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Magnus Carlsen vs Levon Aronian
"Three Point; Won for White" (game of the day Mar-14-2013)
London Chess Classic (2012), London ENG, rd 2, Dec-02
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Anderssen Variation (C77)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <master of defence> It's a stretch, but presumably "Three Point; Won for White" is supposed to bring to mind 3.141.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: What was wrong with 38...dxc5 ? After 39. Nc3 Ra5 40. dxc5 Rxc5 41. Nxa4 Ra5 42. Nc3 f6 43. Ke3 Bf7 44. Ke4 (44. Ne4 c6) Kd6, is black any worse off than in the game line?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <al wazir: ... In the final position, what happens after 59...Re8 ? 60. Nxd6 cxd6 61. c7+ Kd7>

I think you're hallucinating: 62.Rxe8 Kxe8 (62...Kxc7 63.Rxg8) 63.c8(Q)+.

Mar-14-13  WiseWizard: Aronian played a bad opening here. I don't understand why. 8...NxN sets an immediate problem for Black. Was it his preparation to sacrifice the pawn after 10...Ne7? Surely there are easier ways to gain equality...In his post-game analysis Aronian said 9...Rb8 was a bad move, him saying that leads me to believe he was out of prep here, on move 9 though?!? That's unlikely and unprofessional. More probable is he analyzed 10...Ne7 and the fancy idea of sacrificing a pawn and playing this middlegame with some vague compensation, but to prepare this against Carlsen who plays these positions so strong doesn't seem right. A couple inaccuracies and its over. Something is not adding up, could explain Levon's recent poor form. His handling of this opening gives me doubts about his chances in the candidates, I just don't think anyone who makes these mistakes can seriously contend for the title.
Mar-14-13  Abdel Irada: "Three point one four"?
Mar-14-13  NightroGlycerine: A reference to pi, 3.14, which is today's date.
Mar-14-13  Abdel Irada: <NightroGlycerine: A reference to pi, 3.14, which is today's date.>


My post was in reply to a question appearing in one of the posts above, so now the question may be considered twice answered. ;-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I watched this game live and the ending was full of drama. Stuart Conquest and others were madly dashing off variations on the big board. London Chess Classic 2012 was a thing of beauty.
Mar-14-13  morfishine: A wonder that Aronian would toss his e-pawn like that; Black would've been better served with <7...Bb7 8.Nd5 d6 9.Bg5 h6> even though he gets a difficult position after <10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Nh4 Nd4 12.c4 Nxb3 13.axb3 Bxd5 14.cxd5> he has the resource <14...Bb4+ 15.Kf1 a5> cementing the Q-side; true after <16.Nf5> White is better, but Black can castle 'in-hand' after <16...Qd7 17.Ng7+ Kd8> followed by 18...Kc8 & Kb7

I wouldn't want to play this, especially against Carlsen, but there has to be a better plan than tossing the e-pawn (again, especially against Carlsen)

Mar-14-13  YetAnotherAmateur: There's some good stuff in here by Carlsen - the king maneuver starting at 32, the lovely play against the LSB, that kind of thing.

Is 46. Nf4 with a threat of Ne6 and shots at the base of black's pawn structure a viable option as well for white, or not?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Some have asked how White would proceed to win after 59...Re8. I think the win is 60.Nxd6 cxd6 61.c7+ Kxc7 62.Rxe8 a2 63.Re1 reaching this position:

click for larger view

Now on 63...Bxd5 White plays 64.Ke3 and brings his king to b2 to cover the a-pawn, when White's freed Rook can go to f8 and then the g-pawn can promote and Black loses the bishop and the game.

