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Levon Aronian vs Teimour Radjabov
M-Tel Masters (2008), Sofia BUL, rd 8, May-16
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Bayonet Attack Sokolov's Line (E97)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-16-08  percyblakeney: Aronian made some mistakes in time trouble, and is lost before his 40th, maybe already before his 39th, one possible line being <39. Bxe4 Bh3 40. Nf5 Bxg2 41. Nxh4 Rf1+ 42. Kxg2 Rxb1 43. Bxb1 gxh4 44. Bc2 Kg7 45. Kh3 Rf8 46. Kxh4 Rf2> and engines seem to think that black is winning even if takes a while.

The final moves before the time control were played with seconds on the clock for both players. Aronian started going wrong when he played 35. gxf4 instead of exf4, he used several minutes on that move but must have missed how strong the black attack will get.

May-16-08  percyblakeney: Aronian's best option at move 39 would probably have been 39. Nxf5 Rxf5 40. Bxe4 Rf6 and even if a4 is hanging and black is an exchange up, there may well be ways to save the draw.

31. ... e4 is a nice move that gives white lots of things to think about with little time left. 32. Bxe4 looks playable, even if black gets a comfortable position after Rxa4.

May-16-08  Ezzy: Aronian,Levon (2763) - Radjabov,Teimour (2751) [E97] MTEL Masters 2008 (8), 16.05.2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0–0 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1 a5 11.bxa5 Rxa5 12.Nd2 Nf4 13.Bf1 c5 14.a4 Ra6 15.Ra3 Nh5 16.Nb5 Nf6 <That's an interesting little 4 move tour by the knight.> 17.Bb2 Ne8 <oops! - 5 move tour. And a novelty I think. Shirov v Bologan 2000 went 17...Nd7.> 18.Nf3 h6 19.g3 f5 20.exf5 Nxf5 21.Nd2 Nf6 22.Bd3 Rf7 23.Bc2 Bd7 24.Qb1 Rf8 25.Rf3 h5 26.Ne4 Nxe4 27.Rxe4 Ra8 28.Re1 Rc8 29.Bc1 Ra8 <First a tour with his knight, and now a small tour with the rook. Is he bored? or is it the delicate moves of a finely tuned master? I think the latter!> 30.Bd2 b6 31.Be3 e4 32.Rf4 <[32.Bxe4 Rxa4 33.Qc2 Rb4 34.Rb1 Rxb1+ 35.Qxb1 Nxe3 36.Rxe3=]> 32...Nxe3 33.fxe3 Bh6 34.Nxd6 Bxf4 35.gxf4 <[35.exf4 Bxa4 36.Nxe4 Bxc2 37.Qxc2 Also seems to be a playable line.]> 35...Qh4 <[35...g5 36.f5 Bxf5 37.Nxf5 Rxf5 38.Bxe4 Rf6 Is an interesting alternative.]> 36.Re2 <The critical part of the game with so many tactics to be careful about, and approaching the time control. Aronian may have seen many demons with 36 Nxe4. A few examples. [36.Nxe4 Bxa4 (36...Qg4+ 37.Kh1?? (37.Kf2 Qh4+ 38.Ke2 Qxh2+ 39.Kd1 Bf5 with lots of dangerous counterplay for black.; 37.Ng3 Perhaps he thought this loses the knight to 37...h4, but he does have 38 Bd1!) 37...Qf3+ 38.Kg1 Bh3 winning) 37.Bxa4 Rxa4 Threatening 38...Ra2 winning 38.Ng5 Now black can't play 38..Ra2 because of 39 Qxg6 mate.]> 36...Bg4 37.Rg2 g5 38.f5< [38.fxg5 Bh3 39.Nxe4 (39.Rg3 Rf3 40.Nxe4 Raf8 Winning) 39...Bxg2 40.Kxg2 Qg4+ 41.Ng3 Qf3+ 42.Kh3 Qxe3 43.Qxb6 Qxg5 and it's anyones guess what could happen.]> 38...Bxf5 39.Rg3?? <Not surprising that after the myriad of complex lines to wade through, Aronian has started hallucinating! [39.Nxf5 Rxf5 40.Bxe4 Rf6 with a lot left in the position.]> 39...Bh3 40.Bxe4 Rf1+ 41.Qxf1 Bxf1 42.Bf5 g4 43.Be6+ Kh7 44.Bf5+ Kh8 0–1

The game was on a knife edge from move 36 onwards. An unbelievable amount of tactics to analyse, and with not much time left for the players. It almost seems inevitable that someone will make a big mistake in a game rich in complexity.

