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Levon Aronian vs Baadur Jobava
Tata Steel Masters (2015), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 9, Jan-20
Benoni Defense: Modern Variation (A56)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-20-15  Conrad93: 7 loses out of 9 games...

Oww...

Jan-20-15  Ulhumbrus: 19 Nf4!! threatens Nh5! followed by Nxg7 removing Black's king's bishop which defends Black's king
Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I thought it was established long ago that the b4 square for the knight in the Benoni is the strategically wrong way to go, and that it's better to play for Na6-Nc7-b5, or just Nbd7.
Jan-20-15  Shams: <Fusilli> Yes, <9...a5> seems a bit shocking.
Jan-20-15  MarkFinan: What's wrong with 19..Nxb2 ? This is way above my level of understanding because I don't see the losing move. In fact until the last 2 moves It all looked pretty equal to me, white may have been a bit ahead because blacks pieces were undeveloped.
Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: Ugh, Black's Q-side play went nowhere. <9.a4> in any non-fianchetto trumps <12..b6> because it always carries the seed of a rook lift and transfer to K-side. This dovetails seamlessly with the GM's desire for the <double bishop thing 12.Bb1 15.Bc1>, like a pair of laser-painting snipers. <18.Rg3> already looks like a tactical crush brewing: White's <slowest attacker> has reached the <ideal K-side attack post>. White can now realistically plan to sac 1-2 pieces because he's already up +1 rook (and +1 DSB?) compared to a normal attack.

W.So just bagged Ivanchuk this weekend with the same idea reversed, <14..Nxg2! 15..a5!> and the threat to the trapped Bb3 gives Black a tempo for <17..Ra6> and free transfer to K-side.

<MarkFinan: What's wrong with 19..Nxb2 ?> Black probably doesn't have a tempo to waste on a pawn-grab. I don't see a tactical refutation, but White could just ignore the Nb2 with, say, 20.Qg4, and then the same plan of removing Bg7 will incidentally cost Black yet another tempo to save the N.

Jan-20-15  ndg2: Levin just convincing himself he still can play chess, albeit against a desolate opponent
Jan-20-15  CountryGirl: Bit of a rubbish opening from Jobava. And wrong person to try it against, too...
Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < 7 loses out of 9 games...

Oww... >

What's also an ouch is that 2 of those losses have been under 25 moves.

Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Gilmoy> <<MarkFinan: What's wrong with 19..Nxb2 ?> Black probably doesn't have a tempo to waste on a pawn-grab. I don't see a tactical refutation, but White could just ignore the Nb2 with, say, 20.Qg4, and then the same plan of removing Bg7 will incidentally cost Black yet another tempo to save the N.>

Exactly.

Jan-20-15  newzild: Levon Aronian stated in a video interview after this game that he was inspired by Kasparov vs Karpov, 1990, which he said was one of his favourite games of all time. Because of the similarities between the games, he "hardly had to calculate."
Jan-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <newzild> That was one brutal game...
Jan-21-15  Conrad93: Aornian mentioned that after 19...Nxb2, white can play 20. Qe2 Na5 21. Nh5 and white still has a strong attack.
Feb-04-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Fusilli: I thought it was established long ago that the b4 square for the knight in the Benoni is the strategically wrong way to go >

Correct. And after Jobava's dubious Ba6 and Bxb5 maneuver he effectively isolated his own knight. Apparently he assumed Levon would have to play b3 due to the attack on c4, which in turn would restrict the QR development with the two bishops in the way, but Levon played enterprisingly and used the c4 pawn as bait in a gambit line with Ra3! Jobava should have played more prudently, but oh well.

In general tho, the N is badly placed on b4. I played a game with Bill Wall way back (1980 i think) and isolated his knight the same way. I got good kingside play and he was on the uphill the whole game fighting for equality. I played d4 and he opted for the old indian defense as i recall.

Feb-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <PawnSac: < Fusilli: I thought it was established long ago that the b4 square for the knight in the Benoni is the strategically wrong way to go >

Correct.>

From when I studied the Benoni a while ago, I think there was a game Tal-Tringov, or maybe Tal-Trifunovic, that showed already in the 1960s why the Nb4 move was strategically wrong. But I tried to find such game in this database unsuccessfully. I am probably remembering the wrong players... or maybe Tal was black or something. It was the model game for why not to do this in John Emms' book on the Benoni. I don't know where I put that book, but if I find it, I'll post a follow up.

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