Levon Is Back!

Время публикации: 27.08.2015 18:21 | Последнее обновление: 28.08.2015 00:28

St Louis: Aronian demolishes So with the help of Leko's novelty, catching up with the leader

In the fourth round of the Sinquefield Cup, Veselin Topalov was Black again, this time against Alexander Grischuk. According to the Bulgarian GM, he was surprised by his opponent's choice in the Sicilian, that's why he opted for 8...е5 during the game, hoping to avoid Grischuk's preparation and make the game more positional. White obtained certain advantage soon, but Grischuk's decision to regain the pawn on move 19 was a mistake, as the position got equalised quickly. A few more moves later, it turned into a dead-drawn opposite-coloured bishops ending, where the peace treaty was signed immediately.

Anish Giri, who was White against Magnus Carlsen, played in a very solid manner and eventually drew the game from a position of strength. The  Caruana - Anand and Vachier-Lagrave - Nakamura encounters had the same outcome.

Overall, the round would be rather pacific if it weren't for one game that blew it up: Levon Aronian crushed Wesley So with Black.

Wesley SO - Levon ARONIAN
St Louis 2015, round 4

Nimzo-Indian Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 c5 5.d5 0-0 6.e4 d6 7.Nge2 a6 8.a4

8...Ba5!? (from here on, we use quotes from Aronian's post-game conversation with GM Maurice Ashley, one of the several official live commentators for the event - CN). Aronian: "I played the novelty of my friend, Peter Leko. I don't think he played it ever, but he showed it to me. I think Peter would be upset if I didn't take advantage of my preparation..."
It should be noted that the diagram position can't be found in the databases either, as Black's idea has started from his rare previous move 7...а6. White, in turn, wasn't obliged at all to meet it by 8.а4, which might be the primary cause of his troubles: as the game shows, Black plays b7-b5 anyway, while a tempo has been lost.
9.Bd2?! One had better consult Leko and Aronian, but this move looks far from optimal too. White should have taken care about development of his kingside: 9.Ng3. After it, 9...b5 isn't as dangerous as it seems: 10.Be2 bxc4 (10...b4?! 11.Nb1 is only in White's favour) 12.0-0, although White can hardly think of any advantage.
9...exd5 10.cxd5 Nh5! 11.g3 Nd7 12.Bg2 b5

13.g4 A very risky decision, but it's clear why Wesley didn't want to play simply 13.0-0?! - after 13...b4 14.Nb1 Bb6 Black is going to make use of White's awkward setup Nb1+Bd2 by a6-a5, Bc8-a6 with strong initiative. Another unsuccessful attempt would be 13.axb5 axb5 14.Nxb5? Bxd2+ 15.Kxd2 Ba6 16.Nec3 Bxb5 17.Nxb5 Qb6. However, an idea of combining both the lines is quite logical: 13.axb5 axb5 14.0-0. Now if 14...b4 then 15.Na4 Ba6 16.b3 intending 17.Nb2, while 14...Ba6 could be met by 15.g4 Nhf6 16.Ng3; Black has excellent play at the very least, but all the fight lies ahead.
13...b4 14.Nb1? According to Aronian, this is too provocative, although he would be happy with the course of the game as well after 14.gxh5 bxc3 15.bxc3 Qh4+.
14...Qh4+ 15.Kf1 Ne5! 16.Be1? It's hard to find the best defensive moves in a battered position like this. 16.gxh5 f5 17.Be1 could have continued the resistance.
16...Qf6 17.gxh5 Nxf3 18.Bf2

18...Bg4 The machine likes 18...Qxb2! much more. However, Aronian was trying to pressurize his opponent not only in pure chess terms, but also  psychologically, making moves very quickly, as he is used to when in his best form. "You can't calculate everything with Black here; you just believe it!", explained Levon.
19.Qc1?! Yet another dubious decision but the best 19.Nd2 Nd4 20.e5! Qxe5 21.Bxd4 cxd4 isn't very promising either.
19...Nd4! (more natural is 19...Ne5 but Aronian had his own insight) 20.Nxd4 cxd4 21.e5 dxe5 22.Nd2 Rac8 23.Qb1

23...b3! 24.Nxb3 Bb6 25.a5 Ba7 Even though Levon saw the spectacular 25...Rc2, he played the text move instantly, as he wasn't sure if the convertion after 26.Qxc2 d3 27.axb6 dxc2 would be an easy task: "I saw that I could push the pawns; after you see Bf5 and e5-e4 coming, you won't even think of the queen!"
26.Kg1 Bf5 27.Be4 (27.Qe1 e4 isn't of much help) 27...Qg5+ (27...d3 wins as well) 28.Kf1

28...Qf4! A brilliant finale. If 29.Bxf5 then 29...d3 30.Qe1 Rc2 and White is helpless, so he resigned. 0-1

"Levon is back!", summed up Maurice Ashley.

After the conversation with Ashley had finished, another host of the broadcast, GM Yasser Seirawan, asked the winner: "You told us that you've been studying Petrosian's games. Very nice! We were expecting some exchange sacrifices, nice strategical play, etc. But then you play... like Tal. How is it?" Apparently, Yasser was also having in mind Aronian's spectacular attack against Caruana from round 1.

"I guess I didn't study it too well", the hero of the day said jokingly. "But, generally, I study many, many players. I'd say that today I played in style of Stein, Leonid Stein - which is just to... go for it!", added Levon with an expressive gesture.

