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Maxim Matlakov vs Levon Aronian
World Cup (2017), Tbilisi GEO, rd 3, Sep-10
Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation (D35)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-10-17  fisayo123: Aronian got murdered in this game by the European Champ. It's like white to play and win from move 1. This World Cup is producing a lot of Candidates for game of the year.
Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Does anybody think the bishop sac was sound:

BxN is clearly unplayable:
20. Bxh7 Bxd4 21. Qh5+ Ke6 22. Qf5+ Ke7 23. Bg5+ Bf6 24. Rfe1+ Kd8 25. Bxf6+ gxf6 26. Qxf6+ Kd7 27. Bf5+ Ne6 28. Qxe6+ Kd8 29. Qxd5+ Bd7 30. Qg8+ Be8 31. Qxe8#

NxB is more problematic, but this looks like a winning line: 20. Bxh7 Nxh7 21. Qe6+ Kf8 22. Qxd5 Qf7 23. Ne6+ Kg8 24. Rxb7 Rd8 25. Qe4

This line fizzles out:
20. Bxh7 Nxh7 21. Qh5+ Kg8

Sep-10-17  lakshashishu: oh man....this is some game...
Sep-10-17  Fanques Fair: Incredible game. It´s very hard to imagine this sacrifice being worked out at the board. Even at the final position it´s not obvious why is Black resigning. I guess the line is 27-Qg4, Qf6 , 28-Bg6+, Kf8 , 29-Qh5 and mate is unavoidable.

But is 20..., Nxh7 losing ?

If 21-Qe6+, Kg6, 22-Rb4! , White is threatening mate in a few moves, but maybe there was a defense .

Sep-10-17  geeker: Great game, looking forward to analysis. BTW, I've never liked this opening variation (Semi-Tarrasch?) for Black, as it's so passive. Even though it's been played by many super-GMs.
Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Fanques Fair But is 20..., Nxh7 losing ?

If 21-Qe6+, Kg6, 22-Rb4! , White is threatening mate in a few moves, but maybe there was a defense .>

The problem with 22-Rb4 in your line is 22...Bd7 but what about 22...f4? Then Bd7 doesn't work anymore: 22. f4 Bd7 23. f5+ Kh5 24. Qe2+ Kh4 25. g3+ Kh3 26. Qh5+ Bh4 27. Qxh4#

It does seem like there must have been a lot preparation for the sacrifice, if it's really sound. The idea of gambiting the a4 pawn by castling on move 13 and then leaving it undefended on move 14 seemed to be to allow 15. d5! I wonder if Aronian could have stopped the whole combination with 15...exd5 instead of Nd7?

Sep-10-17  Marmot PFL: 18...Kxf7 turns out to be dangerous. After 18...Kh8 black might not recover the pawn for some time (maybe never) but the king survives at least.
Sep-10-17  fisayo123: <geeker> It's not a Semi-Tarrasch but it's identical to it with white having an extra tempo or something like that. It's a trendy modern line in the exchange some top players are playing now.

It was first seriously essayed recently in the game M Matlakov vs A Shimanov, 2017 and Svidler had a long discussion about it when he crushed Hou Yifan in a recent game in the same line. Basically it's a line Matlakov and Svidler are familar with, they know its secrets. So I'm surprised Levon just jumped into it head on like that.

Sep-10-17  geeker: Thanks, fisayo123. I recall the Svidler-Hou game. It's the Semi-Tarrasch line often used as a drawing weapon by Kramnik that I've long disliked (see Aronian vs Kramnik, 2017 ), but this seems no less unappetizing for Black.
Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Matlakov - Aronian, with some (hugely) computer-assisted variations.

