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Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen
Norway Chess (2016), Stavanger NOR, rd 8, Apr-28
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Mikenas-Carls Variation (A15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-28-16  Conrad93: Hmm... This looks like an English opening. An opening Aronian is very comfortable with.
Apr-28-16  Jambow: To me it looked like an Aronian type of position where his pieces have more scope over the whole board and he has the ability to be active on both color squares...

Aronian always looks better when there are squares to play on, or passed pawns to push. His style had seemed to be less active lately, maybe a return to form and the 2800 club again?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <messachess>

A performance rating is a hypothetical Elo rating for a single event. It's not a grade for a single game.

(scroll down)

A performance rating for this game for Magnus, if you wanted to pretend such a thing existed, would be 400 points below Aronian's rating. Seems about right, actually.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Wow! Really tough loss for Carlsen and a great win for Aronian!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: What is the explanation for 10...Na5?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <MissScarlett> <That's what chess is all about. One day you give your opponent a lesson, the next day he gives you one.>

Bobby Fischer quote.

Premium Chessgames Member
  hoodrobin: <chancho: Too bad Aronian is not the challenger.>

IMO Aronian doesn't want to challenge the WC but he is <the strongest> in most situations. OTOH Carlsen is very strong too, <usually>.

Apr-28-16  chesssalamander: Yes! Levon can still beat Magnus once in awhile! Go, Levon!
Apr-29-16  drleper: <keypusher: <Ulhumbrus: Is it possible that with the exchange 7..dxc4 Carlsen underestimated Aronian?>

perfidious: <keypusher> He probably has you on ignore, same as me, so cannot heed your wise commentary. <u> does not like the truth.>

I don't understand, what was so bad about the original comment? Seems innocuous to me.

Apr-29-16  activechess55: There was a very simple explanation for 10... Na5 Black wanted to play 11... Ng4 12 Ng4 Bb2 and white rook on a1 is also lost. But it was 1800 level tactics.

However, 10 ... Na5 has time and again proved Tarrasch theory that knight is sometimes badly placed on the edge of the board.

Apr-29-16  scholes: Anyone knows after how many classical games Carlsen lost. He last lost a classical game 8 months ago
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Moral of this game is quite simple and clear. It may be enough to make just one positionally ill-advised move in the opening to lose the game, even if you are a chess genius like Magnus Carlsen. Levon played well for sure but, frankly speaking, it was not necessary to be Levon Aronian to win a game like this. In fact, he did not make any single move, which would have taken me by surprise, and in the course of the game I had a feeling that white's position is played by itself. Of course, 26...Qxe5 was a mistake which shortened black's misery but it hardly changed the result of the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <I don't understand, what was so bad about the original comment? Seems innocuous to me.>


First of all, it's a teeth-grindingly stupid comment. Aronian has been one of the top grandmasters in the world for many years, everybody knows this. Second, Carlsen has played scores of games against Aronian, in every conceivable format, plus of course his chess understanding is much better than any of ours. He knows exactly how good Aronian is. The idea that he would suddenly underestimate him is absurd.

Second, ulhumbrus says this all the time. After the previous game he wondered if Kramnik underestimated Carlsen. Which is even stupider than wondering if Carlsen underestimated Aronian.

Third, it's of a piece with the general puerility of ulhumbrus's annotations. Why does ...dxc4 indicate underestimation? Because it trades a center pawn for a wing pawn, which is one of ulhumbrus's biggest crimes, along with trading a bishop for a knight, moving a RP without necessity, and everything else we learned from our first chess book but gradually moved on from.

Apr-29-16  drleper: <keypusher> I see that you don't agree with him, but I can't understand why such a harmless comment (which wasn't even put forward authoritatively) would evoke anger. I mean it's at least plausible that Magnus sometimes feels so sure of his superiority that he goes a little autopilot now and then. I wouldn't personally attach that idea to 7...dxc4, but whatever.

