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Levon Aronian vs Fabiano Caruana
Sinquefield Cup (2015), Saint Louis, MO USA, rd 1, Aug-23
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack. Two Knights Defense Blockade Line (D37)  ·  1-0



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Given 1 time; par: 30 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: <al wazir>

I expected 28... Bg6 as well and got stuck. Hmm.. maybe I practise too much..

Sep-18-16  yadasampati: Qh5 and Nxg5 were very obvious to me. I could not envision the whole continuation, but felt intuitively that this would lead to a decisive initiative.
Sep-18-16  positionalgenius: What an incredible game!
Sep-18-16  scholes: Insane level puzzles are more like lessons in learning how grandmasters think. I am somewhere around 1800 may be. No point in taking a hour to solve them. I just try to understand what is main ideas in the position. And see how many of them i got right.
Sep-18-16  scholes: I just remembered Aronian played Qh5. Did not see Rc2 was hanging lol
Sep-18-16  plumbst: <al wazir> 28...Bg6 29.Rf7+! is actually a forced mate after 29...Bxf7 30.Qxh7+ Kf6 31.Ne4+ Ke7 32.d6+ Qxd6 33.Qxf7+ Kd8 34.Nxd6.
Sep-18-16  newzild: I found White's first two moves without much difficulty (what else would he play?) and also the last eight moves of the game, but missed the mini-combination between moves 28 and 30 - even though 28. Rf1 is straightforward.
Sep-18-16  stacase: I got the first 3 moves, that's better than I've done all week.
Sep-18-16  patzer2: In looking at today's Sunday puzzle position (26. ?), my immediate instinct was to attempt to break the Knight Fork with a king-side attack by way of 26. Qh5!

However, after the expected 26...Nxc2, I was undecided as to whether 27. Rf1 or 27. Nxg5 was the correct follow-up.

I made the wrong decision and chose 27. Rf1 which results in a draw by repetition after 27. Rf1 Rf8 28. Rxf8 Qxf8 29. Qxg5+ Kh8 30. Qxe5+ Qg7 31. Qe8+ Qg8 32. Qe5+ Qg7 33. Qe8+ Qg8 34. Qe5+ Qg7 =.

The correct follow-up is of course the game continuation 27. Nxg5 (+11.60 @ 27 depth, Houdini 4).

In playing guess-the-move after 27. Nxg5, I was able to correctly guess White's next five moves through 31. dxe6 .

However, I wasn't sure why Black didn't play 28...Bg6 (diagram below)

click for larger view

Here, Deep Fritz 15 indicates White refutes 28...Bg6 with 29. Rf7+! when play might continue 29...Bxf7 30. Qxh7+ Kf6 31. Ne4+ Ke7 32. d6+ Qxd6 33. Qxf7+ Kd8 34. Nxd6 Re7 35. Qf8+ Re8 36. Qxe8#.

In the final position, 39. Bg6! (diagram below)

click for larger view

is far and away White's strongest winning move here. The dual threat of 40. e8(Q)+ and 40. Bxe4 is clearly decisive.

Black's not-so-obvious decisive error was 27...Re8?, allowing 28. Ne4! (+3.01 @ 34 depth, Komodo 9.1). Instead, 24...e4 25. Qxe4 Qf6 (+0.79 @ 25 depth, Komodo 10) or 24...Nd6 25. Qxe5+ Kh6 (+0.86 2 27 depth, Stockfish 7) puts up more resistance.

Earlier, instead of 19...f5 (0.20 @ 37 depth, Stockfish 180415), the computers slightly prefer 19...exd4 = (0.02 @ 36 depth, Stockfish 300715).

P.S.: My 10-year-old Grandson made me proud today. He entered his first rated tournament (near Austin, Texas) yesterday and placed fifth out of 29 scholatic players in his novice section with four wins and only one loss in a five round swiss. His 7-year-old brother playing in a higher rated scholastic secton with 32 players had two wins, one draw and two losses against tougher competition.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: I'm probably blind but I have to improve due to mistakes so: 28... Bg6 29 Rf7 Kg8
Sep-18-16  morfishine: Games like this showcase the wickedness of chess

In any case, just how does one pronounce Sinquefeld?


Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: It sure is, Morfishine, after 28... Bg6 29. Rf7 Kg8 White just plays 30. Qh6
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens Nxe2+ and Nxc2.

The only practical option I can see is 26.Qh5:

A) 26... Nxc2 27.Nxg5

A.1) 27... Nxe1 28.Qxh7+ Kf6 (28... Kf8 29.Qf7#) 29.Ne4#.

A.2) 27... h6 28.Qf7+ Kh8 29.Qh7#.

A.3) 27... Q(R)e7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 (28... Kf6 29.Ne4#) 29.Qh8#.

A.4) 27... Qxg5 28.Qxg5+ Kh8 (28... Kf7(8) 29.Rf1+ and mate next) 29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.d6+ B(R)e6 31.Bxe6+ R(B)xe6 32.Qxe6+ wins.

A.5) 27... Qf6 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Rf1 wins (29... Qxf1+ 30.Kxf1 Re7 31.Qh8#).

