Zurich Challenge G6: Exciting draw after 43 moves

4/28/2012 – Levon Aronian again opened with the unusual (for him) 1.e4 and Vladimir Kramnik played his pet Berlin Defence. The game remained fairly balanced, with Kramnik waiting for a chance to strike. And strike he did, with an exchange sacrifice on move 31 which almost won him the match. It was only time trouble that saved his Armenian opponent. Final report with annotated game.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Zurich Chess Challenge: Kramnik vs. Aronian

The Zurich Chess Club staged 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 met 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 past months. The 36-year-old Kramnik gained a convincing victory at the London Chess Classic in December, and the 29-year-old Aronian won the famous tournament in Wijk aan Zee with an outstanding score.

Game six

While Kramnik finally reverted to his beloved 1.Nf3 in game five, his payback of Aronian's unexpected 1.e4 having already been made, the Armenian showed that 1.e4 was more than just a surprise weapon, and opened game six with it. The Russian played his pet Berlin – and why not? Levon had not shown anything especially dangerous in their first game. This time he chose to avoid the main lines with the queen swap, and opted for the d3-c3 buildup that is typical of so many Ruy Lopez lines.

While the game remained fairly balanced, if dynamically so, it was a combative game that kept the momentum going of what has been a superb match all in all. It had seemed as if Aronian had been the one with the greater potential, one they never really worked out, but it was Kramnik's unexpected and superb 31...Rxe3! exchange sac that threatened to end the match in his favor. Sadly, with little time to find the perfect sequence, he missed 33...Ne7! after which he had a small but insufficient edge, and a repetition was the result.

