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Levon Aronian vs Vladimir Kramnik
Shanghai Masters (2010), Shanghai CHN, rd 5, Sep-07
Catalan Opening: Open Defense. Modern Sharp Variation (E04)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-07-10  JohnBoy: Finally the white king is far enough away that black can return the X and push the a pawn. Beautiful control by VK.
Sep-07-10  kingsindian2006: this was a brutal game to review. i would be depleted if i lost this game after all this work
Premium Chessgames Member
  KWRegan: I have queried at ChessNinja, The Chess Mind, and Crestbook whether Kramnik in fact played 54...Rh3+ not 54...Rh4?, which allows 55.Kxa3! Kc3 56.Be4! (or 56.Bb1 Rg4 57.Be4!) drawing by stalemate. Someone else made the same query at ChessVibes. Peter Doggers on-site promises to get the answer in the morning!

My policy in historical gamescore corrections is to correct a blunder only if there is ancillary evidence in favor of a particular fix. Here, the evidence is that White's 55.Kb4 looked like responding to a check, whereas after 54...Rh4, if he believed 55.Kxa3 to be losing he could play 55.Bb1 since Black's Rook is off the second rank. Then Black has to rewind his idea with 55...Rh1 56. Bg6 Rh6 anyway.

Sep-07-10  Chuckles: Chessbase gives 54...Rh3+ without any comment.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: This is a great ending to go through, especially if 54...Rh4? was the correct game move, meaning white missed the saving 55 Kxa3.

Now, after 55...Kc3, initially white has two safe squares, 56 Be4 (stalemate trap) or 56 Bb1 below.

click for larger view

Now, if black wants to hover along the 4th rank with 56...Rg4 to flush out the bishop, then white has one safe square, 57 Be4, below.

click for larger view

So it all comes down to white seeing this stalemate trap, as discussed at length on the tournament page.

But there’s more to this position than saying that white can draw by shuffling the bishop between b1 and e4.

If black continues with 57…Rf4, then 58 Bb1 is no good because black has 58…Rf7!, winning the bishop (after 59 Ka4 Ra7+ 60 Kb5 Rb7+).

So after 54…Rf4 55 Kxa3 Kc3 56 Bb1 Rg4 57 Be4 Rf4, now either 58 Bg2 or 58 Bh1, below, is necessary for white to save the draw.

click for larger view

Sep-07-10  Hesam7: One question I have is what would have happened after the simple 17. Bg2 ? Why did Aronian enter all the complications with 17. Qf3 ?
Sep-07-10  iamsheaf: Once in a while Kramnik comes up with bizarrely brilliant games!! Perfect endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KWRegan: Peter Doggers confirms, from talking with Aronian, that 54...Rh4? 55.Kb4? was indeed played! He will post a video of Aronian saying he thought it was a draw in all events.
Sep-08-10  percyblakeney: <Chessbase gives 54...Rh3+ without any comment>

Yes, it's a bit fun that they just changed the move and wrote about Kramnik's utterly flawless technique :-)

Sep-08-10  Skakalec: 35...♔g7? Black missed an easy winn with 35...♕g7! (I think I would see it in a blitz game) The threat is of course ♕a1+ and if 36.♕f1 ♕xg5+ 37. ♔h1 ♕h6!
Sep-08-10  fuzzydunlop: After 35..Qg7 white can play 36.Bc4.
Sep-08-10  hedgeh0g: <One question I have is what would have happened after the simple 17. Bg2 ? Why did Aronian enter all the complications with 17. Qf3 ?>

I imagine Aronian was simply a little sceptical about trading off his Catalan bishop and was looking for a little more from the white pieces. It seems like a logical exchange sac in theory - preserving a powerful uncontested bishop, but it looked like Kramnik had it under control and Aronian wasn't able to prove he had adequate compensation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Same kind of ending here: Nakamura vs Onischuk, 2007.
Sep-13-10  lopium: Can someone explains me why black didn't play 41...cxd?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <lopium> If you meant 40...cxd5 then 41.Kf4 and White wins the Rook and has a passed pawn to boot.

(41...cxd5 is illegal, King is in check)

Sep-13-10  Brandon plays: I'm surprised that white didn't play Kxa3. Play can definitely play Kc3 but then if he tries to keep the pressure then it would be stalemate.
Sep-17-10  Pygeum Lycopene: 55.Ka3 really draws here? black has 55...Rh6 and 56...Kc3 whites survival looks iffy to me.
Oct-09-10  lopium: Thanks chancho, I missed that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KWRegan: ChessBase Big 2013 has 54...Rh3+. I'm staying with the score given here.

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