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Levon Aronian vs Boris Gelfand
World Championship Candidates (2013), London ENG, rd 2, Mar-16
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-17-13  weisyschwarz: I have heard of the English Opening, and the Reti Opening. I have never heard of the Zukertort Opening. How does it differ from the English?
Mar-17-13  Al2009: This game is very interesting, and instructional too, because it shows that in modern chess dynamism of position is much more important than "theoretical" advantages, such as the pair of Bishops.

Black had the couple of Bishops in the endgame, but that was useless, against White's aggressive and dynamic play.

Great game!

Mar-17-13  Shams: <weisyschwarz> These flank openings are such a transpositional tangle that it only makes sense for students to classify them by structure rather than move order. Anyone playing through this game would conclude after three ply that we were playing a Symmetrical English, but a program that classifies by move order (as <cg>'s does) can't evaluate like that. I've been playing <1.Nf3> now for eighteen months but I didn't know until today that when it leads to independent lines, it's apparently called the Zuckertort Opening:

If Black in this game had responded <1...d5 2.c4> the program would have caught it and called this a Reti. By the same token I think many Catalan or KIA transpositions would be picked up too. This move order fell through the cracks, and became <1.Nf3...other> which is classified as the "Zuckertort".

Of course if you say "Zuckertort" to any human player, he will think of the Colle/Zuckertort, which is completely different. I don't think I've ever heard anyone call 1.Nf3 the "Zuckertort". Also, if you say "Zuckertort" out loud a few times, it's a really fun word.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Zukertort Opening> is a weird thing to call this opening. I'd call it an English Opening, Three Knights Variation. And the <Sicilian Invitation> addition (referring to the move order 1.Nf3 c5, allowing 2.e4 transposing to the Sicilian Defense) is just stupid. Either White accepts the "invitation" and the opening becomes a Sicilian, or he doesn't and it becomes something else (most likely Reti or English). I've never heard the phrase <Sicilian Invitation>, and have only seen it in the captions on this site. Maybe should call 1.Nf3 f5 2.e4 the <Latvian Invitation>, since Black can transpose to the Latvian Gambit with 2...e5?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR> This is a Symmetrical English subvariation which I faced a few times with the move-order being 1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6, after which play took an outre turn in one of the games: Razuvaev vs Zsofia Polgar, 1989.

Latvian Invitation, indeed, and the more so if Black decides to go whole hogger after 1.Nf3 f5 2.e4 e5 3.Nxe5 with 3....Nc6.

Mar-17-13  Ezzy: L Aronian (2809) - B Gelfand (2740)
World Championship Candidates London ENG (2), 16.03.2013

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e3 Nf6 5.d4 cxd4 6.exd4 d5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Qb3 Nxc3 9.Bc4 Nd5 10.Bxd5 e6 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.00 Be7 <Only 1 game in the database with this. 12...Qd5 and 12...Bg7 are more popular.> 13.Be3< I think they're in new territory now.> 13...Qd5 14.Rfc1 Qxb3 <This doesn't seem to work out that well. It appears during the game that white gets lots of play with the a1 rook uplifting to a4 and b4> 15.axb3 Bb7 16.Ne5 00 17.Ra4! <This was a nice plan from Aronian, attempting to gain some initiative on the queensidee with a rook uplift to a4 threatening action down the 'b' file. >17...Rfd8 18.Nc4< Another nice move, Instesd of taking the pawn, add more pressure down the 'b' file with the knight on a5.> 18...Bf6 19.Na5 Rd7 20.Rb4 Ba6 21.Nxc6 Rb7 22.h3 Kg7 23.Rxb7 Bxb7 24.Ne5 <With the obvious threat 25 Rc7.> 24...Bd8 25.b4 Rc8? <Gelfand misses a tactic that exposes his f7 wealness. 25...Bd5 would stop the 26 Bh6 tactic.> 26.Bh6+!< Excellent move! Shows how alert Aronian is. All the play's on the queenside, and then 'out of the blue' a neat tactical shot on the kingside. If 26...Kxh6 27 Rxc8 Bxc8 28 Nxf7+ Kg7 29 Nxc8.> 26...Kg8 27.Rxc8 Bxc8 28.Nc6 Bf6 29.b5 <Through some excellent play Aronian has built himself a winning position. White is going to get a passed pawn moving down the 'b' file, And this excellent bishop on h6 is stopping Gelfand from moving his king to the queenside.> 29...Bd7 30.g4 g5 <[30...a6 31.g5 axb5 32.Nb8 Bxd4 33.Nxd7 Bxb2 34.Kf1 White is still winning.; 30...Bh8?? 31.Ne7#] >31.h4 gxh4 32.g5 Bxc6 33.bxc6 Bd8< The h6 bishop has become immense since it sprang into play. Now it traps the black king from defences duties on the queenside.> 34.Kg2 Bc7 35.Kh3< And the rest is easy for Aronian. 10>

Really well played game by Aronian!

When Gelfand exchanged queens, Aronian could formulate a nice plan for strong play on the queenside with 17 Ra4! This nice creative play by Levon, and his 26 Bh6+ was a great shot!!. At this level you would have to say 25...Rc8? was careless by Gelfand, BUT it's not easy at first glance to see any danger. But Aronian was super alert and severely punished the mistake.