A thoroughly entertaining game and hats off to Radjabov for maintaining his cool and keeping up the pressure at the right time.

I have a slightly different opinion than our eminent kibitzer and resident World champion <percyblakeney> that Aronian went wrong with 35 gxf4. It does give black a good square for the queen on h4, but Aronian probably wanted to create an extremely complex game, trusting in his tactical abilities. They did fail him in a time scramble, but 35 gxf4 was not that bad for someone with Aronian’s style. I think Aronian was playing for the win (he needs a few points) and 35 exf4 makes that task more difficult. But I agree that he got more problems with 35 gxf4. He probably thought it looked good with his queen and bishop pointing at g6, so why not open up the g file for a possible rook move.

Radjabov countered with near precision though and played an excellent game. He’s starting to hit some goood form.

Anyway, 35 gxf4 certainly kept it an enthralling game!

May-16-08  DUS: I think for Levon 39.Bxe4 was better(?)
May-16-08  minasina: this was live commetary with GM Sergey Zagrebelny in Russian; “translation” (without functioning board): may need instant reload
May-16-08  DUS: Thanks <minasina>! you are always so helpful. By the way I know Russian very well. Spasibo bolshoe! Sluchaino vasha familiya ne Minasian?
May-16-08  minasina: ...You are welcome <DUS> ... that was nice(?), or at least I want to think so! Apparently a compliment to me and my family?
May-16-08  DUS: You don't know Russian? Sorry! I simply asked maybe your last name is Minasian? (fimiliya = last name, not a family :)

And Minasian is an Armenian last name. Rimember, GM Artashes Minasian? I am an Armenian, that's why I asked you on this.

May-16-08  minasina: Yes, I remember that <hovik2003> already talked about <Minasian>, but in a fact, my handle should be <minä sinä>, but you cannot register here a handle with 'a'-letters with dots.
May-17-08  ahmadov: In both wins Radja has his Queen on the board unlike his opponents... A very important win for the tournament...
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: very good game by both players until time pressure reared its ugly head. Both sides showed great imagination. For example, 25.Rf3 and 31...e4 were quite interesting.

I've noticed that 9.b4 doesn't seem to be as feared as it had been a few years ago.

May-18-08  Hesam7: <Ezzy: 39.Nxf5 Rxf5 40.Bxe4 Rf6 with a lot left in the position.>

Really? Could you offer a move for White after 39.Nxf5 Rxf5 40.Bxe4 Rf6:

click for larger view

White simply can not defend the a4-pawn, the best my engine could come up with was 41.Bf5 Rxa4 42.Rf2 g4 43.e4 Rxc4 44.e5 Qg5 .

May-18-08  acirce: <I've noticed that 9.b4 doesn't seem to be as feared as it had been a few years ago.>

KID players can thank Radjabov for that, I believe.

<Radjabov's mastery of my old favourite, and the energy with which he plays it, gave him a stunning four wins with the black pieces. At the top level he has single-handedly revived the defence I abandoned in 1997.

At the time, I was turned off by the then-new lines with 9.b4 Nh5 10.Re1. I felt that White could play almost without risk and Black had to suffer. The 12.Bf3 c6 13.Be3 lines from Kramnik vs Judit Polgar, 1997 also looked disagreeably one-sided. Long ago Korchnoi said that the only person who can kick Kasparov out of his Najdorf can take his title. In fact I instead lost to the man who kicked me out of the King's Indian! Now I see I was probably overestimating the dangers. Every metal has melting point and my King's Indian armour was feeling overheated. These days it's White who is switched to 12.f3 instead of 12.Bf3 and the focus has returned to fighting middlegames. Watching Radjabov attack against Shirov [ Shirov vs Radjabov, 2007 ] I felt like a retired warhorse hearing the distant horns of battle.>

(Garry Kasparov, New In Chess 2007/2)

May-19-08  ahmadov: <acirce><Radjabov's mastery of my old favourite, and the energy with which he plays it, gave him a stunning four wins with the black pieces. At the top level he has single-handedly revived the defence I abandoned in 1997.> It is a bit unusual to see Kasparov praising Radja... But anyway, it is very nice of him to do so...
May-19-08  minasina: Rybka analysis, some critical points and best line suggestions
Sep-13-08  Everett: <Ezzy>

Why are you so down on the KID? On another Aronian-Radja game you make some very strong statements implying the KID is incorrect. In 2008 Aronian is +1 -3 against Radja's KID. Not a very convincing argument.

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