A.6) 27... Bf5 28.Rf1 (28.Qf7+ Kh6 29.Qxf5 Qxg5)

A.6.a) 28... Ne3 29.Rxf5 wins (29... Nxf5 30.Qxh7+ and mate next).

A.6.b) 28... Bg6 29.Rf7+

A.6.b.i) 29... Bxf7 30.Qxh7+ Kf6 31.Ne4+ Ke7 32.d6+ Qxd6 (32... cxd6 33.Qxf7#) 33.Qxf7+ Kd8 34.Nxd6 cxd6 35.Qd7#.

A.6.b.ii) 29... Kg8 30.Qh6 wins (30... Rxf7 31.Qxh7+ Kf8 32.Qxf7#).

A.6.b.iii) 29... Kh8 30.Rxh7+ and mate in two.

A.6.c) 28... Qf6 29.Qxe8 Qxg6 30.d6 cxd6 31.Qf7+ Kh6 (31... Kh8 32.Qf8+ Qg8 33.Qxg8#) 32.Rxf5 Qc1+ (32... Qg6 33.Rf6 wins) 33.Bf1 looks winning.

B) 26... h6 27.Rf2

B.1) 27... Bf5 28.Rxf5 Nxf5 29.d6

B.1.a) 29... Nxd6 30.Nxd6 cxd6 (30... Qxd6 31.Qf7+ Kh8 32.Qxe8+ and mate in two) 31.Bf7

B.1.a.i) 31... Re7 32.Qg6+ and mate next.

B.1.a.ii) 31... Rf8 32.Qg6+ and mate next.

B.1.a.iii) 31... Rg8 32.Qg6+ Kf8 (32... Kh8 33.Qxh6#) 33.Qxg8+ wins decisive material.

B.1.a.iv) 31... Rh8 32.Qg6+ Kf8 33.Rf1 with the threat Bg8+ and Rf7+ or Qg7+ looks winning.

B.1.b) 29... cxd6 30.Qf7+ Kh8 31.Qxf5

B.1.b.i) 31... d5 32.Nf6 Re7 33.Nxd5 + - [B+N vs R] and an overwhelming position (33... Rxd5 34.Bxd5 Qxd5 35.Qf8+ and 36.Qxe7).

B.1.b.ii) 31... Rf8 32.Qg6 Qe7 33.Qxh6+ and mate in two.

B.1.b.iii) 31... Ra7 32.Qg6 Rh7 33.Nf6 Ree7 34.Bg8 wins. For example, 34... Reg7 35.Bxh7 Rxg6 36.Bxg6 Kg7 (36... Qxf6 37.c7 Qe6 38.Rc1 Qc8 39.Bf5 wins) 37.c7 Qc8 (37... Qxc7 38.Ne8+ Kxg6 39.Nxc7 wins) 38.Rc1 Kxg6 (38... Kxf6 39.Bd3 followed by Ba6 wins) 38.Nd5 Kf7 39.Nxb6 wins.

B.2) 27... Nf5 28.g4 Nd6 29.Nxd6 wins.

B.3) 27... Rf8 28.Rxf8 Qxf8 (28... Kxf8 29.Rf1+ B(N)f5 -else 30.Qf7+ wins- 30.g4 wins a piece) 29.Rf1 followed by d6 looks winning. For example, 29... Qg8 30.Rf6, or 29... Qe7 30.d6, or 29... Bf5 30.g4 Bg6 31.Qxg6+ Kxg6 32.Rxf8, etc.

C) 26... Bg4 27.Qxg4 Nxc2 28.Nxg5

C.1) 28... Ne3 29.Ne6+ Kh6 (else 30.Qg7#) 30.Qg7+ Kh5 31.Be2+ Kh4 32.Qg4#.

C.2) 28... Kh6(8) 29.Nf7#.

C.3) 28... Kf8 29.Rf1+ wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: A.6.b.ii) 29... Kg8 30.Qh6 wins (30... Rxf7 31.Qxh7+ Kf8 32.Qxf7#)

Black Rook stands on e8.

Sep-18-16  mel gibson: Nice game but too hard for me.
Sep-18-16  znsprdx: One simple question - has Carlsen ever produced a brilliancy of this nature against an opponent of comparable caliber.

As far as this game goes it seems to me that 26...NxRc2 is not forced. Why not ...Bf5 right away?

I was pleased to get as far as 28.Rf1 and was looking at ...Ne3

28...Qf6 was a whole new challenge from which point on I would never have seen I didn't even see the obvious Ne6+ thinking d5 looked good

I mean did Aronian actually envision Bg6 at the outset: such is the synergy of Chess

Sep-18-16  Cheapo by the Dozen: Bad starting point for the puzzle. The first move was obvious, and the second was close to being so (a pawn push unblocking the bishop was the only real alternative).

But nice combination. The last move was beautiful.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <znsprdx: One simple question - has Carlsen ever produced a brilliancy of this nature against an opponent of comparable caliber(?)>

By virtue of elite players' all round strength, such opportunities will be few and far between, to put it mildly.

