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Levon Aronian vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Berlin Airlift" (game of the day Jun-23-2018)
World Championship Candidates (2018), Berlin GER, rd 3, Mar-12
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Dom,

I too dislike 'patzer' always have.

But I think I'm on safe ground calling myself one when compared to a GM.

If someone uses it first and I want the quote I'll take it.

Maybe, now thinking about it after the heat of the battle, this game will make the book (especially if it's semi-ghosted) the publishers will want it in.

Could be a surprising read. He will have loads of anecdotes and I was surprised by Smyslov's book (similar styles?) just how tactical his was.

Mar-14-18  ChessHigherCat: I tried to find the etymology of patzer, and some people claim it's related to an old German word "patzen" or "batzen" meaning to bungle". I'm surprised nobody speculated that it might be related to "putz" because "potzer" is a fairly common variant:

putz - Wiktionary
English[edit]. Etymology 1[edit]. Borrowing from Yiddish פּאָץ (pots, “penis, fool”). Compare similar semantic developments in futz. Pronunciation[edit]. IPA: /pʌts/; Rhymes: -ʌts. Noun[edit]. putz (plural putzes). (slang) Fool, idiot. (slang) Jerk. (slang) Penis. Derived terms[edit]. putzhead, putz-head, putz head. Verb[edit].

Mar-15-18  whiteshark: <I tried to find the etymology of patzer...>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: What a vigorous attack by the veteran, straight out of the opening! This is important for this topical line of the Berlin.
Mar-26-18  cormier: Stockfish 8 Depth: 26

-0.72 12. ... Be6 13. Rg1 Nf6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. e5 gxh3 16. exd6 Qxd6 17. Bf4 Qd5+ 18. f3 Nh5 19. Nd2 Nxf4 20. gxf4 Rxg1+ 21. Qxg1 O-O-O 22. Qg5 Qxg5 23. fxg5 c5 24. Nb3 Bxb3 25. axb3 cxd4 26. cxd4 Rxd4 27. Rxa7 Rd3 28. Kh2 Rxf3 29. Ra6 Kd7 30. Rh6 Rxb3 31. Rxh7

-0.55 12. ... Bxe5 13. dxe5 Qxe5 14. Qd4 Qxd4 15. cxd4 gxh3 16. Kh2 Be6 17. Nc3 O-O-O 18. Be3 f5 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. Rae1 Kb8 21. b3 b6 22. Rg1 Nf6 23. f3 h5 24. b4 Kb7 25. a4 Rd7 26. Bf2 Nd5 27. Nxd5 Rxd5 28. Re7 a5 29. bxa5

-0.16 12. ... Bd7 13. Nxd7

Mar-26-18  cormier: Stockfish 8 Depth: 25

0.00 9. Nc3 g5 10. Nxe5 g4 11. d4 Bd6 12. g3 Bxe5 13. dxe5 Qxe5 14. h4 Bd7 15. Qe2 O-O-O 16. Rd1 Be6 17. Rxd8+ Rxd8 18. Bh6 Kb8 19. Rd1 Rxd1+ 20. Qxd1 Nxg3+ 21. fxg3 Qxg3 22. Qd8+ Bc8 23. Qd2 Qh3+ 24. Qh2 Qf1+ 25. Qg1 Qh3+ 26. Qh2

-0.28 9. Bg5

Apr-12-18  sombreronegro: 19 ... B-g5. Probably was looking to prevent the castle and then pound up the middle but the exchange sac was underestimated . Probably should have liquidated that black f pawn first. Otherwise that black square blockade looks trough to crack without black's black squared bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: It might well be mainline theory, but I have long harbored the deepest suspicions about a move like 5.Bxc6 - the move is unforced and passive: I understand that the idea behind the move is to fix black's queenside pawns in preparation for white to castle queenside. Yet still the idea seems wrong to me... not least since it squanders the Bishop pair. It was Magnus Carlsen who demonstrated the correct way for white to contest the Berlin variation Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2015
Apr-13-18  morfishine: Nobody really knows what "mainline theory" means

"Mainline" is just someone's opinion while "theory" is just what it states: a theory


Apr-13-18  rcs784: Astonished this hasn't been GotD yet.
Apr-13-18  drleper: <Sally Simpson: Giri played 9.Rg1 and passed on this idea to Kramnik.>

Kramnik claims to have found this himself a couple of years back and was waiting to use it:

Apr-14-18  FairyPromotion: <rcs784: Astonished this hasn't been GotD yet.>

I know an old movie about a turkish family living in Berlin, whith the story about a german photographer taking the picture of the man's wife without consent. The title of it would fit this game perfectly.