1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 d5 4.cxd5 ♘xd5 5.e4 ♘xc3 6.bxc3 c5 7.♖b1 ♗e7 8.♘f3 0-0 9.♗c4 ♕c7 10.♕e2 a6 11.a4 cxd4 12.cxd4 ♗d7 13.0-0 ♖c8 14.♗d3 ♗xa4 15.d5 ♘d7 16.e5 exd5 17.e6 ♘f8 18.exf7+ ♔xf7 19.♘d4 [19.♖e1! ♗f6 20.♗xh7! ♘xh7? (20... g6 21.♗h6) 21.♕e6+ ♔f8 22.♗a3+] 19... ♗f6 [19... ♔g8 (=, 19. ♖e1) threatening the ♗e7} would not have given ♗lack time for this retreat] 20.♗xh7! ♕e5 [20... ♘xh7 21.♕e6+ ♔f8 22. ♗a3+ ♗e7 23. ♖ac1 ♗c6 24.♘xc6 bxc6 25. ♖xc6! ♕xc6? 26.♗xe7+ ♔e8 27.♗d6+] [20... ♗xd4 21. ♕f3+ ♔e7 22. ♖e1+ ♘e6+ 23.♗a3+ ♗c5 24.♕xd5 ♕d6 25.♕g5+ ♔d7 26. ♗f5 ♗xa3 27. ♖xb7+ ♖c7 28. ♗xe6+ ♔c6 28.♗d5+! ♔d7 29.♕xg7+ ♔d8 30. ♖xc7 ♕xd7 31. ♕g8+ ♔d7 32.♕g4+ ♔d8 33. ♕xa4 (Δ both mate on e8 and ♗xa8)] 21.♖xb7+ ♗d7 22.♕g4 ♕xd4 23.♖xd7+ ♘xd7 24.♕xd7+ ♗e7 25.♖e1 [25. ♗b2! ♕xb2? 26. ♕xd5+ ♔e8 27. ♗g6+] 25... ♕e5 [25... ♕f6 26.♗a3 ♖e8 27.♕xd5+] 26.♗d2 ♖d8 27.♕g4 [27... ♕d6 28.♗b4! ♕xb4 29. ♕e6+ ♔e8 30. ♗g6+] 1-0

Sep-10-17  The Kings Domain: Good game by Matlakov but I still couldn't figure out why black resigned.
Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <The Kings Domain>

Black has to defend against Qe6+ (if e.g. 27....Qc7, then 28.Qe6+ Ke8 29.Bg6+ and Black gets mated).

But if 27...Qf6, then White has 28.Bg5! and again the queen can't abandon e6: if 28....Qxg5 then 29.Qe6+ Ke8 30.Bg6+ Qxg6 31.Qxe7#. And if 27....Qd6 then the same idea works on the other side: 28.Bb4!.

Really a beautiful finale.

Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Jonathon Sarfati> Thanks a lot for the analysis but I think something's wrong with this part (which is what Fanques Fair and I were trying to analyze above):

20... ♘xh7 21.♕e6+ ♔f8 22. ♗a3+ ♗e7 <23. ♖ac1 ♗c6>

The rook is still on b1 and black couldn't play Bc6 because it would be putting its king in check (the white bishop is still on a3). Is it supposed to be 23. Ra1 Bxa3 24. Rxa3 or something?

Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Matlakov said that Aronian told him after the game he could have played 15...exd5 16 exd5 and gotten a position where Black could never lose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCE...
Sep-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <tamar: Matlakov said that Aronian told him after the game he could have played 15...exd5 16 exd5 and gotten a position where Black could never lose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCE...

Hmm, vaguely reminds me of something ChessHigherCat said above:

<I wonder if Aronian could have stopped the whole combination with 15...exd5 instead of Nd7?>

That video was very interesting, thanks. I don't if it always does this, but for me youtube automatically went on to display this video where that arbiter keeps sticking his foot in it deeper and deeper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94y...

Sep-11-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <ChessHigherCat: 20... ♘xh7 21.♕e6+ ♔f8 22. ♗a3+ ♗e7 <23. ♖ac1 ♗c6>

The rook is still on b1 and black couldn't play Bc6 because it would be putting its king in check (the white bishop is still on a3). Is it supposed to be 23. Ra1 Bxa3 24. Rxa3 or something?>

Sorry, typo for 23.Rbc1. Why can't Black play 23...Ba4-c6?

Sep-11-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Jonathan Sarfati> That's okay, no problem thanks! Ba4-c6 is fine, my mistake, I was thinking Be7-f6 :-)
Sep-11-17  Reisswolf: How many people thought that Aronian would get miniatured like this? An incredible game!
Sep-11-17  Ulhumbrus: Matlakov wins against Aronian by an sacrificial attack in Aronian's own style.
Sep-14-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: This type of QG Exchange is like a Grunfeld without the g6 fianchetto.

Which is passive for Black.

Dec-04-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chnebelgrind: same opening in
Berliner vs Fischer, 1963 Nakamura vs Kramnik, 2016

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