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Levon Aronian vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Sinquefield Cup (2016), Saint Louis, MO USA, rd 6, Aug-11
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Botvinnik System Reversed (A37)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: white will play 50.K-d3, but black will infiltrate on the kingside, and white can later only sac his knight for one of the two black kingside pawns?
Aug-11-16  Virgil A: Quite a few games played here that a pawn was given up for reasons hard to comprehend at times. Risky business.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < HeMateMe: white will play 50.K-d3, but black will infiltrate on the kingside, and white can later only sac his knight for one of the two black kingside pawns? >

After your proposed 50.Kd3 the win is very simple. In fact, here's a mate in 17 moves:

50. Kd3 Bxf2 51. Nb5 g3 52. Nxc3 g2 53. Ne2 g1=Q 54. Nxg1 Bxg1 55. Ke2 g4 56. Kf1 Be3 57. Kg2 Kf4 58. Kf1 g3 59. Ke2 g2 60. Kd3 g1=Q 61. Kc4 Ke5 62. Kb3 Qb1+ 63. Kc3 Ke4 64. Kc4 Bf2 65. Kc3 Be1+ 66. Kc4 Qb4#

But here is a mate in 18 with a different white move:

50. Nb5 c2 51. Kd2 Bxf2 52. Kxc2 g3 53. Nc3 g2 54. Ne2 g1=Q 55. Nxg1 Bxg1 56. Kd3 g4 57. Kd2 g3 58. Ke2 Kf4 59. Kd2 g2 60. Kc3 Bf2 61. Kc4 Ke5 62. Kb3 g1=Q 63. Kc2 Qa1 64. Kd2 Qb1 65. Ke2 Bh4 66. Ke3 Qc2 67. Kf3 Qe4#

but the bottom line is...
with 3 pawns to 1, and only a knight vs. bishop, white has no chance

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: If one plays the English in such a way, they need an answer to the basic Botvinnik Formation that MVL adopts here.

I was surprised by 6.0-0, and would have preferred 6.d3 and waited for Black's KN placement. White has a bunch of useful waiting moves here...

Aug-22-16  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 19 Nxe2, 19 Qxe2 avoids exchanging queens and seems consistent, having sacrificed a pawn

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