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The 4...Nf6 Caro-Kann

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Zurich Challenge begins with victory for Aronian

4/21/2012 – The Zurich Chess Challenge, a six-game face-off between the world's number two, Armenian GM Levon Aronian, and number three, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, started with a shocker: Aronian scored an impressive win with the black pieces. The game was broadcast live on the official site and on Playchess, with live video images and GM commentary. Highly enjoyable.
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Zurich Chess Challenge: Kramnik vs. Aronian

The Zurich Chess Club announces a six-game chess match between Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Levon Aronian (Armenia) from 21 to 28 April 2012. The numbers two and three of the world ranking will meet in the time-honored Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville at Paradeplatz, the venue of many a famous chess event in the past. Kramnik and Aronian are the winners of the two most prestigious tournaments of the last months. While the 36-year-old Kramnik gained a convincing victory at the London Chess Classic in December, the 29-year-old Aronian won the famous tournament in Wijk aan Zee with an outstanding score.

Both players (above Kramnik and Aronian at the opening) belong to the hottest candidates in the World championship qualifier later this year. The Zurich Chess Challenge will be the first encounter in the history of chess between two players with a rating above the magical 2800 limit, and it is the first ever friendly match at the top level. It is sponsored by Oleg Skvortsov, IGC International Gemological Laboratories and Aspeco N.V., Antwerp.


Marie-Laure Kramnik with chief organiser Dr Christian Issler at the opening reception


A Swiss musical presentation, replete with...


... the famous "alpenhorns", used by mountain dwellers in Switzerland

Rnk
Player Country born FIDE  Live
2
Levon Aronian Armenia 1982 2805 2825
3
Vladimir Kramnik Russia 1975 2801 2801

Schedule

Round 1 Saturday April 21 15:00h CEST
Round 2 Sunday April 22 15:00h CEST
  Monday April 23 Rest day
Round 3 Tuesday April 24 15:00h CEST
Round 4 Wednesday April 25 15:00h CEST
  Thursday April 26 Rest day
Round 5 Friday April 27 15:00h CEST
Round 6 Saturday April 28 13:00h CEST


Aronian and Kramnik before the start of their first game

[Event "Zurich Chess challenge Kramnik vs Aroni"] [Site "Zurich"] [Date "2012.04.21"] [Round "1"] [White "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Black "Aronian, Levon"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D43"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2820"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 Nd7 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 g6 10. O-O Bg7 11. Re1 O-O 12. e4 e5 13. d5 {0.11/0} Rd8 {0.04/0} (13... Nb6 14. Bb3 Bd7 15. h3 Rac8 16. Qe2 Rfe8 17. Rad1 Bf8 18. a3 h5 19. Rd3 Bh6 20. Red1 cxd5 21. Bxd5 Rc7 22. Nd2 Qe7 23. Nc4 Nxc4 24. Bxc4 Bc6 25. Bd5 Kh7 26. Bxc6 bxc6 27. Na4 {1/2-1/2 (101) Leko,P (2734)-Gelfand,B (2739) Miskolc 2010}) 14. Re3 {-0.13/0 This move was first played by WGM Valentina Gunina earlier this year, with a successful result. It has to be uplifting to her to have a player of Kramnik's calibre, and level of preparation, giving it his own stamp of approval.} b5 {-0.15/0} 15. dxc6 {-0.06/0} bxc4 {-0.12/0} 16. Nd5 {-0.56/0} Qe6 {-0.45/0} (16... Qd6 17. cxd7 Bxd7 18. Nd2 Bb5 19. Qc2 Rab8 20. Rc3 Qa6 21. a4 Bf8 22. Nf1 Bc5 23. Qc1 Bc6 24. Nf6+ Kg7 25. Ng4 g5 26. Rxc4 Rd1 27. Qxd1 Qxc4 28. Qf3 Qxe4 29. Rc1 Qg6 30. Qc3 Qe4 31. Qxe5+ Qxe5 32. Nxe5 Bxf2+ 33. Kxf2 Rxb2+ 34. Ke3 Bxg2 35. Ng3 Bd5 36. Nh5+ Kf8 37. Rd1 Be6 38. Rd8+ {1-0 (38) Gunina,V (2511)-Muzychuk,A (2583) Gaziantep 2012}) 17. cxd7 {-0.40/0} Rxd7 {-0.21/0 Even though Kramnik is the one who chose to go down this path, and one cannot believe Re3 was played by accident, the fact is that he was consuming a lot of time on his clock while Aronian was playing quite quickly.} 18. Qa4 {-0.41/0} Bb7 {-0.50/0 Played immediately by Levon.} 19. Qxc4 {-0.67/0} Bxd5 {-0.31/0} 20. exd5 {-0.52/0} Qxd5 {-0.34/0} 21. Qxd5 {-0.46/0} Rxd5 {-0. 50/0} 22. Rae1 {-0.46/0} Re8 {-0.31/0 The general consensus among masters and grandmasters watching the game was that Kramnik was undoubtedly worse, but would eventually hold.} 23. g4 {-0.30/0 A surprising decision to some, but the idea is to contain Black's progress, and make ...f5 less attractive.} Kh7 {-0. 33/0} ({After the immediate} 23... f5 {White plays} 24. Nh4 {and after} fxg4 25. Nxg6 {should be fine. The attempt to box in the knight with} Bf6 {does not work as it escapes with} 26. Nf4) 24. g5 {-0.39/0 Again a decision that caught many by surprise. It is true that White's knight will finally gain some activity, but the question is whether this will outweigh the long-term weaknesses in his pawns.} hxg5 {-0.50/0 Aronian wasted very little time on this decision.} 25. Nxg5+ {-0.24/0} Kg8 {-0.39/0} 26. f4 $2 {-1.18/0 This is a mistake. Perhaps White was anxious to end his agony, and thought to achieve quick parity and shake hands. Instead he is much worse now.} Rb8 $1 {-1.17/0} ( 26... Bh6 {looks attractive, but isn't as strong as the game. White removes the rook from the pin with} 27. R3e2 {and will then have Ne4, threatening Nf6+. }) 27. fxe5 {-0.64/0} Rxb2 {-1.22/0} 28. Nf3 {-1.26/0 White is understandably concerned with Rdd2 and seeing Black double his rooks on the second rank.} Rxa2 {-0.90/0} 29. e6 {-1.04/0} fxe6 {-2.22/0 Things are now looking very grim. The bishop is now completely free, and the a-pawn is a very real threat.} 30. Rxe6 {-1.84/0} Rf5 {-2.16/0} 31. Nh4 {-2.18/0} Rf4 {-1.80/0} 32. R6e4 {-2.16/0} (32. Nxg6 $2 Bd4+ 33. Kh1 Rff2 {is the end.}) 32... Rf6 {-1.53/0} 33. Rg4 {-1.71/0} Kf7 {-1.59/0} 34. Rc1 {-1.82/0} Bh6 {-1.55/0} 35. Rc7+ {-1.97/0} Ke8 {-1.70/0} 36. Re4+ {-1.82/0} Kd8 {-2.00/0} 37. Rh7 {-2.15/0} Bf8 {-2.03/0} 38. Rd4+ {-1. 29/0} Kc8 {-1.39/0} 39. Rc4+ {-1.68/0} Kb8 {-1.89/0} 40. Rd7 $2 {-5.88/0} ({ Even without the game's blunder, Black is most likely won. The combination of sprinting a-pawn with two rooks and bishop against Whites exposed king should decide it. A sample line might be} 40. Rc1 a5 41. Ng2 (41. Rb1+ Ka8 42. Rc1 Bd6 {with the idea Bb8 to cover the mate threats.}) 41... a4 42. Ne3 a3 $19) 40... g5 $19 41. Ng6 Bd6 {The knight is lost since White must also protect against the threat Bxh2+ Kh1 and Rf1 mate.} 0-1

