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Aronian, Levon (2793) - Carlsen, Magnus (2832) [D45]
Altibox Norway Chess, Stavanger (4) 2017

Notes by Boris Schipkov

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6
The Semi-Slav Defence.
5. e3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2








   
7...Nbd7
After 7...O-O 8. Bd3 Bd6 9. e4 (9. c5) 9...dxe4 10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Bxe4 Nd7 (11...f5) 12. c5 (12. Bc3) 12...Bc7 13. Qc2 Nf6 14. Bd3 b6 White had a small edge in Aronian, L - Inarkiev, E, Jermuk 2009.
8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O
Logical. World Champion Magnus Carlsen won after 9. Qc2 Qe7 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Ng4 12. f4 f5 $1 13. g3 (13. Be2) 13...Rd8 (13...Qc5, 13...Bc5) 14. h3 Nxe3 15. Bxe3 d4 16. Bd2 dxc3 17. Bxc3 Bxc3+ 18. Qxc3 c5 19. O-O-O b6 20. g4?! (20. Bc2=) 20...Bb7 21. Rhg1 Qh4! 22. Bc2 Rxd1+ 23. Bxd1? (23. Rxd1) 23...Qf2 24. Qg3 Qxa2 25. Qc3 Qf2 26. Qg3 Qd4 (winning) 27. gxf5 Qa1+ 28. Kd2 Rd8+ 29. Ke2 Qb2+ 0-1, Topalov,V - Carlsen, M, Paris 2017.
9...Qe7
Or 9...Bd6 and White can play 10. Qc2, 10. Rc1 or 10. Re1, e.g.:
10. Qc2 h6 11. Rad1 e5 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. e4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 exd4 16. Nxd4 Nf6 17. h3 Nxe4 18. Qxe4 Re8, with equality in Carlsen, M - Erenburg, S, Reykjavik 2006.
10. Rc1 h6 (10...e5) 11. Qc2 Re8 12. h3 Qe7 13. c5 Bc7 14. e4 e5 15. Rfe1 Qd8 16. exd5 cxd5 17. dxe5 Nxe5 18. Nxe5 Rxe5 19. Rxe5 Bxe5, Flores D - Carlsen, M, Doha 2016, and here 20. Re1! is better, with a small advantage to White.









   
10. Bc2!
A strong novelty. The main idea of the prophylactic move: usually Black likes to open the game with ...e6-e5, and after dxe5 to attack the d3-bishop with ...Nxe5, but now White backs the bishop on c2, therefore the ...e6-e5 advance is risky. Before Levon Aronian played 10. Ne5 and 10. Qe1, other moves are 10. Qc2 and 10. Re1.
10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd7 12. f4 f6?! (12...g6 and 12...f5 were better) 13. Qc2 h6 14. a3 Bc5 15. b4 Ba7 16. exf6 Nxf6 17. c5 with a small edge to White in Aronian, L - Navara, D, Sochi 2008.
10. Qe1 a5 11. Bc2 dxc4 12. bxc4 e5 (12...b6) 13. a3 Bd6 14. Nh4 g6 15. f4 exd4 16. exd4 Bxa3 17. Qg3 Nh5 18. Qf2 Ndf6 (18...Bb4!?) 19. Rfe1, Aronian, L - Kornev, A, Warsaw 2005, and here Black can continue 19...Be6! with equality.
11...Rd8
Black could try 10...b6 or 10...a5. If 10...e5 then 11. Nxd5! cxd5 12. Bxb4 Qxb4 13. dxe5 Ng4 14. Qd4 Nh6 15. cxd5 Qxd4 16. exd4, and White has a small advantage in the endgame.
11. a3!!
Splendid! White sacrifices a pawn and then the exchange with the idea to trap the black queen or to gain tempi to attack the king, because the queen cannot help. If 11. c5 then 11...e5! 12. a3 (12. h3 Re8) 12...Bxc3 13. Bxc3 e4 14. Nd2 Nf8=, with equality.
11...Bxa3
In the case of 11...Bd6 White has better chances after 12. e4 Nxe4 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Bxe4 c5 15. Ba5 Re8 16. dxc5 Nxc5 17. Bc2.
12. Rxa3! Qxa3 13. c5








