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Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen
World Championship Candidates (2007), Elista RUS, rd 1, May-31
Bogo-Indian Defense: Grünfeld Variation (E11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Maxim Dlugy: 6. Qd2.. is a nice choice. It leads to a very natural edge and easy position to play.
May-31-07  diemjay: Nice one for Lev! ;)
May-31-07  izimbra: 8.b4 is a strong move while 8...d5 was a weak novelty.
May-31-07  Ulhumbrus: <nikolajewitsch: Nice win by Aronian! But how did he do that? By move 28 or so the position seemed perfectly even to me...Was that the case and Carlsen lost it after that or did I miss something? > After move 28 Black's N is undeveloped. This by itself gives him a disadvantage if other things are equal. They are not. White's Q and White's R are placed more powerfully than their Black counterparts and the White QB will also be a stronger piece than the N. In addition Black's Q side is vulnerable to attack .All this suggests that White has in fact an overwhelming positional advantage. White made use of his assets as follows: he placed his Q on e4, on the long diagonal and with Black's Q on f7 played Ba3 and Bd6! The point of this is that the move Rc8+ is then a potential threat which the Black R has to defend so that it cannot take the B, which then supports the invasion Rc7. Black can prevent Rc7 but not Bc7 after which the Qe4 can threaten the invasion Qb7 wiping out Black's Q side. In fact Black was short of moves and had to allow Rc7 in the end and the Q side fell just the same. To sum up: the position was not equal, Aronian had several assets and made use of them.
May-31-07  Ezzy: GM Aronian,Levon(ARM) (2759) - GM Carlsen,Magnus(NOR) (2693) FIDE candidate matches Elista (1.4), 31.05.2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 b6 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Bb7 7.e3 0–0 8.b4 d5 <8...a5 and 8...d6 are the main line continuations.> 9.Bb2 Nbd7 10.Bd3 <Novelty I think. 10 c5 has been played before.> 10...dxc4 11.Bxc4 c5 12.0–0 Rc8 13.Qe2 Qe7 14.Rfc1 cxd4 15.Nxd4 h6 <Seems a bit early to be worrying about back rank mating threats :-)> 16.Ba6 Bxa6 17.Qxa6 Rxc1+ 18.Rxc1 Nb8 19.Qc4 <Already Aronian has a slight advantage. More space, better placed pieces, control of the open 'c' file.> 19...Rd8 20.h3 <Now Aronian is getting paranoid about back rank mating threats.> 20...Ne8 21.b5 Rd5 22.Qe2 Rc5 23.Rd1< Aronian gives up the 'c' file and moves to the 'd' file.> 23...Rc8 <23...Nd6 looks a million times better, Gaining a tempo (by attacking the b pawn) to get to c4> 24.Qf3 Rd8 25.Rc1< Back to controlling the 'c' file.> 25...Nd6 <Not as effective as being played on move 23.> 26.a4 e5 27.Nf5 Nxf5 28.Qxf5 f6 29.Qe4 Qf7 30.Ba3 <With possible idea's of 31 Bd6 32 Rc7> 30...Kh8 31.Kh2 Kg8? <What's the point of this? Carlsen should be stopping 32 Bd6 by playing 31...Qd7 or at least make his a7 pawn safe by 31...a5.> 32.Bd6 <Threatening 33 Qa8 and white will start eating black's queenside pawns.> 32...Qd7<[32...Nd7 33.Bc7 Rc8 34.Qb7 Qe8 35.Qxa7 Ra8 36.Qb7 Rxa4 37.Bxb6 Nxb6 38.Rc7 and Aronian is in total control and probably winning.]> 33.Bc7 Rf8 34.Rc2 <Aronian can forget about his f2 pawn and just go for it! [34.Qb7 Qd2 35.Ra1 Nd7 36.Qxa7 Qxf2 37.Bxb6]> 34...Re8 35.Rc4 <What's Levon waiting for? 35 Qa8 still looks the killer move.> 35...Qf7 36.Bd6 Rd8? <[36...f5! chases the queen off the dangerous h1 - a8 diagonal, and Carlsen has a chance to untangle himself]> 37.Rc7 Nd7 38.Qc6 Qe6 39.Rxa7 Kf7 40.Qxb6 1–0

This was as bad as the first game for Magnus. Aronian was always in control while Carlsen got into a dreadful passive position. He failed to untangle himself and was duly punished by Aronian’s constant threats and pressure. Poor game by Magnus.

