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Vasyl Ivanchuk vs Levon Aronian
Morelia-Linares (2008), Morelia MEX, rd 4, Feb-19
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  0-1



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Feb-20-08  notyetagm: Position after 36 ♕f5-f4

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This game, Ivanchuk vs Aronian, 2008, is my new teaching example for my tactical lesson <IF YOU LINE UP YOUR PIECES, THE REASON WHY SIMPLY DOES NOT MATTER>.

Here Ivanchuk has just played 36 ♕f5-f4, in order to <DEFEND> his White a4-bishop. However, he has also just <LINED UP> his f4-queen with his a4-bishop along the 4th rank, which is not a good alignment because the White a4-bishop cannot move along the line on which it is lined up.

In fact, I have a special term for this type of White a4-bishop + White f4-queen alignment: <BAD ALIGNMENT>. <BAD ALIGNMENTS> are rooks lined up with something on diagonals, bishops lined up with something on ranks or files, and knights lined up with something on ranks, files, or diagonals. These pieces are just waiting to be -victimized- by the alignment because they cannot move along the line of the alignment and hence do not control squares along it.

Why are such <ALIGNMENTS BAD>? See the game continuation here. After 36 ... ♖d8-c8 37 ♖g5-g3??, Aronian (Black) struck with the simple tactic 37 ... ♖c8-c4, <FORKING> the White a4-bishop and f4-queen that White -conveniently- lined up for Black.

Position after 36 ... ♖d8-c8 37 ♖g5-g3?? ♖c8-c4 <rook fork>

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<Again, the reason why the White a4-bishop is lined up with the White f4-queen for the <ROOK FORK> 37 ... ♖c8-c4 does not matter. <IF YOU LINE UP YOUR PIECES, THEN THE REASON WHY SIMPLY DOES NOT MATTER!> Aronian just thanks Chucky for lining up his f4-queen and a4-bishop along the 4th rank, <FORKS> them with 37 ... ♖c8-c4, and wins a piece.>


Feb-20-08  Ulhumbrus: 11 Qxd4 brings the Queen out early. An alternative to 11 Qxd4 is the pawn sacrifice 11 c3 dxc3 12 Nxc3 when White may have enough compensation for the pawn.

11...Bb7 threatens the Noah Ark's trap ...c5 and ..c4 . This induces 12 c4, but on 12..bxc4 13 Qxc4 moves the Queen again, and 13...d5 attacks her. 14 exd6 moves the e pawn a third time to exchange itself for a d pawn moves only once. That makes a loss of two tempoi for development. The recapture 14...Nxd6 develops the withdrawn N on e8, whereupon the White Queen has to move again.

16...Nxc3 moves the N a fourth time to exchange itself for a N moves once, and that makes a loss of three tempi, although White's reply 17 bxc3 does not get a piece out and it does break White's Queen side pawn structure. Because of the consequences of this loss of time, the manoeuvre 15...Nb5? looks like a mistake

After 20...Ra8=d8 White has a lead in development and it is White to move. Can White make this asset count? Black has a weak d pawn, but White has as well a weak c pawn. If White doubles his Rooks on the d file, the rear Rook may defend the c3 pawn from d3. 21 Re3 invites 21...Rfe8 and on 2 Re3-d3 the Rook is tied to the defence of the c3 pawn. This suggests 21 Rd4 obstructing the attack by Black's Q on the pawn on c3. On 21...Rfe8 22 Re1-d1 White has the better of it.

In the event Ivanchuk wins a pawn and on 28...f5 Black's King side is exposed in addition to the loss of a pawn, but White's Rook is out of play unless he can threaten the g6 pawn. If not, an alternative to 27 Qf4 is 27 Qd4 keeping Black's B out of d5

33 Bxa4 takes time off the attack to capture the a pawn and removes the bishop from the attack as well. 33 Qf6, 33 h5 and 33 Rxg6+ all seem more consistent. On 33 Rxg6+ hxg6 34 Qxg6+ Kf8 35 Qf6+ White has a draw at least, but he may want more. On 33 Qf6 Bf7 defends the g6 pawn again and gets ready for ..Qd6 attacking the Q oon f6. That leaves 33 h5 threatening hxg6 and it does look promising. It may win. Ivanchuk may have overlooked something when offering the bishop, it could be a mistake made in time pressure.

