Anand,V (2791) - Aronian,L (2750) [D47]
XXVI SuperGM Linares ESP (2), 20.02.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Qc2 Bb7 11.a3 [11.Ng5]
11...a6 12.Ng5. A positional pawn sacrifice, which has been played before with the pawns on a2/a7 (without the inclusion of moves 11.a3 a6).
12...Bxh2+. The merit of inclusion a3/a6 can be seen in the following variation. In case of 12...h6 13.Nge4 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Be7 White can use the pawn on a3 by continuing 15.b4 with an edge.
13.Kxh2 Ng4+ 14.Kg1 Qxg5 15.f3 Ngf6 16.e4 Qh4 17.Be3
For the sacrificed pawn White has a strong pawn center and the bishop pair. Besides, Black has problems with the coordination of his pieces. 17...e5 18.Ne2 Nh5 19.Qd2. Threatening to catch the black queen with 20.Bg5. 19...h6 20.Rfd1 Rae8 21.Bc2 Re6!? Very brave play from Aronian, who is not willing to defend a passive position and instead wants to create an attack on the kingside. Perhaps already here the Armenian foresaw the following piece sacrifice. 22.Bf2 Qe7 23.g4! The World Champion shouldn't be asked twice. Anand simply follows the strongest plan for White: g4 followed by Ng3-f5, increasing the space advantage on the kingside without being afraid of possible weaknesses, since Black's attacking potential is insufficient. 23...Rg6 24.Kf1 Nhf6 25.Ng3
25...Nxg4. A wise practical decision from Aronian. Objectively it doesn't change the evaluation: White will have a clear advantage after it, but suddenly Anand will have to solve defensive problems as well. [25...Qe6 26.Nf5 White gets what he wants: an easy play with great compensation for the pawn.
26.fxg4 Qh4. Weaker is 26...Rxg4 27.Nf5 Qf6 28.Qc3 Re8 29.Qf3 Rf4 30.Qg3 with large advantage for White.
27.Nf5 Qxg4 28.Qc3. In spite of the fact that after 28.Ne7+ Kh7 29.Nxg6 fxg6 White remains with a rook up, the remaining black rook comfortably enters the game without having to make any moves.
28...Re8 29.Qg3. Anand would be happy to exchange queens and thus completely neutralize opponent's threats against white king. Aronian obviously tries to avoid it.
29...Qh5 30.Qh4 Qf3 31.Rd3 Qg2+ 32.Ke2 exd4
33.Rg3?? The desire to exchange queens as quick as possible backfires. White has sufficient defensive resources and shouldn't have worried so much about his king on e2. After 33.Rxd4 Anand would have kept a large advantage, since White will start soon to create his own threats against black king. Besides, the queen on g2 is exposed and Black will have to exchange queens himself, which would lead to a very difficult endgame for him. In case of 33...Ne5 34.Rd8 Qf3+ 35.Ke1 Rxd8 (or 35...Rge6 36.Nd4) 36.Qxd8+ Kh7 37.Ne7 Qh1+ 38.Kd2 Nc4+ 39.Kc3 Qh3+ 40.Bd3 it is Black who gets mated. 33...Rxg3 34.Qxg3? 34.Nxg3 was called for, but Anand misses Black's answer. 34...Rxe4+!
35.Kd2 Rg4! 36.Qxg2 Rxg2 37.Ke2 c5. Five pawns are just too much for the bishop. Black is completely winning.
38.Rg1 Ne5 39.Rxg2 Bxg2 40.Kd2 h5 41.b4 Nc4+ 42.Kc1 Nxa3 43.Bd1 cxb4 44.Bxh5 g6 45.Ne7+ Kf8 46.Nxg6+ fxg6 47.Bxg6 Ke7 48.Bxd4 Kd6 49.Bd3 Nc4 50.Bg7 a5 51.Be2 Be4 52.Bf6 a4 53.Bg7 Kd5 0-1.