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Magnus Carlsen vs Levon Aronian
Norway Chess (2015), Stavanger NOR, rd 8, Jun-24
Spanish Game: Closed. Pilnik Variation (C90)  ·  1-0



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Given 16 times; par: 46 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Ooh. 36...Qa1 was a huge blunder. The best would be 36...Qb4 (very natural, human move), or even 36...Qb8! If white plays 37.g4, then 37...Ng6, and if 38.gxf5, then 38...exf5, and wherever the queen moves, it'll be lost.

If Aronian found 36...Qb8, then Carlsen (in time pressure), might lose (although 37.g3 looks best). Aronian hasn't beaten Carlsen in black since 2009.

Jun-24-15  luzhin: Yes, 36...Qa1 was a blunder, but 38.Ne1! is the only way to prove it and presumably what Aronian missed. If 38.Nh4 (or indeed 38.Ng1) then 38...Rd1 would have been very good for Black.
Jun-24-15  SirRuthless: Quality win from the world champion! The recourse of ...Qb8! would have been hard to see for anyone. Carlsen found a genius way to put pressure on Aronian and like Carlsens final pawn shove near the time control against Grischuk, it worked!
Jun-24-15  CountryGirl: Carlsen is lethal in equal positions...
Jun-24-15  Reisswolf: People often talk about Nakamura's poor record against Carlsen, but over the years Aronian has developed a pretty wretched record against Carlsen too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Doesn't Carlsen have a forced mating line with 40. Q x f5+?
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <SirRuthless: Quality win from the world champion! The recourse of ...Qb8! would have been hard to see for anyone.>

I respect your postings, as they are typically quite good. However, I think this posting is not true. First of all, I expect Carlsen could have found 36...Qb8 because it uses an idea similar to the one behind 27. Qb3, with the queen pressuring the opposing king on the diagonal.

In fact, I would not have been surprised had Aronian found this idea, back when he was #2 in the world or even today if he were not playing MC.

Other active players of today's era who could find this move are Vlad Kramnik and Hikaru Nakamura. Also, I think Wesley So would look for this type of move. It fits his style.

Of course this is all conjecture - it cannot be otherwise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <HeMateMe: Doesn't Carlsen have a forced mating line with 40. Q x f5+?>

The endgame for Black, down a rook, is completely hopeless. In a tournament game, the forcing of a queen trade by Carlsen in such a position is subjectively the best move, even if objectively he has a quicker win, except in the case where it is mate in one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: well, I think it would be more dashing to put a mate on the board. He IS a Viking, after all.
Jun-24-15  LivBlockade: <HeMateMe> How does White mate after 40. Qxf5+ Rg6?

click for larger view

I thought Carlsen did a great job in the final few moves, considering he had less than a minute remaining for the last 3 moves or so. I think 40. Qc4 was the best move.

Jun-25-15  blackdranzer: I don't know why..but lately carlsen's play seems rather unconvincing...he rarely got into trouble with white..that too in the middle game, where Carlson was feeling the heat...nyways..what matters is that he won eventually....good for him...
Jun-25-15  Sally Simpson: Hi LivBlockade,

The lad has missed interposing on g6 with the Rook when Black is actually threatening mate on g1. White has to play Qxg6+ when there is still a game of chess on but Black has the chances.

It's an honest post and I bet you others fell for it. At first I thought Carlsen must have been seriously in time trouble for missing that - then you spot Rg6.

Re Aronian's missed 38...Qb8.

There is a very common trait about this one.

I'm sure quite a few good players would have played 38...Qb8 if there was not another attractive idea on the table. (and a move to miss.)

It's the other idea that lured in Aronian. It looks good especially with your opponent in time trouble.

26...Qa1 27. g4 Qf1

click for larger view

That looks winning for Black with mate on g2 and a hit on h3. Now if 28.Nh4 Rd1 and that's why the Queen strayed to a1 because Black has Qf1 and Rd1.