GotD: Berlin in Berlin

Jun-15-18  The Boomerang: Masterpiece from Kramnik. GoTD Already!!!!!
Jun-23-18  The Kings Domain: Good game by Kramnik, pretty impressive and quite deep.
Jun-23-18  princecharming: 7...Rg8 reminds me of a game in a bullet match between John Bartholomew and Eric Hansen.

John, playing as White, attempted to castle short, but mouse slipped and played Rg1 instead.

As it turned out,John castled long and got a strong attack on the Kingside. His mouse slip helped him win the game.

Maybe we should all bring our Rooks to the g-file...

Jun-23-18  Everett: I had thought it was fully hashed out that white castling short was verboten until Black did so, and that h3 added insult to injury, a hook for Black to use.

Thus, The k-side attack by Kramnik was likely an easy strategic find. Of course he can be commended for the execution.

Aronian proved us wrong (or right?!) again in this tournament. He is a great, great player, yet will remain amongst the other non-WC greats like Korchnoi, Bronstein, and Keres. Not bad company!!!

Jun-23-18  Cheapo by the Dozen: When enough time has passed, the conclusion will make for a great easy puzzle.
Jan-02-19  Open Defence: I had actually analysed this position with the line

8. Nbd2 g5 9. d4 Bxd4 10. Nxd4 exd4 11. e5 Nd5 12. Ne4 Qxe5 13 .Re1 Be6 14. Nc5 Qf5

And now the line

15. Nxb7 g4 16. h4 Nb4 17. Re2 Qb5 18. c3 Qxb7 19. cxb4 Qxb4 20. Bg5

click for larger view

and now 21...Rxg5 22. hxg5 0-0-0

click for larger view

seemed unclear to me but it would seem Black has the better practical chances though some of those pawns might fall?

Jan-02-19  Open Defence: However probably

8. Nbd2 g5 9. d4 Bxd4 10. Nxd4 exd4 11. e5 Nd5 12. Ne4 Qxe5 13 .Re1 Be6 14. Nc5 Qf5 15.Nxe6 is the best try for White but I think only with equality

It would be interesting to see what Kramnik would have unleashed against 8.Nbd2

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: [Fritz 10]: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Bxc6 dxc6 6. 0-0 Qe7 7. h3 Rg8 8. Kh1 [8. Re1 h6 ⩱] Nh5 [8 ... h6 9. Nc3 ⩱] 9. c3 [9. Nbd2 g5 10. Nc4 =] g5 [ ⩱] 10. Nxe5 g4 11. d4 [11. hxg4?? Qh4+ 12. Kg1 Ng3 13. g5 Qh1#] Bd6 12. g3 Bxe5 13. dxe5 Qxe5 14. Qd4 Qe7 15. h4 c5 16. Qc4 Be6 17. Qb5+ c6 18. Qa4? [18. Qd3 ⩱] f5 [-+] 19. Bg5? [19. Kg2 f4! 20. Qd1 -+] Rxg5 20. hxg5 f4 21. Qd1 [21. Kg1 fxg3 22. fxg3 Qxg5 23. Qc2 -+] Rd8 22. Qc1 fxg3 23. Na3 [23. Qe3 gxf2 24. Rxf2 Rd1+ 25. Kg2 -+] Rd3 24. Rd1 [24. Kg1 the last chance Qf7 25. Qc2 -+] Bd5! 25. f3 [25. exd5 Qe4+] gxf3 26. exd5 Qe2 27. Re1 g2+ 0-1 [28. Kh2 g1=Q+ 29. Kxg1 f2+ 30. Kh1 Rh3+ 31. Kg2 f1=Q#]

This stunning crush by Kramnik in the Candidates Event played a key role in the outcome, knocking off Aronian early who ended up last. After the great 24 ... Bd5! it is already -10 and done.