It may be that Ivanchuk's main mistake was 33 Bxa4, losing time towards the attack, instead of continuing the attack by 33 h5.

Feb-20-08  ahmadov: <It's just that you typically need to catch a break or two to win a tournament. Carlsen got a full(!) point against Van Wely when he should have received a zero. So intead of finishing =3rd, Carlsen finished =1st, big difference, all because of the Van Wely game.> Computers was showing huge advantage for van Wely ( 5.50 or so) before his blunder but they started evaluating the position as 7.00 after van Wely's mistake... What else would you call it other than a pure luck :-)

Anyway, I think the fact that this kind of things happen in modern chess is something good because nerves also matter...

Feb-20-08  Microdot: A lucky victory for Aronian,
In my opinion Ivanchuk is a better player than Aronian, what apity
Feb-20-08  percyblakeney: Wow, amazing, Ivanchuk looked certain to win when I left the game, and as Eyal says, 30. Qxf5 and it would have been over immediately.

It's maybe harsh on Carlsen to point out the van Wely game in Corus, and not those against Leko, Aronian and Anand where he was "unlucky". But the van Wely game was maybe a bit more extreme, and this was maybe even more so, since the position was much simpler and the player that blundered away the win and lost was an Ivanchuk in rather good form.

Feb-20-08  nuwanda: hi <notyetagm>, in my eyes your assessment of Carlsen's luck and bad luck at Corus is a bit strange.

No doubt about the Van Wely game, but in the Mamedyarov game he had a very good position with excelcent winning chances, you cannot simply count it as a draw.

And you totally forgot the Leko game, where he missed in time trouble a relatively easy to see drawing move and lost.

So in my eyes it is more that he took 2/3, where 1,5/3 was normal.

Feb-20-08  jamesmaskell: I fall for the fork tactic all the time. Difference is that his rating is around 2000 above mine...
Feb-20-08  ahmadov: <jamesmaskell: Difference is that his rating is around 2000 above mine...> That is not a big difference, no? :-)
Feb-20-08  jamesmaskell: Its the difference between viewing these games and making them!
Feb-20-08  Eyal: A special pity for Ivanchuk, since until move 30 (where he missed an immediate win with Qxf5) and then of course move 37 (where he blundered a piece) he played some very good chess. In this game, as in the one against Leko from round 2, he demonstrates the potential of the 8.d4 Anti-Marshall line. Up to move 20 the game follows Carlsen vs Leko, 2007 which continued 21.Re3 Rfe8. <21.Qb4> is a definite improvement for White since it prevents Black from playing Rfe8, leading to an exchange of rooks, and puts more pressure on his position, resulting in the win of a pawn by move 25. 28...f5?? is a tactical blunder by Aronian - the only move that should have enabled him to continue the game without losing immediately was 28...Qe8(!), and in case of 29.Re5 Qb8(!) Black is saved because of the double pin (along the b-file and the b8-h2 diagonal).
Feb-20-08  hovik2003: Aronian is great fighter and in close fights anything happens, Aronian is improving very much and I really like that, in this game blundered first and did'nt lose his nerves and fought back bravely, after this game I believe nobody could stop Aronian from winning this tournament.

Congrat to Levon for his chess quality and super fighting spirit, that is exactly what Armenians need with so many enemies around us.