[Event "Zurich Chess challenge Kramnik vs Aroni"] [Site "Zurich"] [Date "2012.04.29"] [Round "6.6"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2820"] [BlackElo "2801"] [Annotator "Ramirez,Alejandro/ChessBase"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Nbd2 d6 6. c3 O-O 7. O-O Ne7 8. h3 Ng6 9. Re1 c6 10. Ba4 Re8 11. d4 Bb6 12. Bc2 h6 {0.00/0 Kramnik is actually quite familiar with this position - he used it twice just last year against Radjabov in the Candidate's matches.} 13. a4 {-0.03/0} (13. Nf1 d5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Rxe5 16. Bf4 Re8 17. e5 Nh7 {Brought Radjabov nothing in both games, as much as the computer likes White's position.}) 13... Be6 {0.00/0} 14. Nf1 {0.04/0 Since Black played Be6, d5 is no longer possible, but his position should be fine nonetheless.} exd4 {0.15/0} 15. Nxd4 {0.00/0} Bd7 {0.00/0} 16. f4 {-0.15/0} d5 $5 {0.19/0 The start of an interesting sacrifice.} 17. e5 {0.29/0} Ne4 {0.24/0} 18. Bxe4 {0.12/0} dxe4 {0.24/0 Black's pawn on e4 is doomed, but a funny thing about doomed pawns in chess is that they are annoying until actually taken. White can't really play Rxe4 so he must make some preparations.} 19. a5 $5 {0.00/0 Distracting the bishop, White hopes to take on e4 while retaining his strong pawn center.} (19. Ng3 f5 $13) (19. Rxe4 c5 20. Nf3 Bc6 $44) 19... Bxa5 {0.00/0} 20. Ng3 {0.04/0} Bb6 {0.00/0} 21. Kh2 {0.00/0} c5 {0.16/0} 22. Ndf5 { 0.24/0} Bxf5 {0.24/0} 23. Nxf5 {0.17/0} Qxd1 {0.16/0} 24. Rxd1 {0.13/0} Rad8 { 0.17/0} 25. Be3 {0.00/0 White is now the one that is down a pawn, but it seems certain that he will regain e4 eventually, and emerge with the better pawn structure. Black must play carefully.} Rd3 {0.11/0} 26. Re1 {0.00/0} f6 $1 { 0.00/0 Black breaks the center, giving up his h pawn but turning his doomed pawn into a supported passed pawn! Funny how quickly things change in chess.} 27. exf6 {0.00/0} gxf6 {0.00/0} 28. Nxh6+ {0.00/0} Kf8 {0.15/0} 29. Ra4 $1 {0.33/0 Fighting for the advantage. The e8 rook is now tied to e4.} Rd5 {0.31/0} 30. c4 {0.00/0} (30. Ng4 {seemed more logical to me.} Kg7 31. Bc1 {trying to Blockade. Maybe white has a little pull here.}) 30... Rd3 {0.00/0} 31. b4 $2 { -0.18/0 Black has several good moves here to retain equality, but Kramnik sees a chance to go for it.} Rxe3 $1 {-0.17/0} (31... cxb4 32. Bxb6 axb6 33. Rxb4 Nxf4 34. Rxb6 Kg7 35. Ng4 Rd2 36. Ne3 Rh8 37. h4 {leaves White with an advantage.}) (31... Nh4 32. Ng4 {does so too.}) 32. Rxe3 {-0.21/0} cxb4 {-0.15/ 0} 33. Rg3 $5 {-1.41/0 Seeking counterplay.} e3 $2 {-0.24/0 Missing a chance to win the match.} ({Fritz 13 and all engines in the Let's Check cloud were yelling for} 33... Ne7 $1 {This move is a little strange but it gave Black excellent winning chances. The knight is restricting two of White's pieces and the passed pawn will still roll. It's hard to believe White will survive, as Bc7 is also in the air.} 34. Rxb4 Bc7 35. Rg4 (35. Rxb7 $2 Bxf4 {is deadly.} ) 35... e3 {and White is in deep trouble.}) 34. Rxg6 {0.00/0} e2 {0.00/0} 35. Ra1 {-0.24/0} Bf2 {0.13/0} 36. Rg8+ {-0.15/0} ({In Let's Check Rybka and Houdini were proposing} 36. g4 e1=Q 37. Rxf6+ Kg7 38. Rxe1 Rxe1 (38... Bxe1 39. g5 Re2+ (39... b3 40. Rf7+ Kg6 41. Rf6+ {is a perpetual.}) 40. Kh1 Bc3 41. Rf7+ Kg6 42. Rxb7 {and Black can no longer win.})) ({Fritz 13 preferred} 36. Rxf6+ { first.}) 36... Ke7 {-0.25/0} 37. Rg7+ {-0.33/0} Kd6 {-0.21/0} 38. Rxb7 {-0.16/0 } e1=Q {-0.18/0} 39. Rxe1 {-0.33/0} Bxe1 {-0.13/0} 40. Nf5+ {-0.29/0} Kc5 {0. 00/0} (40... Kc6 41. Rxa7 b3 42. Nd4+ Kb6 43. Ra1 Bc3 44. c5+ Kc7 45. Nxb3 Bxa1 46. Nxa1 $11 {is very likely a draw since the knight can't actually be trapped. }) 41. Rb5+ {0.00/0} Kc6 {0.00/0} 42. Nd4+ Kc7 43. Rc5+ ({Aronian has found an amazing resource, as we could see on Kramnik's face in the live stream.} 43. Rc5+ Kb6 (43... Kd8 44. Rd5+ Ke7 45. Nf5+ Kf8 46. Rb5 {is in fact good for White.}) 44. Rb5+ Kc7 45. Rc5+ {and draw by perpetual.}) 1/2-1/2


Vladimir Kramnik in the postmortem session after the game


Levon Aronian checking attacking lines in the opening


Generally satisfied: Aronian and Kramnik at the closing ceremony


No, only daddy and the other nice gentleman get prizes, Daria darling


Marie Laure Kramnik, wife of the former world champion, mother of Daria


Guests of honour: Petra and Viktor Korchnoi

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 and the press conference in this video stream:

Score

Players
Rating
1
2
3
4
5
6
Total
Perf.
+/–
Levon Aronian
2820
1
½
0
½
½
½
3.0
2801
–2
Vladimir Kramnik  
2801
0
½
1
½
½
½
3.0
2820
+2

Game six commentary by IM Andrew Martin


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.


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register