Sunday, February 17, 2008


Anand, Vishwanathan - Aronian, Levon

Morelia Linares 2008
Round 2


Yesterday Aronian faced a dangerous opponent and suffered a heavy loss. After such bitter start he is to have second Black pieces in a row - this time against the World champion Anand who is in excellent form lately. Would Levon who has already proved himself as a great tournament fighter be able to begin a comeback? The Indian is a provisional leader and sure will try to make good use of his White pieces. This result of this game may be very important to the tournament aspirations of both GMs so a tense battle is to be expected.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.Re1 Bd6 13.g3 Re8 The opening is Ruy Lopez, Marshall.

14.d4 Rxe1+ 15.Qxe1 Ra7 16.Be3 Re7 Aronian constantly chooses the Marshall variation.This predictability seems to facilitate the preparation of his opponents but he is well versed in these lines. Anand have never won against him in Ruy Lopez.

17.Nd2 Qe8 18.Nf1 Though 13...Re8 is not as fashionable as 13...Bf5 or 13...Qd7, Anand does not seem surprised and plays rapidly on,

18... h5 After this logical move (Black pieces are well placed so the kingside fortifications are to be shattered) Anand began thinking over the position for a long period of time.

19.a4 Be6 All this seems to still follow Aronian's home preparation. Nxe3 is threatening and 20.Bd2 may be answered by 20...c5.

20.Bd1 (20.Bd2 c5 21.axb5 Qxb5) Evacuating the Bishop, Anand consolidates the kingside light squares at the same time.

20... h4 21.axb5 axb5 22.Bf3 Bh3 Keeping the 'h' pawns is the correct decision. (22... hxg3 23.hxg3 Bh3 24.Bxd5 cxd5 25.Qe2) is threatening Qh5.

23.Bxd5 cxd5 24.Qd1 (24.Qe2 Re4) It seems that White managed to consolidate his position. Black cannot recapture his pawn back: (24.Qd1 hxg3 25.hxg3 Bxf1 26.Kxf1 Bxg3 27.Qf3) Anand's plan is simple - Bd2, Qf3 and Bf4 to exchange the dark squared Bishops. Additionally his Rook is very strong on the 'a' file. Nice tactical trick awaits Black in the line (24.Qd1 f6 25.Bd2 Re2 26.Ra8)

24... f5 Aronian understands the necessity to find some counterplay though in the line (24... f5 25.Qb3 Qf7 26.Bg5 Re4 27.Bxh4 f4 28.Qd1) it costs him second pawn.

25.Bg5 Re4 (25... hxg3 26.hxg3 Re2 27.Ra8 Qxa8 28.Qxe2 Qa1 29.Qe8+ Bf8 30.Qxb5)

26.Bxh4 Qg6 Serious attention deserved 26...Kh7. Now the White Bishop comes back in play.

27.Bd8 f4 (27... Re8 28.Bb6 f4 29.Bc5 Bc7)

28.Qd3 Qh5 After 29.Bb6 Qe2 30.Qxe2 Rxe2 Black has compensation for the missing pawns.

29.Nd2 Re2 (29... Re2 30.Bh4 (30.Nf3 Re3) 30... Rxd2 31.Ra8+ Bf8 32.Qxd2 Qf3 33.Rxf8+ Kh7) and there is no perpetual. P.S. During live comment I thought White may still draw.

30.Nf3 Re3 Incredible blunder by Anand.

31.fxe3 Qxf3 32.Qc2 fxg3 33.hxg3 Qxg3+ 34.Kh1 Bf5 White resigns. Anand was still under the impression that should look for advantage in this position and as a sequence of his earlier imprecisions - 25.Ng5, 29.Nd2? - came the decisive one - 30.Nf3 Aronian creatively maintained initiative, did not hesitate to sacrifice second pawn and finally tricked his opponent, thus fully restoring his chances in the tournament.


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