His chess annotations don't seem puerile to me either, dogmatic sure, but so what; just someone's take on the game. I see no reason to Rage Against The Ulhumbrus just yet ;P

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <dr. leper> It's not just that comment. It's the 10,000 identical Ulhumbrisms that preceded it, and the 10,000 more to follow.
Apr-29-16  xanadu: Ulhumbrus: by sure that nobody underestimate anybody at this level. Moreover, itīs just the other way around. Top-ten players know each other perfectly and they try to take the other out of much as possible...if it is possible! For that reason sometimes players like Magnus here, or Kramnik yesterday perhaps, make moves which introduce complications at the cost of being far from strategical correctness. It can work or not, but nobody wants a passive position against Magnus, for instance (Kramnik said something related to this yesterday at the post analysis). Sometimes it seems they took excessive risks, but be sure they know what are doing and for sure they never underestimate each other.
Apr-29-16  xanadu: In the case of this game, Aronian-MC, according to CG database the novelty introduced by Magnus was in move 10...Na5, not in the one you mention, 7..dxc4.
Apr-30-16  ex0duz: This seemed too easy for Aronian, and it seemed like a game where Carlsen didn't know what was going on..

I mean, i don't really understand 10.Na5 either, along with 7.dxc4.. especially in conjunction with 10.Na5, seems like he gave up all control of the center and kingside after Na5 and allowing white to shatter his structure..

And even when black has 3-2 pawn majority on the queenside, it is still WHITE who is pushing and dominating on that wing.. so basically it seems like Carlsen had no counterplay whatsoever, and it was white who held all the right cards in hand..

Was like a relatively easy/total domination from Aronian, no? Would that be a fair description of this game? -_-

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I have no idea whether Magnus was prepared for this line or not but it seems to be that he was simply caught off guard, and that his OTB improvisation did not manage to solve all problems of the opening. 7...dxc4 can be playable continuation (at least Svidler played it twice with solid success) but it has its drawbacks, which became apparent quite early in this game. When Magnus decided to play 10...Na5, he was already facing problems with development of his QS. In the game Stein vs L Shamkovich, 1971, which as the only one in this database reached the same position, Shamkovich took the Knight on e5 but he did not solve the problems on the QS as well, and lost to Stein without much resistance. 10...Na5 was an attempt to solve the task to develop the QS somehow but Aronian found the way to keep pressure, won a Pawn, and the rest is history.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Honza> Thanks for your informative post and for digging up the Stein game.

Here for reference are the Svidler games Honza refers to:

Ivanchuk vs Svidler, 2009

Gelfand vs Svidler, 2001

The Ivanchuk game looks very interesting, but don't ask me to explain what's going on! Though I think Svidler was in trouble in the opening and was lucky to get away with his exchange sacrifice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Interestingly, during the game itself Svidler - who was doing the live commentary with Gustafsson - was very skeptical about Black's play almost from the very beginning; already after 4...g6 he started with his "very curious, very curious" remarks, which he usually says when he thinks something is bad (apparently because without d4 by White, the plan of b3-Bb2 is supposed to be very strong against such play by Black).
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChemMac: 11.Qc1! Simple - and a routine player wouldn't have thought of it. A Knight on the edge has just four squares to move to, so it is temporarily worth half as much as a Knight in the centre. It doesn't need a Tarrasch to see that! So; how to exploit this? Qc1, Bc3, Qa3. Of course; it looks obvious once you see it. Magnus did not.
May-01-16  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: Interestingly, during the game itself Svidler - who was doing the live commentary with Gustafsson - was very skeptical about Black's play almost from the very beginning; already after 4...g6 he started with his "very curious, very curious" remarks, which he usually says when he thinks something is bad (apparently because without d4 by White, the plan of b3-Bb2 is supposed to be very strong against such play by Black).>

This suggests the question of why without d4 by White, the plan of b3-Bb2 is supposed to be very strong against such play by Black.

If following 7 0-0 we look at the position after 7...Ne4 8 Bxg7 Kxg7 Black has placed his pawns on white squares. Black will be left then with the bad bishop.

Black can try to avoid letting his white squared bishop be bad by advancing his d5 and c6 pawns further to d4 and c5. That will however cost time and it will open the long diagonal for White's bishop as well as making the pawns more vulnerable to attack.

This suggests that after Black has placed his c and d pawns on white squares by ...c6 and ...d5 the move b3 prepares to exchange the black squared bishops, leaving Black with the bad bishop unless he exposes himself by advancing the c and d pawns further.

May-10-16  Conrad93: <What is the explanation for 10...Na5?>

Magnus wanted the option of attacking the knight without having to trade his knight on c6.

Aug-16-16  zipperbear: I suggest using "MagLev" when next time these two players make GOTD.
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