The way the black king was' trapped in' by the h6 bishop further gives evidence of what a great move 26 Bh6! was.

Classy game by Aronian. Is he starting to set the standard?

Mar-17-13  morfishine: Excellent play by Aronian! Gelfand's position is a wreck
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Herein Aronian shows that, when in form, he is as good or better than anyone, except Carlsen, perhaps. This tournament might very well not be a run-away for Magnus.
Mar-18-13  notyetagm: Aronian vs Gelfand, 2013

A simply *fantastic* game by Aronian, when it counts the absolute most.


KNIGHT FORK (DD;DDD): 26 Be3-h6+!

TRAPPED PIECES: 30 g2-g4!!


FORCING MOVES SHOW YOU WHERE THE PIECES: 30... a6 31. g5 axb5 32. Nb8 Bxd4 33. Nxd7 Bxb2 34. Kf1 Aronian

Mar-19-13  Gerenense: To add more fire to the Reti-Zukertort-English discussion, I should say that this opening may also appear after Caro-Kann's Panov move order, in fact it is classified as this in several databases, for instance:
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Have often seen DD and DDD used before, but never in reference to chess.

Shows what I know.

Mar-22-13  Ulhumbrus: One justification for 2...Nf6 is that in the English symmetrical according to Fine < If White omits an early d4 Black can equalize by playing it himself. In other words, if White plays d4 first he gets the better of it, if Black does he equalizes> ( Fine)
Mar-22-13  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 14...Qxb3 is 14...Bd6 hindering Ne5
Jan-22-14  Dave1: Levon is the best
Mar-15-14  LIFE Master AJ: I went over this game ... at the time it was played. (A student sent me the PGN score and asked that we review it during a lesson.)

I don't think I ever posted my thoughts ... and (maybe) I did not even save my work. (I went looking for the analysis ... and never found it.)

I will post my thoughts and ideas ... later.

Mar-15-14  dfcx: 26. Bh6+
if 26...Kxh6 27 Rxc8 Bxc8 28 Bxf7+
So 26...Kg8 27 Rxc8 Bxc8 28 Nc6 forks the pawn and bishop, that's as far as I can see at this hour.
Mar-15-14  Patriot: White is up a pawn.

I'm wondering about 26.Rxc8 Bxc8 27.Bh6+

27...Kxh6 28.Nxf7+ Kg7 29.Nxd8

27...Kg8 28.Nd6 Bf6 29.Nxa7 Bd7 30.b5

Times up. I only wanted to spend 5 minutes on this tonight and took 7. It seems good.



Mar-15-14  Patriot: In the second line, I meant 28.Nc6 of course.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I got the first three moves right, and I was planning to play b5 to protect the ♘, but I didn't anticipate the ♙ maneuvers on the K-side.
Mar-15-14  patzer2: <al wazir: I got the first three moves right,...> Also got the first three moves, but was uncertain as to how to continue.

The three options I considered were 29. b5, 29. g4 and 29. Nxa2, but it was as clear as mud to me as to which of them was best.

Fritz 12 indicates 29. b5! and 29. g4! transpose to a won ending, but shows 29. Nxa2 Bb7! (29...Bd7 30. Be3! ) 30. Be3 Kf8! 31. Nb5 (+1.06 @ 26 depth) giving Black drawing chances.

Mar-15-14  morfishine: Another position from last year's Candidates Tournament.

All I can recall on this one is <26.Bh6+>

(26...Kxh6 27.Nxf7+ Kg7 28.Rxc8 Bxc8 29.Nxd8)


Mar-15-14  LIFE Master AJ: 25...Rc8??; 26.Bh6+!

This is the kind of thing I have pulled on class "C" players ...

It is hard to believe that Black could overlook such a cheap shot!

Mar-15-14  LIFE Master AJ: Maybe Black missed/under-estimated 28.Nc6! (Black winds up in a hopeless endgame. He is only one Pawn down, however, Black soon will run out of good/constructive moves.)
Mar-15-14  gofer: This is quite simple there are only two forcing moves; Rxc8 and Bh6+. Once you see the fork on f7+ then its all plain sailing from there. I don't think that the move order on these moves matters too much, but I could be wrong...

<26 Rxc8 Bxc8>
<27 Bh6+ ...>

27 ... Kg8
28 Nc6 Bf6 (Bb6 Ne7+ )
29 Nxb7

27 ... Kh8
28 Nxf7+ Kg8
29 Nxd7

27 ... Kxh6
28 Nxf7 Kg5
29 Nxd8

It looks likes black best chance is to centre his king

<27 ... Kf6>
<28 Bg5 Kxg5>
<29 Nxf7+ Kf4>

Now we come to a serious choice N v LSB or N v DSB. I am not good sure that I can clearly see the difference, but I am going to plump for taking the DSB and my three loose pawns are on dark squares...

<30 Nxd8 >


Hmmm, surely there was a better defense than that! I was pretty sure that my line was winning, but what's the point in keeping you king in the corner in an end-game?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I got the ideas of 26.Bh6+ Kxh6 27.Rxc8 Bxc8 28.Nxf7 followed by 29.Nxd8, which is sort of winning, because white is up a pawn (just needs to activate the king).
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