Feb-20-08  arnaud1959: I don't understand why we despise luck so much. Anand himself said at least once that the luckiest would win. Yes Aronian was lucky aginst Chucky as well as Carlsen against Van Wely and we can go on: Kramnik was lucky when Topalov didn't accept the move repetition and lost. Kasparov was lucky when he had to win the last game against Karpov and he just won because his opponent didn't find the best moves in time trouble, Botvinnik was lucky in his match against Bronstein and Lasker against Schlechter...... Should I go on?
Feb-20-08  ahmadov: <hovik2003><that is exactly what Armenians need with so many enemies around us.> You must be feeling paraoid... Come on, this is just a chess web site...
Feb-20-08  Eyal: Compared with Van Wely vs Carlsen, 2008, which people keep mentioning in the context of this game, I'd say Aronian was even "luckier" than Carlsen - in the sense that Ivanchuk's blunders were more horrible than Van Wely's... 30.Qxf5 as an immediately decisive move was easier to spot than Qe7 or Rh8+ which VW missed when he played 39.Qe3?; and 37.Rg3 as the decisive mistake was a more obvious blunder than VW's 41.Qf2. Moreover, VW lost almost all winning chances after his first slip on move 39, whereas Ivanchuk retained very high winning chances, being 2 solid pawns up, even after his first slip on move 30.
Feb-20-08  ahmadov: Here is another game in which Chucky blunders very badly

Nisipeanu vs Ivanchuk, 1999

Feb-20-08  Ezzy: GM Ivanchuk,Vassily(UKR) (2751) - GM Aronian,Levon(ARM) (2739) [C88] Morelia/Linares Linares, Mexico (4), 20.02.2008 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.d4 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 <A change from the 9 Bxf2+ he played against Leko in round 2. Why change a winning formula?> 9...exd4 10.e5 Ne8 11.Qxd4 Bb7 12.c4 bxc4 13.Qxc4 d5 14.exd6 Nxd6 15.Qg4 Nb5 16.Nc3 Nxc3 17.bxc3 Bd6 18.Bf4 Qf6 19.Bxd6 cxd6 20.Rad1 Rad8 21.Qb4 <Novelty. Carlsen v Leko 1/2–1/2 Dortmund 2007 went 21 Re3 >21...Ba8 22.Re3 g6 <Not sure this is necessary. Looks quite ugly. But not to worry, there are many more serious ugly things to come..> 23.Qb6 Qg5 <Going for the quick win :-) Perhaps Ivanchuk should have allowed the mate in 1 here. It would have stopped the pain and suffering he received later in the game.> 24.Rg3 Qb5 25.Rxd6 Rxd6 26.Qxd6 a5 <Already a pawn down. For what?> 27.Qf4 Bd5 28.Rg5 f5??< Dear oh dear. Let the blunderfest begin.> 29.Qe5 Rd8 30.h4?? <Dear oh dear. A few commentators have been saying that the players have been looking really relaxed here in Mexico. It seems too relaxed! Too much sun and sangria I suspect. [30.Qxf5 Bxb3 31.Qxb5 Rd1+ 32.Qf1 Rxf1+ 33.Kxf1 Bxa2 Winning]>30...a4 31.Bc2< Threatening all sorts of nasty things. 32 h5 32 Bxf5> 31...Qb8 32.Qxf5 Bxa2 33.Bxa4 Bf7 34.h5 Qb6 35.hxg6 hxg6 36.Qf4 Rc8 37.Rg3?? <Dear oh dear. Talk about taking your eye off the ball. Ivanchuk just sees an attack on his c3 pawn, and looked no further.> 37...Rc4 38.Qh6< Probably time trouble, but Chucky's head is probably already 'mashed in.' [38.Qe5 Rxa4 39.Rh3 Ra1+ 40.Kh2 Kf8 41.Rh8+ Bg8 42.Qf4+ Kg7 43.Rh3 <Threatening the winning 44 Qh6+ Kf2 45 Rf3+ Ke7 46 Qf8+ Kd7 47 Rd3+ Kc7 48 Qd8+ Kb7 49 Rd7+ Ka6 50 Qa8+ etc> 43...g5 44.Qxg5+ Kf8 45.Qf4+ Ke7 With at least a draw.] >38...Rxa4 39.Rh3 Ra1+ 40.Kh2 Qd6+ 41.f4 Qf6 42.Qh7+ Kf8 43.Qh6+ Ke7 44.Re3+ Kd7 45.Kg3 Ra4 46.Rd3+ Kc6 47.Rd4 Ra3 48.Rd3 Bd5 49.Qh3 Qf5 50.Qxf5 gxf5 51.Kh3 Ra1 52.Rd2 Rh1+ 53.Kg3 Rh6 54.Re2 Re6 55.Rd2 Rg6+ 56.Kh3 Kc5 57.Re2 Kc4 58.Rd2 Be4 59.g4 Kxc3 60.gxf5 Bxf5+ <Dear oh 'god blimey' dear> 0–1

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crazy (but spectacular) start to a super grandmaster tournament. It seems as though it's anybody's for the taking.

