Levon Aronian and Oscar Panno in joint masterclass

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/28/2021 – Two strong grandmasters from different generations, currently living in countries far apart from each other, gave an online masterclass about a week ago. Levon Aronian and Oscar Panno discussed two impressive wins obtained by Aronian with the help of Robert Hungaski, who served as translator.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Enjoying chess

With so many people now focused on improving their blitz skills to play online, it was refreshing to see two great players using the internet to patiently go through a couple of remarkable games, paying attention both to tactics and strategic ideas as to psychological factors surrounding the games.

Current world number 6 Levon Aronian talked to 85-year-old Argentine legend Oscar Panno with the help of American GM Robert Hungaski, who served as translator. Panno and Hungaski joined the online call from the River Plate Chess Club in Buenos Aires.

Oscar Panno

Panno at the 1956 Candidates in Amsterdam | Photo: Joop van Bilsen / Anefo

Aronian, who recently announced he will change federations to represent the United States, showed two great wins from his illustrious career. First, a win he obtained over Magnus Carlsen at the 2017 Norway Chess Tournament and then one of the key victories he got on his way to winning the FIDE World Cup, also in 2017 — the second rapid game of his dramatic semifinal match against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

As pointed out by Aronian, his win over Carlsen in Stavanger was crucial for the world champion, who could not recover and finished the event with an uncharacteristic 4/9 score. After both players acknowledged how it is particularly satisfying to beat a reigning world champion (especially one as dominating as Carlsen), Aronian quipped:

After this game, I think the world champion Magnus Carlsen had a very bad tournament (smiles).

It was indeed a remarkable victory, with Aronian playing an intriguing novelty out of a Chebanenko Slav:


White played 10.Bc2. This seemingly quiet manoeuvre is supported by a tactical idea, as Black cannot play 10...e5, the logical central break, due to 11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Bxb4 Qxb4 13.dxe5 Ne8.

Carlsen thus replied 10...Rd8, which was followed by a remarkable little move:


With 11.a3, Aronian first gave up a pawn and then an exchange for positional compensation — 11...Bxa3 12.Rxa3 Qxa3 13.c5:


The queen is out of play and in danger of being trapped. This was just the start of a marvellous showing by Aronian as, of course, Carlsen found challenging recourses at every turn. It was also a reminder of how tough it is even for top grandmasters to deal with unbalanced positions. 

Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen

A stellar performance by Levon Aronian | Photo: Lennart Ootes / Norway Chess

It was a bit over an hour and a half of highly enjoyable (human) chess analysis!

The games

Replay both wins by Aronian with expert analyses by Alex Yermolinsky and Sagar Shah.


Select an entry from the list to switch between games


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register