Maybe the best Black can do is to play 63...Kd7 and then 64.Ke3 Ke7 65.Rf1 Bxd5 66.Kd2 a1=Q 67.Rxa1 Kf6 68.Rg1 Bg8 gives us this position:

click for larger view

Surely White can win this since Black's bishop cannot move and the Black king is very restricted, being unable to come to (Black's) 5th rank or the d-file, since White could then win with Rh1-h8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Easy as pi! PI is a trancendental number-meaning it is non-termanating,non repeating and cannot be defined by any power or root of any integer.
Mar-14-13  chesssalamander: "Typical" fantastic game by MC against one of the very best players in the world. I say "typical" is quotes, because although the Ruy Lopez is one of the best known and analyzed openings of all, this young man is still finding nuances! How is that even possible? Careful pushing for advantages midgame to endgame. Using the mate threat by the rook for tempo was gorgeous.
Mar-14-13  haydn20: A small technical point: pi is not equal to any expression involving a finite number of elementary operations (+,-,x,/,^,root) on rational numbers, e.g., sqrt(1 + cuberoot(5)). Briefly, it's not a root of any polynomial with rational (equiv. integer) coefficients. It was the 2nd "mathematically interesting" number to be proved transcendental. BTW it is notoriously difficult to prove that any given number (trivial cases aside) is transcendental.
Mar-14-13  master of defence: I love math, but the number 'e'=2,7182818284 looks more interesting.
Mar-14-13  SuperPatzer77: <Eggman> Excellent commentary!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <FSR>: I saw my mistake and deleted that post before you posted, or at least before seeing your post.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Eggman> In The World vs Akobian, 2012 <cro777> referred us to a program called FinalGen which can create tablebases for positions consisting of kings, 1 piece per side, and any number of pawns. So the position after 59...Re8 60.Nxd6 cxd6 61.c7+ Kxc7 62.Rxe8 lends itself to exhaustive tablebase-like analysis by FinalGen:

click for larger view

I started FinalGen from this position and these are the results it gave after 15:37:32 on my "elderly" Intel Q9400, 32-bit, 4-core, 2.4 GHz processor and 4 GB of RAM. The number of final positions it considered was 1.05E+12.

(62...)a2 White wins in 14
(62...)Kb7 White wins in 3
(62...)Bxd5 White wins in 1
(62...)Bf7 White wins in 1
(62...)Bh7 White wins in 1
(62...)Kb6 White mates in 23
(62...)Be6 White mates in 15
(62...)Kd7 White mates in 13

The (62...) indicates that the move number is not actually displayed, I just wrote it down for clarity. It would be helpful if the program allowed the specification of the move number and side to move so that it could be displayed in subsequent analyses (see below).

A comment like "White wins in 14" or "White wins in 1" indicates that White can promote a pawn in N moves and can therefore force a win. In the case of (62...)a2, double clicking on the entry for "a2 White wins in 14" lists the next set of moves, starting with (63).Re1 White wins in 13. Successive double-clicking on the best moves shows the winning sequence to be 62...a2 63.Re1 Kd8 64.Ke4 Bh7+ 65.Ke3 Ke7 66.Ra1 Kf6 67.Rxa2 Kxg7 68.Ra6 Bb1 69.Rxd6 Bf5 70.Ra6 Kg8 71.Ra7 Kf8 72.d6 Ke8 73.Rg7 Bb1 74.Kf4 Kf8 75.d7 Kxg7 76.d8Q.

click for larger view

Here, although subsequent moves can be displayed, the analysis effectively stops since the K+Q+P vs. K+B ending is easily won for White. But this is good enough to determine the outcome of a game with the result in doubt.

I think that the program and the approach show promise and represent an advance in tablebase technology, complementing the various Nalimov, Gaviota, etc. tablebases.

Mar-17-14  Conrad93: Three Point; Won for White

3 . 1 4 1

"White" doesn't even sound similar to "one", which might explain the confusion. It is a clever pun nonetheless, though.

Mar-17-14  Everyone: No matter how bad <everyone's> day is, this picture gets <everyone> laughing every time...
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part I

This game is annotated in Colin Crouch's book <Magnus Force>. I took a look at his notes while running Shredder on my vintage mac laptop. I also looked at some of the kibitzes here, especially Ezzy's which gathered comments from the players in the post-mortem. Given the engine's strength and my own, this is obviously not going to be any kind of definitive assessment, but hopefully I will succeed in pointing out some things.