The immortal blunderfest game J. How is chucky going to recover from this? He must have been on a drinking spree with Aronian the night before. Oh my god, what a horror story. Stephen King should make a film about this game.

Ok it was a time trouble game, but it was still like watching ‘The twilight Zone’

So, Will Ivanchuk be pleased that he got a winning position, and devastated because he lost the game because of a couple of bad blunders, or will Aronian be devastated that he had a completely lost position, and pleased that is opponent blundered and handed the win to him on a silver plate.

Why do we play this great game when it just messes up your head.

Feb-20-08  Eyal: <Blundering Thrice (black 28, white 30, white 37) from Grandmaster Blunders by alexmagnus>

Actually, 4 times... turns out the final decisive blunder by Chucky was made on move 38, though it's much more subtle than the one made on the previous move. Instead of 38.Qh6? allowing the black queen to come to f6, he should have played <38.Qe5>, keeping some winning chances - with at least a draw - after 38...Rxa4 39.Rh3 Ra1+ (if 39...Kf8 immediately then 40.Rh8+ Bg8 41.Rxg8+ Kxg8 42.Qe8+ picking up the rook) 40.Kh2 Kf8 41.Rh8+ Bg8 42.Qf4+ Kg7 43.Rh3 Ra5 44.Qh6+ Kf6 45.Rf3+ Rf5 46.Rxf5+ Kxf5 47.Qf8+ winning back the piece, or 43...g5 where Black loses his last pawn with his king remaining very exposed.

Feb-20-08  newton296: 37) rg3?? A real groaner ! throwing away the win . that was a horrible blunder ! Even I saw the obvious fork of his B and Q .

37) Qf3 instead and he is winning easy.

I don't think ivan even saw the fork? he just saw the c pawn threat so he protected it with Rg3??

Feb-20-08  Davolni: Does anybody know if Levon is close of making his score to = with Ivanchuk in classical games?
Feb-20-08  slomarko: Davolni its something like 5:2 for Ivanchuk.
Feb-20-08  nikolajewitsch: <<slomarko>: Davolni its something like 5:2 for Ivanchuk.>

6-3 to be precise.

Feb-20-08  hovik2003: <ahmadov>
My comment wasn't directed to the people on this forum including yourself and it wasn't political at all, because on this site atleast you have the allowance to get back to and express your opinions against others.

If you go back to my other postings, I was refering to other chess sites' headlines and reports about Aronian's achievements and Armenian chess players in general, specially your favourate ChessBase, this guys are really getting on my nerves lately.

Feb-21-08  ahmadov: <hovik2003><If you go back to my other postings, I was refering to other chess sites' headlines and reports about Aronian's achievements and Armenian chess players in general, specially your favourate ChessBase, this guys are really getting on my nerves lately> Excuse me, but I think you are exaggerating a bit... As far as I know and feel from his articles, Fred likes Aronian very much...
Feb-21-08  Ezzy: Ivabchuk going through the pain barrier

click on 'when blunder strikes'

Mar-03-08  notyetagm: <Ezzy: ... 30.h4?? <Dear oh dear. A few commentators have been saying that the players have been looking really relaxed here in Mexico. It seems too relaxed! Too much sun and sangria I suspect. [30.Qxf5 Bxb3 31.Qxb5 Rd1+ 32.Qf1 Rxf1+ 33.Kxf1 Bxa2 Winning]>>

(VAR) Position after 30 ♕e5xf5! ♗d5x♗b3

click for larger view

And now White can capture the <HANGING> Black b5-queen because he is <PREPARED TO BLOCK> the upcoming <CHECK> on the <BACK RANK>.

(VAR) Position after 31 ♕f5x♕b5 ♖d8-d1+ 32 ♕b5-f1

click for larger view

(VAR) Position after 32 ... ♖d1x♕f1+ 33 ♔g1x♖f1 ♗b3xa2

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