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Levon Aronian vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
GCT St. Louis Rapid & Blitz (2019) (blitz), St Louis, MO USA, rd 18, Aug-14
Indian Game: Pseudo-Queen's Indian. Marienbad System (A47)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-15-19  DrGridlock: I was at the St Louis chess club to watch this one. A little back story to the game. This was the final game in the Rapid and Blitz tournament. Aronian had a 1.0 point lead over Yu Yangyi, so a draw in this game would guarantee a tournament victory. Hats off to MVL for playing for a win.

There were 5 games going on, 3 on one side of the venue, and 2 on the other side. Most spectators were watching this game.

Aronian thought a little bit before playing 17 Nxc8. It's not really a queen-sac, but it does create a very unbalanced position (2 rooks for a queen). I think everyone - spectators and players - realized that this was the imbalance that Aronian didn't want in a game where a draw was all he needed.

According to Komodo, white is doing well until 27 Rc1 (the computer wants him to put his rook in front of the knight, Aronian understandably is more comfortable with the rook blocking the pawn. My recollection is that this point Aronian was also in some time pressure compared to MVL. The game got away from Aronian after that, and with a win in his game, Yu Yangyi could force a playoff for the tournament title. Aronian did not go to the other side of the room to directly watch the Yu Yangyi game, but watched it on the overhead monitors. The game reached a dead drawn position, which Yu Yangi played out for a few moves before extending the draw offer. That gave Aronian the title by 1/2 point, even though he lost this game to MVL, and in the preceeding game turned a two-pawn advantage over Magnus Carlsen into a drawn game. Some great chess in St Louis yesterday!

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