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Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen
"Norwegian Blue" (game of the day Jul-04-2017)
Norway Chess (2017), Stavanger NOR, rd 4, Jun-10
Semi-Slav Defense: Accelerated Meran Variation (D45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: So who wants to go first with the Dead Parrot jokes?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Aronian showed some amazing foresight by playing 25. Qa7 instead of Qb7, which would have enabled 26.... Bc8!!!, chasing off the queen with a tempo and saving the knight.
Jul-04-17  offramp: I have heard the Dead Parrot sketch so often that it's no longer very funny. But there was something very quirky about this African version:
Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: He's pining for the fjords.
Jul-04-17  SirRuthless: Great selection and clever title for the GOTD.
Jul-04-17  dgm1214: Great exciting Game!
Jul-04-17  Imran Iskandar: One of the most original games I've seen in top level chess in a while. As pointed out by others, an unorthodox sacrifice followed by one of the oldest!
Jul-04-17  Jambow: What a dance...
Jul-04-17  offramp: <Imran Iskandar: One of the most original games I've seen in top level chess in a while.>

Look harder. How can any game be called "original" if it includes the sequence 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg8 19. Qh5 Nf6 20. Qxf7+ Kh8?

Jul-04-17  Ironmanth: Wonderful game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <cormier> Running chess engines, particularly Stockfish, to search depths of only 12-13 ply will not yield evaluations that anyone would have confidence in their accuracy. You need to run Komodo and Houdini to search plies in the high 20s at a minimum, and preferably in the low- to mid 30s. For Stockfish you need to let it run higher; to the mid 30s at a minimum and preferably to the low- to mid-40s. Fortunately Stockfish gets to deeper search depths than Houdini or Komodo in approximately the same amount of time, so those analyses will all take approximately the same amount of time.

You should also report which version of each engine you are using, the more recent versions are stronger and you can have higher confidence in their evaluations than earlier version if run to the same search depth.

If you are going to run multi-engine analyses, see my discussion on non-determinism starting at US Championship (2017) (kibitz #633) and also in my forum's header. If you have at least a 4-core computer, you may find it more efficient (less total time) to run all 3 engines concurrently, each using a single thread, with a reduced hash table (to prevent disk swapping) rather than running each engine sequentially using 4 cores and a larger hash table.

Jul-04-17  offramp: I have annotated this game in great detail on two sheets of European A4 paper, which is a bit like American foolscap. If you send me your address, via this site, I can post that analysis to you.

But be warned I WILL need it back by the end of August 2017, so that I can send it to my friend in Cape Verde.

What might be best is if you photocopy it once you receive it and then send me the original back.

Make sure it IS the original that you send back because that has some pencil writings on it which probably won't photocopy very well. I don't want to ink them in because they would obliterate some other important notes that I have made.

In some parts it might be hard to make out my handwriting. I have written the phone number of my chiropractor in one of the margins. He has read it right through and he will be able to resolve any difficulties in comprehension.

The notes are in standard descriptive, by the way.

Jul-04-17  Hodor: BS Level Defcon 3
Jul-04-17  morfishine: <offramp> LMAO

You are the sole reason I don't quit this site altogether

Are the you the nephew of Benny Hill?

Or perhaps Dave Allen?


Jul-04-17  newzild: Brilliant, brilliant game by Aronian.

Carlsen looks on the brink of recovery for the second half of the game, after the Bxh7+ sac, but Aronian always finds a clever way to keep his initiative alive.

Jul-04-17  RandomVisitor: After 13.c5, can white force a sequence where he can recover material?

click for larger view

Stockfish_17061704_x64_modern: <2 hours computer time>

<+0.73/48 13...b6 14.Nb1 Qa2 15.Qc1 bxc5 16.Nc3 Qa5 17.Nxd5 Qb5 18.Nc7> Qb7 19.<Nxa8> Qxa8 20.Ba5 Re8 21.dxc5 Nxc5 22.Bxh7+ Kxh7 23.Qxc5 Kg8 24.b4 Qb8 25.Ne5 Ne4 26.Qd4 Nd2 27.Rd1 Nb3 28.Qc3 c5 29.Qxb3 Qxe5 30.Qa4 Rf8 31.Qc6 c4 32.Bd8 Qb8 33.Qxc4 Bb7 34.Qd4 e5 35.Qd7 Qa8 36.f3 Bc6 37.Qd6 Re8 38.Bb6 Ba4 39.Rd5 Re6 40.Qd8+ Qxd8 41.Rxd8+ Re8 42.Rd6 Re6 43.Rxe6 fxe6 44.Kf2 Kf7