Alas we can chalk up yet another victim for...


click for larger view

....The Backward Defensive Knight Move. The curse of every attacking player.

g2 and h3 are covered and Rd1 is rendered useless.

Aronian's good, but in a poor form slump, possibly due to Carlsen being in a spot of time trouble Aronian moved too quick, never did a re-check and scoring a win over the world champion would signalled the end of his slump.

Sadly this lose may undermine his current confidence even further, especially if he saw 38...Qb8 but rejected because 38...Qa1 was 'stronger.'

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Instead of <36...Qa1?? 37. g4! >, both 36...Qb8! and 36...Qb4!= are better options for Black:

36... Qb8 37. g3 [Not 37. g4?? Ng6 38. gxf5 exf5 39. Qc4 (39. Qxf5 Rf6+ ) 39... Rc6+ 40. Kg1 Rxc4 41. Rxc4 Nf4 42. Ne5 Nxh3+ 43. Rxh3 Qxe5 44. Rf3 g5 45. Rd3 g4 ] 37... Nd5 38. Re1 Qb4 39. Rc4 Nc3 40. Rxb4 Nxe4 41. Rbxe4 Rxf3 42. Kg2 Rb3 (-0.34 @ 24 depth, Deep Fritz 14)

36... Qb4 when Fritz indicates play might go 37. Rc4 Qb8 38. Nd4 Rxd4 39. Rxd4 Ne2+ 40. Kh1 Nxd4 41. g4 Qd6 42. Kg2 a4 43. gxf5 exf5 44. Qe5 Qc6+ 45. Kg3 Qc4 46. Kh2 Qc2 47. Qxd4 Qxf2+ 48. Kh1 Qf1+ 49. Kh2 Qf2+ 50. Kh1 Qf1+ 51. Kh2 Qf2+ = with a draw by repetition.

However if go back to <36. Rc2 =>, it appears White can improve with 36. Nh4!, when play might continue 36...Qxf2 37. Rg3 Rdd5 38. Nxf5 Rxf5 39. Rc2 Qa7 40. Rf3 Qb8 41. g3 Nh5 42. Qxe6 Rg5 43. Qb3 Qxb3 44. Rxb3 (+1.53 @ 24 depth, Deep Fritz 14).

Jun-25-15  ghassan444: Play magnus great end game very beautiful game
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: The idea of Qb8 is incredibly difficult to see and no one so far has mentioned the underlying Queen sac which seems to refute the g4 idea.

Here it is spelled out:

36 ... Qb8 (!!)

Double exclam move against g4 - and I will try and show why now

37. g4 (yes looks quite good)

37.. Ng6 (!!)

38 gxf5

The point here in this critical position is that Rd4+ does NOT work!

Because of Ne5 (!!)

if now Rxe4 then fxg6+ Kg8 Rxe4

So basically here is the tricky position as far as I am concerned to backup Qb8:

click for larger view

exf5 here (!!) has to be seen. This is making a rook discovery attack be delayed for a move but stops the counter queen sac.

This is major calculation for Qb8 against g4 basically. Video coming soon.

Cheers, K

Jun-25-15  Ulhumbrus: As the computer indicated, 33 Qa4!! makes an unusual type of fork. The queen forks the two strong squares e4 and e8 from the flank square a4.

As the commentators and the computer analysis indicated, the move 36...Qb8!! places the queen on the h2-b8 diagonal leading to White's king, a diagonal with two obstructions, the rook on d6 and the N on f4. However after one of these obstructions - the N on f4- moves, the other, the rook on d6, becomes able to threaten a discovered check. Carlsen said that Aronian was however short of time at this point.

Carlsen said that in this game Aronian had outplayed him ( and that in other games Aronian had outplayed him more frequently than anyone else) but then had gone wrong (and that that had happened more than once as well). Two alternative explanations are (1) that it was also Carlsen who outplayed Aronian after getting a disadvantage and (2) that in the present game Aronian had to manage his clock better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game here:

Cheers, K

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