May-31-07  nikolajewitsch: Thx, <Ulhumbrus>, for your insightful post. I did see that White's pieces were more active but could not figure out any plan to actually make use of it and penetrate Black's position. With the almost entirely symmetrical pawn structure I thought it would thus be impossible to actually win the game...but then I am just a patzer.
May-31-07  Sellstein: I think games 3 and 4 are kind of similar in the sense that one of the player relaxed too much in an "even position" and the other player just showed him how to exploit all the hidden possibilities. So far an even match lots of decisive games. Has been fun and didactic.
May-31-07  Marmot PFL: This was always better for white, never quite equal. When Carlsen was behind in games 2 and 3 he played active, aggressive chess (which I think suits his style). Then when is pulls even he switches to a passive line to try to draw, probably the worst thing he could have done.
May-31-07  newton296: 35) ... Qf7? was a bad blunder. I don't think carlson realized that his A and B pawns were both hanging after that oversight!! All he had to do was keep his Q at d7 covering the d6 square . he should have marked time by toggling his R instead of his Q and he would have held it. that's a 16 yr old for u! good 1 day , horrible the next .
May-31-07  acirce: This line doesn't strike me as exactly passive. He ended up passively, but I doubt he wanted that.
May-31-07  KamikazeAttack: By move the 13th move, black was struggling due to poor piece coordination.

It happens sometimes when u just find yourself in a difficult position to play due to inaccurate piece development order.

May-31-07  kingsindian2006: see what BOWLING does to
May-31-07  ArmeniaNL: i belive levon gets a lof aspiration from that beautiful lady who accompanies him recently :)))))))
May-31-07  Eyal: 15...h6 was a move without much purpose. In view of the strength of 16.Ba6, perhaps Carlsen should have played 15...a5.
May-31-07  euripides: The structure in QP openings with open c and d files looks simple, but time and again it foxes the greatest players.
May-31-07  Raginmund: first: I'm really sad, I wish I could see both players in Mexico; it's a pity that one of them will be eliminate.

SECOND: 16. Ba6! nice move, a beginning fighting plan. I think BxB was a blunder...

third: why on earth did Carlsen play 18. ...Nb8??? someone could explain me that??

FORTH: the rest was consequence... with 20. ... Ne8 black couldn't expect a win, black repeated so much moves...

nice win by Aronian, I still root fot the teen... go ahead kid, turn the table!!!

May-31-07  acirce: Black's rook makes a real "Rundlauf", using the problemist term, in moves 21-24. Must be quite rare in actual games.
May-31-07  Ezzy: <acirce> Well spotted. That's pretty cool!
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: MCO-14 gives White's sixth move here the dubious (or "?!") symbol.

Anyone here buy that?

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: < <nikolajewitsch> Nice win by Aronian! But how did he do that? By move 28 or so the position seemed perfectly even to me... Was that the case and Carlsen lost it after that, or did I miss something?>

I went over this game with a few friends on ICC today, and we went over it (again) at chess club tonight.

As far as I can tell, Black made no obvious errors.

Jun-01-07  euripides: <AJ> Interesting. 6 Qd2 seems to generate quite interesting games, rather like the main lines of the classical Nimzo, including the pleasingly insane

Portisch vs E Lobron, 1985

Jun-01-07  Eyal: <Raginmund> <16. Ba6! nice move, a beginning fighting plan. I think BxB was a blunder...> I doubt if Black has better options - e.g., 16...Nb8 17.Bxb7 Qxb7 18.Nb5 doesn't look good for him either. That's why, as I mentioned in a previous post, Carlsen might have tried 15...a5 instead of the rather purposeless h6.

<why on earth did Carlsen play 18. ...Nb8???> Do you see any better way to protect a7?

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I took a stab at annotating this game. (
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: <AJ> Your comment at the end was just what I was thinking as I went through your very helpful annotations. The game also reminded me of the subtlely precise games in simplified positions by Capablanca which are sprinkled throughout the older books in my collection. Paul Albert
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Thanks so much, I am glad you enjoyed the work.

I think my point is ... even players who may not have ever studied Capa, have had teachers who have absorbed his general knowledge and the best way to play some positions.

If you have carefully studied Capa ... as I have ... you can clearly see the link between the great Cuban's body of games and the wonderful method by which Aronian brought home the full point.

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