I watched the game as it was played, and I and my fellow kibitzers were very confused. Aronian gave up a pawn at the very beginning, and no one could decide whether it was a clever idea or a blunder. Eventually it seemed that he had good play, but it was hard to say whether it was enough, though at times it seemed that it was "too much" -- that he was even better. But then Aronian's play seemed to gradually die out, and Carlsen broke through on the kingside, eventually winning the ending with a very pretty combination.

So what happened? Was Aronian's idea good or bad? What could he or Carlsen have done differently? Was Black ever better? Could Carlsen have won more easily? Having looked at Crouch, Shredder, and the kibitzes, I have some ideas. But I am still confused.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part II

10....Ne7. <Here's the pawn sacrifice. Crouch gives the move a big fat question mark, recommending 10....Qf6. The database has several examples of 10...h6. To me White's opening seems quite harmless, so any move that doesn't lose a pawn ought to be good enough...>

11.Nxe5 Nxd5 12.exd5 Re8(?) <Shredder and Carlsen preferred 12....Bb7. I would guess that if anyone tries Aronian's idea again, they'll follow up with 12....Bb7 rather than 12....Re8.>

13.d4 Bf8 14.b3 <Crouch disapproves, arguing (with an eye to chess pedagogy) that it is more important to focus on getting the pieces into play first. He recommends 14.Qf3 f6 15.Nd3 "with development and centralization working together." Looking forward, Carlsen's continuation will eventually lead to an open b-file, where Aronian already has a rook.>

14....Bb7 15.c4 d6 16.Nf3 <16.Nc6 Bxc6 17.dxc6 d5! -- a nice idea from Aronian>

16....Qf6 17.Be3 Bc8 <It's remarkable how placidly Aronian plays around here. He clearly thinks Black is OK! In a few moves the queens and a pair of bishops come off the board.> 18.Qd2 Qg6 19.Kh1 h6 20.Rac1 Be7 <as Ezzy noted, 21.cxb5 axb5 22.Rxc7 Bb7 wins back the d-pawn, when White will have a hard time doing anything with his extra queenside pawn.>

21.Ng1 <A strange move, and Carlsen criticized it in the post-mortem, saying that he missed Aronian's counter. But Shredder dislikes Aronian's next move and I'm not a believer myself...>

21....Bg5?!?!? 22.Bxg5 <Crouch points out a very interesting idea for Black after 22.cxb5 -- a sort of quasi-Benko with 22....Bd8 23.bxa6 Bxa6 24.Rfe1 Qf5, when it is very difficult for White to advance the a-pawn and the pawn on d5 is vulnerable.> 22.Qxg5 23.Rfd1(?).

<Instead Shredder bashes out 23.Qxg5 hxg5 24.cxb5 Rxb5 25.Rxc7 Rxd5 26.Rd1 Bf5 27.Rd2 and rates White about a full point better. I do find it hard to believe that Black has enough for the pawn here. Aronian, incidentally, also thought White's 23rd move was a mistake.>

23....bxc4 24.bxc4(?) <here Shredder has another interesting idea -- 24.Qxg5 hxg5 25.Rxc4. What should Black do? 25....Bb7 26.Rxc7 Bxd5 27.f3 and White gradually unwinds. But I wonder if a stronger engine could find a better plan for Black than Shredder or I were able to do.>

24....Qxd2 25.Rxd2 a5

click for larger view

As far as I know, everyone thinks Black has full compensation here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part III

26.h3 Rb4 27.Nf3 Bf5 28.c5(?) Kf8 <Shredder thought Black could play 28....Be4, seeing the position as nearly equal after 29.Re2 f5.>

29.Nh2 Reb8 <again, ...Be4 is playable here. But Aronian thought he was better, and so he wanted more than an equal ending.>

30.Ng4 Rb1 (a kibitzer recommended 30....Rb2 here, and indeed it seems to be dead even. But Aronian's move is also fine.>

31.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 32.Kh2

click for larger view


<As Crouch and others pointed out, 32....Bxg4 should be quite good enough for a draw. Crouch gives 33.hxg4 Rb5 34.Rc2 Rb4 35.Rd2 with a draw by repetition. 35.cxd6 cxd6 36.Rc6 Rxd4 37.Rxd6 Ra4 gives Black the edge. Again, Aronian avoids the draw because he thinks he is better.