After 4 rounds, Aronian and Topalov are on 3 points, Carlsen and Giri are half a point behind.
The crosstable, schedule, results, all games, previous reports, etc.

[Event "3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.08.26"] [Round "4.3"] [White "So, Wesley"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2779"] [BlackElo "2765"] [ECO "E20"] [Opening "Nimzo-Indian"] [Variation "Kmoch variation"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 O-O 6. e4 d6 7. Ne2 a6 8. a4 Ba5 9. Bd2 exd5 10. cxd5 Nh5 11. g3 Nd7 12. Bg2 b5 13. g4 b4 14. Nb1 Qh4+ 15. Kf1 Ne5 16. Be1 Qf6 17. gxh5 Nxf3 18. Bf2 Bg4 19. Qc1 Nd4 20. Nxd4 cxd4 21. e5 dxe5 22. Nd2 Rac8 23. Qb1 b3 24. Nxb3 Bb6 25. a5 Ba7 26. Kg1 Bf5 27. Be4 Qg5+ 28. Kf1 Qf4 0-1[Event "3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.08.26"] [Round "4.1"] [White "Grischuk, Alexander"] [Black "Topalov, Veselin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2771"] [BlackElo "2816"] [ECO "B90"] [Opening "Sicilian"] [Variation "Najdorf"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bc1 Nf6 8. f3 e5 9. Nb3 Be6 10. Be3 h5 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12. exd5 Nbd7 13. Qd2 g6 14. O-O-O Nb6 15. Kb1 Nbxd5 16. Bg5 Be7 17. Na5 Rb8 18. Bc4 Nb6 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Qxd6 Qxd6 21. Rxd6 Bd8 22. Rd3 Bc7 23. Bb3 Ke7 24. Rhd1 Rhd8 25. Rxd8 Bxd8 26. Nc4 Nxc4 27. Bxc4 Bb6 28. c3 Rd8 29. Rxd8 Bxd8 30. Kc2 Bc7 31. Bd5 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.08.26"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2793"] [BlackElo "2853"] [ECO "B33"] [Opening "Sicilian"] [Variation "Pelikan, Chelyabinsk variation"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Ne7 12. Nc2 Nxd5 13. Qxd5 Rb8 14. Nb4 Bb7 15. Qd3 O-O 16. Be2 a5 17. Nd5 b4 18. O-O bxc3 19. bxc3 Bg5 20. Rab1 Qd7 21. Rb3 Bc6 22. Rfb1 Rxb3 23. Rxb3 g6 24. Rb6 Rc8 25. h3 Bxd5 26. Qxd5 Rxc3 27. Rxd6 Qe7 28. Bd1 Rc7 29. g3 Kg7 30. Ba4 Bc1 31. Rc6 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.08.26"] [Round "4.4"] [White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"] [Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2731"] [BlackElo "2814"] [ECO "E81"] [Opening "King's Indian"] [Variation "Saemisch, 5...O-O"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Nge2 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Ng3 exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 h5 11. Be2 Nbd7 12. O-O h4 13. Nh1 Nh5 14. Be3 f5 15. f4 Qe8 16. Bxh5 gxh5 17. e5 dxe5 18. d6 exf4 19. Bxf4 Nf6 20. Nf2 Bd7 21. Nd3 h3 22. Ne5 hxg2 23. Re1 Be6 24. Qf3 Ne4 25. Rad1 Bxe5 26. Bxe5 Qg6 27. Qxg2 Qxg2+ 28. Kxg2 Bd7 29. Rg1 Kf7 30. Kf3 Rg8 31. Nxe4 fxe4+ 32. Kxe4 Ke6 33. Bf4 Bxa4 34. Rde1 h4 35. Rxg8 Rxg8 36. Kf3+ Kf6 37. Re5 Bc6+ 38. Ke3 Re8 39. Rxe8 Bxe8 40. d7 Bxd7 41. Bd6 c4 42. Kd4 b5 43. Kc3 Ke6 44. Bc7 Kd5 45. Bd8 h3 46. b4 cxb3 47. Kxb3 Kc5 48. Be7+ Kb6 49. Bd8+ Kc5 50. Be7+ Kb6 51. Bd8+ 1/2-1/2 [Event "3rd Sinquefield Cup 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.08.26"] [Round "4.5"] [White "Caruana, Fabiano"] [Black "Anand, Viswanathan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2808"] [BlackElo "2816"] [ECO "D43"] [Opening "QGD semi-Slav"] [EventDate "2015.08.23"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. e4 Qd8 11. Re1 c5 12. exd5 cxd4 13. dxe6 Bxe6 14. Ne2 Qd6 15. Qd2 Nc6 16. Nf4 Bg4 17. Be4 Bxf3 18. Bxf3 Ne5 19. Bd5 Rac8 20. b3 b5 21. Rac1 bxc4 22. bxc4 Rc7 23. Nd3 Nxd3 24. Qxd3 Kh7 25. g3 Bf6 26. Rb1 Kg7 27. Rb5 Rfc8 28. Reb1 Rc5 29. a4 Rxb5 30. axb5 Rc7 31. Qb3 Qe5 32. Qf3 Bg5 33. c5 Rd7 34. b6 axb6 35. cxb6 Rxd5 36. Qxd5 Qxd5 37. b7 d3 38. b8=Q d2 39. Rd1 Qf3 40. Qb2+ Kh7 41. Qc2 Be3 42. fxe3 Qxe3+ 1/2-1/2 

Round 5 will start today at 21.00 Moscow time, as usual.


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