The games were broadcast live on the official web site, and naturally on Playchess. In addition there was a video broadcast with commentary and images from the playing hall. If you missed it you can follow the entire four hours of action in this video stream:


Live commentary was provided by IM Werner Hug, a former Junior World Champion, and by Swiss GM
Jannick Pelletier, who discussed the moves in English, with short breaks of German for the local public

It is especially enjoyable to follow the commentary on the official site, which also includes a slightly unruly live chat for visitors, and to have a Playchess broadcast board open (above left), where you can analyse with Fritz and at the same time see the results of the most powerful computers all over the world using the Fritz 13 function Let's Check.


Kramnik anguishing for over half an hour over his move 17.cxd7, after Aronian had deviated from the game Gunina-Muzychuk which the players had been following with the move 16...Qe6, clearly a surprise for Kramnik


The final phase of the game, before Kramnik collapsed at the time control with 40.Rd7?

Very interesting and illuminating: the press conference after the game (click to start)

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


The Zurich Chess Club

The World’s Oldest Chess Club: Part I (1809–1914)
24.06.2009 – In August there will be a spectacular event celebrating the 200th jubilee of the oldest chess club in the world: the Schachgesellschaft Zürich, which was founded in 1809. Attendees include Kasparov, Anand, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kramnik, Spassky, Ponomariov and Topalov. To prepare you for the jubilee Richard Forster and Christian Rohrer retrace the historical development of the club.
The World’s Oldest Chess Club: Part II (1914–1945)
14.07.2009 – In August there will be a spectacular event celebrating the 200th jubilee of the oldest chess club in the world: the Schachgesellschaft Zürich, which was founded in 1809. Attendees include Kasparov, Anand, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kramnik, Spassky, Ponomariov and Topalov. To prepare you for the jubilee Richard Forster and Christian Rohrer retrace the historical development of the club.

The World’s Oldest Chess Club: Part III (1945–1961)
07.08.2009 – Sunday, 9 August 2009, heralds the start of the events around the 200-year anniversary of the Schachgesellschaft Zürich, the oldest chess club in the world. Attendees on the final weekend (August 22-23) include Kasparov, Anand, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kramnik, Spassky, Ponomariov and Topalov. Richard Forster and Christian Rohrer retrace the historical development of the Schachgesellschaft.

Aronian-Kramnik: a diamond-studded encounter
09.02.2012 – It will be the first match in history in which both players are rated over 2800. From April 21 to 28, 2012, the world's number two, Levon Aronian, will play the world's number three, Vladimir Kramnik, in the time-honored Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville in Zurich, Switzerland – the venue of many a famous chess event in the past. The match is sponsored by the diamond industry. Press release.
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