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Levon Aronian vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
GRENKE Chess Classic (2017), Karlsruhe GER, rd 3, Apr-17
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-17-17  Conrad93: 36. f5!

Future five star puzzle.

Apr-17-17  Strelets: Aronian and Vachier-Lagrave. You think the game's going to turn into a tactical slugfest, but instead we get a technical bishop endgame that is won by White with strong play. The a5 pawn will drop sooner or later and once that happens White's passed a-pawn is going to cost the bishop. Black can't exchange the bishops off because the king and pawn ending is won for White (that passed h-pawn is going to cost a ton of tempi). Outstanding technique by Aronian.
Apr-17-17  JimNorCal: I was watching online and saw 32. Be2!
The engine was not excited but I sure was! I was all, like "hey, even I could win this!" Crystal clear play from Aronian.
Apr-17-17  yesnomaybeidontknow: This is not normal and both players should be drug-tested!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Have doubts about the soundness of 22...b5, nonetheless, this constitutes another Aronian endgame masterpiece.
Apr-18-17  JohnBoy: Is black lost after 32.Be2 ? Not clear to me. Trade rooks and bishops and I don't see how the white K enters. Clearly the a5 & c5 pawns are liabilities, and whites dark-square pawns are somewhat mobile. But give me a continuation that allows white to pick up one of the pawns, extract the bishop (I'm thinking from a5) and keep the black king sidelined while the white king enters.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Hi <JohnBoy>, if 32...Bxe2 33. Rxd7+ and black is chopped liver. Did I misunderstand your notation (which is not my forte, I admit)?
Apr-18-17  JimNorCal: I think JBoy refers to the position after
32. Be2 RxR
33. KxR BxB+
34. KxB

Is it winning? Dunno, didn't plug into an engine. Is it the strongest try for white? I bet it is but check it with an engine. Does white have a lot of play? Does black have lots of ways to go wrong? Well, yeah!

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <JimNorCal> I see, thanks (especially for not being too f'g cool to respond). I think black's still clearly lost in that case, because all white's pawns are on light squares and therefore immune to the DSB, whereas 3 of black's pawns are on dark squares, so their defense would tie down either the bishop or the king. Apart from that, white's king is very well placed to attack the king-side pawns through K->e4 + f5 and white can potentially create a passed pawn, which black can't possibly hope for without blowing copious puffs of hash-smoke into his opponent's face.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: impressive. I think black was too passive in the game, retreated too much. That was a nasty surprise, when the smoke cleared.

Or, don't go into an endgame when your pawn majority cannot force a passed pawn.

Apr-19-17  JimNorCal: That's how I see it, too, CHC.
Apr-19-17  JohnBoy: Sorry <CHC>. I aint so f'n cool, just hard to write on a phone. Your assessment is not different than mine, I just see that white's job is not yet finished.
Apr-19-17  JimNorCal: FWIW my free Stockfish assesses Be2 as best and gives an eval of +1. RxR and BxB are considered weak and after
32. Be2 RxR
33. KxR BxB+
34. KxB
Stockfish prefers white at +2.8
Apr-19-17  JimNorCal: Make that eval 3.0 after running a bit longer
Apr-20-17  Conrad93: What's funny is that the engines on both Chess24 and ChessBomb assessed the position as a dead draw on move thirty two. Even Peter Leko had some trouble finding the win at first.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <JohnBoy>, sorry for being paranoid, I hate texting on cellphones, too.

<Conrad93> That show's Aronian's genius, he got all his pawns on light squares and then traded light-squared bishops at the cost of a pawn to get a winning end game.

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