   
13...b6?!
Now 13...b5! is better, and if 14. Nb1 Qa2 15. Qc1 Ne4! 16. Nc3 Nxc3 17. Bxc3 then Black can play the strong 17...b4! 18. Bxb4 (18. Qd2 Qa5! 19. Bxb4 Qb5=) 18... a5 19. Bc3 a4 20. bxa4 Ba6=, with equality. After 13...b6?! Black cannot play ...b4.
But 14. b4!? is interesting, 14...Ne4 15. Ng5! Ndf6! (15...Nxg5? is worse, White wins the queen 16. Nb1 Qa2 17. Bb3 Qxb3 18. Qxb3) 16. Nb1 (16. Ngxe4 Nxe4) 16...Qb2 17. Be1 e5 18. Nxe4 (18. f3 exd4 19. exd4 a5 20. Nxe4 Nxe4 21. fxe4 axb4 22. Bh4 Rd7 23. Rf2 Qa1) 18...Nxe4 19. f3 exd4 20. fxe4 dxe3 21. exd5 Rxd5 22. Qf3 Be6 23. Qe4 Rh5 24. Bc3 Qa2 25. Qd4 Rg5 26. Qxe3 Rxg2+ 27. Kxg2 Qxc2+ 28. Kg1, though White has only a small advantage: a knight here is slightly better than 3 pawns.
14. b4?!
14. Nb1! is better, 14...Qa2 15. Qc1 bxc5 (here 15...Ne4? is bad, 16. Nc3 Nxc3 17. Bxc3 Nf6 18. Nd2, White traps the queen and wins) 16. Nc3 Qa5 17. Nxd5 Qb5 (17...Qa2 18. Ne7+ Kf8 19. Nxc6) 18. Nc7 Qb7 19. Nxa8 Qxa8 20. Ba5, with a clear edge to the first player.
14...Ne4
14...Qb2!? deserves attention, 15. Ne1 Ne4 16. Nxe4 dxe4 17. Bxe4 Bb7 18. Nd3 Qa2 19. Nc1 Qb2 20. Nd3=, with equality.
15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Bxe4 Rb8?!
16...bxc5! is better, 17. bxc5 a5 18. Bxc6 Ra7, with counterplay.









   
17. Bxh7+!
White attacks the black monarch with a typical sacrifice.
17...Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg8
18...Kg6? is weaker, 19. Qg4 f5 20. Qg3 Kf6 (20...f4 21. Qxf4 Rf8 22. Qh4) 21. Qh4 Rf8 22. e4, and White wins quickly.
19. Qh5 Nf6 20. Qxf7+ Kh8 21. Qc7 Bd7! 22. Nf7+ Kh7 23. Nxd8 Rc8 24. Qxb6 Nd5 25. Qa7 Rxd8 26. e4








   
26...Qd3
26...Nf6!? is more precise, 27. Bg5 Qxb4 28. e5 Kg6 29. h4 Qxd4 30. exf6 gxf6 31. Qb6 Bc8 32. Be3 Qd5, and White has only a small advantage, therefore Black can fight for a draw.
27. exd5 Qxd2 28. Qc7 Qg5








   
29. dxc6?!
The move 29. d6! is better: Black's queen must defend the rook, the rook must defend the bishop, the bishop must defend the c6 and e6 pawns, so Black cannot counterattack, and White can grab the a6 pawn to gain a clear advantage.
29...Bc8 30. h3 Qd5 31. Rd1








   
31...e5?
The decisive mistake. World Champion Magnus Carlsen could have played 31...Rf8! 32. Qd6 Qb3= to draw.
32. Rd3!
White activates the rook to attack the king.
32...exd4 33. Qe7 Bf5
Or 33...Rg8 34. Qh4+ Kg6 35. Rxd4 Qe5 36. c7 Qxc7 37. Rd6+ Kf7 38. Qf4+ Ke7 39. Re6+ Kd8 40. Qg5+ Kd7 41. Qe7#, checkmate. A monumental game by Levon Aronian. He sacrifices, storms and wins!
34. Rg3 Bg6 35. Qh4+
Black resigned. 1-0










Move
   

Aronian, Levon (2793) - Carlsen, Magnus (2832) [D45]
Norway Chess 2017/Stavanger (4) 2017

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2 Nbd7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. O-O Qe7 10. Bc2 Rd8 11. a3 Bxa3 12. Rxa3 Qxa3 13. c5 b6 14. b4 Ne4 15. Nxe4 dxe4 16. Bxe4 Rb8 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Ng5+ Kg8 19. Qh5 Nf6 20. Qxf7+ Kh8 21. Qc7 Bd7 22. Nf7+ Kh7 23. Nxd8 Rc8 24. Qxb6 Nd5 25. Qa7 Rxd8 26. e4 Qd3 27. exd5 Qxd2 28. Qc7 Qg5 29. dxc6 Bc8 30. h3 Qd5 31. Rd1 e5 32. Rd3 exd4 33. Qe7 Bf5 34. Rg3 Bg6 35. Qh4+ 1-0



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© 2017 Boris Schipkov