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Magnus Carlsen vs Levon Aronian
"Whole Lotta Luft" (game of the day Jun-22-2018)
Norway Chess (2018), Stavanger NOR, rd 3, May-30
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Rio Gambit Accepted (C67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-31-18  BOSTER: <Ulhumbrus>:<e file>. No doubt that move 17.Re1 <outflankig> black queen on d8 was maybe the key, which divided west and east like Germany many years ago. To prove <my> theory I want to inspire you by travelling by black knight.Ng8-Nf6-Nxe4-Nd6-Nf5-Ng7-Ne8-Ng7 -Ne8 -Nf6-Ne4.
May-31-18  frogbert: The knight at least managed to take twice on e4.
May-31-18  lunchwithgina: I rather admired the little move 18. Qc4. black can't free up his Q-side without making concessions, and Aronian never really activated his Q-side pieces.
May-31-18  sycophante: Take two: "Squeeze the Levon" !
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 27...Nf6? doesn't make any sense to me. Any clues why Aronian would play that?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: <Jambow: I always felt Magnus was only ever on par with the elite in complex tactical games if not minutely inferior>

Magnus switched from the highly tactical games of his late teens to more strategic games. I don't think anyone has ever thought he was not tactically one of the strongest. He just doesn't focus on this as his way to win. He uses tactical threats to achieve strategic goals. When the tactical threat is parried, it leaves the opponent in a long-term weak position. It's brilliantly sophisticated chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: How <Jammer>, even in his hubris, deems himself capable of such extraordinary subtlety of judgement at the very highest level is mind-boggling.
Jun-01-18  ajile: I just finished watching an online 1 on 1 match with Carlsen dismantling Nakamura. Many of the games were objectively equal until the endgame. Carlsen is just very accurate in his endgame play. As in VERY accurate. Seemingly simple draws can quickly become a win and he has the ability to see and take advantage of slightly weaker moves by his opponents.
Jun-01-18  Nietzowitsch: Lemon Erronian strikes again.
Jun-01-18  Ulhumbrus: If Carlsen can be compared to Lasker, Spielmann said of Lasker something like this <His eyes and his thoughts are everywhere. When I went to him with a combination that I had discovered he had already dismissed it in his thoughts> Some of Lasker's remarks in his manual of chess suggest that he wishes his readers to play in a style which will increase their knowledge and skill, in the way that beginners lose repeatedly so as to increase their knowledge and skill. If Carlsen has been playing in such a way that his experience serves to increase his knowledge and skill, and that means being prepared to lose at least many a training game, his opponents will be at a handicap unless they also acquire such experience, just as they would be handicapped if they did not try to master the endgame. Any deficiency of experience counts as a handicap.
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Magnus McCarlsen goes

"Levon Let Die "

Jun-01-18  whiteshark: Deep game analysis by <GM Peter Svidler>: (~ 29 mins)
Jun-01-18  StupidQuestion: <For once Carlsen wins with the queens on the board.>

Aronian's queen was completely useless! After grabbing the rook and returning home on move 17, it provided no protection or options for him.

Jun-02-18  morfishine: <ajk68> On your comments: <...Magnus switched from the highly tactical games of his late teens to more strategic games> Not exactly true. Carlsen has had to shape his game over time due to the increasing difficulty of the opposition <I don't think anyone has ever thought he was not tactically one of the strongest> True <He uses tactical threats to achieve strategic goals> Not true. Carlsen focuses on positional play. From his superior strategic positional play, tactical threats emerge

Once Carlsen has an opponent scrambling around to meet tactical threats, its pretty much over at that point. Its just a mere matter of time, then Zap combination netting material gain


Jun-07-18  Caleb554: <Jambow: <For once Carlsen wins with the queens on the board.>>

There are people who say Carlsen can't play or win tactical games as well as Naka or Aronian. I don't think it is necessarily true.

I do think he has a preference for playing certain worse to equal positions where he can maneuver his pieces to gain an advantage. He is not interested in preparing and playing with 20-25 moves of theory to get a particular position or creating an extremely sharp positions where he is more knowledgeable than his opponents like Kramnik or Anand. Kramnik lost his world championship to Anand based solely on Anand's superior opening preparation.

Carlsen is different sort of a monster on board. At times careless, at times lazy but very very lethal and effective most of the time. He just creates equal positions out of the opening and plays the position. He also makes it hard for his opponents to create sharper positions on board and makes them work on the board.

Carlsen usually relies on his positional judgment and strategic understanding of the position than calculate insanely long complicated lines. He can out-calculate or calculate as well as any other player that is currently playing.

There is a good chance if someone is very well prepared they might as well draw Caruana or Hikaru straight out of the opening. It is very hard to do that with Carlsen if he decides he does not want a draw. Also one can argue that Caruana calculates a lot more deeply than Carlsen. It is simply not true. If you see Blitz and Rapid, Carlsen always ends up in top two positions. And these are games that are supposed to be dependent on luck. He crushed Naka, Grishuk in speed chess on It shows that he can calculate really fast in messy and complicated positions. And he also defends very well in positions that are worse or lost.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Clement Fraud: Some excellent analyses from the Kibitiz Cafe; theory appears to have moved on for the Rio Gambit since McShane vs Kramnik, 2012 ...

I don't like Aronian's choice of 10... Nf5? I think the Knight would do better to remain on d6 from where it covers e4 - followed by a fianchetto of the light squared Bishop. Vladimir Kramnik would have defended the black position better.

Jun-22-18  andrewjsacks: Well done on the pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 31...Ng5 32. Qxh6+ Nh7 33. Bd3 Qg8. Now what?

White has three connected passed ♙s for a ♘, but no immediate prospect of mate.

Jun-22-18  KSchlecher: I'm still hoping for the game between Aronian and Kramnik in the Candidates Tounament to be GOTD... But this one is also an phenomenal game as well!
Jun-22-18  mike1: al wazir: white plays 33.Rf7 instead of 33.Bd3 and simply takes the bishop d7 after 33.Qg8
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: You need coolin'!
Premium Chessgames Member
  takchess: My pun 8) Saw Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters in Boston this year. His band is quite good. Covered a number of Zep tunes and were similar and different enough to be enjoyable. Did a great Misty Mountain Hop with a Rock Blue Grass sound.
Jun-22-18  Swapmeet: Levon got sent back to schoolin’
Jun-22-18  JohnBoy: I love the games between these two. This as GotD sent me looking back at their 2007 match. None of this gets old.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: <morfishine:<...Magnus switched from the highly tactical games of his late teens to more strategic games> Not exactly true. Carlsen has had to shape his game over time due to the increasing difficulty of the opposition>

I don't think we disagree here. I was pointing out that he used to play tactically, but couldn't rely on that against the big boys. So you have given the reason for the switch/development of style - with which I agree.

<<He uses tactical threats to achieve strategic goals> Not true. Carlsen focuses on positional play. From his superior strategic positional play, tactical threats emerge>

My point is that he is constantly posing tactical problems along the way to achieving the superior position, and as a means to do so. On the whole, he is a strategic/positional player, but his game is complex and there is an interplay between tactics and position. This is somewhat implicit in his opening style where he plays for activity. He then uses this to twist his opponents into weak positions which he cleans up in the endgame.

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