Jul-04-17  morfishine: <RandomVisitor> Sure, Black had much better giving up his Knight for two pawns, leaving him with an intact 8-pawn strong pawn chain vs a shattered White pawn chain. Black draws at worst

13....Nxc5 14.dxc5 Qxc5 15.Na4 Qa7


Jul-05-17  RandomVisitor: After 13.c5, final look:

click for larger view

Stockfish_17061704_x64_modern: <5 hours computer time>

<+0.70/51 13...b5 14.b4> Qb2 15.Nb1 Ne4 16.Ng5 Ndf6 17.Be1 e5 18.f3 exd4 19.exd4 a5 20.Nxe4 Nxe4 21.fxe4 axb4 22.Bh4 Rd7 23.Rf2 Qa1 24.Qd3 Ra2 25.Re2 f6 26.e5 Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Qxd4+ 28.Bf2 Qc4 29.exf6 Qxc2 30.Rxc2 Ra7 31.Bd4 Bf5 32.Re2 gxf6 33.Nd2 Ra2 34.Rf2 Bc2 35.Rxf6 b3 36.Rxc6 b2 37.Rb6 b1R+ 38.Nxb1 Bxb1 39.c6 Bf5 40.Rxb5 Rc2 41.Rxd5 Rxg2+ 42.Kxg2 Be4+ 43.Kf2 Bxd5 44.c7 Bb7 45.Ke3 Kf7 46.Be5 Ke6 47.Kd4 Kd7 48.Kc5 Be4 49.Kb6 Kc8 50.Kb5 Bd3+ 51.Kc5 Be4 52.Kd6 Bb7

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: funny GOTD for July 4th.
Aug-02-17  yurikvelo: this game multiPV

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Guys, if you don't get it, then you don't get it. :P

[Fritz 10]: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2 Nbd7 8. Bd3 0-0 9. 0-0 Qe7 [last book move] 10. Bc2 Rd8 [10 ... b6 11. Qe1 =] 11. a3 [11. Re1 Re8 =] Bxa3 [=] 12. Rxa3 Qxa3 13. c5 b6 [13 ... b5 14. b4 Qb2 15. Nb1 =] 14. b4 [14. Nb1 Qb2 15. Re1 Ne4 16. Bxe4 dxe4 +-] Ne4 [14 ... Qb2!? 15. Na4 Qa2 =] 15. Nxe4 [ ⩲] dxe4 16. Bxe4 Rb8 [16 ... a5 17. b5 bxc5 18. bxc6 ±] 17. Bxh7+ [ ±] Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg8 [18 ... Kg6!? 19. Qf3 Rf8 ±] 19. Qh5 [+-] Nf6 20. Qxf7+ Kh8 21. Qc7 Bd7 22. Nf7+ Kh7 23. Nxd8 Rc8 24. Qxb6 Nd5 25. Qa7 [25. Qb7!? Rxd8 26. e4 +-] Rxd8 [ ±] 26. e4 Qd3 [26 ... Nf6!? 27. Bg5 Qxb4 ⩲] 27. exd5 [+-] Qxd2 28. Qc7 Qg5 29. dxc6 [29. d6!? Qf6 +-] Bc8 [ ±] 30. h3 Qd5 31. Rd1 e5? [31 ... Rf8 32. f3 ±] 32. Rd3 [32. Qe7 makes it even easier for White Qb3 33. Re1 Qxb4 34. Qh4+ Kg6 35. Rxe5 Qxd4 36. Qh5+ Kf6 37. Qg5+ Kf7 +-] exd4? [32 ... e4 33. Rd1 Rf8 +-] 33. Qe7 [+-] Bf5 [33 ... Rg8 34. Qh4+ Kg6 +-] 34. Rg3 Bg6 35. Qh4+ 1-0.