Some inspired commentary:

<I've been playing Bxc6 and d3 as White for 40 odd years. It's a delayed exchange. You wait for the Knight to go f6 then chop on c6 so Black does not have the move f6. Have a great record. White has 0-0 too early. (you can do such a thing) You must wait to see which side Black goes. if they 0-0 you 0-0-0 and toss up your kingside pawns. if they 0-0-0 you usually do the same. If you 0-0 Black's Kingside pawns are faster. (I'll have to stick some of these game on my page. a few are good fun. Monday POTD material) White needs to toss up the queenside pawns ASAP to get into the game but they must not play c3 else Black gets play on d3. An early Rg8 v 0-0 (A Lasker game is coming to mind....An Evans v Steinitz?) If Kramnik is switching into Romantic Mode (I recall he did this a few years back) these guys are in trouble.>

<I hope Aronian's queenside pieces are enjoying watching the game.>

<Aronian's first mistake was to play 7 h3? moving a pawn in the opening and disturbing the king side pawns. The computer evaluations suggest that after Kramnik's brilliant reply 7...Rg8!! Aronian's second mistake was to try to win instead of playing for a draw. Had he played to draw he might have got it. It may be that after 7...Rg8 Aronian overestimated his side of the position because he had not foreseen all of Black's combinations. If one is going to indulge in speculation or guesswork, perhaps Kramnik had prepared the move 7...Rg8 and knew all of Black's combinations beforehand. Perhaps Aronian fell into Kramnik's preparation.>

<Afterwards, Kramnik said that he'd studied ...Rg8 in the past, considering it very promising for Black, but he had no thought it might crop up against Aronian, who rarely plays e4 in recent years. He gave the impression his memory of the resulting positions was quite vague (always referring to the computer as "he"), from even as early as ...Nh5, but that the attack was very thematic after ...f5, and that although he wanted to finish the game prettily, he didn't consider it to be a brilliancy.>

<Aronian had to know 24...Bd5 was curtains for him. My evil side thinks he played on as to not lose in a miniature with the white pieces and in the Candidates no less.>

<I put the position after 7. ... Rg8 into Stockfish 7. It gives White a slightly negative evaluation. 7. ... Rg8 creates concrete problems for White. I plugged in seeming plausible 8th moves for White, besides the one that Aronian played, and the evals are in Black's favor. If there is a 'Novelty of the Year' award, 7. ... Rg8 should at least be a candidate.>

<Of course this game is special. Not only because a super GM gave mate to another super GM in 31 moves. Not only because he did it with black using a defense that is known to be solid but certainly not aggressive. No, this game in my view defies some fundamental chess principles AND for this reason Aronian might have appeared so helpless. First you aren't supposed to start a flank attack in an half open game when your king isn't safe - otherwise the game should at least become double-edged. But Kramnik did just that and Nigel Short aptly described it as "caveman patzer moves". Now the opponent should counter such an early flank attack in the center. Aronian did exactly what he was supposed to do according to chess principles, he tried to open the center with 9.c3 10.Sxe5 11.d4 13.dxe5. But it didn't help at all! Blacks initiative continued and the best that Aronian could hope for was a worse endgame. In my view that is amazing AND a problem.>

Great game!

Jul-27-19  Chesgambit: Kh1 losing move
Jul-15-20  Tonymec: After 27. … g2+, Stockfish (in the annotation included with the score) announces mate in 4 starting with 28. Kh2. If 28. Kg1 instead, then IIUC the mate runs as follows: 28. … f2+ 29. Kh2 (29. Kxg2? f1=Q#) 29. … g1=Q+ 30. Rxg1 f1=Q+ 31. Rg2 Q(any)xg2#

Discovered checks and double checks are a powerful motif in this endgame.

Jan-01-21  thebully99: Kramnik's Immortal Game
Jul-09-22  The Rocket: h3 is a silly move since white wants black to misplace his bishop on g6, or trade it for a knight.

All h3 does is give black a target. That's not why he lost but it offers practical play for black.

Jul-09-22  ChessHigherCat: --<The Rocket> maybe white wants to play Be3 Bxe3 fxe to prepare for d4 without having to worry about black playing Ng4. Is that Aronneus in your view?
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