### (1) Aronian,L (2737) - Carlsen,M (2775) [A32]

Grand Slam Final Bilbao ESP (1), 02.09.2008

* [Mikhail Golubev (www.chesstoday.net)]*

**
**

1.c4
c5
2.Nf3
Nf6
3.d4
cxd4
4.Nxd4
e6
5.g3
Bb4+
6.Nd2
Diagram # This is quite a rare line of the English Opening, though it sometimes occurs at the GM level.

6...Nc6
7.Nc2
Be7
8.Bg2
0-0
9.0-0
Rb8
[Black has also tried 9...a6
(Alburt-Short, Foxboro 1985); and 9...d5
as Buchmann-I.Nikolaidis, Fuerth 2002 and several other games]

10.Ne4!?N
b5
11.cxb5
Rxb5
12.Nd6
Bxd6
13.Qxd6
Bb7
14.Na3
Rb6
Diagram #

15.Be3
[After the tempting 15.Nc4
Ra6
the knight is placed not so well on c4, as Black is planning ...Na5. And if 16.Bd2
, then 16...Ne7!
]

15...Rxb2
[Here after 15...Ra6
16.Rfd1!?
* (*or *16.Rfc1!?
) *16...Ne7
17.Qd3
Black can not capture on g2 because the rook on a6 needs protection. So, Black accepts the pawn sacrifice.]

16.Bc5
Re8
Diagram #

17.Rab1
[Interesting, but not so clear is 17.Nc4!?
Rxe2
18.Qd1
Ba6
19.Qxe2
d5
20.Rfc1
Qc8
* (*or maybe *20...Qa8!?
) *21.Nd6
Bxe2
22.Nxc8
Rxc8
]

17...Rxb1
18.Rxb1
Ba6!
[Safer than 18...Ba8
19.Nb5
Qb8
20.Rb3!?
with the idea of 20...Na5
21.Bxa7
]

19.Nb5
Bxb5
20.Rxb5
Qc8
21.a4
h6
[Not 21...Qa6?
22.Bxc6
and 22...dxc6?
fails to 23.Rb8
]

22.Ba3
[22.e4!?
was preferable, with sufficient compensation for the pawn.]

22...Qa6!
23.Bb2
Qxa4!=/+
Diagram # Now White should fight for equality.

24.Bxc6
[Another option was 24.Rc5
]

24...dxc6
25.Rb4
Qa5
26.Bxf6
gxf6
27.Rg4+
Kh7
28.Qxc6
[Here, a sensible alternative was 28.Qd7
Rf8
29.Rf4!?
]

28...Rd8
29.Qc2+?!
[After 29.Ra4!
(M.Notkin, ChessPro.ru) Black hardly has any serious winning chances.]

29...f5
30.Ra4?!
[Probably better was 30.Kg2
with the idea of 30...Qe1?!
31.Qc7!
]

30...Qe1+
31.Kg2
Rd1!-/+
Diagram # Now it is really unpleasant - White is still a pawn down, and he is also under attack.

32.Qc7
[32.Rxa7?
loses to 32...Qh1+
33.Kh3
Rg1
* (*or *33...Qf1+
34.Kh4
Qg2
) *]

32...Kg6
33.Kf3!
Qh1+
34.Ke3
Here, instead of "playing for a mate", Carlsen makes a remarkable decision:

34...Ra1!?
This forces White to exchange rooks - quite an achievement for Black.

35.Qc2
[Not 35.Rc4?
Ra3+
36.Kd2
Qd5+
]

35...Rxa4
36.Qxa4
Diagram #

36...Qc1+
[After 36...Qe4+
37.Qxe4
fxe4
38.Kxe4
This pawns ending is complex as it is not easy for Black to attack the white pawns with the king. An illustrative line is 38...a5
39.Kd4
Kf5
40.h3
a4
41.Kc4
Ke4
42.Kb4
Kd4
43.Kxa4
Kc3
44.g4
e5
45.h4
f6
46.Kb5
Kd2
47.e3
e4
48.Kc5
Ke2
49.Kd5
Kf3
50.h5
Kxg4
51.Kxe4
and White even wins!]

37.Kf3
Qc3+
38.Kg2
a5
39.g4
A logical attempt: White must exchange a pawn to create more chances for the perpetual check.

39...Qe5
40.gxf5+
Kxf5
41.Qe8
Kg6
Diagram # Still, Black's king is placed quite safely - White should not be able to survive.

42.Qf8
a4
43.e3
Qe4+
44.Kg3
Qd3
45.h4
a3
46.Kh2
[46.h5+
Kxh5
47.Qxf7+
loses to 47...Qg6+
, check!]

46...Qf5!
[46...a2
47.h5+
Kf6
48.Qxh6+
Ke7
49.Qg5+
Kf8
can be winning, but it is hard to calculate such a line accurately]

47.Qxa3
Qxf2+
48.Kh3
Qf3+
49.Kh2
Kh5
50.Qf8
Qf2+
51.Kh1
Kg4
0-1