Yerevan shocker: Aronian wins both games against Kramnik

5/6/2007 – The rapid chess match in Yerevan is turning into the proverbial slugfest. After winning game two the Armenian star Levon Aronian won the next two games as well (when is the last time that Vladimir Kramnik lost three in a row?) to take a commanding lead. He only needs a draw in the final two games to clinch victory. Draws in this match so far: zero. Express report.

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The Aronian-Kramnik Rapid Chess Match takes place in Yerevan, Armenia, from May 4th to 6th, 2007. It goes over six games, played at the rate of 25 min for the entire game with a increment of 10 seconds per move. The match will be played over three days, in the Yerevan Opera House, with the games beginning at 18:00 hrs and 19:45 hrs local time (GMT + 4). That is 15:00h CEST, 14:00h London and 09:00 a.m. New York for the first game; 16:45h, 15:45h and 10:45 a.m. for the second. Click on the Yerevan times above to get your own local time.

Day two report

Game 3: After winning game two Aronian struck out again, this time on the black side of a Symmetrical English. The Armenian star played the middlegame extremely well, turning a small disadvantage out of the opening into a promising endgame which he then proceeded to win. After the game Kramnik said that Aronian's queen manoeuvre, which forced him to trade queens on move 32, cost him the initiative. Aronian agreed, and called it a significant error on the part of Kramnik to allow his queen to get to a4 and force the trade.

Kramnik,V (2772) - Aronian,L (2759) [A30]
Rapid Match Yerevan ARM (3), 05.05.2007
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.0-0 e6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.Bg5 a6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Qf4 0-0 12.Rfd1 Be7 13.Ne4 Bxe4 14.Qxe4 Ra7 15.Nd4 Qc8 16.b3 Re8 17.a4 Qc5 18.Ra2 Qh5 19.Bf3 Qe5 20.e3 Rc8 21.Qb1 Rac7 22.Rc2 Qf6 23.Bg2 Nd7 24.Qa2 Qg6 25.Rcd2 Nc5 26.Ne2 Nd7 27.a5 bxa5 28.Qxa5 Nc5 29.Nc1 h5 30.Rd4

30...Qc2 31.b4? Qa4 32.Qxa4 Nxa4 33.Ne2 Nb2 34.Ra1 Bf6 35.Rxd6 Nxc4 36.Rdxa6 Bxa1 37.Rxa1 Rb8 38.Rb1 Na3 39.Rb3 Nb5 40.Bf3 g6 41.h4 Rc4 42.Nf4 Rc3 43.Rb2 Na3 44.Be2 Rc2 45.Rb3 e5 46.Nd5 Rxe2 47.Rxa3 Kg7 48.Rb3 Rd2 49.Nc7 Rc2 50.Nd5 Ra8 51.Nc3 Rc8 52.Ne4 R8c4 53.Nd6 R4c3 54.Rxc3 Rxc3 55.b5 Rd3 56.Nc4 f6 57.Kf1 Rb3 58.Nd6 Kf8 59.Ke2 Ke7 60.Nc8+ Kd7 61.Na7 Rb2+ 62.Kf3 Ke6 63.e4 Kd6 64.Nc8+ Ke6 65.Na7 f5 66.exf5+ Kxf5 67.Ke3 Rb3+ 68.Kd2 Ke4 69.Kc2 Rf3 70.Nc6 Rxf2+ 71.Kc3 Rf1 72.Kb4 Rc1 73.Ne7 Kf3 74.Nxg6 e4 75.b6 e3 76.Ne5+ Kxg3 77.Nd3 e2 0-1.

Game 4: Kramnik was faced with a difficult decision: to play defensively and try to hold the game with black, hoping for a win on the final day to salvage the match; or to take risks with black and try to reestablish parity today. He chose the latter, but unfortunately for him, Aronian was up to the challenge. The Armenian’s kingside attack developed rapidly and with a tactical flurry starting on move 37, Aronian slammed the door on Kramnik’s hopes. On move 43, black resigned, putting Aronian in an excellent position to win the match. He needs just a single draw on the final day to win the match, while Kramnik is forced to try and win both games just to tie on the final table.

At the press-conference, Kramnik stated that he was playing for a win, but unfortunately misplayed the opening. After Aronian’s Qe3, the Russian grandmaster acknowledged that his winning chances were minimal. Aronian spoke little but clearly must be elated after today’s dual victories and his 3-1 lead going into the final day.

Aronian,L (2759) - Kramnik,V (2772) [D45]
Rapid Match Yerevan ARM (4), 05.05.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nd5 9.Ne4 Be7 10.Bd2 b6 11.Ng3 0-0 12.e4 Nb4 13.Qb3 c5 14.Bxb4 cxb4 15.0-0 a6 16.Qe3

At the press conference after the game Kramnik confirmed that he had been trying to win, but that after Aronian's last move he recognised that his winning chances had all but vanished. 16...b5 17.Bd3 Bb7 18.g5 Rc8 19.Rad1 Qb6 20.Bb1 Rfd8 21.h4 Nf8 22.h5 Rc7 23.Qf4 Bd6 24.e5 Be7 25.Be4 Bc8 26.Bb1 Bb7 27.Be4 Bc8 28.Kh2 Rcd7 29.Bb1 Bb7 30.Ne4 Bxe4 31.Bxe4 g6 32.hxg6 Nxg6 33.Qe3 Bf8 34.Kg2 Bg7 35.Rh1 Qb8 36.Rc1 Qa7

37.Rh3 Rxd4 38.Rd1 Nf4+ 39.Kh2 Ne2 40.Rd2 Bxe5+ 41.Nxe5 Qc7 42.Bxh7+ Kf8 43.Rxe2 1-0.

Standings

 
1
2
3
4
5
6
Total
Levon Aronian
0
1
1
1
   
3
Vladimir Kramnik
1
0
0
0
   
1

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