2 ... c6 is the Slav Defense to the Queen's Gambit, then ... e6 is a Semi-Slav (also called Triangle Defense) which holds the center but creates weak dark squares. 12. Rxa3!? is an exchange sacrifice giving up White's inactive Rook in the corner for Black's important dark square Bishop, then this game becomes a classic example of attacking a weak square complex. After 17. Bxh7+! Kxh7 White is down a full Rook (!) yet the Queen gains access to the seventh rank. 21. Qc7 is a nice Clearance move forking the Rooks plus allowing 22. Nf7+ next. At the end White wins the Bg6; 35 ... Kg8 36. Rxg6, or 35 ... Bh5 36. Rg5. Posts on this thread underscore how some modern chess fans watch the computer more than the game.

Some insightful commentary:

<Aronian sacrifices first a pawn and then the exchange in return for confining and threatening to trap Black's queen. Carlsen's attempt to free his queen does not succeed and Aronian gains a winning but difficult attack, one which he prosecutes successfully by finding all of the necessary difficult attacking moves. This win seems worthy of a brilliancy prize. Considering the trouble that acceptance of the pawn sacrifice by 11...Bxa3 leads to, 11...Bd6 may be better.>

<Levon showed in the postgame that the usual defense to the Greek Sacrifice, 18...Kg6 fails to 19 Qg4 f5 20 Qg3 Kf6 21 d5!!; if 21...exd5 22 Qd6+ Kxg5 23 e4+! leads to mate.>

<It was a real sacrifice as it was based more on intuition and assessment rather than forced lines, so of course there were better moves but it was, like Tal's games, brilliant and sometimes unclear, but it worked as the situation in chess is not just the cold calculations but includes the emotions, and the complexity was such that Carlsen got into time pressure. So it was a great game to see.>

<Even assuming it was home cooking, of all the people in the world, Aronian can be least faulted for using his home preparation against reigning world champion. What I find most curious is that even after following Carlsen games for past 10 years, I am yet to find a single game in which he has genuinely surprised his opponent by his opening preparation. I get his thing about avoiding other people preparation. But surely after playing and studying chess at such a high level, he can find some surprising moves in sidelines.>

<It's a really striking picture after 13.c4-c5. The queen is locked away from the rest of the army and at risk of getting trapped, and Black's array looks awful without a dark-square bishop and the pieces in each others way. I know it's not quite as bad at all that, but I'd be miserable to have that position, especially against someone I knew was a gifted attacker.>

<Aronian plays not only against Carlsen's psyche (the World Champion is a known pawn grabber and I recall he lost a recent game to Aronian after he grabbed a pawn Carlsen vs Aronian, 2015 and if Carlsen has any relative weakness where he could be outplayed, it's in tactical melees); Aronian also plays the whole board a la Alekhine. The whole board shakes with activity. First a pawn and then an exchange sac on the Queen side in order to deflect the Queen away; followed by a Bxh7 sac and a King hunt on the opposite side. When Black's King escapes an immediate catastrophe, White then swings his Queen to the Queenside picking up material. Black again defends, but White then swings his Queen back to the Kingside for the final attack. Under all this immense all-around pressure, Black was bound to commit a losing error, and he did.>

<So who wants to go first with the Dead Parrot jokes?>

This game finished at #1 in IM Danny Rensch's rundown of 2017's best games over at <>.

Feb-25-18  PJs Studio: Both players walked the razors edge here. Brilliant!
Apr-27-19  YesChess1010: Very interesting game
Jun-07-19  Imran Iskandar: <offramp: <Imran Iskandar: One of the most original games I've seen in top level chess in a while.>

Look harder. How can any game be called "original" if it includes the sequence 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg8 19. Qh5 Nf6 20. Qxf7+ Kh8?>

A reply two years late, but I was mainly referring to the opening play with the exchange sacrifice as well as the positions that arose after the sequence you mentioned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Ouch! :-)
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