As to the question--a clearly loaded one, I should note--what difference does it make whether Carlsen has, or has not, played such a game, except in the minds of the anti-Carlsen faction, who will stop at nothing to denigrate that great player?

Sep-18-16  Patriot: 26.Qh5

26...Nxc2 27.Nxg5 Nxe1 28.Qxh7+ Kf6 (28...Kf8 29.Qf7#) 29.Ne4#

26...Nxc2 27.Nxg5 Rh8 28.Rf1 Qe8 29.Rf7+ Kg8 30.d6 Rc5 31.Ba2 Rc1+ 32.Kf2

26...Nxc2 27.Nxg5 Bg4 28.Qxh7+ Kf6 (28...Kf8 29.Qf7#) 29.Ne4#

26...Bg4 27.Qxg4 Nxc2 28.Nxg5 Ne3 29.Nd6+ Kh6 30.Qh3+ Kg6 31.Nxd8 (30.Qg3+ may be better)

Sep-18-16  Patriot: <agb2002> <C.1) 28... Ne3 29.Ne6+ Kh6 (else 30.Qg7#) 30.Qg7+ Kh5 31.Be2+ Kh4 32.Qg4#.> I assume you meant 32.Qg3# since 32.Qg4+ Nxg4. I like your line better than mine although mine wins also, but finding that it wins is all that is important. My <29.Nd6+> should've said 29.Ne6+.

I don't care for the <B) 26...h6 27.Rf2> branch because it let's white off the hook without a fight (i.e. it doesn't seem critical). This might be good if another candidate (besides 26.Qh5) was also strong and more direct.

But again, you do great work!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: According to Stockfish, 30.d6 loses all the advantage after 30... Ne3.

I saw both 29.Ne6+ and 29.Rxf5 but rejected them because I had the impression that White started lacking toys to play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  drollere: actually, this one seemed pretty easy. the Q move was more or less forced, and the N move logical after it.

after Nxe5 threatening mate in few, each of black's defensive moves opened explicit targets; the pawn push was available from the beginning, and the open f file made the R maneuvers easy to find. the bishop play at the end was clever.

personally, this week i found the alekhine game to be most instructive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Patriot: <agb2002> <C.1) 28... Ne3 29.Ne6+ Kh6 (else 30.Qg7#) 30.Qg7+ Kh5 31.Be2+ Kh4 32.Qg4#.> I assume you meant 32.Qg3# since 32.Qg4+ Nxg4.>

I have to admit that I forgot the knight.

<I don't care for the <B) 26...h6 27.Rf2> branch because it let's white off the hook without a fight (i.e. it doesn't seem critical). This might be good if another candidate (besides 26.Qh5) was also strong and more direct.>

This was my original intention but felt curious about White's attacking chances. However, I wouldn't have paid too much attention otb.

<But again, you do great work!>

Thank you!

Sep-18-16  YouRang: Insane Sunday 26.?

click for larger view

I (white) have my Q and R stuck in a knight fork, and I'm assuming that I'll be wanting to move my queen. Where to?

I notice some potential for a king attack at f7 if I advance Pd5 or play Rf1, so I should move my Q to where it can also hit f7. That suggests either Qf2 or Qh5. The benefit of <26.Qh5> is that this also double-attacks Pg5 thanks to Ne4.

click for larger view

If black takes the rook: <26...Nxc3>, then <27.Nxg5>

click for larger view

White threatens Qxh7+ ...Kf6 Ne4#, so black has to protect Ph7. How?

- If 27...Rh8, then 28.Qf7+ looks deadly (28...Kh6 29.Rxe5 ).

- If <27...Bf5>, then <28.Rf1> is a tactical pin on the bishop, e.g. 28...Bg6? 29.Rf7+!

click for larger view

Leading to a little king hunt: 29...Bxf7 30.Qxh7+ Kf6 31.Ne4+ Ke7 32.d6+ cxd6 33.Qxf7#

Unable to move the bishop, black must protect it: <28...Qf6>

click for larger view

Now <29.Ne6+> exposes the double-attack on the pinned bishop. Then <29...Rxe6 30.Rxf5> and black must lose the queen or rook .

Not too insane. Once you spot the benefits of 26.Qh5!, the rest seems to fall into place.


BTW, if black *doesn't* take the rook on move 26, but decides instead to guard f7 (e.g. 26...Rf8), then white is still much better after 27.Nxg5 (black must now guard Ph7), e.g. 27...Bf5. Now 28.Rc3 gets my rook out of take, and prepares it for attacking (e.g. Rg3). Everything is in white's favor.

Sep-18-16  MaczynskiPratten: Two superb games overall for the Saturday and Sunday puzzles, both well worth looking through in full. Apart from the quality and knife-edge battling (agree with my fellow Englishman on this), I liked the visual position after Black's 19th move (opposing pawn phalanxes).

Surely it was not a tongue-in-cheek Chessgames joke to put games by Gormally and Aronian on successive days after they memorably came into closer contact off the board in 2005 (see kibitzing to D Gormally vs Sutovsky, 2005).

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