draw by repetition, but it wasn't to be. Either of these guys is welcome to play for my team!
Jan-22-06  LancelotduLac: Hard to imagine what was going through Aronian's head when he played 25.Rf1?? 25...Qxb3 was such an obvious threat, and aside from that, I just don't see what the point of Rf1 was to begin with. The simple 25.h4 would have secured good winning chances for Aronian.
Jan-22-06  RankAndFile: Interesting game. In the second half Aronian is drastically behind in material. But he's not taking anything lying down! He fights like a mad dog all the way till the end. It was not Van Wely's material advantage that allowed him to win, but ACCURATE and ACTIVE defense that allowed him to survive, because moves 40 to 65 Van Wely walked on a tightrope where one slip would have allowed Aronian back in the game. Credit is due both players for a great game.
Jan-23-06  martys668: Any error by Van Wely in the last 20 moves is disaster--king in the center vs queen and rook--great play--hard fought
Jan-25-06  OverDjinn: I think this was a nice win for van Wely but it will probably be more useful to Aaronian. Aaronian is getting stronger and learning the subtleties of square strategy and proper piece placement and it appears that perhaps some of the niceties of pawn play have not yet made it to the front of the study guide. They have for Van Wely, but I wonder if we won’t see some growth to this area of Aaronian’s game in the coming years.
Feb-16-06  Confuse: OH! This just came to me in a vision. 25. Rd8 for Aronian is a win i think!. If Van Wely takes the rook, then checkmate with the bishop. If Van Wely moves the rook but stays within the file, white puts more pressure on the pond with the rook w/ Rd1. I dont see a flaw with this, can anyone verify!?! :D Im so excited.
Jun-10-11  polarmis: Aronian in his new Crestbook interview:

<The most upsetting loss was my game against Van Wely in Wijk aan Zee in 2006.

click for larger view

25. Rf1?? Q:b3!

In a position that was winning before the 25th move, I missed an elementary idea. Given that it was the only one in the position and that instead of the blunder 25. Rf1 there were 4 moves that won, I only managed to get to sleep at six in the morning after comfort-watching “Det sjunde inseflet” (“The Seventh Seal”) by Ingmar Bergman.>

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