Aronian Prevails

Время публикации: 02.05.2013 00:17 | Последнее обновление: 02.05.2013 00:40

The winner of the Alekhine Memorial was determined on tie break

Before the final playing day of the Alekhine Memorial, Boris Gelfand outpaced four rivals by a half point. In his game against Viswanathan Anand the Israeli Grandmaster went for a fairly calm play in one of the variations of the Slav Defense, that occurred in their World Championship match as well. White failed to develop the minimal advantage further and Anand confidently drew, once again.

Given the tie break index, two players could possibly outrun Gelfand in case of a win- Aronian and Adams. Alexey Dreev comments on how the Armenian Grandmaster managed to accomplish this task.


"The players landed in a well-known Gruenfeld Defense. Aronian chose the move 16.f5, the main continuation being 16.d6.
16...Bxf5 17.Rxb7 Qf6 More often in top level chess is played 17...Qd6.
18.Rf3 Qe5 Perhaps, it was worth reconsidering to place the queen on d6. I guess that practice will soon prove how relevant the deviation from this move is. The given game showed that Black came out of the opening with several difficulties.
19.Bc4 Bc8 Another alternative was 19...Rfb8, but here White has the following idea: 20.Rxb8+ Rxb8 21.d6, which would have been impossible with the queen on d6. Hereafter, for example, after 21...Rd8 White has 22.Re3! Qf6 (impossible is 22...Qd6 because of 23.Re8) 23.Re7. The pawn on d6 endures, with the capture on f7 hanging. White has an advantage. 
20.Rb3 Bc7 It was probably more preferable to get the bishop back on f5.

21.Qh6! Qe1+ 22.Rf1 Qe4 23.Bg5 Be5 24.Qh4 Qxh4 25.Bxh4 The endgame is not too pleasing for Black.
25...Bd6 26.Rf6! Be5 26...Be7? 27.Rxg6 hxg6 28.Bxe7 with a suppressing advantage.
27.Rc6 Bd7 28.Ra6 White exerts pressure, but the position is totally futile.

28...Rfb8? Black has to fight the progression of the white central pawn, which is why the most appropriate choice would have been 28...Rfe8. In this case, after 29.d6 Black replies with 29...Be6. I can only suppose that Vachier-Lagrave did not see the following continuation: 30.Bxe6 Rxe6 31.Be7 Bxd6! 32.Bxd6 Rd8, and Black solves all of his problems. Of course, White do not have to hurry with the progression of the d pawn and play, for instance, 29.Bf2 instead. 
29.Rxb8+? Surprisingly, Aronian did not use the chance to promote the pawn on d6, that leaves him a great advantage.
29...Rxb8 30.Rxa7 Bxc3! This is precisely the trick that Levon has missed in his calculations. Yet, it is not clear why Levon was nowise alerted by such an odd 28th move of his French opponent -  he could in no way have played it without any hidden plan in mind.
31.Rxd7 Rb4 32.d6 Rxc4 33.Be7 The position is equal. Feasibly, in these very moments Gelfand experienced the same as Kramnik when watching the game Radjabov - Carlsen during the last round of the Candidates' Match. Although, of course, it is futile to compare the intensity of the two situations...  
33...Kg7?! It is not a mistake yet, but Black incurs heightened obligations on himself with this move. Equality could be easily kept after 33...f6 followed by 33...Kf7.

34...Rd4?? Vachier-Lagrave is a good blitz player and there are no doubts that he would have found the correct and only defense 34...Re4 within a couple of seconds in a blitz game. Not dreadful for Black is 35.d7 Rxe7 36.d8Q Rxa7, but the position can be easily held in other variations. However, time trouble in a classic game is completely different and one has to be able to readjust for playing in haste. Maxime, as it seems, could not do so. Otherwise, it is hard to find any other explanation for his error.  

35.d7 Rd1+ 36.Kf2 c4 37.g3 Rd2+ 38.Kf3 Rd3+ 39.Kg2 Rd2+ 40.Kh3 Bf6 41.d8Q As a matter of fact, Black simply allowed the promotion of the d pawn without any particular resistance."

41...Rxd8 42.Bxd8 Bxd8 1-0

By the time this game was coming to its end, Michael Adams was already dreaming about his draw with Vladimir Kramnik. Consequently, it was clear that, if nothing unpredictable would happen, Aronian was to take the first place. Ultimately, Kramnik managed to win ("It is hard to focus after seven hours of playing", as he acknowledged later at the press conference) and shared place 4-8 with five other participants, who all have scored 4.5 out of 9.

Table, schedule, results, games and other information

All the games of the final round.

[Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.05.01"] [Round "9"] [White "Aronian,L"] [Black "Vachier Lagrave,M"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2722"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] [ECO "D85"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 Nc6 10. d5 Ne5 11. Nxe5 Bxe5 12. Qd2 e6 13. f4 Bc7 14. O-O exd5 15. exd5 Ba5 16. f5 Bxf5 17. Rxb7 Qf6 18. Rf3 Qe5 19. Bc4 Bc8 20. Rb3 Bc7 21. Qh6 Qe1+ 22. Rf1 Qe4 23. Bg5 Be5 24. Qh4 Qxh4 25. Bxh4 Bd6 26. Rf6 Be5 27. Rc6 Bd7 28. Ra6 Rfb8 29. Rxb8+ Rxb8 30. Rxa7 Bxc3 31. Rxd7 Rb4 32. d6 Rxc4 33. Be7 Kg7 34. Ra7 Rd4 35. d7 Rd1+ 36. Kf2 c4 37. g3 Rd2+ 38. Kf3 Rd3+ 39. Kg2 Rd2+ 40. Kh3 Bf6 41. d8=Q Rxd8 42. Bxd8 Bxd8 1-0 [Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.05.01"] [Round "9"] [White "Gelfand,B"] [Black "Anand,V"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2739"] [BlackElo "2783"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] [ECO "D45"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O e5 9. cxd5 cxd5 10. e4 exd4 11. Nxd5 Nxd5 12. exd5 h6 13. Nxd4 Qh4 14. Nf3 Qh5 15. Bh7+ Kh8 16. Qf5 Qxf5 17. Bxf5 Nf6 18. Bxc8 Rfxc8 19. Rd1 Rd8 20. Be3 Bf8 21. d6 Rxd6 22. Rxd6 Bxd6 23. Bd4 Ne8 24. Rc1 Kg8 25. Kf1 Nc7 26. Rd1 Ne8 27. Be3 a6 28. Nh4 Be5 29. b3 Nf6 30. Nf5 Re8 31. Bd4 g6 32. Nd6 Bxd6 33. Bxf6 Re6 34. Bc3 f5 35. h3 h5 36. Re1 Kf7 37. Rxe6 Kxe6 38. Ke2 Kd5 39. Kd3 b5 40. f3 Bg3 1/2-1/2 [Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.05.01"] [Round "9"] [White "Adams,Mi"] [Black "Kramnik,V"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2727"] [BlackElo "2801"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] [ECO "C65"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Nbd2 d6 6. O-O O-O 7. Bxc6 bxc6 8. h3 h6 9. Re1 Re8 10. Nf1 d5 11. exd5 Qxd5 12. Be3 Bf8 13. Bd2 e4 14. dxe4 Nxe4 15. Ng3 Bb7 16. Bf4 Nd6 17. b3 c5 18. Qxd5 Bxd5 19. c4 Bxf3 20. gxf3 a5 21. Rxe8 Nxe8 22. a4 Rb8 23. Re1 Nd6 24. Re3 g5 25. Be5 Kh7 26. Rd3 Kg6 27. Ne4 Ne8 28. Kg2 f6 29. Bb2 f5 30. Ng3 Bd6 31. Kf1 h5 32. Kg2 h4 33. Nf1 Nf6 34. Bxf6 Kxf6 35. Ne3 Ke6 36. Nd5 f4 37. Kf1 Be5 38. Ke2 c6 39. Nc3 Rxb3 40. Ne4 Rb4 41. Nxc5+ Kf5 42. Rd8 Rxc4 43. Rf8+ Kg6 44. Ne4 Rxa4 45. Rg8+ Bg7 46. Rc8 Rc4 47. Kd3 Rc1 48. Kd2 Rc4 49. Kd3 Rc1 50. Kd2 Bb2 51. Ra8 Ra1 52. Ra6 a4 53. Rxc6+ Kh5 54. Nd6 Bf6 55. Nf5 Kg6 56. Nd6 Be5 57. Nc4+ Bf6 58. Nd6 Ra2+ 59. Kc1 Be5 60. Nc4+ Bf6 61. Nd6 Bh8 62. Ra6 a3 63. Kd1 Bb2 64. Kc2 Bf6+ 65. Kd1 Rxf2 66. Rxa3 Rh2 67. Ra6 Rxh3 68. Ne4 Rxf3 69. Rxf6+ Kh5 70. Rf5 Rd3+ 71. Kc2 Rg3 72. Rf8 h3 73. Rh8+ Kg4 74. Nf2+ Kf3 75. Nxh3 Kg2 0-1 [Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.05.01"] [Round "9"] [White "Vitiugov,N"] [Black "Ding Liren"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2712"] [BlackElo "2707"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] [ECO "E81"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 c5 7. dxc5 dxc5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bxc5 Nc6 10. Nge2 b6 11. Ba3 Bb7 12. Nd5 e6 13. Ne7+ Nxe7 14. Bxe7 Rdc8 15. Rc1 Nd7 16. b3 a6 17. Rd1 Ne5 18. Nc1 Nc6 19. Bg5 Nb4 20. Kf2 b5 21. Bd2 a5 22. cxb5 Rc2 23. Be2 f5 24. a3 Na2 25. Nxa2 Rxa2 26. exf5 gxf5 27. Bf4 a4 28. bxa4 Rxa4 29. Rd8+ Kf7 30. Rd7+ Kg6 31. Rxb7 Rxf4 32. Rd1 Rc4 33. Re7 Kf6 34. Rdd7 Rcc2 35. Rf7+ Ke5 36. Rxg7 Rxe2+ 37. Kf1 Reb2 38. Rd1 Kf6 39. Rg8 Rxb5 40. Re1 Rbb2 1/2-1/2 [Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.05.01"] [Round "9"] [White "Svidler,P"] [Black "Fressinet,L"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2747"] [BlackElo "2706"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] [ECO "C65"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O Re8 7. Qe2 a6 8. Ba4 Bf8 9. Rd1 b5 10. Bc2 Bb7 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 d6 13. a4 Nb8 14. Na3 c6 15. d4 exd4 16. cxd4 Nbd7 17. e5 Qc7 18. Bg3 c5 19. axb5 cxd4 20. exd6 Bxd6 21. Qc4 Bxg3 22. hxg3 Qxc4 23. Nxc4 Bxf3 24. gxf3 axb5 25. Nd6 Rxa1 26. Rxa1 Re2 27. Ra8+ Nf8 28. Rc8 d3 29. Bxd3 Rd2 30. Nf5 Rxd3 31. Ne7+ Kh7 32. Rxf8 Rxf3 33. Rxf7 Rb3 34. Nc6 Rxb2 35. Nd4 Kg8 36. Rb7 Ne4 37. Rxb5 Rxb5 38. Nxb5 Kf7 39. Kg2 Nf6 40. Nd4 g6 1/2-1/2 


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