From here on out, the game has a number of parallels to Game 1 from the Lasker-Tarrasch match, in which Black also avoided exchanging the minor pieces in a R+B v. R+N ending and wound up losing. Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908

Lasker-Tarrasch after 35.Kf4.

click for larger view


33.Ne3 Bg6 34.Kg3 Rb4

<Aronian begins to drift. Possible was 34....a3 35.Kf3 (35.Nc4 Rc1 36.Nxa3?? Rc3+) Rb2 36.Nc4 (36.Ke2 Bb1 37.Nc4 Rxa2 38.Rxa2 Bxa2 39.Nxa3 Bxd5 favors Black) Bc2! (Carlsen said he could see no way to get an advantage here).

click for larger view

Now after the very interesting skirmish 37.Nxa3 Be4+ 38.Ke2 Rxd2+ 39.Kxd2 Bxg2 40.Nb5 dxc5 41.dxc5 Bxd5 42.a3 Ke7! (42....c6? 43.Nd6 is a very bad ending for Black) 43.Nxc7 Bg2 44.h4

click for larger view

White is a pawn ahead, but all his pawns are isolated. The computer and Crouch agree that Black can hold this.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part IV

39.c6+ Kc8 40.Nc3 f6 41.Ke3 Rc4 42.Ne2 a3

click for larger view

<Another phase of the game begins, with Carlsen, having locked up the queenside, advancing on the kingside. Now it's clear that Aronian is worse and is only trying to survive.>

43.h4 Rb4 44.g4 Rb1 45.h5 Bh7 46.f4

click for larger view

<Now what should Black do?>


<Crouch argues that this loses. Instead, he thinks, Black holds after 46....Bg8 and then 47.f5 Re1 48.Kf2 Rb1 49.Nf4 Rb2 50.Ke3 Kd8 51.Ne6+ Bxe6 52.dxe6 d5.

click for larger view

<I have my doubts. It's very blocked, true, but Shredder thinks White wins after something like 53.Kd3 Rb1 54.Rc2 Rd1+ 55.Ke2 Rxd4 56.Rd2.>

47.g5 Rh1 48.Ng3 Rh3 49.Kf3 hxg5 50.hxg5 g6

<After the better 50....Kd8 51.Re2 (51.Rd3?? Rxg3+), Black can try 51....Bg8 52.Kf4 Bxd5 53.Nxf5 Rxh5 54.Nxg7 Rh8 55.g6 Bxc6 56.Ne6+ Kd7 57.g7 Rg8, but after 58.Kf5 he still loses.>

51.Re2 Kd8 52.hxg6 Bxg6 53.Re6 Bf7 54.g6!

click for larger view

<A nice combination. White wins easily after 54....Bxe6 55.dxe6 Rh6 56.g7 Rg6 57.Nxf5 and now if 57...d5 58.Kf4 and if 57....Rg5 then 58.d5!.>

54....Bg8 55.g7 f4 56.Kxf4 Rh2 57.Nf5 <the computer prefers 57.Kg4 and if ...Rxa2, then 58.Rf6. But Carlsen has probably seen the forced win in the actual game> 57....Rxa2 58.Rf6 Re2 59.Rf8+ 1-0

<Below, Eggman gives the win after 59....Re8 60.Nxd6 cxd6 61.c7+ Kxc7 62.Rxe8 a2 63.Re1 Bxd5 64.Ke3.>

A very interesting game!

Mar-02-21  SpiritedReposte: <54. g6!> Even with the black king right there the threat to the rook is a phantom.

Another line 54. ...Bxe6? fxe6 Ke7 g7 queens.

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